Like the Sex Pistols’ Manchester gigs of ’76 or the fall of the Berlin Wall, when Quokkas history was made at Hartfield 2014, everyone will say they were there.
Because it was a fantastic all round performance from regulars and new joiners alike? Because we successfully vanquished the memories of last year’s shocking (though admittedly rain-affected) batting performance? Because of the cupcakes?
Yes, all of these things played a part. But the moment that will truly moisten Quokka’s eyes for years to come was the glorious sight of Mr Saucisson himself, Casey Quokka, Senor Sausage roaring down the crease to celebrate his, and the club’s, very first hat trick. Delivered in equal measures of grace and fury, the ball had ripped out a middle stump that would grow accustomed to feeling the wrath of the Aussie Banger, sending Quokka hearts into rapture and the Hartfield middle order in disarray.
Henry walks Arunav
Rewind a few hours and the Quokkas had been sent into bat on a pitch that would offer little in terms of bounce, but plenty in terms of wickets. With Faggie and debutant Milind opening, the runs began to amass, but almost as quickly as the wickets. Luckily Snoop Robby Rob and a defiant Milind were able to steady the ship and provide continuity in what could have been a traditional Quokka capitulation. Support then arrived in the form of fellow debutant Ankeet and his invaluable 32, made even more remarkable by the mere 20 minutes practice he’d just had after several years away from the crease. A further highlight was Slick’s elegant hoisting of a loose delivery toward a nearby garden, heading toward what would have been a glorious 6, but for the elements that heartlessly plucked it from the sky, and sent it back down to earth for 2. It was a 6 in our hearts Locky.
With The Voice and Casey reunited once again at the tail end, it was soon clear that Senor Sausage had had enough. Deciding 126 was a decent enough total, he very generously offered up his wicket, literally watching the ball from release all the way to his middle-stump. Now cynics might suggest there’s a betting syndicate somewhere filling up a bag with cash for a certain snag-loving Aussie. But with no concrete evidence we’ll have to assume it was an act of generosity to an oppo fielding two (very) youth team members, in absence of a couple of pretty decent regulars.
Still digesting his cupcake, Faggie came tearing out of the blocks after lunch to intimidate their opening batsmen. Preferring at times to cut out the sticky turf completely and ‘go direct’ to the batsmen’s bodies, he did a great job of unsettling them. Frustrated at not getting the breakthrough however, he instead called upon the type of colonial cunning not usually seen in village cricket, executing what can only be called a ‘false missed catch’. Conspiring with his fellow Antipodeans, the ball was sent through Conan’s wicket-keeping legs to bring the batsmen out of their crease, allowing Casey to then whip it back in for a run out. The game was on.
three wise men
After Saucisson’s historic spell brought his fourth wicket, just one wide after his hat-trick ball, it was time for the Quokkas to show their strength and depth. In came The Voice to explore the uneven bounce, though in the process offering Hartfield as much as he took away with 2-19. From there Arunav sent the umpire’s finger skywards through the sheer force of his lbw appeal, and Milind and Tom the Yak frustrated the batsmen with wonderfully tight spells. Then came Ankeet to cement a perfect start for the Quokkas, with a wicket from his very first delivery, in a maiden over. It should be noted here however that the majority of that over was to a 10 year old, so he shouldn’t get too carried away. Once The Egg had finished things off with an inviting ball that whispered into the ear of the batsman, telling him to send into Arunav’s hungry hands, victory was officially ours.
As Casey was unanimously declared Man of the Match, the eulogies began to form. All agreed his first wicket, a delightful outswinger edged into Conan’s grateful gloves, was like “something off the telly”. One can only imagine what the noise would have been like if this had happened in front of a packed Lords, or a boisterous WACA. Even Henry the dog, the Quokkas’ new mascot wanted to pat the Sizzling Oz on the back.
So with great team performances like this, can the ‘happiest team in the world’ (declared so after our namesake), now add serious contenders to our CV? Only time and next week’s match at Barnes will tell.