Not often sited on the field this season, wicket-taker and team wildman, Bad Boy seems to be back in the news & in the fold.
Not often sited on the field this season, wicket-taker and team wildman, Bad Boy seems to be back in the news & in the fold.
Not having played the established Rose Hotel before, The Quokkas were unsure what to expect going into Sundays match. The Rose are founding members of the league and ever-present at all league events; be it the Big Day Not Out, league meetings or even training. Further, they all seem to have residency status at their pub.
The Quokkas, in contrast, had to field a combined team at their first BDNO, never train (obviously) and are rarely sighted at 197a Brunswick Street.
Similarly, Sundays match was a game of contrasting styles. The Quokkas arrived at the game expecting to bat first, as they were hosting, only to be told it wasn’t the ‘done thing’ and a toss would occur. Following tradition, The Quokkas lost the toss and were sent in. This proved to be the first of many moments of confusion through the game.
The Rose definitely brought a more direct view to winning to the game, whereas The Quokkas brought a more ‘moneyball’ approach, with little plan to take the points. Not that there are points to take, it’s a pub league.
This initial confusion (over the toss) did provide some entertainment though, as Cupsy ended up moving his car 3 times to keep it out of the ‘danger zone’. Given that the ground was roughly the size of the MCG, it was perhaps slightly delusional that anything near the ropes would get hit.
With no wind blowing from behind their backs from the River End, The Rev (captain for the match) opted with a risky approach in handing the new ball to an off-spinner and medium pacer. Well, a medium pacer and an “off”; you couldn’t call Ed a spinner.
Still, the strategy worked and The Rose had 4 men back in the shed after the first 4 overs. Curto taking a brace of catches and executing an excellent stumping.
Noticing the multiple speeds of the pitch and the success of the slower / more accurate bowlers, The Rev continued the approach by giving the pill to The Phantom (8 runs off 2 overs), Mo (2 off 2) and Paz (2 wickets & 8 runs off 2).
Only when he ran out of slower bowlers (aside from The Big Dog, who was being saved for later) did The Rev bring on the quicker boys. Robbo came on and was immediately penalised with a dangerous ball. This would prove to be a sign of things to come with The Rose’s umpires awarding 7 dangerous balls against The Quokkas. The Rose, on the other hand, were awarded 2 against them. Another point of confusion and something that proved to be decisive to the result.
Before all of that confusion though, The Rose went into drinks at 8/50 and the Quokkas were bowling and fielding as well as they ever had. Only The Rev, possibly distracted by the million field changes he had made in 12 overs, dropped one, but managed to pick it up and get it back to Mo to run the non-striker out. Spirits were definitely up & there was talk of starting the barbecue during the drinks break ahead of wrapping up the tail quickly.
Actually, the talk about the barbecue continued after the drinks break too, with poor Kathleen being asked by The Rose as to whether the barbecue was big enough, why it wasn’t on, then why it was on, then why the food wasn’t ready. Much like the time before monkey, primal chaos reigned.
Coming back from drinks, The Rose hit their straps & their dangerous ball calls with Robbo, Alex and even Curto being penalised. Emu was brought on and showed us all what an in-swinging yorker looks like, Big Dog bowled a couple of tight overs that created chances and The Rev finished off the innings using the Nichols connection with Paz taking a fine catch off his bowling on the fence.
For the Rose, their captain batted well though to make a fighting 33 not out and Mr Byes was next top scorer with 21.
Facing 102 at the innings break, The Quokkas were slightly upbeat but realised that it was a tricky pitch to play on and victory was far from assured.
Continuing the moneyball approach, The Rev asked The Phantom and Paz to open the innings, hoping for a good left-right combination. He would have taken any sort of combination over what he got though, with Phantom soon back in the stands for 1, quickly followed by Robbo (1), Mo (1) and Paz (6). Alex and The Rev then started something of a partnership, before Alex (10) went out swinging.
It would be easy to blame the 2-speed pitch but The Rose boys could seriously bowl.
Emu then came to the crease with scores at 6/36 and The Quokkas now needing several retirees to save the game. He wasn’t to be one of them; missing a crafty leg-spinner (who knew that was allowed at this level?) which took out middle stump.
Fresh from taking 3 catches, a wicket of his own and executing a fine stumping, Curto came to the middle ready to save the day. Pushing hard for singles with clever uses of his flick to fine or square-leg, the total started looking less daunting and more achievable.
The Rev had managed to stick around through all of this, though was tiring from all the running and repeated execution of his old friend; the forward defensive. Somehow he had scored 19 runs. Deciding he didn’t have the shots to get the team home, he walked up the pitch offering no shot and was enthusiastically stumped by The Rose’s ‘keeper.
