• IMG_0186It seems that the resident Quokka media-darling and parental-leave expoert, The Phantom, can’t let 2 young children stop him from getting in the public eye, this time scooping headlines as part of Melbourne Cup week.

    No long face on him!

  • Match Facts

    Sunday, October 19, Alfred Crescent Start Time 1pm (AEST)

    Big Picture

    Another big summer of cricket commences this weekend for The Quokkas, who have had a much lower-key off season than in recent seasons.  They can only hope that this results in a better start than in recent times, the last two seasons commenced with big interstate losses in Tasmania (to The Royal Oak Hotel) and in South Australia (to The Heapsgood XI).

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    Happy Memories from South Australia

    The usual mix of retirements and disappearences have occurred in the off season, with some new and old faces returning too.  Of the new bunch, Snipper and Chef show real promise and even commitment, which will be handy given the packed schedule ahead.

    Of the familiar faces, Radars return from the USA is a real boon for the Quokkas, given he can open the batting and the bowling and is just a really good bloke in general.

    The schedule itself will see the Quokkas compete in (at least) 12 matches, including 4 non-YPCA games.

    In all, it’s a big season ahead and it kicks off this weekend against the YPCA new (and unknown) boys; The Terminus.

    Form Guide

    Quokkas: LLWLL

    The Terminus: n/a

    In the Spotlight

    Radar is Captain in this, his first game back in the mighty Maroon.  Unseen for a year while smashing ear drums and realities all over the USA, the bowler in tight denim has been right into pre-season; throwing down unplayable leggies, screaming seamers and destroying the odd car or two with the one that goes OVER the net.

    With the need for more players, especially younger ones, more dire than ever; Snipper is a welcome addition.  Unfairly, he seems able to bat, bowl and field.  AND his girlfriend bakes fresh scones.  It’s all a bit unfair really.

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    Snipper

    Team News

    The late mail is that The Phantom and Lonely unavailable due to parenting requirements.  We are hoping that Don (the Big Dogs mate) will be able to make it though and that “Is Don, is good”.

    Quokkas XI (probable):

    1. Robbo
    2. Local
    3. Snipper
    4. Radar (c)
    5. Big Dog
    6. Ed
    7. Rev
    8. Chef
    9. Emu
    10. Curto (w/k)
    11. Don

    Pitch and Conditions

    The last time the Quokkas graced Alfred Crescent local was the semi-finals of the Big Day Not Out in which The Phantoms bowling was pogo-d all over the neighbourhood.

    It’s also the ground where, under Radar’s captaincy (and Rowdy’s 87* off 23), the Quokkas hit over 260 runs in a 25-over match.  Aside from the memories of the run-fiesta, this ground is a favourite of the Maroon army due to its central location & for having a playground that small children can be locked in for hours.

    The lackadaisical streakers are always a treat too.

    Never with this result, though

    Never with this result, though

    Sunday is expected to be a dry 28 degrees, so similar to the run-fest of 2012, though without the Quiet man.

    Stats and Trivia

    • This will be The Big Dogs 33rd match for The Quokkas, quite fitting given his Irish accent;
    • Ed (366 runs) is marginally behind Dutchy (369) in regards to total runs, with the Dutchman out with Bread and Butter Pudding related illness, this is “Le Coqs” big chance to move to 2nd on the all-time runs list;
    • Radars statistics are quite binary: 12 matches, 11 innings, 112 runs, 11 fours and 1 six

    Quotes

    “The last time I played (baseball) at JL Murphy Reserve it ended in a bench clearing brawl and a member of the opposition subsequently being charged with assault. Any correlation between this event and my prior pitch decking the batter is purely coincidental”

    -Dutchy

  • And so another season of un-entertaining cricket for the Victorian (Labour in Vain) Quokkas was crowned with an entertaining evening of celebration in the manner only known as THE GOWNLOWS.

    Taking up residence in the Grace Darling Hotel, the second-oldest pub in Melbourne, in the very room in which the Collingwood Football Club was formed, the Quokkas celebrated their own recent season with a count of the votes given, match reports read and awards presented for outstanding efforts.

