• The Quokkas win, Rev plays a switch hit (and pulls it off) and The Dog bowls the 25th over, all pretty standard for one of our games…..

    With the outfield and the tourists still sozzled from the previous night (one got barred from the Gaso) we had them on the ropes at 6/85 with all the debutantes (Gazza, Robby & Stewart) getting a wicket on debut to go with Jay rattling the castle and the now normal 2 wickets in an over from the reigning B&F who now adds club all-time leading wicket taker to his life achievements.

    After drinks, the tourists ring-ins Rev (21), Roley (Rev minus 21)  and the league president Fos (58 off 20) got them to a good score of 9/177 with the Dog, Jay and Radar grabbing more wickets. Jay 2/19 and Dog 3/24 sharing most of the spoils. Special note to Pup who took 0/1 in his 23 ball two overs.

    After another amazing potato salad and spread from the Dog (is there anything he can’t do?), Radar and Alex got us off to a solid start with 30* for Rohan and a Curtoesque 17* (16 singles) for Alex. The runs continued with Stewart 23*, Dutchy 36* from 14, Robby 27 and 23* from Gazza in the best quokkas innings ever played in a gray cardigan, plus he let the captain hit the winning runs.

    Quokkas 4/178 win with 11 balls to spare.

    Bring on the Terminus

  • From Captain Jay…

    It was with high hopes that the Q.C.C arrived at Alphington Park last Sunday for the final Yarra Pub League match of season 2015/16.
     
    This Captain’s quick pre game assessment of team morale was a solid 7/10. A definitive seasonal high.  Q.C.C members were spotted stretching, walking fast, tossing balls, inspecting the pitch, in the nets and at the ground early.
    This was, of course a big day for the hungry Quokkas. Coming off the back of the 2nd win of the season against the Rainbow Hotel, Q.C.C was in the hunt for a double and the Terminus could be just the blokes to satiate the Quokkas appetite. 
    A quick conversation with the Terminus revealed a squad with a total of just 19 hours sleep between the first 11 with an average of 11 stubbies consumed the night before.
    While morale was high, there were significant doubts that two in a row was possible. Last week Mike McDermott, a resident of Oxford in the UK won the lottery for the 2nd time in a year with the exact same numbers. According to the Daily Mail, the odds of the same six lottery numbers coming up at random again are 5,400,000,000,000 to one, or 2,330,636 squared. The Rev assured this captain that the Quokkas odds of winning the two in a row were in the same region of probability.
    It was with this weight and responsibility that two of the clubs elder statesman strode to the middle to face an impatient (keen to get back to bed) Terminus attack.
    Big Dog and Dutchy put on a solid opening stand with Dutchy retiring on 40 odd and Big Dog hitting out for 11. A fine opening partnership. Seeing off the new ball and setting up the middle order to pile on the runs.
    Snipper, back for his first match in a while went for 13 of 15 balls.
    Then came the middle order.. and what a middle order. Alex leading the way and pushing forward the run rate right up where she needed to be. Alex (ret 34), Curto (ret 30), Tuesday (30), Jay (25 n/o) and J Rod (8) piling on 127 runs in 70 odd balls. (all batters with S/Rate of over 1.6)
    The ever generous Nick AW and Local bowing out for 1 and 1 respectively.
    Ed, inspired by thrilling middle order batting and in at number 11, put on 19 runs off 9 balls (S/Rate 2.11)
    Quokkas finally had a total that leg side bowling and dropped catches could (maybe) defend..  7/229
    Earlier in the day the cones were strategically placed real deep to protect our leg side. Which for the most part (save Ed and Revs final overs) worked to our advantage.
    Tuesday and J Rod opened up the bowling from the Heidelberg Rd end. Tuesday, overlooked as an opening bowler for most of the season relished the opportunity with the new ball. 2 overs 1/7.
    Tuesday’s solid line and length set a difficult precedent for the remaining 10 bowlers to follow. 
     