Not wanting to single out the ginger man behind the stumps, all of The Roses fieldsman were enthusiastic and provided a good contest. The main discrepancies / moments of confusion with the fieldsmen arose when they put 3 men behind square of the wicket, then pulled them back saying it was outside the rules, only to put them back there again later in the game.
With The Rev gone, Cupsy arrived at the crease with The Quokkas needing approximately 50 from 8 overs and a sudden sense they could grab the win. Cupsy and Curto continued to sprint 1s, 2s and 3s, before Cupsy loaded up and hit 14 off a tricky over of in-dipping out-swingers. Curto then tried to follow, but was caught on the boundary with another fine Rose catch. The Rose really couldn’t be faulted in their fielding, never dropping a catch and keeping the pressure on the batsmen with good throws back to the ‘keeper.
With the man who produced more singles than the Bee Gees, Curto, joining the rest of the maroon army on the sidelines, Ed strode to the middle like a man averaging 5. Ditching his 2012 form, he struck the ball straight and powerfully as he and Cupsy kept the chase on.
9 was needed from the last over, then 8 from 5 and so on until 3 were needed to win off the last ball. Ed was on strike and looking every bit like a man in control. T Bone was bowling for The Rose with pace and guile from around the wicket and got one to swing away from the right-hander. Ed was playing swiftly and late, and managed to lash it through the covers. The batsmen took off and the fielders gave great chase, it looked like a tie may be salvaged.
“Run!” cried the men in maroon as Cupsy and Ed rounded back for the second, but The Rose’s fielding was too good. With a single action, the fielder grabbed the ball from the ground, span and threw directly to the ‘keeper, who whipped the bails clean off with a roar. Eds dive was just too short and just too late.
With the game done, both teams shook hands, The Rev bought T Bone a beer, acknowledgements were made to Kathleens fine efforts and applause was given by both teams to one another. While they had contrasting styles, both teams had come for a game and got a real contest.
January 13, Alphington Park Oval (between the Dog training school and the Bowling Club)
Start Time: 1300 (ish)
The Quokkas are in their 3rd full season in the YPCA, not including a one-off game 4 years ago against the might of Bar Open which was used to gauge their suitability. While the Quokkas lost that match, they were granted access to the league and are now pitted against one of its founding members.
The Rose has consistently been one of the most successful teams of the YPCA, with rumours circulating that Michael Di Venuto once turned out for them and hit 36 in an over.
While there are (apparently) no Italian internationals playing for them anymore, The Rose remains a consistent force in the league. The Quokkas, in contrast, remain a hit-or-miss mob. They have won 3 of 7 contests so far in the 2012/13 season (including the tour match), scoring over 200 runs in the games they have won and approximately 120 in the games they have lost. Surely this cant all be related to Rowdy’s availability?
This match will enable the Quokkas to see how they fare against some of the leagues old-hands, on and off the pitch.
In the Spotlight
The Phantom was the forgotten man of the 2011-12 season, so much so that he didn’t get a vote or even a mention at the end-of-season review. While his turn out this season has been dramatically impacted by parentitis (which is spreading through the squad like wildfire, cross your legs Morts and Cupsy!), he is averaging an impressive 58 with the bat and has a career average of 18.5 with the ball at 5.75 runs per over. As a previous member of The Rose, we will be expecting him to celebrate his birthday in style.
The Quokkas rotation policy means that good performers such as Pup, Gladys, Dutchy and J Rod will sit this one out, giving an opportunity to other sufferers of parentitis; Mo, Paris (severe case), Rev and Robbo.
“we heard that you blokes are writing a book about pub cricket, our blokes are fired up to give you a lesson in what its all about”
– Brett, The Rose Hotel
“I made my pub cricket debut for the Rose before I was poached by the Rev for the Quokka army. Their loss is… well, yours too.”
– The Phantom, LiV QCC
“ain’t nobody got time for that”
– Sweet Brown
Labour in Vain v Sentido Funf.
After coming off a big win in the rematch with “The Curtin”, a game where Rev won his hat back. (And hit that MAGNIFICENT cover drive.) Did you guys see that cover drive? CLASSIC!
We won the toss & sent Sentido in to bat. After the Xmas break it seemed the Quokkas were a little rusty with the ball.
After a few tight overs from our opening bowlers Dutchy & Emu, the runs started to flow for Sentido. Even with a great effort from Big Dog who stopped a certain boundary with his face, the runs kept coming. Once Big Dog had got back to his feet & we saw how much blood was coming out of his nose, the reaction was like he had leprosy, no one wanted to touch him. With Curto’s ‘wife to be’ being a doctor who was sitting on the hill, and because there was too much blood & not enough sympathy on the field. Ed’s advice was to get him off quick.
