In a summer that has produced few bright spots, the Quokkas seized the opportunity of a day without rain to take to the field. Contained within the Tusmore estate, the Quokkas provided the good people of Britain with a display of fine skill and sportsmanship.
For the initiated, Tusmore park is one of the richest private estates in Britain and has possibly the best ground the Quokkas have been privileged to tred, though this years pitch had changed due to the recent floods into what might (at best) be called ‘damp’.
With memories of last years match in which he went out to a controversial LBW decision, the Mantis obviously had a point to prove, smashing out from the start. Not wanting to let the hoodoo of the ‘Tusmore openers duck’ drop, the Rev obliged in his comeback game, prodding at the first ball to roll at him with his front foot and being given and LBW of his own.
Promoted to number three, Ivan ‘The Terrible’ Fam was obviously in awe of The Rev and not wanting to make him look like a fool, also fell to the first ball that came his way.
Walking out on a hat-trick, The Hairdresser managed to fend off a couple of balls, but the only trouble he gave the scorer was filling out the ‘fall of wicket’ column a few balls later.
With the Quokkas on 3 wickets for 6, things weren’t looking as bright as the weather, and The Attack strode out with all the pressure in the world on his broad and bulging shoulders. It didn’t seem to matter though, as he took his ‘Attack Manual’ with him, blasting his first ball for 4 and staying in that gear all the way through to a quick-fire 42.
He did have some luck on the way, with one lofted hand-grenade not bouncing, but flying over his head before landing on the stumps. Rightfully though, it was called a ‘no ball’ and allowed him to continue the carnage.
Up the other end, the Mantis was also getting stuck in, putting on 44 valuable runs, and they shared in a valuable 89-run stand before The Attack was finally bowled. The Mantis followed him back shortly after though, leaving the Quokkas at 96 for 5.
Following in The Terribles footsteps, PJ decided to emulate the Mantis and was also back in the pavilion soon after. Some late resistance from Dave ‘Express’ Barnett, The Egg and (surprisingly) The Knock added more credibility, leaving the Quokkas on 140 which was considered a winning score and a good effort from 10 batsmen.
After enjoying another fine selection of teas and cakes, The Quokkas were feeling ultra-confident running out into the field, so much so that they let The Rev opening the bowling. It soon paid off though, as he snared one opener, before The Express cleverly managed to trick the other opener into hitting the ball into the stumps off the back of his bat.
In an inspired piece of captaincy (Robin who?), The Egg quickly brought off The Rev and brought on The Attack for a brilliant brace of fast bowling that brought 3 quick wickets, while the lightning (or is it thunderous) work of PJ in the field produced a top-shelf run-out.
Tusmore were suddenly 6 down for 40-odd and The Quokkas were starting to think about the sweet taste of victory when a middle-order resistance of Tusmores own suddenly brought the game to life.
The Egg did all he can in mixing up the bowling, and while the runs were hard to come by – particularly off the obstinate Fatman – they did keep coming, until the Knock duped one of the batsmen into thinking they could hit him for ANOTHER 4 and they popped it up for PJ to take one of the more colourful catches of the year.
After working tirelessly for 7 overs, The Fatman finally got the other breakthrough, getting an edge through to the ultra-sharp Hairdresser behind the stumps. He may be too much of an Englishman to sledge, but Ive seen samurai swords with less sharpness.
With 3 batsmen left and 14 runs to play with, things were still *tricky* and The Egg was left to bring on The Quokkas traditional man-of-steel, The Mantis, for the breakthrough. He didn’t get a wicket, but he did manage to break the opponents bat with a particularly aggressive leg-spinner.
Having scared everyone just a little bit, The Mantis then gave the ball to The Express, who cleaned up the last 2 wickets, leaving the Quokkas victorious by a massive 6 runs.
5 – The Attack. What a performance. 9-4-13-3 and 42 runs.
4 – The Mantis. 44 runs and broke a bat.
3 – The Express. 3 wickets, 9 fingers. That’s amazing.
2 – Fatman. Held the middle order together, bowled 7 unchanged overs and took a great wicket. Also finished off the cakes.
1 – The Knock. 9 runs (he is away…) and a crucial wicket.
The Iain Edwards Bravery Award
A tough one this week, but I’m giving it to C. Winton from the other team, who not only turned out despite being 10 years old, but also took 3 wickets, had his bat broken by The Mantis and showed some great card tricks at the tea break.