    J Rod, under an injury cloud, worked away and kept the pressure on –  2 overs 0/6. The first 4 overs going for 1/13 runs (a run rate of 3.25). This was proper cricket.
    The Quokkas of old started creeping back in at around the 5 over mark. Dutchy cowering under a skied top edge at an expertly placed gully. Nick and Curto colliding under a catch at fine leg.
    Tuesday and Snipper dropping deep field catches. Almost unheard of..
     
    The fix was in? 
     
    Dutchy, Nick AW,  Ed and Rev bowling really tight (first) spells. Terminus, down a few wickets decided to finally install some batsman at the crease and they quickly lifted the run rate before drinks (12 over mark) 
     
    3/60 at the break. Not bad. It was only uphill from here..
     
    It was time to turn the screws. Jay and Snipper put on a pace attack after the break. Jay being hit for 6 off the first ball back from drinks.
     
    Was this the beginning of the end?
    What had the Terminus been drinking?
    Had the Terminus’s hang over subsided? 
     
    Jay and Snipper straightened up the attack with 4 overs of solid line and length, a few dots balls even. It was time to bring on the newly reformed (Aria Award Winner) Alex Gow. Recently turning to leg spin. Sighting the obvious advantage of having less of a chance of being charged for manslaughter than when he bowls short pitched/headhunting pace. 
    Alex’s first leg spin wicket has been compared to Warnie’s first Test ball on English soil.
    Bowling the batsman round the legs, from outside leg to take out the top of off. The umpire was confused. A few dropped catches later, and a staggering total of 76 runs coming off just 5 overs courtesy of – Curto (1/18), Big Dog (0/21), Rev (1/39) and Ed (2/23).
    A nervous captain retired to the deep outfield (in the shade) counting down the overs. “You can only put the cones out so far” – his internal mantra.
    Terminus 9/177!  Quokkas win 2nd match in a row. 
     
    Special mentions: 
    Dutchy – 2 short of a 50. Solid batting.
    Rev – 4 dropped catches / 1 taken (off his own bowling)
    J Rod – Dropping a catch off his own bowling and dropping his guts at the same time (causing fits of laughter from the batsman)
    Curto – Good match back, solid form with the bat and the gloves, good luck with the twins!
    Nick AW – Great bowling, great fielding, good bloke. Endearing comments at every change of end.
  • From Captain Bowl’en…

    The day promised much for this weeks Quokkas – Alfred Crescent oval, beautiful weather, cold beer and an opposition we comfortably dealt with last year.

    As we crossed the oval to grab household supplies to be donated to ASRC that Big Dog and Cat had generously donated, couldn’t help noticing some of the ASRC bowlers warming up – hmm quite pacey. This Cap’n immediately congratulated himself silently on his masterful stroke to demote himself to no. 11 on the day. Would prove to be his only strategic command for the match.

    Anyway, for reasons still unknown Quokkas in to bowl first.

    Sharp, sharp, sharp
    – was the pain in my stomach from the previous nights kebab. And our fielding was remarkably sharp too. How un-Quok.

    Jay sharp too – his first over went for a maiden.
    Ed also economical with an opening over of 5. Rev went for 4

    Captain continued his remarkably strategic skippering:
    Alex: Bowl’en do you want me here?
    Bowl’en: umm yeah thats good

    Chef: I might move in a bit Bowl’en, he cant hit this far
    Bowl’en (stirred from daydream of eating hotdogs): umm yeah lets do that (hmm maybe Chef could make a good hotdog)

    Next ball Chef takes the catch. Inspiring captaincy!

    The Chef celebrates

    The Chef celebrates

    Where did it all go wrong I asked myself at end of innings when told they had amassed 261. Could have had something to do with all those sixes Wajid smashed into the park past child and canine alike on his way to 68. Or Arif with his 55. Or Iqi with 41. I won’t go on..

    Weird because we bowled quite well. Tuesdays C&B definitely the highlight wicket – a ripper snagged on his ankles. Perhaps a few Quokkas envious that he can bend down that far?
    Big Dog announced he had bowled no wides. Now that is awesome.

    Anyway, Quoks in for the chase with the Ed/Chef combo.

    Good start with Ed quickly retiring. If only he would retire his open necked quokkas shirt. Ed back later to make 47 – duly supported by the Captain with a hard fought knock of 2 not out

    Curto unlucky to get out on 30

    Tuesday a great all round effort with 24.

