• In order to obtain the full match day experience from the Kings House Sports Ground, please play the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM9eFLImpEY in the background at Spinal Tap levels whilst reading the match report. A per usual internet etiquette, words in capital letters represent SHOUTING, which should help you to hear my writing above the noise of the Heathrow air traffic.
    I don’t care what Albert Einstein, Hermann Minkowski or Dr Emmett L. Brown might have to say about the theory of relativity or the space time continuum, as you get older time seems to go faster and disappears at an ever increasing rate, unless of course you are watching yet another dour FA cup final involving Man United.

    Apparently it’s all down to the fact that timekeeping in the brain is decentralised, with different neural circuits having their own timing mechanisms for specific activities, causing our sense of time to change in different conditions – such as when we are having fun or being bored out of our brain watching Michael Carrick play yet another square pass.

    That leaves you with somewhat of a dilemma. DO YOU ACTIVELY SEEK TO BE BORED, THEREBY SLOWING TIME AND PERCEIVABLY LENGTHENING YOUR LIFE, OR DO YOU FILL WHAT LITTLE TIME YOU HAVE WITH AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE, but at the cost of speeding up the sands of time? For those yet to commit to one of those two options, yesterday’s game against the Whalers offered a rare mix of both philosophies.

    For those tempted by the former, the first few overs of the match will have been most welcome, disappearing in a relative blur, with no incident or excitement to report on whatsoever. In fact absolutely nothing of note happened in the first 10 overs, other than some very solid regulation line and length bowling from Evil and Skip, who toiled away gamely against some solid, but very unexciting batting. Now, that’s all fine and dandy if you are a scorer looking for an easy life or an aging cricketer looking to extend your days through the art of time distortion, but if you are assigned to write a Quokkas match report, it’s a bloody nightmare.

    Just as I was thinking I might have to resort to unearthing actual facts and figures from the score book, Skip brought The Future on to bowl, who promptly took his first Quokka wicket with his opening delivery. OF COURSE THERE IS NOTHING REGULATION ABOUT A QUOKKA CATCH, BUT WITH CONAN BEHIND THE STUMPS IT WAS NEVER IN DOUBT, WHICH MEANT AT LONG LAST WE HAVE A GAME on our hands. Garlic bread didn’t stop there either and rather than wait to discover which Quokka had borrowed the other catching gene this week, he clean bowled the new bat. For those of us taking the boredom route to slowing down time, at this point we started to get a little nervous!

    As is so often the case, a decent start by the Quokkas is undone by an opponent that knows which way up the bat is held and it appeared they had a couple of batsman that fit that description. A leg glance followed by a cut shot are not seen all that often at our level of cricket. Neither is calling or decent running between the wickets. This combination of actual batting ability and our allergy to fielding is one that starts to cause us problems and no matter how accurate the bowling, runs flow freely. Chuck into the mix some dropped catches, fielders that have the mobility of the afore mentioned centre midfielder and pair of batters growing in confidence and you start to see a solid total emerging in front of your eyes.

    WITH FRUITI, VRESH AND THE YAK ALL BOWLING WELL, BUT HAVING LITTLE LUCK, IT WAS TIME TO GIVE THE BALL A LITTLE MORE AIR, with Skip bringing on both Mat and myself to try and tempt them into something they shouldn’t. He’s not as daft as he looks is that lad from Dronfield and Mat almost immediately grabbing himself a wicket with a ball out of Egg’s back catalogue. At this point we don’t exactly have them on the ropes, but having created some sort of time paradox, great scott Marty, and the status quo altered I join the quest for 1.21 gigawatts and grab two wickets in two balls.

    Time starts to stand still at this point as I have visions of trapping the next man in leg before with something special from the back of my hand. The hat-trick ball is a shocker though and we’re thankful of a tall fence that stops it making its way into the Thames. Short of breath and one day closer to death (Pink Floyd anyone?) my spell is over, but the damage is done and we can see the tail. Sadly that tail wagged in fine style, even when Skip went back to The Future (now tell me that’s not brilliantly done) to try and skittle them out he was hit for a few.

    SOME GOOD TIMING, THE ODD LONG HOP AND SOME QUITE TERRIBLE FIELDING HELPED ALLOW THE WHALERS TO SCORE 215 IN THE END, WHICH, WITH A SIZEABLE BOUNDARY, presented a considerable chase. Undeterred the Quokkas ensure Hillel the Elder and John Montagu’s legacy proudly continues and do everything in their powers to ensure nothing is added to the UK’s food waste mountain.

