From Captain Jay…O dim delicious heaven of dreams-The land of boyhood’s dewey glow-Again I hear your torrent streamsThrough purple gorge and valley flow,Whilst fresh the mountian breezes blow.Above the air smites sharp and clear-The silent lucid spring it chillsBut underneath, move warm amidstThe bases of the hills.– Joh O’Donnell (1837-1874)Gippsland is a curious place. It looks like Ireland; every place is named with a nod to Mother Ireland and much like our QCC, the Irish-Australian folk willfully attempt cricket.After several country lattes (premix bourbon and cokes) and an inner urban hunt for some match balls, the splendid site that is Nerrena Recreation ground rolled up from the hills to meet Radar’s 2005 Mazda 3 like a cricketing mirage.Picture perfect, a lush outfield and solid locals on the lawn.Nerrena’s captain ‘Irish’ Brian and I met at the center where QCC suffered the first lost toss of the year (0/1).Sensing the Quokkas wished to bat first due to widespread, general and overwhelming fitness concerns Brian kindly sent the Quokkas out for a bowl.Nick Name AW was tossed the new ball.The captain favoring his late, subtle swing, solid line and wanton pace in these conditions.Determined to run a competitive and tight field, captain, bowler and catcher (Ed) were rewarded just 5 balls into the innings with the scalp of Nerrena’s captain – Big ‘Irish’ Brian – a duck off 4 tightly held balls.This was the start we were after. Sun is shining, catches being held, fielding is at times inspirational. T’is was happy Quokkas.Ed (caught Dutchy – behind) and Big Dog (catch at short cover by Nick) struck in quick succession..Then came the retirements, 4 in all.. (scores of 38 and 39) followed by a few guys that just wanted a walk in the sun before retiring – rotating the batting in a great gesture of sportsmanship from the Nerrena 11.Some excellent bowling from Nick, Local, Ed, Big Dog, and Rev and some tight fielding left the Quokkas with little reward at drinks.. 3/91Post drinks, Nerrena with batsman in the shed had begun to stride out before Big Dog (QCC’s in form strike bowler) and local (put’n on the pace) struck, followed by some pressure from Tuesday QCC slowed Nerrena to a mere trickle before the end of their innings.Nerrena – 5/166F.O.W – Possibly tells the story best;1/1, 2/33, 3/37, 4/150, 5/161Fielding/Bowling – Special Mentions:Big Dog: Brought on as strike bowler with immediate success in both spells. In form bowler of the season so far, great flight!Rev: Managing to get under a sky ball, miss it entirely and knock himself out in the process. (Glad the neck is better now mate! )Nick AW: Inspired positivity, and fielding at short cover – Kept QCC spirits up all day (Especially between 2/37 and 4/150).With some serious health concerns over Rev’s fielding fall the opening batting position was left open.After some general avoiding of eye contact from most in the QCC Local stepped up and took the bull by the.. rib eye.Local combined with Radar to get QCC off to the start it needed!Local 17/7Radar 10/10Shano then tried to steady the ship for an over but was eventually caught – Bowlin 6/12After a perfect start (1/26) this was now familiar QCC territory (3/37).Tuesday and Jay (C) took a vow to hold the fort which resulted in some test match like batting from the pair as they put on 40 odd runs at a steady rate.On 25 Tuesday, generally bored of watching the ball on to the bat tried to unsuccessfully put a yorker into the bass straight (62km away). It was 4/90Jay missing Tuesday’s company played on off his thigh.. now 4/92.Dutchy, Alex, Ed, Cat and Big Dog tried in vain to bail the water but the ship was sinking..Good tight bowling/fielding from Nerenna did the Quokkas in on this occasion.Restricting QCC to a slower than required run rate Nerrena held QCC to end on 8/145.The Country folk rolled us again!Great day in the sun in a beautiful part of the world.Cricket was the winner today (and Nerrena)Local 17/7Radar 10/10Bowlin 6/12Tuesday 25 / 31Jay 16/22Dutchy 8/9Alex 5/7Cat 3/14Nick 3/6Ed 12/12*Big Dog 8/8** Not Out
From Captain Ed…
It was the week before Christmas, in the Yarra Pub League…..
