• The last of the summer cricket

    In a week that saw a multitude of sporting upsets and controversies in the FIFA (who?) World Cup, the biggest shocks of all were once again reserved for The Quokkas.

    Not wanting to change the plot too much, their final game of the scheduled season once again came down to the final over, although there would be no-one to answer the call of heroism or take the charges.

    The day had started well for most of The Quokkas that had survived the tour night out without being bull-whipped, arrested or consuming their body-weight in beer, leaving the rest to hold their heads and wonder.

    The positives soon started though, with The Quokkas winning the race to have eleven on the ground, giving them the extra time to ‘gel’ and the ability to send the opposition in while the rest of their team arrived (take note; Salix CC).

    More positives soon came with The Quokkas answer to Mathew Hoggard, Thug P, taking the first three wickets of the game for a combined total of 35 runs. He was, once again, ably support by Dac ‘The Attack’ Nguyen who unleashed some frightening pace that was combined with such accurate line and length that it had NASA researchers nodding their approval.

    Some unusually tight work in the field kept the pressure on Wantage CC, particularly from Iain ‘The Egg’ Edwards, whose hands have now been classified as a national treasure.

    Another clever change in the bowling from The Skip brought in Gav ‘The Hairdresser’ Slater who took three quick wickets to leave Wantage struggling at 7-70 after 20 overs and with only 10 more overs to face.

    The introduction of ‘The Tweak’ though, changed everything as he dropped a dolly of a ‘caught and bowled’ chance that saw the Wantage batsmen breathe life into the scoreboard. This was best evidenced by The Tweaks own record of 15 runs in an over being threatened in just 3 balls that went for 14 runs.

    The remaining bowlers had few questions that challenged the batsman, with the last 4 wickets putting on 97 runs to leave the Quokkas with another challenge.

    The Quokkas response started well, despite Wantage unleashing two of the fastest bowlers that had been seen by Quokka eyes this season.

    The Skip and The Mantis saw off the opening pair, bravely matching them although struggling to keep the run rate up. The Mantis’ premature dismissal brought a shock through The Quokkas on the sideline, who started questioning their own mortality for the first time this season.

    Another quick wicket saw The Skip join The Mantis in the rooms, although he didnt seem so downcast once the offer of Parma ham and Port arrived.

    Not giving up all hope, The Hairdresser looked deep inside his soul for inspiration and heard the voice of The Mantis of Christmas past say; “Just keep going fella”. Taking a lone hand, Gav saw a multitude of batting partners arrive and depart, although the notable exceptions of the Thug and The Skaff did keep the scoreman in employment.

    The innings came down to requiring 20 runs off the last eight runs, but it wasnt to be with The Truth recording a Duck of the golden variety (undoing some flash work behind the stumps), The Tweak topping off an all-round appalling day by running out Gav, The Egg tonking himself out after a nice 4 and The Caveman putting in an appearance with his new helmet for the last ball of the innings.

    Still, a great game was again recorded in The Quokkas annuals, and the rematch next year should be a doozy to compete with the 1989 VFL Grand Final.

    The day was capped off with The Mantis taking home the 2006 Best and Fairest Award, finishing the season with an average of 73 after hitting 220 runs. Smithers was the pick of the bowlers for the year claiming 5 wickets in 3 matches at an average of 11.2.

    I would go into further detail about various statistics, but the scorebook wasnt too well maintained for the last game so they are a little out of whack.

    Regardless, a great year for The Quokkas and a big thanks must go to all The Quokkas and The Quokettes for the year.

    Bring on 2007!

  • Quokkas avec fair maidens
    In what can only be described as the most exciting win of an electrifying season, The Quokkas continued on their winning ways yesterday, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat in a game that had more variety than a bag of licorice all-sorts.

    The day started with grim warning signs, black crows and cats being spotted on street corners and Transport for London conspiring to shut down any means of getting to the ground.

    Regardless, the Skipper agreed to begin the game with only eight available players, allowing Salix CC to put on fourty quick runs off six overs.