    I instantly regret those two extra Cheese and Ham numbers as the first of our wickets falls before I even had chance to find my thigh pad. That regret is compounded as the first delivery I face flies through my limited defence straight on to said thigh. Speaking of regrets, I nicked the next ball only for their keeper to drop a dolly. Could that prove costly? With wickets falling at the other end I try to put my good fortune to work by blunting a confident attack.

    With some defensive prods, favourable umpiring and numerous miss-come-leaves I prevent a domino rally type situation. For those suffering from the boundary, we have no doubt entered into another of those` time slowing down’ phases, but with Conan now with me at the crease that is never going to last long. Conan-Smash-Four-Nice-shot-Bow-Tie-Killer has a familiar ring to it and ensured the scoreboard ticked over.

    WITH HEAVY RAIN FORECAST AND THE FIRST SIGNS OF IT CAUSING BOTH CONAN AND I TO FALL FLAT ON OUR FACES A FEW TIMES, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE FOR BOTH SIDES if there is to be a winner. UNFORTUNATELY In his efforts to lift the run rate, Conan is caught in the covers to a very fine catch. Just the ten an over needed at this point, but “well within our grasp” I am informed by Skip as he gets to the middle. His confidence in me is immediately dashed as I see out a maiden.

    After several `practices’ I eventually I do find the boundary with a nice pull shot and Skip thunders a few across the rope too. Can we win this? I can almost hear Han Solo saying “don’t get cocky kid” as a cut a ball straight into a relieved keepers hands.

    But my downfall just allowed Evil to enter the fray and he took no time at all to get his eye in, finding the gaps with consecutive blows. Game on. Satan did eventually fell on his sword, but with Skip carving the ball through midwicket and The Yak getting bat on ball it looked like we still had a shout. The opposing skipper felt the same, so decided to bring himself back on to bowl. WHICH WAS WISE AS HIS TIGHT, FULL LENGTH BOWLING COMBINED WITH THE 15 RUNS AN OVER WE WERE NOW REQUIRED proved to be just too much to overcome. But it was certainly a gallant chase. Scoring just a couple short of 200 we simply ran out of time, well, overs to be more precise, but that doesn’t fit terribly well with my well-crafted `time’ theme.

    So, a second defeat of the season for the Quokkas, but I am informed it’s the closest we have come to beating the Whalers in our history, which really isn’t saying something. With a two week break before the next encounter, we have a chance to slow things down and get away from all this bloody excitement, which should help to extend our lives a fraction. You never know it might be elongated enough to see the Quokkas actually win a game.


  • Probably (not) the best start to a season in the world?

    As I move into the second half of my life I think it’s fair to say that I’m not as fit and agile as I once was. For example some light painting and decorating the day before the game left me with two tight hamstrings and a slightly strained wrist. The years have also left me a tad more pessimistic and increasingly leaning towards being a glass half empty kind of guy (yeah I know I was such a happy go lucky person before), so to come away with figures of 0-53 from just two overs [let me give you some time for those bowling figures to sink in], scoring just a handful of runs before played on and (spoiler alert) once again being on the wrong side of a rather lopsided defeat, yet still have a smile on my face all the way back to the People’s Republic of Southsea, just shows how much I enjoy the fixture at Coldharbour Cricket club.

    OK, so my good mood was aided by Pompey losing their fourth division play-off semi -final to Plymouth to a 91st minute goal (if Carlsberg did football results) which will take weeks to lose its shine, but the long and short of it is that win, crushing defeat or draw, it doesn’t get much better than playing Sunday cricket on a glorious sunny day in the Surrey Hills overlooking an area of outstanding natural beauty.

    Hidden gem

    Critical to my appreciation of the day was remembering to print off some directions so as to not get caught out by the Coldharbour Sat-Nav-Bermuda-triangle and then later remembering to take my cricket bag back with me so as to avoid having to repeat the three hour round trip the following weekend.  I did still get a little lost as I made my way through the Sussex countryside, but thankfully the 1 in 5 climb up the pot-holed dirt track to the ground was just about manageable without a winch this year, so we arrived in plenty of time. For some that was just as well as the previous night’s cocktails at hairdressers 40th (yeah I thought he was older too) were still working their magic.

    Having been well beaten last time it was probably wise of Skip to lose the toss for the 38th consecutive time and decide to bowl first. We started the innings well with Satan, The Yak, Smruti and the Professor keeping things pretty tight and beating the bat on a regular basis. However, it was perhaps somewhat foolish of them to take early wickets as those coming in seemed to markedly improve in ability terms compared to those departing. Certainly their number 4 bat wasn’t short on confidence, straight driving a well-pitched first delivery straight back for four. It wouldn’t be the last boundary either, as he went on to score 150 not out, but not before serving up the odd chance or three as he got going.