With Big Dog off injured we had a great sub fielder in young Sammy Curtain who saved a number of boundaries for us. And showed us he has a great arm too. With that sort of talent he won’t be a Quokka for long.
We bowled without luck (Or was it skill?) and had a few dropped chances in the field, before Pup broke through with our first & second wickets in the 15th over. Even with the breakthrough we couldn’t stop the momentum of the big hitting Sentido batsmen who hit 10 sixes & 17 fours by the end of their innings.
With Pup’s 3rd wicket (5 including free hit wickets) & some late wickets from Ed & Robbo, we went to the long break with a target of 221 to win.
After the BBQ & some debate over the batting line up, I sent Dutchy & Robbo out to open with the bat. This being the second game where Dutchy opened with both bat & ball, it seemed his confidence was high. With a run rate of almost nine an over to win we needed a good start.
With Robbo facing & getting a second ball duck, we weren’t off to the best start. Gladys was still padding up while Robbo was walking off so he didn’t get much of a break. But he still managed to smash 11 off the first over. By the end of the 3rd over he was on 27 and Dutchy had only faced 1 ball.
With a bit of strike, Dutchy raced to 18 from only 10 balls & was looking in fine form. Was this going to be another Dutchy 18? With the end of the over & Gladys back on strike, we would all have to wait & see. Gladys now on 29 & hitting 8 off the over, he retired on 37 for a well deserved break.
With his retirement, out came Emu who skyed his first ball & was caught at mid wicket. With me being padded up & my attention to detail not the best, I thought it was Dutchy out for another 18. I had already picked my gloves up & was about to walk out before Rowdy informed me it was Emu’s free hit. After a few balls to get himself set, Emu teed off. Even throwing in a couple of proper crickets shots for good measure.
With another boundary from Dutchy & a couple of 2’s, he was now on 27. He then worked his way to his first 30 with 3 singles. Congrats Dutchy on a great effort!
That had this weeks captain walking out with 1 over left before the drinks break. With Emu on strike & on 13. We ran a hard 2 off the first ball of the over & Emu hit a 4 off the second. With a single from the 3rd ball, that put me on strike & Emu at the non strikers end on 20. With all the skill I could muster, I somehow put bat to ball & we ran a strategic single to put the big man back on strike with 2 balls remaining. With a Six & a Four off the last 2 balls he had his 30.
After Emu & I put on a nice little partnership of 18 from the over, we went to the break in a good position at 1-108 & 3 retirees. At this stage things were looking promising.
After the break, Pup & I walked out to continue with our run chase. With my earlier form in the nets I had big ambitions of making a quick fire 30. With the bowler coming off 3 steps I could picture the ball flying over the fence for my second six of the season. I had my fist pump ready to go! Then to my shock, a Wasim Akram-esk yorker came flying down the pitch & I only just managed to dig it out. It was at this point when I realised that my ambitions & capabilities were worlds apart. With the second ball of the over being a repeat of the first, my stumps exploded. After the effort of walking out to bat twice, I was back on the hill for 1.
That put Mo in to bat. With my trusty Kookaburra having nothing else to do I gave it to Mo to see if he could get any more runs out of it. He got 10 runs from 8 balls before he was also bowled by Wasim. With Mo’s dismissal out came English Rob.
Pup was still at the crease and starting to find some form with the bat following his great form with the ball. He hit a terrific pull shot that looked like a boundary for all money until he was somehow caught by Sentido’s shirtless captain.
With Rob not wanting to open because of his slow run rate last time he opened against Sentido, he came in at number 8. With a huge swing & miss with his first ball I thought he had made a wise choice. Then with 3 boundaries from the next 3 balls & 5 in his knock of 27 at an impressive strike rate of almost 200. I was wondering what he was concerned about. (And happy birthday for Saturday too Rob.)
With a run a ball 4 from Ed, Curto slipping & stumping himself while sweeping down to fine leg for what would have been a boundary, that had the injured Big Dog at the crease.
As the Quokkas leading run scorer earlier this year before Rowdy’s record breaking 87, we had big expectations of the Dog! But he was soon stumped on 1.
With Big Dog back in the sheds, we had our first 2 retirees of Gladys & Dutchy back in. Dutchy hit another boundary before being caught on 34.
That left Gladys & Emu at the crease needing 27 runs from 12 balls for a victory. So we still had a chance of getting the win. With only a single from Emu before Gladys was caught out on a well made 52. We finished with Emu 44 not out & The Quokkas 26 runs short on 195.
Sentido Funf 5/220. Pup 3-23 Robbo 1-20 Ed 1-23.
LiV Quokkas 10/195. Gladys 52, Emu 44* Not out, Dutchy 34, English Rob 27.
After the match the Sentido boys put on a few free beers which was good of them. And we were happy to drink them to show we are gracious in defeat.