Well, that was rather exciting.
A cursory look at the scoreline above may tell you the game was close, but what it didn’t tell you how close, with (spoiler alert) Dutchy hitting a 4 on the last ball of the day to get the winning score.
Before that, the game had collapses, run outs, horses (no, really) and almost seismic shifts in momentum before the aforementioned dramatic finish. It really was rather exciting.
But lets, you and I dear reader, reminisce.
The game was scheduled to start at 2pm on a very warm and unusually muggy Melbourne day. With the Curtin hosting, we would be fielding, which caused me trepidation as captain as I wasn’t sure how The Quokkas would fare in the conditions. How foolish I was!
Having started the week with 16 players available, a series of text messages conveying various levels of interest had me with an interdeminate number of players as the game started.
Tell a lie, we had ten players walk onto field, but Nimble represented his brand well; appearing from seemingly nowhere with a cheery smile and goodwill. I took this as a good omen. And a relief.
Soon after Rowdy also arrived, giving us a spare fielder for the arduous fielding conditions, as well as a handy cricketer.
Our fielding innings before drinks went extremely positively, with Jay making an early breakthrough, thanks to a solid catch behind the stumps from Dutchy.
Pup followed his Captains request and dumped the Sam (or Tom?) Curran-inspired change to his bowling action, resulting in only 3 runs scored from his 2 overs. His efficiency was replicated by the Big Dog, Sizzle and Ami before the drinks break.
Ed bowled two overs as well.
The Animal, by now visibly frothing at the mouth and having to be restrained by chains, was then unleashed and showed us all the lost art of bowling on a good length. Rowdy, who had silently substituted on to the field for Pup provided support to The Animal with genuine pace that the Curtin batters struggled to hit and the rest of us struggled to see. Amazing what 5 years out of the game will do for you.
Nimble, Jack and Local then came into the attack, each of them claiming a wicket, which was something of a relief. Jack bowled some excellent spin, toyed with his length and had The Curtins biggest hitter back in the sheds for only 2 after he tried to clear yours truly on the fence. He really was very unlucky.
Local dug deep from his sweat-laden fielding position for have a ball pop to Pup and Dutchy made use of Rowdy behind the stumps to get a very handy caught-behind.
I also bowled two overs.
Jay then got to bowl the last over of the game, picking up another wicket (caught Pup) and leaving us to chase over 161 for the win.
After a really very enjoyable barbecue provided by The Curtin, Local and Rowdy padded up and walked up full of vim and vigour. Rowdy then hit the first ball for four, all along the ground to the cover boundary.
“Woosh” I thought, “91 off 24 now”. I started to wonder if he’d get to 100 runs against the Curtin before he tried to launch an inswinger over midwicket and had his middle stump knocked out of the ground.
“Ah” I thought.
Pup then came to the wicket and very promptly Local was back in the sheds. The less said about it the better, I thank you.
2 wickets for 4 runs in the first over wasn’t the start I’d hoped for, nor was a combined 4 runs from Rowdy and Local.
The weather had also started to change at this point, with the humidity almost gone and a strong breeze billowing in from the East. I knew it was strong as it knocked my beer over.
Sizzle arrived at the wicket to my curiosity; which Sizzle would this be? The Sizzle that hits them out of the park, or the Sizzle that goes out in the most unlucky circumstances conceivable? It turns out it was the Sizzle who plays with aggression and intent and soon another 38 runs were added in quick time before Sizzle got so aggressive that he (unluckily) ran himself out.
Pup retired soon thereafter, having compiled a patient 31 off 29 balls, leading to a period of the game that shall henceforth be referred to as “the rebuild”. Nimble and The Animal (batting at last!) put on another 40 runs, leaving the Quokkas at 4 wickets for 81 in the 15th over.
It really was a terrific effort from the pair, running singles and creating a platform for the “finishers” in the team to work their bludgeoning trade from.
Ami, in his debut game for the season, was the first on the scene; blasting 28 from 21 balls, including 2 massive sixes over cow corner. I’m fairly certain one has permanently damaged the road adjacent to the ground, such was the ferocity with which it was hit.
Ed then came to the crease for his first hit since reappearing from the shaky isles, striking and running as wildly as his appearance. Eventually he ran himself out, also wildly.
The last partnership of Jay and Dutchy then went about chasing the total with purpose, running twos and threes as the target reduced but still remained unflinching and intimidating.
From 61 needed from 7 overs, it became 47 off 6, 41 off 5, 33 of 4, 26 off 3, 18 off 2 and finally 9 off 1.
The ending, dear reader, has already been shared but the excitement of the day was palpable and really, that is what we will remember; how enjoyable the contest was. Not the result, but the experience. Experiences like this can only be achieved through collective team performances and collaboration, and with an equally respected opponent who shares your philosophy.
This game wouldn’t have been possible without the Curtin, or the culture which they fully embrace. Both of these things were started by Owen, whose name adorns the trophy that is passed to the winner of these contests, and who we will always be grateful to.
Many thanks to Owen and to everyone involved for a great day, and here’s looking to many more.