    The introduction of three players soon stopped the rot though, as the run rate dived and the Quokka machine started to roll. The pendulum swing was complete as the Skipper soon grabbed two quick wickets.

    Following on from last weeks lessons, he began the bowling rotations which ended up bringing good wickets to The Skaff, The Egg, Smithers and The Tweak.

    The greatest bowling change, though, came from the introduction of The Caveman who has thusfar been masquerading as an opening batsman. The folly of this move was soon shown as he took three quick wickets, including Salix’s best batsmen. His inswinging yorker that left the stumps all over the place was best described as having magnetic qualities.

    Redemption seemed to be the theme of the Quokkas effort in the field, as Smithers also scored an electric run-out after dropping the only missed catch of the innings.

    Going into the break, The Quokkas were feeling optimistic despite needing to better our best score to hit the 175 required to win.

    The hopes for the innings soon deteriorated though, as Salix introduced the two fastest bowlers we have seen this season. It only got worse as The Caveman tried to take one bowler to ‘the well’ by using the pull shot, resulting in the ball careering into his face and sending him to the ground.

    Play was stopped for sometime before The Caveman was on his feet again, resulting in all The Quokkas being more than a little unnerved – apart from The Caveman who laughed off his quickly expanding skull.

    Responding to Mrs Mantis’ demands to wear a helmet, the Mantis waved an arm and insisted; “Next time they send one at my head, I’ll send it back at theirs!”. And thus, one of the great innings of our time began.

    The Skaff joined The Mantis at the crease and after nearly being run-out for the second week in a row, settled in to see off the new bowlers. The Mantis was looking particularly daring, expanding on the three shots in his famous book of scoring.

    The Skaffs initial good work was undone though, as he departed for 12 and brought The Skip to the crease. The Skip was obviously keen to get moving and he took little time in scoring, punishing the spinners in particular.

    Again though, the early good work was soon undone and he was back in the pavillion with The Skaff, bringing the new-boy; Gav, to the crease.

    A successful partnership ensued, with Gav eventually being snared by the earlier spinner who had been taken for 14 off one over. All hope was not lost though, as The Knock stepped out for his first game of the season, looking every bit the man of steel. It seemed that tin was the more appropriate metal though, as he was out first ball.

    The Truth was next up, moving down from his spot at no. 3, although faring no better in also going out first ball and giving the previously-expensive spinner a hat-trick.

    The scoreboard was now looking extremely shaky at 100 for 6 and not a lot in the batting stakes remaining. Smithers glided up to the crease, fresh from taking The Caveman to hospital but wasnt able to trouble the scorers, returning to the pavillion with a donut and sending The Egg out to attempt a similar cameo to the week before.

    It wasnt to be though, as he was also soon back in the pavillion without getting off the mark.
    It should be remembered that while this was going on, The Mantis was still taking runs off the other end and had long surpassed his half-century.

    The introduction of Thug P to the crease was like the wind of change though, as he started in his inimitable fashion to hit out against anything put in front of him.

    Victory seemed to be closing in when the Thug was controversially given out LBW with 14 needed for victory, bringing The Tweak limping to the crease for the first time this season.
    After some initial troubles holding the bat, hitting the ball and running between wickets, The Tweak was able to relax enough to watch The Mantis hit the winning runs with a big 6 that saw him finish on 99 not out.

    For the second week in a row euphoria broke out and heads shook as The Quokkas finished with an exciting win. It was mentioned earlier in the day that The Mantis resembles Steve Waugh in that he looks shaky but is actually a punisher of bowling. I rang Steve this morning and put this to him, to which he responded; “I had a career average of 50, The Mantis is on 100 – the figures don’t lie”.

    And so, the votes for the Paul Turnock player of the year;

    5 – The Mantis, 99 not out – was there from the beginning to end
    4 – The Caveman, 3 wickets and a visit to hospital
    3 – The Skip, break-through wickets and handy hitting
    2 – Gav, great introduction
    1 – The Tweak, suspect holding up an end

    The Iain Edwards most courageous player award goes to The Caveman for reasons already mentioned.