    Catches win matches

    Far be it from me to criticise the catching ability of a fellow Quokka, but with their star batsman striking the ball so hard it had become egg-shaped, we needed to take one of those chances to have a sniff of victory. A skied edge looked the most inviting but didn’t quite stick and then a flat hit straight drive was spilled right on the boundary. Skip felt that should have been taken, but just as I was trying to explain how fast it was travelling he was able to better emphasise when spilling an identical chance three balls later. Thankfully he only went on to score another 128 runs after that…

    Garlic bread – it’s the future

    Another factor in my enjoyment of the match was witnessing the debut of “the future of the Quokkas”. As you all know for many years now we have relied on the craft of The Yak, the graft of Satan and the guile of The Egg to take our wickets (Ok yes, and a few Fudger long hops too), but now at long last Skip has some youth and exuberance on which to turn to.

    Just watching Kieron mark out his 30 yard run up made me feel old and tired, but it was great to see the next generation of Quokkas coming through and his opening two overs were certainly entertaining with three dropped catches, a series of edges and their opener clean bowled, only to have no-balled.  Whether such talent will benefit from playing alongside the likes of Binman and I is debatable, but for now let’s just enjoy the fact we don’t have to watch so many overs of `bertie basset’s buffet bowling’ from binman or `lollypops interspersed between wide balls’ from me.

    Unfortunately we did have to witness a couple of my overs (no extras from my spell I should point out) and whilst I got game support from Matt and Shub we had allowed our opponents back into the match. Some lusty straight hitting saw the scoreboard tick over rather rapidly at around 5 runs a ball… [yes, that’s correct Egg] which put us on the back foot.

    You found it?

    The rather chastening experience wasn’t totally wasted though. I finally discovered a use for Australian cricketers. With countless sixes making their way beyond the boundary fence into the undergrowth, finding and retrieval skills become essential for a fast paced game. It was here that Locky’s aboriginal-like tracking capability became evident and incredibly useful. No matter how far into and actually up trees the ball went, it would always be found. You don’t caddy by any chance Slick?

    In the end they amassed a sizeable 297, which surprisingly was 14 runs less than they chase down the week before (I put that down to my tight spell) and as all good Quokkas knows, with ten wickets in hand a score like that is very is `gettable’.

    Tea and cake

    What we lack in bowling talent we make up for in eating ability and with a fine selection of cakes we didn’t rush tea. Our laid back approach to the interval gave us the chance to ridicule Compton’s boss eye-induced stance, laugh at Spurs in general and debate whether it was a good or bad season for Bury. Fascinating stuff, but with the shadows starting to encroach onto the outfield it was time for us to bat.

    Having been on the receiving end of nearly 300 runs it was particularly good of their skipper to inform us that with the very tight boundary [it really was short, especially when I’m bowling] it was more like half that amount required, so we took that on face value and set about the task of getting 150…which of course was still far too many.

    As is so often the case we started badly, faded in the middle (I recommend you don’t blink during that section of the innings) and the less said about the end the better. It took me longer to find an umpire’s coat then the time taken for the first wicket to fall, but that said Shub and Doctor dug in well to give us a platform to fall from, Skip hit some horribly sounding, but lovely looking shots through the covers with his new plank (before getting a decent ball that lifted) and then with support from the very straight batting Professor, Evil Dave bludgeoned several balls to the boundary before being caught in the not all that deep [I’d like to expand this section of the write up, but I’d just be prolonging the agony and also painting a false picture as to the length of our reply]. This ensured there was a degree of respectability to our innings, but it wasn’t enough to avoid what felt like an innings defeat.

    Not that the first game of the cricket season needs a silver lining, but the advantage of such a sizeable defeat is that it creates more time for drinking afterwards, which on a warm early summer evening is `Probably the best place to send a Sunday evening in the world’ ©Carlsberg.

    By the way I’m told if you have read this match report it means you are now officially signed up to play next week [don’t bother deleting your browsing history, we just know], oh and do you want to open the batting?



Recent Comments

  • Strong.
  • Proper swing bowling that was. Pitch it up.
  • Fabulous article which made us smile in the Spanish sunshine...
  • You forgot to mention Harry getting to bowl an over aswell. ...
  • Please see point 5.