    Tuesday and Rainesy celebrate.  Rainesy's ladies sunglasses were special.

    Tuesday and Rainesy celebrate. Rainesy’s ladies sunglasses were special.

    Other batting highlights were Louey the dog providing special blend of cute, kathleens mighty bbqing and Rania’s photography skill. Thanks very much ladies.

    Great day as always though and for a very good cause. Kudos to Rev and Big Dog for setting up. Thanks to everyone for donations on the day.

    Big Day Not Out next – onwards and upwards!
    Bowl’en

  • Match Facts:

    Sunday, January 17

    Alfred Crescent Oval, Edinburgh Gardens, Fitzroy

     

    Time:

    1pm

     

    The Big Picture:

    This will be the first game in 2016 for the Quokkas, which they are pretty happy to see after going 1-7 to finish off 2015.

     

    With the game being against the ASRC and played at Alfred Crescent Oval, it is sure to be a highlight of the Quokkas season; promoting the inclusiveness of cricket at the home of Pub cricket.

     

    Truly, there hasn’t been a feel good coming together like this since Hall & Oates reunited.

    halloates

    So, so good

     

     

    The Quokkas will be looking to use this game to welcome others into the community and have some fun while doing it. Even they can surely win at that challenge?

     

    dont-call-me-shirley

     

    Form Guide

    Don’t ask.

     

    In the Spotlight:

    Bowl’en (Shane) is Captain for this game, his first time at the helm of the motley collection that call themselves Quokkas. Bowl’en has had a mixed season so far in Pub League games, but has dominated on turf pitches. Perhaps the classicalist in him is struggling to escape.

     

    On the subject of struggles with form, Ed returns for this game, deigning to grace us with his presence. A big fan of the size of Alfred Crescent, the fans on the boundary can surely look forward to pocketing a few cherries when he comes on to bowl.

     

    Team News:

    This is the first game in some time that The Quokkas have a full XI available for in the week before the game, but we all know that will probably change before Sunday.

     

    This weeks side is a strong mix of age and experience, as it seems those young people have better things to do with their time.

     

    1. Ed
    2. Chef
    3. Curto (w/k)
    4. Big Dog
    5. Bowl’en (c)
    6. Alex
    7. Rev
    8. Jay
    9. Snipper
    10. Tuesday
    11. Local

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    Alfred Crescent Oval is the scene of many happy days for the Quokkas, winning or otherwise.

     

    The ground has that wonderful true bounce you can only get off astro laid over the top of concrete, as well as the most charming of pot holes in the outfield caused by soccer matches, picnics, dogs and the like.

     

    The BOM predicts a top of 28 on Sunday with plenty of sunshine. Where else would you rather be?

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    • With only 4 games remaining for the season, there really is no clear stand-out in the runs scored or wickets taken categories. There are 6 players tussling for most runs and 5 for most wickets;
    • As a collective, though, the Quokkas have taken 27 wickets in YPCA games this season at 26.4, with a wicket being taken every 3.6 overs
    • With the bat, the Quokkas have scored 643 runs off 538 balls for a strike rate of 1.2 & 55% of runs being scored through boundaries
    • The Big Dog needs only 9 runs to take his total for the club to 400, making him the 4th to do so
    • Chef needs only 13 runs to take his total for the club to 200, which he should do easily given his average of 26.71

     

    Vale Bowie

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • The Quokkas headed off to the hilly and leafy surrounds of Doncaster this Sunday gone for a practice match against the Victorian Deaf team, ahead of the Deaf Cricket National championships in Adelaide this January.

     

    To define it as a practice match was quite fitting, the Quokkas were practicing playing cricket, while the VDC team practiced executing their skills against slowly-moving targets.

     

    With the good people at Fitzroy-Doncaster CC generously daonating a glorious turf wicket for the game, it was always going to be a challenge for the Quokkas to adjust to variable bounce and movement off the seam; things not really seen off the true bounce you get on Pub League synthetic pitches.

     

    Also going against the boys in Maroon (apart from their opponents being good at cricket) was that this game was played under established T20 rules (e.g. wides, no balls etc).