    Highlights of the season were also observed, including the $5,000 raised for charity (Kickstart for Kids and the McGrath Foundation), the match against the Victorian Blind Cricket Association and of course the match against The Pinnacle Hotel (our win!).

    Joe “Lonely” Miller-Norman ended up taking out the Best & Fairest Award on a count back, after initially polling the same number of votes as Pup, though receiving more 3 votes for the games he played in.

    Bad luck to Pup, though he has years to exact revenge.

    Bad luck also to Ed, who now has to listen to Lonely bang on about this win, as well as the “Mighty Teal“.

    Other winners for the evening included:

    • Most Runs AND Most Wickets: Ed
    • Best Player at the Big Day Not Out: Robbo
    • Worst Player at the Big Day Not Out: Phantom (also picked up the award for the most runs against in an over; 28)
    • The Sledgehammer Award for Sensitivity: J Rod
    • The Zoe Goss Award for being dismissed by a female: Emu
    • The J Rod Death Bowling Award: Curto (for being hit for 14 runs off 3 balls to lose the game with an over left)
    • The Bruce Reid Award for Batting: The Rev

    Thanks everyone for a great season, here’s looking to season 2014/15.

  • Season 2013/14 has been a good one for the Quokkas, if not the most rewarding.  Our match against the Victorian Blind Cricket Association (VBCA) on Sunday went a long way to remedying that previously ungraspable feeling of reward, though not from the perspective of getting a win.

    Arriving at the picturesque & compact grounds, the Quokkas were introduced to the different ball (complete with bell on the inside) & took the opportunity for a few trial overs, before being introduced to the other team and the rules.

    For the uninformed, the basic outline was as follows:

    • A 30 overs-per-innings game;
    • LBW would be included;
    • Batsmen retire on reaching 30;
    • Each run scored by a VBCA player counted for 2;
    • VBCA players had to be caught out twice to be dismissed in this way; and
    • The ball had to be bowled underarm & bounce in the bowlers half of the pitch.

    There were some other rules but the famous Quokka level of concentration kicked in by this time.

    A coin was tossed & The Rev, captain for the day, called truly if not convincingly.  The coin was a “special edition” mint & he was really unsure which side actually was “Tails” as both sides had heads on them.

    There is a sternly worded letter being penned to the mint, don’t you worry.

    Regardless, The Rev chose to bat & put an order together as unconvincing as his calling.  Having had some experience with the format, Cupsy was chosen to open with Shotgun, who was due some time in the middle.

    Shotgun was obviously unaware of what had transpired (ref: Quokka concentration levels) & had settled in nicely on the sideline when Rev asked him why he wasn’t heading out to the middle.

    The Quokkas resident media darling, Ed, had been told that he was batting at 11 and should therefore make himself useful and help out in the commentary box.  Yes, the game was broadcast to real people over the radio.  Another Quokka first.

    The opening pair got off to a steady start, averaging 4 an over before Shotgun managed to conjure his own dismissal from the most unlikely of sources against a blind team; caught & bowled.

    Cupsy decided to really get into the spirit of the game & donned a pair of sight restricting goggles, which paid dividends shortly afterwards as he was bowled through the gate.

    Phantom and Pup began to work on their tans and defensive strokes before heckles from the Quokka faithful woke Pup from his slumber & he started to hit out.

    It was during this frenzy that Pup hit a 4 (one of only 5 for the innings), managing to evade the VBCA’s ridiculously good boundary sweeper; “Rocket” Wilson, who must have saved 100 runs for the day while showing the Quokkas how fielding could be done.

    Youthful exuberance eventually got the better of Pup, who was out LBW (another Quokka first) 2 short of the retirement score.

    The Phantom followed Pup back to the sheds 2 balls later after making 23 off 50 balls in 53 minutes.  Never before has the gain of 23 runs cost so many friendships.