That was a far as I got before the little Chef on my shoulder reminded me it would never be near his poetry. So instead, as I’ve been at a VCAT panel, the match report will be in a series of statements.
Case – Quokkas versus The Rose Hotel
1 – Conditions, as always were perfect at Alphington, except for the 10 quokkas present, which meant for the first time ever I was excited to see the Rev turn up at last minute to help us out. This lasted 2minutes to when Jack, aka Nimble, (credit – J.Rayner) also answered the SOS and became Quokka #70.
2 – Shane opened the bowling and then once he finished told me he couldn’t see, which explains why he bowled better than ever.
3 – Nick built himself a shanty town at backward point
4 – The Rev took 2 catches and a wicket. Keen not to be outdone, Nimble also took a catch and a wicket and as was pointed out to the captain was doing something with the ball, “turning it” I believe is the phrase. Nimble let a catch bounce before him, to which Dutchy welcomed him to the Quokkas. This statement was retracted when he hit the stumps from 50m side on, on the return throw.
5 – The captain was hit for some say the biggest 6 off a quokka, 84m onto the roof of the rooms. See attached image. It must be noted the bowler brought the field in prior to this ball thinking the guy couldn’t bat….
6 – At Drinks the Rose we 101 (7.77runs/over), however only managed to get to 175 at the end of their innings. Captains tactic of eliminating the post drinks slump worked. Predrinks….Captains tactic of not utilizing a deep mid wicket didn’t work.
7 – Quokkas held 7 catches!
8 – Big Dog had the best bowling figures (3 overs 2/14) by an Irishman in the Pub League since Paddy O’Igotsmackedagain in the infamous 1986/87 summer where the league banned steel cans, eskies on the field, Darryl Summers and upped the price of beer to 50cents.
1 – Nick A-W got out to the Rose’s Big Dog impersonator for 4 and then claimed the Rose had no bowlers. His opening partner Jay guided us to drinks with a solid 35 from 37 balls, providing the back bone for Snippers 30 retired, Dutchy’s 26 and 23 from 14balls from Radar, who continues to deny his age by loving score sin the twenties.
2 – 45 required from Tuesday and myself from the last 5 overs which we decided to make harder with airswings, refusing to hit boundaries and more two’s than the day I spent confined to my room in Sri Lanka.
3 – Not all was lost though as Tuesday, who already had his man of the match Harley parked at the ground was facing the last over with 17 required.
4 – Last over 2 – 2 – 6 – 0 – 2…..6 to win of the last ball
5 – Rose wins by 4 runs, Tuesday a gallant 28n.o, still got the bike and joins the didn’t win it off the last ball club with me and Dutchy.
6 – Loss mitigated by plates of wedges, chips and salt’n’vinegar onion rings at the Rose
Sunday, December 18th
Alphington Park, Alphington
The Big Picture:
This is the last game for the Quokkas in 2016, which has been a massive year for the club, with games in Nerrena, Colombo and Galle (also known as Crickets “Big Three”).
I’ve always been confused by the expression “results haven’t gone their way” as the result is not a determinant, its an outcome. If you change the determinant (e.g. the outcome of the game) then the result will automatically change. Its got no impact at all.
Anyway, the results haven’t gone the way of The Quokkas so well in the last half of 2016, with one win and three losses. They would certainly like to go into Christmas with one more win under their belts (another expression I’m not a fan of).
The Quokkas have had little trouble in scoring runs this season, with 454 runs being scored at a strike rate of 1.12, which is normally a competitive total in the YPCA. The main issue has been around taking wickets, we have only taken 18 + 4 run outs / stumpings, meaning each wicket costs 28.72 runs.
The main issue here is catching. The Quokkas put down at least 7 chances in the last game, including 1 drop per over for the first 4 overs after drinks. Some may suggest less in the way of drinks, but they can get stuffed.
