Despite its picture postcard Mediterranean beauty, its olive groves and vines, its ancient ruins and deserted beaches, the Croatian island of Vis has virtually no tourists. It seems the only foreigners who have discovered it are those who arrive on the glamorous Italian and Austrian yachts that moor here in the evening.
Mooring up their glamorous luxury ferry, the Quokkas rolled down the gangplank having enjoyed a day of acclimatisation in the medieval bars and restaurants of Split, and were already a man down. The glinting blue of the Adriatic had proved so attractive to Skippy that he jumped off the ferry for a quick swim. Last seen bobbing somewhere off the coast of Dubrovnik, his last words were “see you next summer” before he was carried off on the backs of dolphins.
Even with this loss, Skip had still been left with thirteen players and a selection dilemma, so ingeniously he set about knocking off a couple through the purchase of a bottle of local strawberry brandy and a little patience.
Quokkas vs Vis Episode I
Quokkas CC 162 (Shandy 61, Bruno 32) lost to Vis CC (Skip 3/30, Evil Dave 3/41, Egg 2/15) by 1 wicket
The morning of the game arrived and the Quokkas were driven to the ground in style, in a vintage minibus by Rocky and Pico. Pico spent most of the journey with his head out of the window, tongue lolling in the breeze, as did most of the Quokkas.
The selection dilemma resolved itself soon after getting off the minibus as newly christened “Tom the Yak” made himself unavailable by introducing the American concept of the “Power Hurl” to this continent. The Verger didn’t fancy it either, not realising that a cricket tour would actually involve him having to play cricket, and so we had our 11.
The Quokkas started well with Bruno, resplendent in yet another white muscle vest, hitting a good 32 and ably supported by Snoop Robbie Rob. Shandy came in and top scored with 61 but with wickets falling around him, Rocky doing the damage with a fifer, the Quokkas could only reach 162.
Opening up with The Bear and Evil Dave, The Quokkas got off to a good start. Evil Dave won back the Quokka cap he lost the night before (after some scurrilous accusations emerged that he might have persuaded Skippy to take his swim) returning figures of 41-3. After a change of bowling the game started to slip away until the Skip weighed in with 3 prize wickets. Things were looking promising until the Vis star batsmen turned up late to come in at number 10, whack a few fours and sixes and ensure that once again the Quokkas would not have a winning tour.
Quokkas vs Vis (Croatia) Episode II
Vis CC 176-5 (Snoop Rob 3/19) lost to Quokkas CC (Binman 62no, Skip 37no, Tom the Yak 25, Evil Dave 21) by 7 wickets
Having decided to scrap the game in Split due to forecast rain, a 20-20 rematch was staged back at the Vineyard. Binman was especially pleased since he could once again take up his fruity position of Extra Graper.
Putting the opposition into bat, the Quokkas then proceeded to get smashed around by Antonio on his way to the first ever century for Vis Cricket Club. With the target standing at 176 (higher than yesterday’s 30-over match) the Quokkas would need something special, which is exactly what they got. With The Yak, Satan and Skip all hitting decent scores while keeping the run rate up, the stage was set for Binman, grape juice still running down his chin, to take it home. And he most certainly did, smashing 5 sixes and 7 fours on his way to (by far) his career best of 62no.
So the Quokkas record another drawn tour, but more importantly another great time. Thanks to Rocky, Rob and all the guys at Vis CC for making us so welcome.
Roll on next summer!