    The collapse continued after The Phantoms much celebrated dismissal with Local also falling LBW soon afterwards to the dangerous Montesanti who claimed 2 wickets & was economical with 9 runs coming off his 3 overs.

    This brought J Rod and the Big Dog to the crease who had been worked themselves up into a lather after enduring The Phantoms innings.  The run rate soon leapt, with 38 runs smashed in the next 5 overs before J Rod joined the increasing membership of the “out LBW” club with 19 runs off as many balls.

    The Big Dog was in his element, as expected.  After playing the Hurling slog for over 30 matches for The Quokkas (while taking particular advantage of the no-LBW rule in the pub league), “The Dog” was pouncing on anything that didn’t bounce, flicking to leg & fine leg repeatedly.

    Dutchy, whose name annoyingly autocorrects to “Duchy” on my computer, smashed a quick 14 before retiring himself out to let his captain get a bad.  There are worse ways to earn B&F votes.

    Big Dog soon hit his retirement score & brought Emu to the crease after he had spent the majority of the afternoon to this point in the air conditioned comfort of the broadcasting room, arguably doing his best work at a cricket ground to date (no mean feat).

    The Rev also defied his career to date & had the highest strike rate of the team while also running 2’s, before retiring to let Ed have a bat in the last over.

    The innings total of 153 was impressive, particularly when considering the early stone-walling tactics & collapse.

    After enjoying a lovely spread that was generously put on by the VBCA and particularly enjoying the sledging dished out by the VBCAs players towards Emu (“have you ever played cricket before?” etc), The Quokkas went out to field & promptly fell asleep on their feet.

    It was as notable as it was damming that the most active & alert fieldsman on the day was J Rod.

    Local and Pup took the new ball, which wasn’t really new, while the Quokkas tried to remember where they should be standing in the field (again, ref: Quokka concentration).

    While the Quokkas were relatively comforted by their score of 153, the opening partnership had made it to 62 without loss by the 2nd ball of the 11th over when “Rocket” reached his retirement score and drinks were called.

    It is true that many of the fielders were wearing goggles that impacted their sight to different degrees, and Emu did leave the field to take his place back with the commentary team, but their collective efforts were so flat footed that even a Podiatrist couldn’t have helped.

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    Pup and Emu modelling the goggles

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    The Rev went to the in-form bowler of the moment, Shotgun, who responded well to having been previously hit for the only 6 of the day to claim another first; a Quokka wicket taken LBW.

    This triggered a collapse of sorts, with Cupsy and J Rod managing to roll a few into the stumps & Pup pulling off an amazing run out; deflecting his throw off his father and into the stumps.

    The VBCAs captain Peter Loh was nearing his retirement score after some lusty blows through leg (it’s reassuring to see left handers playing the same way in all leagues) but he was undone by a combination of the Quokka fieldsmen eventually waking up.

    Some amazing catches were taken by Cupsy, Phantom and Shotgun – though the rules of the match stated that VBCA players had to be caught out twice to be dismissed in this manner, so the batsmen had  a reprieve.  Still, this put putting pressure on the batsman, leading Loh to charge The Phantom, enabling The Rev to execute a consistently unconvincing run out.

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    Quokka pressure. It could create diamonds in mere billions of years.

    The required run rate was now getting away from the VBCA & the Quokkas were now well and truly awake, with run outs executed soon afterwards by Shotgun and Dutchy, and Local rapping the innings up by bowling the heavy-hitting Ben Peacock through the gate.

    While the game was like many of the other Quokka matches of the season in its closeness, it differed obviously in that the men in Maroon came out victors.  More differently still though, was the absolute feeling of reward gained from experiencing another form of this great game & sharing that with some equally great people.

    Here’s to the rematch.

  • Fairlea West oval is a new ground to the likes of Pub Cricket and it was a nice deck near a mental asylum. Having awoken at 9:00 to the text from Rev saying I had to find two players, I was feeling the pressure of captaincy, Kim Hughes style.