    The votes leaderboard therefore goes;
    10 – The Mantis
    10 – The Skip
    7 – The Attack
    5 – Smithers
    4 – Caveman
    2 – Nige
    2 – The Truth
    2 – Gav
    1 – The Skaff
    1 – The Egg
    1 – The Tweak
    Next week, Wantage CC and the final match of the season – come on you Quokkas 5-0!

  • Quokkas go 3 and 0
    The Quokka pty ltd. consortium rolls on.

    After hearing the news of the Mantis’ century the week before, I received word from the London Scottish camp that they wouldn’t be putting a team out. Coincidence? Perhaps not.

    This did give the Quokkas some time to regroup though, refreshing themselves in the only way they know. Highlights include The Cowboy drinking all the bitter in London before trying to impress the ladies with his leg stretches.

    The next game up was against Tusmore CC, whose stately ground and genteel hospitality were a throwback to more civilized times. Not being of those times, The Quokkas were all somewhat shocked when they arrived at the Tusmore Manor, wondering if:

    a) They had got the directions right; and

    b) Whether the windows of the manor were secure.

    Being sent in to bat first, the Skip showed scant regard for his hosts and gave The Caveman and The Mantis the call to arms. Unfortunately though, Thug P showed equally scant regard for reputation and gave The Mantis out LBW for nought. You could hear the children weeping.

    Sam ‘The Truth’ Dunstan came out at three for some electricity but found himself shorted out by a yorker after some initial sparks. The Caveman joined him soon thereafter in the pavilion after some characteristic dour batting, leaving the Quokkas in some trouble with three wickets down for not thirty runs.

    Once again though, the Skip produced a steadying innings, combining with Nige for a fifty-three run partnership on a strip that could only be described as ‘batsman hazardous’.

    The loss of Nige, unluckily bowled by an off-spinner that could have turned voters, saw the start a mini-collapse with the Skip running out the Skaff for naught and Smithers also being baffled by some great spin.

    As soon as the rut started though, it was ended with the introduction of Dac ‘The Attack’ Nguyen, who flayed twenty-six runs in quick time to help bolster the score. Dac was ably assisted by Thug P who pinch-hit a quick thirteen and Iain ‘The Egg’ Edwards, holding up the other end with a steady six.

    A final score of one hundred and forty looked like it could be sufficient and the Quokkas went for there tea wearing a glow that had more to do with optimism than the afternoon sun.

    The defence of the innings started well, with the Thug and Dac restricting the flow of runs and Thug even snaring one of the openers with a clever in-swinger.

    The Skip then unleashed is tactical genius and started rotating the bowlers, giving almost all the Quokkas a trundle with devastating effect. Seven bowlers took wickets, including notable break-throughs from The Egg (with his ‘steady and straight’ ball) and The Mantis who had revenge on his mind from the duck earlier.

    The Truth had been steady behind the stumps all day, notably psyching out one young batsman with the introduction of The Tweak to the wicket, so surprised everyone when he dropped a sky ball off the Mantis. Thankfully, the Mantis was still angry and managed to sneak one through for a steady caught-behind.

    Despite the steady loss of wickets and low run-rate, the Quokkas found themselves defending eleven runs with eleven balls to spare. Again, the Skips wisdom prevailed as he bowled himself and Smithers (match figures 9-3-22-4) at the death, taking the crucial wickets (and in the last instance, catch) to see out the victory.

    The contrast between the Quokkas even-performance and the opulent grandeur of the grounds could not have been greater, and it made victory all the sweeter.

    The votes:

    5 – Smithers, for a game-winning bowling performance;

    4 – The Attack, changing the match with aggressive batting and steady fast-bowling;

    3 – The Skip, another steadying innings, inspired bowling changes and good in the field;

    2 – Nige, good in the middle; and

    1 – The Egg, one wicket down, seven to go…

    The Iain Edwards bravery award going to Thug P for giving The Mantis out LBW.

    The cumulative total for the Votes is:

    7 – The Skip

    7 – The Attack

    5 – The Mantis

    5 – Smithers

    2 – Nige

    2 – The Truth

    1 – The Skaff

    1 – The Egg

    Next up, Salix CC…

   

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