From Captain Dutchy…
The Rose, 1st of March @ Fairlea West
Captaining is a unique experience. You are informed of your impending captaining-ness, safe in the knowledge that you shall be the only one. That and Emu+Curto weren’t playing so the bluff was on. Having decided some left field thinking was due for the Quokkas I promptly arrived at the ground at noon. Unheard of. As were my team mates. Upon phoning Rev and discovering the opposition were making requests for the BBQ bike as there were no such facilities at the ground, I smelt a rat whilst standing next to the perfectly functioning BBQ facilities. At Burnley Oval.
JRod had inspired (shocked) me the previous week by arriving organised so I decided to follow in those footsteps and wrote down a list for both bowling and batting.
Cuz, another Nichols family member more talented than Rev, opened the attack and managed to miss the bat at a pace and movement not seen since Lennie Pascoe terrorised batsmen in the 80’s.
And then a miracle descended upon the ground, placed curiously next to a female prison. To be clear no prisoners descended upon the ground but an escape was the order of the day.
Mick, Don ‘small goods’, and Rev were really tight (insert your own double entendre ) and then he arrived. The Big Dog.
‘Sending down’ isn’t really applicable as Dog tends to send the ball vertically upwards. He even hit the pitch consistently (it must be noted the pitch was 60% its usual width due to the City of Yarra’s ‘maintenance regime’ or lack thereof…). Never a dull moment as the Irishman, dreaming of Irish cricket glory (not the English captain’s. who is also Irish, but those actually playing for Ireland…) totally bamboozled the batsmen.
Audible sniggering was heard from the crease, proceeded by repeated swishing of willow as the Rose batsmen managed a meagre 20-odd off Dog’s deserved three (YES, 3!) overs. Possibly another first for the Dog. And why? 2 wickets is why. We all gathered at his messiah-like presence as he held his arms aloft with a total look of “I told you so!” as fell at his feet. Don ‘smallgoods’ sent down a couple of handy overs and the Rose were starting to slow… Bowl
Having only ten players turned out to be a strange blessing as it meant five of our bowlers had to bowl a third over. This resulted in Rev, Cuz, Snipper, Pup and the aforementioned Dog to make up the extra five overs. And what overs. Dog’s 2 wickets, a plethora of dot balls and only a handful of precious boundaries ensued and none of those pesky retirees revisiting the stage saw The Rose end up with 181.
Back at the start of this tome I mentioned BBQ issues. The Rose didn’t bring one. There was genuine fear in some players’ hearts but luckily some lateral thinking saw a grand spread of sandwiches (which doesn’t really do them justice) placed before us. 181. Could we do that?
Cinderella moments come upon us rarely but the romantic notion of sending Big Dog and Pup out to open seemed fitting. That and a good balance of belligerence and scoring ability.
The Dog continued a spanking game by scoring 22 off 21 and Pup 18 off 12. A solid start and the captain was pleased.
Snipper arrived at the crease continuing the merriment with 31 retired off 22 cherry-ripes. Small Goods meanwhile noodled out a handy 8. Thus it was my turn and reeling from some liberal feedback from fellow Quokkas the previous game, where I dared score at a meagre run a ball, I felt the need to get the worm pointing north and to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Feeling somewhat redeemed with a 31 off 20, despite an entire over (Tooms again!) of dot balls (the lad can bowl; when he hits the pitch; a rather disconcerting thing to face…).
With 12 off 12 deliveries required it was a tense affair. The vast majority of 2014/15 Quokka matches seem to have been decided in the last over. Great for TV ratings. All we needed was TV coverage. Eliza and her ‘allegedly’ home baked goods would have to suffice…
With a four and a six dispatched by the Broadie (not-so) wide-boy we now only required one run with seven balls to go.
I whispered to Snipper that I was equal with Ed on the season’s runs and was keen to vanquish the engineering Hipster in the runs tally.
Snipper, being a team player promptly dispatched the next delivery for six!
And not just for six but, with sedition in his eyes, hit the aforementioned six INTO MY VAN!!!
Such a nice lad with such a nice smile and disposition; Henceforth to be referred to as ‘Keyser Soze’.
Oh, and we thus-ly won the match. What a great escape in great weather, a great spread and The Rose lads a truly lovely bunch of lads.
Much merriment ensued, we returned to the Labor in Vain and all was good with the cricketing gods.
* Pup, manning the scorebook, generously scored my legside shot as a run off the bat, putting me one run ahead of Ed in the season’s tally, but I must confess it was a leg bye, which makes next week’s return leg against the Ballarat Seymour Lads a showdown of the willow for Gownlows Glory.