     

    Needless to say, E Xtras had a fine match.

     

    Working for the Quokkas, though, were their imports from the VDC; James and Tony, both of whom had outstanding matches.

     

    The other positive from James & Tony playing for the Quokkas, was that Dutchy and J Rod played for the VDC, not that it was all good news…

     

    With Fitzroy-Doncaster scheduling lunch for us at 1:30, the Quokkas elected to let the VDC bat first, so as to ensure we’d make it to the break.

     

    Tony opened the bowling for the Quokkas, and immediately forced all of the fieldsmen to take a few steps back due to the pace he created.

     

    With every other bowling option literally arriving at the ground in time for the start, Tuesday was also given the new ball & was given some punishment despite some very good deliveries.

     

    Snipper & Jay were then brought on, with Snipper bowling with heat and efficiency down the hill, while Jay bowled 4 excellent overs of bounce and swing up the hill for a reward of 2 wickets.

     

    Artists impression of Jay

    Artists impression of Jay

     

    Chef also had success bowling his darts up the hill, while The Rev delivered a “Rev Classic”; an over of head-high full-tosses, in-swinging yorkers, a wicket (thanks J Rod) and finally him breaking down completely with a bad back & going off.

     

    The remaining bowling overs were completed by Keegs (subbed on for the Rev) and Alex, whose bowling may or may not have been impacted by his big win during the week.

     

    Congrats mate

    Congrats mate

     

    At the end of their batting innings the VDCA had put on 162, which didn’t seem that bad after them being 0-47 after the first 4 overs.

     

    The lunch spread was delightfully received, with further delight being shown by the VDC guys when they realised the Quokkas were drinking beer between innings.

     

    The gospel of Pub Cricket isn’t going to spread itself you know.

     

    The Quokkas started their batting innings strongly, with Curto and James from the VDC leaving the good balls (which was most of them) & hitting the bad ones through the gaps.

     

    They then decided to hit some of the good ones through the gaps too, as scoring more runs than the opposition is a more-proven way of winning a game of cricket than playing “good ball, bad ball”.

     

    Getting a little too aggressive, Curto managed to find a way to run James out, bringing the Big Dog to the crease.

     

    Being a particularly poor cricketer, there are few moments that I can actually savour or look back on with untainted joy in my time with the game, but shooting The Big Dog out for LBW on 0 while umpiring this match is one of them.

     

    Curto followed the ‘Dog back to the pavilion / toilet block soon after, bringing Bowl’en (Shane) to the crease.

     

    It’s still to be proven that Shane is a pub cricketer, he does drink a lot of beer & is great for a yarn, but he insists on playing proper shots through the off-side.

     

    As a result, he found this (proper) bowling to his liking & swiftly moved to 11 before being dared into playing a leg-side shot (by Dutchy) & popped one back to the bowler.

     

    I believe you could hear Dutchy’s laugh in The Hague.

     

    Alex also showed the benefits of patience & proper shots, before being stumped off a Jaffa

    Not actually part of the game

    Not actually part of the game

     

     

    Keegan was unfortunate to go Caught Behind for a Duck, the wicket keeper didn’t hear the knick (obviously) until the umpire told him.

     

    You’re welcome Keegs.

     

    At 6 for 66, the Quokkas were either in a Metal Band or a world of trouble.

    It was the latter.

     

    Thankfully, a procession of Tuesday (18), Chef (24) and Tony (33) brought the game all the way to the last ball of the match with 1 needed to tie, 2 needed to win and Chef on strike.

     

    I won’t go into the details of whether the last ball was a wide and didn’t need to be hit, or whether it was caught behind, or whether Chef was also run-out, but the game ended with the Quokkas being 1 run short of a tie.

     

    It was a great game in all, played in a wonderful spirit, apart from Dutchy nearly laughing himself to death after getting Tuesday out & Tuesday taking a risky run with a call of “come on, its just J Rod fielding”.

    Seen here, Dutchy and Mike Whitney

    Seen here, Dutchy and Mike Whitney

     

    Thanks very much for the VDCA for the game, as well as Fitzroy Doncaster CC for being such great hosts.