In the Spotlight:
Snipper returns for his second game of the year, which could be another reason why The Quokkas have struggled so much; he scored 33 runs (including the winning 6), took 3/8 and held a screamer in his only appearance this season. Not that there is any pressure on him or anything…
The other man from 400 Acres, Radar, returns to us this week, offering a mix of pace bowling, big hitting and even wicket-keeping if required.
The nearly-hero from the last time we played The Rose at Alphington, Ed, returns to this squad this week and slots quite loosely into the fragrant Captains Jacket. Ed should be pleased with the players listed as available, being:
- Big Dog
- Dutchy (w/k)
- Nickname AW
Pitch and Conditions:
The Alphington Park ground is one of the most picturesque in the YPCA, resting by the banks of the Yarra with a lovely white Grandstand and playground nearby. Its really quite lovely.
The BOM is predicting a top of 20 with some cloud cover, so it could well be torrential rain or desert-like heat, based on how accurate their other predictions have been this year.
Stats & Trivia:
- Its been a good season with the Bat for the Quokkas so far this season, Dutchy and Alex lead for runs scored per over with averages of 10.2 and 10.1 respectively, the team average is 5.9
- Dutchy also has the highest amount of runs scored by boundaries (78%), unless you count Radar (100%), Chef is on 71% while Local is on his heals with 70%
- The Quokkas have hit 50 fours and 9 sixes in total in the YPCA this season
- Things haven’t been so great with the ball, with the team giving away 7.2 RPO, though they do average a wicket every 4 overs
- Snipper has the best RPO (conceded) average of 2.7, the next best are Matty (3.0) and J Rod (3.3). Unfortunately the last 2 mentioned are not playing.
- Tuesday hit his 251st career run in the last match, he is currently 12th on the all-time runs scored list with an average of 22.82
From Captain Local…
When I was 17 years old I caught a coach service from Melbourne to Townsville. Somewhere in the never-ending blackness of the third night I had a dream that I was a ghost and that the bus I was on was somehow a tiny fragment of rock which was all that remained of Alderaan; and together we were spinning through the void in a kind of endlessly repeating scream of horror in the second after the Deathstar had blown the entire planet to smithereens.
Sometimes I remember that dream when Rev bowls an over.
Thankfully, on a dull day of restless wind and heat-mad flies at Fairfield Oval against the Curtain Hotel, Rev produced the finest spell I have yet seen him bowl, sending down two near-perfect overs of line and length thunderbolts that were – for me – the highlight of the Quokkas fielding effort.
Yes, the highlight.
The Curtain, or ‘Beefies’ as they are known (possibly humorously) enjoyed the goodwill of the Quokkas field and set us a target of 190 or something similarly absurd.
Like Ernest Shackleton rowing – in desperation or madness or both – across the endless bitterness of the Southern Ocean, we began our chase with a determination to achieve against the odds.
J-Rod opened reluctantly, and yet repaid the faith – or bullying – of his captain by smashing the ball to various points on and over the boundary, often with a casual insouciance that was as surprised as the rest of us to be used in a description of his batting.
With this laissez-faire flair from the opener came a renewed sense of ambition in the hearts of the Quokkas. Perhaps. Or it may have just been the captain who felt it. Who knows, it may have simply been the lunchtime sausages.Whatever the case, the ambition was for a victory that seemed unlikely an hour earlier when the Quokkas had just dropped their 67th catch of the afternoon.
The death of ambition is a quiet cut that lays bare your hollow bones. It comes inevitably on a slow, grey afternoon amid the heat and tiny flies.
Chef batted with courage and power, and without thought, which is when he bats best. Dutchy scored some inevitable runs. Rev attempted a last-wicket something, and attempted it well.
Alas. Like the doomed people with no weapons on the peaceful planet that has just come into range of the most powerful weapon the Galaxy has ever known, the Quokkas were never going to end up as anything more than space dust.
“Fire when ready”
Congratulations to the Curtain, they played well, and thanks to Big Dog for making the Captains speech in my late absence. I am now 4 from 4 and can only accept that the blame must squarely fall on the playing group’s refusal to adhere to my instructions regarding the Nu-Metal theme. Next time gentlemen, next time.