    With Phantom getting his British mate, Alex (Beano) in and Pup shrugging off injury, added to Local making his debut; we had an XI. Ed and Dutchy started off well, with Dutchy powering an unbeaten 30. I would later make it a 26.  Ed pushed then pounded, hitting some great shots…which when straight to fielders, but by Drinks had an unbeaten 31. Local came and went, his rustiness proving tough to shake. Phantom was hardly sighted, J-Rod was elevated up the order. He watched Emu get bowled by a quality inswinger. I began to feel the pressure of captaincy, Alastair Cook style.
    Alex (Beano) combined with J-rod and pounded a Flintoff-esque 27. Big Dog came and went searching for the big hit. J-rod was out on a handy 17 which included a well struck heaving six, leaving Pup facing the death over. Being on strike for 5 balls Pup made 17 lifting our total to 153. I was a smallish ground and we were about 15 runs short. It was interesting to note that 4 players in their team were newbies unaware of the no-LBW rule and as I umpired and continually waved LBW appeals away (Dutchy, Ed, Local were main offenders, and Big Dog of course) these blokes must have thought I was an @rsehole. That was pressure, Kevin Pietersen style.
    Big Dog opened our cause after another quality Dutchie Bike BBQ. The dog created 2 great chances, unfortunately the captain had not put a fielder where they landed! Robbo bowled very well without result. Local came on to bowl quality off peg line and Alex Beano also bowled well. With wickets hard to come by eventually sharp fielding yielding a run out, then Ed tossed down a vicious zooter like delivery, which gave new wicket keeper Emu his first stumping of the day. Battered arm and shaved head Pup came on to bowl some old school swing.
    Pitched up and shaping, he would end with figures of 1/8 off 3 overs. with some 12 runs to defend off 18 balls, I turned to Shotgun and J-Rod. Shotgun had bowled superbly capturing 3/15 with a wicket maiden in there. Approaching the last over it was still a run a ball stuff, and I was feeling the pressure of captaincy. Luckily, a sky ball popped up to long on, and as captain all I could do was run 40 metres at full tilt, make perfect position, fingers up and take a perfect coaching manual catch. Of course, I could have always left it to Robbo, who would have to have taken three steps for the same result.
    Down to last, an unfortunate overthrow gifted them a boundary and the Funf boys grated through with 6 balls to spare. I am happy that we took last years BDNO champions all the way. Of course, we were missing Rev, so we will beat them in the finals.

     