     

    teamshot

     

     

     

     

     

  • Match Facts:

    Sunday, November 22

    Fairlea East Oval, Yarra Bend

    Time:

    13:00 EST

    The Big Picture:

    For a team that prides itself on participation over a focus on wins and losses, this season has been a real winner for the Quokkas. Going into the game with only ten available to play after 3 steady losses, the saggy maroons are in top form to play a team new to the YPCA league.

    This version of the Old Bar is new to the competition & little is known about their cricketing or drinking prowess. I’d like to think they are a rag-tag bunch of plucky misfits, but maybe that’s because I’ve been watching The Goonies again.

    Form Guide:

    The Quokkas go into this game still winless for the 2015/16 season, having snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in their last game against the good folk in Nerrena.

    In the Spotlight:

    Tuesday comes back into the team at the top of the order with his big-hitting housemate, the Quokkas are hoping that the man under the ink can bring some more big runs to start the innings.

    After opening with Dutchy last week, Alex helped put on a 44 run stand & also bowled his customary deep, deep heat – though without the short balls. If he can keep this form up, he could well go home with a firm piece of plastic in his hands on Gownlow night.

    Team News:

    After the rush to play at the start of the season, the Quokkas only have 10 available for match day at the time of writing for the second week in a row. With several on standby, we should get the XI up fine.

    What could possibly go wrong?

    Absolutely nothing.

    Absolutely nothing.

    The Ten at the time of writing is:

    1. Pup
    2. Curto (c)
    3. Dutchy
    4. Local
    5. Tuesday
    6. Tuesdays housemate (man Friday)
    7. Chef
    8. Alex
    9. Jay
    10. Nick A-W

    Pitch and Conditions:

    And so the Quokkas trek back to Fairlea East, the home of knee grazes where backpackers go to disappear. Also the home of Shotguns 30, its truly the modern Bermuda Triangle. The ground is likely to be dry with a fast outfield, have no running water available or toilets. What a glamorous life these Quokkas lead.

    On the plus side, its only going to be 21 degrees.

    Stats and Trivia:

    • Incredibly, Tuesday and Chef both sit on 142 runs off 9 innings with 3 not outs each – for a matching average of 23.67
    • Tuesday has, though, taken 13 catches – better than 1 per match
    • If Pup should bat in this match, it will be his 20th innings for the Quokkas. He has scored 248 runs (9th highest) @ 19.08 for his career and taken 17 wickets (4th highest) @ 15.12 (so far)
  • From Captain Radar…

    Last weekend the Quokkas returned for the start of the new season against a team we haven’t played before in the Royal Derby.

    The Quokkas sent the opposition in and The Derby went on on take our all start opening attack for quite a few runs with some strong top order batting. After a couple of retirees the innings slowed significantly and the Quokkas were able to keep them to a surprisingly respectable total. The derby also went the way of India and refused to allow the DRS which did cause some controversy. Notable performances in the field:

    Local – 2 wickets and two catches (one caught and bowled)

    Rev – 1/1/grunts

    Ed – 3/14

    With the bat the Quokkas got off to a good start with Dutchy and Snipper opening. Snipper had a new bat.

    After an opening stand in the high 30’s, it was all down hill through the middle order for a while with a classic Quokkas collapse. Local stayed solid up one end though and backed up his good performance with the ball with an innings to keep us in the game. My tactics of putting proven Quokkas performers down the bottom of the order to get us out of trouble nearly paid off and chef, big dog and ed and had a swing and nearly got us over the line. But it was not to be with the Quokkas eventually going down 173-163

    Notable performances with the bat

    Local 37

    Chef 29
    Curto 26

    Thanks everyone for a great game and a welcome back to a new season.

