Quokkas CC 301-7 (Herc 87, Arunav 61, Todd 53, Tugboat 42) beat Coldharbour CC 161-all out (Faggie 3-15, Evil 2-38, Prof 2-not sure)
Martin Luther King, Jr. said that `we are not makers of history. We are made by history’, but I prefer to think that a small body of determined spirits, fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history. Which is what happened on Sunday in the beautiful Surrey hills. Well, maybe not quite, but it is certainly halcyon times, with notable exploits seemingly creating Quokkas history almost every week.
Last week’s Radio John hat trick was something a bit special, but the game at Coldharbour will go down in Quokkas history (and not because Herc managed to catch a ball behind the stumps) as we congested half a season’s worth of batting into 35 overs, scoring 300 runs for the very first time. Those that played became instant legends, to be forever remembered in Quokkas folklore. For those out shopping with wives, girlfriends or boyfriends, sadly, you have become the forgotten men of history.
So how did we reach that milestone? Well, those looking to put some shade on proceedings might point to the shortest boundary in cricket, quite a bit of Bertie Basset bowling and about 20 drop catches. However, if you’re a glass-half-full kind of guy like me….stop laughing…then the response would be, a plethora of ferocious hitting and high quality stroke play.
Those that don’t learn from history are doomed to fail, so this week I decided to bat, a decision helped by my opposing captain winning the toss. The innings was built on the attacking intent of the Tugboat and Todd, with anything short or full, or neither short nor full, smashed deep into the ferns. It must be said that Todd almost went first ball (dropped catches may become a referring theme), but didn’t look back and played some superb shots. Leg glance was not one of them, but when you have every other in the book (and a few that aren’t), it doesn’t matter. Anything in his arc went hard to the boundary.
If you didn’t know already (you obviously haven’t been reading my match reports, also known as Quokkas history), Tugboat can really bat. The noise made as leather is crucified by his willow is something it behold and literally echoed across the Surrey hills. We got to enjoy that sound several times, including from an exquisite cover drive that will live in my memory until I remember where I put the key to the drinks cabinet.
Faggie came to our opponents rescue, giving Tugboat out leg before wicket, while Driver did the same for Todd. Did history repeat itself, first as tragedy, second as farce? No. Both were plumb. By then though, 120 runs were on the board.
The relentless ten-runs-an-over pace continued, with Herc dispatching pretty much everything, no matter where it was pitched, to the boundary. He pulled several balls for six, with one sailing over the protective netting and missing his own car by inches. His excellent 87 runs will earn him a probable five points towards the `Bestest and Fairest’ award, but with confirmation that additional games were unlikely, we can look forward to seeing him rise and then rapidly plummet down the Revometer score board at the next annual dinner. It would be remiss of me not to point out that there was the odd piece of luck along the way. I think Coldharbour must have been studying the Quokkas `”How to avoid taking catches” manual, which obviously helped our cause. A miscue saw three players shout “yours” in tandem, which might form the basis of a new chapter.
At the other end, Arunav initially played a very measured innings, but then opened up, with one straight drive still climbing as it hit the top of giant pine tree some 30 yards beyond the boundary. A partnership of 147 in 13 overs was magnificent, no matter how short the boundary or bowling.
When both fell, Faggie narrowly avoided a pair, before finding the only fielder that could catch. Professor, who is a different player altogether now he has a bat made of wood, played some lovely shots and he, Radio and Evil saw us past the 300 mark. This was followed by my favourite sledge of the season so far, when Radio revealed to a young opponent that he’d travelled down from Birmingham for the game only to receive the reply: “What? You travelled two and a half hours to be bowled by a thirteen year old?” which he was.
Talking of legendary status, the Coldharbour teas are starting to build quite a reputation, with our friend Mr Beer’s homemade sausage rolls complimenting the strawberries, cream scones, lemon drizzle cake and chocolate brownies. If he had provided a sample prior to his leg before wicket appeal, I might have even given it. As stand in skipper it’s obviously my job to consume enough cake to ensure more are baked next year. I dutifully obliged, although having to field second does limit consumption. This is another reason I like to bowl first. Note to self: Must get whites with bigger pockets.
Driver, `fresh from a trip up to Leicester to watch egg chasing, opened the bowling and provided almost nothing for the batsman to hit. Evil was equally frugal (the claw not getting an outing helped) and between them they took three well-earned wickets. Faggie also bowled a terrific spell, dropping only a single delivery short in his six overs (I told you this was one for the history books), taking three excellent wickets of his own and causing all sorts of problems for Coldharbour’s two best batsman.
Ideas shape the course of history and my 8-1 field with the ball angling across the right hander almost paying dividends. For once, some field placements did pay off and Irish Driver said “the batting, bowling and fielding was OK, but the captaincy was bloody brilliant,” and who am I to argue?. OK, so he actually said “You will no doubt write in your match report that the batting, bowling an fielding was OK, but the captaincy was bloody brilliant,” but history will always be kind to me, for I have written it.
Victories and failures, traditions and heritage, make history ever changing. A bit like Yaks bowling length, which allowed our opponents some rest bite. Yet history remains the same, with the Tom claiming yet another wicket to add to his collection, albeit slightly hidden among the batch of long hops. With that, we were into the tail, which Professor and Radio John cleaned up in no time at all, helping to seal an emphatic victory. History is of course written by the victors, which is why I am typing this match report and not my counterpart.
The only way to become part of Quokkas folklore is to make yourself available, and soon. If you like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past, see you in Harpenden next week. I’ve heard they may even cut the grass this time.