    Play of the day: Pups 5 balls  (0,4,5,4,4)
    Emufarm
  • It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we were all going direct to the Labour in Vain, we were all going direct the other way to the Prince Patrick, it was sunny, it was stormy, it was 25 degrees, it was 15 degrees, it was Ed’s six, it was Mo’s pushups, it was Canty’s chambray, it was Emu’s mohawk, it was Dutchy’s tanty, it was Curto’s lack of a mid on, it was pub cricket at its best, it was pub cricket at its worst.
    It begins, as it is with all things, with the Creator. The reason for being. The Reverend.
    And Curto.
    Their opening partnership looked strong. Curto shouted, Rev ran. Boundaries were hit, a platform was built. The sun was shining. All was well with the world.
    Ignoring all before him, The Rev focused on those he could not see, namely keeper and slip. Repeatedly he took forth the edge of his bat and cleft them in twain. This reverse attack tactic could never last long however, and soon a trademark ‘leave’ toed to first slip marked the end of his on-field contribution (14).
    Joined at the crease by the perfectly-coiffured Emu, the scoreboard ticked over nicely until Curto (15) fell foul of a full toss bringing the score to 46 for 2. Curto silently made note of this tactic for later in the day.
    It is heartening to see what the love of a good woman can do for a chap. Emu looked rejuvenated by promises of betrothal from Mademoiselle Mu and raced to 31 while Canty could only stand and admire.
    Gladys swung like the silver fox he is but could only manage 10. Phantom added a certain 27-year-old English medium pace bowler to his long list of English cricketing comparisons by not walking when the ball hit his elbow, but then tried to swat a straight one and left on 7.
    Meanwhile, Canty had his collar popped for the occasion however and had no intention of going anywhere, especially anywhere near the strikers end. He ensured the scorers rarely had to deviate from the binary system and was fittingly dismissed on 11.
    At 94 for 5 our early platform looked in jeopardy. Rowdy, on who’s Atlassian shoulders so many Quokkas innings had been propped up, put the pressure back on with some big hitting. Despite racing to 14, his ‘go big or go home’ strategy soon saw him home.
    Mo carried on where Rowdy left off and some muscular shots led some to question his relationship with the Essendon medical team. Newly married J-Rod, perhaps showing what too much love from a good woman can do, chipped a flaccid shot to mid off for 1.
    Big Dog started strong but the tempting waft from the barbeque proved too much as he departed on 3 from as many balls.
    With 8 men back in the shed and the score at 111 (which no doubt delighted Canty) it didn’t look good. What we needed was something out of left field and that was exactly what we got. Ed emerged from the toilets still clutching his little master and proceeded to slap it all over the place. Three fours and a six over cover prompting Platoon-like celebrations and talk of a book sequel.
    As Mo’s peptides ran low he headed back to the pavilion on 13, Emu returned to accompany Ed for the final 2 overs. Sensing a man looking after his average, The Prince Patrick brought the field in and kept Emu down to a few singles.
    With the Quokkas finishing on a competitive 149, it was time for Dutchy’s bicycle barbeque and Ed’s attempt at food poison with a $10 bag of snags.
    And so to the field… a freshly pepped Mo took the new ball and along with Rowdy & Dutchy gave the PP little opportunity to score. With the batsmen hungry for runs, the early introduction of Big Dog’s pastry treats was too much for one to bear, charging down the wicket leaving Gladys an easy stumping. 17 -1.
    Gladys was in on the action again in the next over with J-Rod attracting the edge and being thankful one of the few Quokka keepers able to take such tricky catches was behind the stumps. 26 – 2.
    Enter the PP captain and Ed’s muse, Jeremy. Emu’s decision to move Curto from cover to slip saw his first ball lobbed safely up to cover. Subsequent dropped catches by Dutchy & Ed (trying to attract the attentions of Man City scouts by bringing the ball down beautifully on his chest) meant opportunities to send their big hitter back early went begging.
    Always preferring to see wickets fall from his own bowling, Ed redeemed himself thanks to another stumping from Gladys. The cricket gods were clearly unhappy however, venting their displeasure with weather uglier than a Mortimer inseminated Tasmanian. Time for drinks.
    With the gods sated with cans of Melbourne Bitter and the smoke of exotic herbs, play soggily resumed with the PP on 71-3.
    Another 40 runs with no wickets meant the PP had 2 retirees, one enabled by square leg umpire Strawbs’ double vision, but Gladys’ catch from Big Dog meant the game was going to go down to the roach. Glady’s had now been involved in all 4 wickets, but kindly no-one mentioned the captain’s field set exclusively for catches in front of square.
    Clearly useful in a casino, Ed’s score updates informed all that the PP needed 14 of 12. Pressure on.
    Mo was feeling pressure of his own as he rang up his 1000th push up while Curto took what everyone assumed would be the second to last over. Let’s just hope any deliveries he’s involved in in the near future go rather more smoothly.
    Recalling his own dismissal he attempted a similar ‘full’ ball but was a smidgen (6ft) too high. Wild thing indeed. 11 from 12.
    Fielding downwind of the umpire’s intoxicating waft clearly affected J-Rod who, after being labelled as ‘Quokka’s best fielder’ by someone else who must have been breathing the same air, casually set about proving them wrong.
    A 6 closely followed by a 4 saw the pressure evaporate, and another single saw the PP home and (mostly) dry. The Quokkas team left wondering what might have been and whether Curto was lamenting more the loss of his mid on or his mind.
    What might have been then infact was, with the PP closed and the Labour never more open, Ed took full advantage of Kathleen’s absence to snuggle up to Jeremy on the warm deck (see photo).
    The Loving Couple

    The Loving Couple

  • The King is dead; Long live the King

    And so, onto Adelaide for our second interstate tour. It was a new season and hopes were unrealistically high. Would we be able to put on a show with just one net session behind us and lacking our star batsmen Rowdy, Gladys & Emu? The answer…a resounding no.