  • I had to be in Myrtleford for work yesterday and over the long drive I replayed those final two balls in my head a thousand times and I still missed them.  I think I can put it down to not being able to achieve the firm grip I like on my little master while holding JRod’s. Anyway, to the details…

    In classic Quokkas from 14 players had turned to 11 by Sunday with myself picking up the captains badge curto left behind before heading to the beach. We bowled first to the Prince Patrick and struggled for wickets early on until I turned to Steve “Chef” Waugh and on cue the stumps were rattled. That was the only wicket and significant event of the first 12 overs with the exception of Pup pulling a hammy which effected his onfield enthusiasm the same way a sardine effects the humpback whale migration

    After the drinks there was fielding not seen since roger harper graced the field in a windies shirt. The choke was well and truly put on by everyone but Local who went for two MASSIVE sixes (only sixes of the game). Local did have his revenge when Tuesday took a catch that went so high Cypress Hill would have been impressed. In the normal run of events that would have been the fielding highlight, but in a normal game, the man who Robbo mentioned couldn’t catch ebola at a Sierra Leone teenage pash party, wouldn’t have calmly caught a skier just inside the fine leg boundary. Yes you are reading correctly Jarrod McKenzie took a catch. I took a catch a few balls later and once again the Dog had come on a taken a 2for in an over. To assist my match report he passed me this information on the batsman.

    “First victim (unluckiest man in cricket to be out c JRod b BD) has batted six times this season typically hitting 30 off 10 balls and only out twice. Second victim had played for the team for 2 years scoring over 300 runs and never been dismissed until he encountered the dog’s slower delivery.”

    We kept them to 168 which was in our range so not too much pressure which was evident by the way radar and Snipper strolled between the wickets in their opening partnership. Snip did get the innings going with a lazy 23 off one over and the Quokkas were away. Dog came and went and then JRod and Robbo proceeding to try and run each other out but still somehow kept the score board turning over. Dutchy got the run rate down before walking himself out (“the fielders were all shouting bowlers end!”) and then threw a tanty not seen from him in at least 2 years when Jrod offered him some running between wickets advice.

    It got down to 19 off 3 overs and Tuesday got it down to 7 off the last over, Local was dismissed on the 4th ball with 4 required. I walked to the crease, feeling ok about it as I did this in the game before Christmas. But as the Dog put it at the labour afterwards when he was “consoling” me – Sometimes you are the pigeon and sometimes the statue – and cricket once again humbled another player as I didn’t connect to either ball and we lost by 3 runs. It was tough, I lost plenty of sleep since working out who to blame and then I worked it out…I was distracted by Chef parading around infront of the Townhouses shirt off and chest out.

    Prince Patrick 168 (Dog 2fa, Snipper boundary run out)

    Quokkas 165 (Snipper 36, JRod 23, Radar 20, Ed 0*)

  • Match Facts:

    Sunday, January 11 2015 Ramsden Street Oval, Clifton Hill

    Start Time: 1pm

    The Big Picture

    With a new year brings new opportunities, which probably doesn’t bode so well for The Quokkas given their successful record of late. Of the 5 games played by the men in maroon so far this season, 4 have been impressive wins (either by large margins, or against good opponents).  The lads will certainly be hoping that the opportunity in this year of the goat isn’t one to revisit the losers tables at their opponents pubs.

    This match, against the Prince Patrick will be a good litmus test for where the Quokkas are at after the New Year break, with both teams fairly even in their previous encounters.

    Form Guide

    Quokkas: WWWLW

    Prince Patrick: n/a

    In the spotlight:

    Dutchy, freshly back from high altitude training in Canada, is in life-best form; averaging 36 with the bat at a strike rate of 203.  That may not be much chop in baseball terms, but the Dutchman is playing the rectangular bat game now.

    Also, having given up his suspect swing bowling & taken to bowling left-arm Chinamen, he is in the wickets for the first time in several seasons (2 @ 25, compared to his career average of 10 @ 40).

    All this, plus runs and wickets

    All this, plus runs and wickets

    Team News:

    As is often the way first thing on a Monday morning, The Quokkas have 13 available for this game though that is certain to change come midday Sunday. As per the normal custom where there is an excess of players, 2 of the 13 will be ‘bowling only’ players, which will also give the Captain the opportunity to rest less effective bowlers; which is generally all of them.

