Whalers CC 213 (Smithers 3/49, Terrible 2/21) bt Quokkas CC 127 (Ches 39no, Evil Dave 21) by 86 runs
A pre-match warm up of jazz, champagne cocktails and greasy fried chicken ensured the Quokkas were well lubricated, if a little jaded as they looked to get back to winning ways against the Whalers. As the best summer in years rolled from July to August, a slightly overcast start quickly made way for yet another very hot one. Eight weeks of non stop sunshine meant the Chiswick Oval outfield bore a close resemblance to a desert with its very own heat shimmer and three squares appearing as mirages. At first glance, a batsman’s paradise. No prizes for guessing who fielded first, but after the Pakistan-style collapse the previous week, perhaps it was wise of Skip to stick them.
Seeing the opposition warm up, yes stretches and everything, immediately unnerved one or two Quokkas, but that was put quickly to the back of the mind once we discovered we had only nine players. A few stretches of our own gave a running late Ivan Knievel enough time to bunny hop the sleeping policemen to give us ten. This became eleven as a fielder from the opposition was generously offered, putting Skip into a quandary. With the Whalers a man short, the search at tea for a volunteer to reciprocate the offer would be an unenviable task.
The Quokkas side and its supporting crowd was bolstered by several generations of Bradleys, who put talks of house sitting in the Australian outback to one side, to give the side a balanced look with experience and much needed brummie accents. The Quokkas started well with Chris `Pavlenchnko’ G opening the bowling with Evil Dave. Michael holding style runs up all round and no lack of pace either with Chris beating the bat on countless occasions without reward. Evil responded with some decent stuff of his own, but after eleven overs, amazingly we were still wicket less. Time for Skip to turn his arm over and it’s wasn’t long before we had Bowled Bradley, Caught Bradley in the book, with a smart catch from the better looking of the two. Not bad work for a man with two replacement knees. After five more excellent overs (1-24), Skip looked like he needed a couple of replacements of his own and maybe a new back, groin and set of lungs as well.
Time for some spin, but unfortunately the ball was deemed `too shiny’ by Ches as he tried to explain why he was bowling like he was blindfolded. However, this seemed to work to his advantage as the shine didn’t last long and the second wicket fell. The batsman playing no shot to a straight one followed by his usual ferocious appeal left the umpire with little option. No more than the Quokkas deserved after some tremendous work in the field by Binman, Egg and Tom the Yank, who kept boundaries to a minimum and dodged the geese crap that littered the outfield to equally good effect.
Geese (Crapus Maximus)
Binman’s hard work was rewarded by being brought into the attack and his graceful angling tweakers kept the pressure on. The Egg’s mystery balls joined the party and amidst one or two boundaries the wickets started to fall. A lofted catch taken by Ches near the boundary was put into the shade by an amazing full length diving catch from the Egg that would grace any 101 great catches video. Egg then followed that with a smart run out and only a wicket of his own was missing to cap a tremendous day in the field. Binman eventually took three in the match (3-49) and becoming the Quokkas all time leading wicket taker. No idea how many that is, but there were suggestions of Muralitharan like hauls.
The Skip kept the Whalers guessing with another cunning bowling change and The Terrible responded by grabbing two wickets for himself (2-21). Best figures fell to Tom the Yank, who bowled with great accuracy and craft to give him 1 for 1. A secret bowling weapon appears to have been found. Despite these great efforts the Whalers had garnered a very respectable 213 for 9 at the close of the innings. Perhaps not having a scoreboard was a good thing after all.
Tea came and went with talk of test matches, tours, weddings and run chases. In the mean time Skip had negotiated a runner for Bradley Sr and Egg padded up. A bright start immediately saw a clipped four off Bradley Sr’s legs and the chase was very much on. An edge to slip two balls later and it was off again. The runner had not been required and we deprived of a keystone cops like moment that was sure to occur.
This early blip behind them, Skip and Shandy set about steadying the ship and then started to get things moving with some fine shots through the covers. For a time it looked at though the Whalers attack was not to be feared, but a few straight balls later and Shandy (11), Tom the Yank (6) and the Terrible (6) joined the sunbathers. This brought Chris Pavlachenko to the crease and he helped himself to a membership of the Prime club with the first of his two blobs.
At 50-6 it looked an uphill task, but this rollercoaster innings was lifted again as Ches immediately latched onto a short one that was despatched for four. Skip then smashed one himself and hopes were yet again raised. Not for long though I’m afraid as the partnership was broken by a kamikaze run out with Ches standing his ground and Skip (17) failing to make his. Time for Evil with his mixture of leaves and fours to lift the spirits as he and Ches took the game to Whalers. They put on 40 odd before the growing run rate took its toll and Evil succumbed for 21. The pace continued with Egg finding the safest places in the ground to chip balls to until he was eventually caught off a top edge for 4. With partners running out Ches decided to play for his averages and two extravagant hoiks later saw Binman and Pav again back in the hatch leaving Ches high and dry on 39 not out. The innings closed at 127 all out and it was time for a much deserved pint and scotch egg.