    We fielded first and after a reasonable bowling performance (in spite of some sluggish fielding) we were set a gettable total to chase. Some fairly ordinary shot selection and kamikaze running between the wickets meant we never got close. The upside? Two new stars with the bat coming in at 10 and 11. J-Rod shocked the world with his first career 6 and Pup came of age with dancing footwork and a flashing blade.

    Our hosts manned the BBQ and kept the esky full whilst we headed out to field in the hot South Australian sun. A decision that was largely defined by Dutchy getting stuck in Horsham and waiting for alternative transport. With the team kit safely in the stranded van Big Dog and Piper had a morning shopping trip to Rebel Sports to pick up some new stumps. Ed and Phantom literally mucked in and displayed their resourcefulness by shovelling mulch in to secure the stumps and we were underway.

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    Phantom, Ed, Rev, Morts and Shotgun in front of the Adelaide Botanical Gardens before the match. This was the most idyllic image for the next 24 hours.

    Two early wickets had us sitting pretty until the wildcard Dan Healy came in at number 4. Ed had been working on some new sledges although bagging the former pro footy player for getting delisted after 38 AFL games does seem a little rich from the man who last graced the footy field at centre half forward for the Manchester Mosquitos.

    The fence was cleared several times to bring up a a retirement on 42 and captain Big Dog showed there is no place for nepotism at the Quokkas as Pup was called on to bowl with the former Saint in full flight. We limited runs at times but lost our way in the mid afternoon heat and the score continued to rack up. Robbo and J-Rod had a busy day fetching the ball from beyond the legside boundary though only Cupsy had his homecoming ruined by having one end up in the Torrens off his bowling.

    On the batting front Robbo continued his form of last season and was out twice (including his free hit) in the first over. Curto gave us an early display of his Stuart Broad impression by refusing to go until Rev put the finger up even though Curto seemed to be the only one who thought he hadn’t hit it.

    Ed and Dutchy threatened briefly before Big Dog came in and ran Dutchy out trying to hide at the non-striker’s end. Shotgun returned the favour calling the Dog through for a single that was never there. Biggest surprise of the day was the two most volatile members of the team staying calm despite their calamitous run out dismissals.

    The collapse continued though the Phantom was unlucky to go to a blinding slip catch from opposition captain Howie. Down to the last pair and not even close to the total, the tail end had the freedom to chance their arm. J-Rod made the best of the short boundary and will spend the rest of the season reminding us about it.

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    The Phantom, seen here barefoot, cracking cover drives after lunch at Chateau Tanunda.
    Unfortunately, this occurred on the day BEFORE the match.

    Into his fourth season with the club this was the innings where the young Pup came of age. Like his namesake plundering test attacks he went from being unable to pierce the infield with his junior bat not so long ago to standing tall and cracking boundaries. For teammates, the similarity to Rowdy didn’t end there with Ed asking Pup to be sure to let him know if he ever wanted to offer an opinion on anything. A new batting star for the new season.  Hopefully he can keep the batting order afloat until Max is ready to don the pads.

    We rounded off the day with a super meal at the Jasmin Indian restaurant and added to their signed bat collection from touring cricket teams with a presentation of our own version. Easily the highlight of the tour was the replacement of the 1984-85 West Indies touring team bat in the display case by the 2013 touring Quokkas.

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    Quokka tour bat on display, not sure what the “Australian Ashes Winning Team” bat to its left is.

    A big thanks to Howie and our hosts for organising and well done to everyone for contributing to the charity fundraising effort which resulted in over $2,600 being raised for the very worthy www.kickstartforkids.com.au

   

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