    Quokkas XIII (possible):

    1. Snipper
    2. Big Dog
    3. Dutchy
    4. Curto (C and W/K)
    5. Chef
    6. Tuesday
    7. Radar
    8. Pup
    9. Shotgun
    10. J Rod
    11. Robbo
    12. Local
    13. Ed

    Pitch and Conditions:

    The Ramsden Street Oval is a biggy, and after a week featuring a mix of rain and sun, the grass could be shoulder height by Sunday.  Toughing out the runs will be the name of the game Sunday, something that Captain Curto will relish in.

    Stats and Trivia:

    • With a 4 off the only ball he faced in the last game, Ed brought up his 100 runs for the season before Christmas.  This was last (famously) done by the Big Dog whose form tapered away steadily from then.  Can Ed avoid the Santa (doesn’t deliver after Christmas) award?
    • Dutchy is 27 runs off 100 runs for the season so far & in startling form;
    • Local is on 97 runs for the season, only bettered by the Big Dog (98).  Runs against that is;
    • If the players listed do play, it will be the first time this season that the Quokkas haven’t fielded a debutant
  • Cricket as an exercise in cultural diplomacy has its highs and lows. There is the West Indian tour of Australia in 1960-61 which ended in a ticker tape parade for the visitors, through the streets of Sydney; at the other end of the scale is the Monkeygate affair of 2008-09 and Bodyline.

    For the Quokkas it is similarly the case. The first of this year’s tour matches, south of the river to Port Melbourne, resulted in a 7pm finish, accusations of score-book tampering and a foul-smelling man with a beard insulting Curto.
    Sunday’s tour game in Ballarat on the other hand – against the Seymours All-Stars, representing Seymours on Lydiard Hotel – was played in great spirit and saw the two sides put aside their many cultural differences (for example, a preference for Carlton Draught over Melbourne Bitter) to come together in the cause of cricket. Curto still copped insults from a man with a beard, but this time it was Ed, so no more than the usual harm done.
    On a typically delightful spring day in Ballarat, the rain had stopped bucketing down by about 30 minutes before the start of play, which gave the pitch enough time to improve from a surface like a wet sponge into that of a greasy Chux wipe.
    The King of Pitches

    The King of Pitches

    The Seymours All-Stars hadn’t quite got the concept of pub cricket and turned up in whites, with several players whose skill levels actually matched or exceeded their enthusiasm for cricket. They didn’t have shirts with their names on them though……
    The Quokkas fielded first and managed to restrict the home team to 110 by the drinks break, for the loss of three wickets. Included in these was a fantastic running catch on the boundary from Chef, ignoring the pain of his injured ankle through willpower and heavy pain-killers alone.
    The All-Stars’ top order had done some damage – including a six in to the nearby river – but had been drawn in to playing rash shots, exposing the middle order once play resumed. In a move of searingly astute captaincy, Dutchy was brought back on to bowl and claimed two wickets in one over (including a clean bowled off a rank full-toss, the noblest of all wickets), giving the Quokkas more than just a sliver of hope. However some late hitters pushed the score quickly, held back only briefly by another fantastic catch by Chef, this time off his own bowling. Keep taking those pain-killers, Chef!
    Our MVP

    Our MVP

    Set 211 for victory, the Quokkas started well with 11 off the first over, before a mini collapse of 3 wickets was halted by Dutchy and Mo. Steadying the ship by repeatedly slogging it over long-on (just for something different),  Dutchy retired on 39, his high score. Local and Snipper then steered the Quokkas to drinks.
    After the break, the Quokkas held on against some sharpish bowlers, Local feeling the brunt of one particular ball that proved what a valuable aide the box is for every cricketer, amateur or professional.
    A steady fall of wickets however kept the All-Stars on top, despite some excellent resistance from Cat and a maiden retirement from Snipper – well played. Ed managed to lift the run-rate towards the end but time got the better of the Quokkas, falling 30-odd runs short of the Seymours total.
    Nonetheless, it was a top-quality effort from all of the Quokkas against a team that could have run away with it but instead found themselves in a genuine contest.
    The quality of their team may have been due to them thinking they were playing "Melbourne"....

    The quality of their team may have been due to them thinking they were playing “Melbourne”….

    Well done to all the Quokkas who made the journey up the freeway – the Seymours team had a great day out and are keen for a return match, and it was a top afternoon for all concerned.

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