extreme dislike of beards
The natural habitat of the Quokka is northside inner suburban Melbourne. As we have tired of our surrounds the quest has continued to find new locations to spread the quokka legend. This year’s tour game took us far from the hipsters and skinny jeans of Fitzroy to the Gippsland countryside. Stories abounded that our hosts Nerrena had the only other ex-hurler Irish cricketer playing in Victoria. Someone other than Big Dog with a single cross-batted shot and an unorthodox bowling action? That alone was worth investigating further.
The preceding week was spent with the squad oscillating from 13 down to 10 and with a couple of late additions we had 12 to play. On winning the toss our hosts decided that the decent thing was to give us the choice in any case and so it was that the Quokkas were set to bowl first. Snipper and Eliza arrived rock-star late but our hosts were happy to hold off the start. There was significant net activity and youthful exuberance by our opponents whilst the Quokka pre-match routine consisted of cracking open a few cold cans. All the warning signs were there you might say.
The innings in the field started well with Ed and Chef keeping it tight. The Nerrena captain poked and prodded to 13 as wickets fell around him. Big Dog had a bowl and that little Waterford versus Kilkenny duel ended honours even. The Quokkas rotated the bowlers and Chef, Alex, Jay and Local all picked up wickets along the way. Impressive catches for Local and Alex off steepling shots and an uncharacteristically generally attentive fielding display left us with a gettable 117 to chase on the wide expanses of the fertile Gippsland dairy paddocks.
The sun beat down with lazy sense of optimism at the innings break and all looked well in the world for the Quokkas. An early dismissal for our debutant Ian was followed by a solid partnership of 44 between Alex and Dutchy. Big Dog joined Dutchy to take the score to sitting pretty on 2/64 off 11 overs. But being the Quokkas calamity was never too far away and Big Dog, Snipper and Jay departed in the 12th over leaving us reeling.
That triple wicket maiden was the turning point from which the Quokkas never recovered. Dutchy was out for 49 and Bowl’en, Cath and Ed couldn’t quite get us there despite some lusty blows in the last few overs. The Redcaps skipper showed his versatility with a spell of death bowling to clinch victory for his side. So in this particular Irish civil war it was keeping with the pattern of history as once again black and amber ruled supreme over white and blue. Tiocfaidh ár lá.
Thanks to Brian for organising and for the whole club at Nerrena for hosting us on the day. It was a measure of the enjoyment from our side that when a return game in Melbourne was mooted one of the recently defeated Quokka batsman quickly added “stuff that, we’re coming down here again”. Big Dog retains the anti-Midas touch with a perfect record of 4 losses from 4 games as captain. Surely Winston Churchill had the Quokkas in mind when we said “Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm”.