• The reeling rhythms of a Riverdance céilí pulsated over the turf of the Alfred Crescent oval to set a cheerful tempo for the inaugural mixed pub league game between The Old Bar and the Quokkas. Even before a ball was bowled, there was a victory for diversity in pub league cricket with 6 females participating for the Quokkas and 7 for the Old Bar.

    Though it was offensively hot, the Quokkas innings was even-tempered with a credible opening partnership between Vibs and Ren. Vibs powered her way to 25 before retiring and Ren played a smart innings, displaying varied stroke-play for her highest Quokkas score of 17.

    Karly was unlucky to get stumped and Cat also went cheaply getting herself run out backing up (in order to give others a go). Eliza cracked 8 singles – also a career best score.

    Next in was the resilient Fiona who, despite being virtually blind after an operation on both eyes two days earlier, defied medical advice in order to play her first match in a decade or so.

    Our opposition fielded many female first timers, many just learning the art of bowling. Dutchy poked a few singles with the near sightless Fiona, heroically holding up an end until lunch.

    At the break the Quokkas totalled 4-95 off 20, and both teams were treated to “a delicious range of food with amazing salad” – Big Dog. Jigs and folk tunes continued to throb out of the adjacent Irish Festival and in the much less Irish heat the beer esky needed replenishing to keep up with the collective thirst of the players.

    It took a bit of motivation to get going again but then the Old Bar innings was hectic. Vibs opened the bowling and swung the new ball more than a taped tennis ball, and then had to be removed from the attack because she was unplayable.

    There was a moment of romance when Rev celebrated with Ren after taking a fine catch off her bowling. This caused some distress to Vibs, who needed reassurance that pashing was not a team custom.

    Another highlight was Rens spectacular overhead running catch, or more accurately, a footy-style mark to the chest –slightly more painful with a cricket ball but effective nonetheless.

    There was a respectful pause in play to mark the occasion of the naked cyclists’ procession through Edinburgh gardens, after which early drinks were called with the Old Bar on just 18. The Old Bar opted to let their female players bat twice allowing for an unequivocal victory for mixed cricket.

  • From Captain J Rod…

    On a warm summer Sunday, the Quokkas arrived at the VBCA ground with high hopes of redeeming ourselves from last years crushing defeat. With most of the state representatives on tour, we were expecting a more dominant performance over the opposition. With Rev braving the air-conditioned commentary box, the rest of the Quokkas walked slowly out to the pitch.

    The VBCA got off to a great start, with a number of overthrows conceded, while the Quokkas got used to the bounce, or lack of, on the ball. With adjusted rules where wides and no balls are two runs, the VBCA were going along at a decent run-rate. Wickets were hard to come by until Eliza came on and had an instant impact taking a peg.

    We kept rolling through the overs, and with  the last ball of the innings J Rod had his first wicket of the season with a questionable umpiring call. But we’ll take it.

    We came off for a cool drink with a short turnout for out batting innings.

    With the VBCA short of fielders, Rev came out the air conditioned commentary box to help them out. With Snipper and Eliza facing the first 4 overs, we got off to a slow start. Snipper completely blind not being able to get bat on ball until…

    …wait for it…

    …a sweep shot to short leg where Rev took one of the best catches ever seen from a Quokka.

    That might not be saying much, but it was a catch Boonie would be proud of.


    Please take in what you have just read about Rev’s catch. With his modesty it may be the last time it is ever mentioned.

    Back to the game. After the first 4 overs, we were in negative territory and it only got slightly better from there. One of the highlights with the batting was a comment one of the VBCA made about Cat’s tapping of the bat. He said it sounded like a proper cricketer.

    As we rolled slowly through the final overs, Rev and Ren had a duel which could only end badly for Rev. We finished the innings with some big hitting from Dutchy with a little help from JRod, but it was all too little too late.

    The Quokkas could only manage 63. VBCA won 34 runs.

  • From Captain Alex…

    Things that happened.

    Lots of people dropped out. Maybe 5,6, or 7 people. That’s ok. 

    This meant that James Gow stepped in. As did Ren. As did cousin/God son Sean Scales. As did Simon ‘Slow Dancer’ Okely and this bloke Jaime was supposed to but he got home at 5:30am so he didn’t. Actually we still expected him to turn up, so I placed him last in the batting order. He didn’t. Luckily Rev was back from picking up the kids so he stepped in. Simon was pretty hungover. I asked him to play at 1am that morning. He and I were drinking whisky and I was singing bad harmony to his new songs. Simon hadn’t played cricket before. But Simon has this new go-get’em/up-for-whatevs/I-Ching attitude so he gone done did it anyway. 

    In the AM I received several phone calls and text messages about the rain. Yes it was going to rain on and off all day. Would the cricket be affected? Yes it would. The Rainbow dudes said they were willing to turn up and try for a result. So we did the same. It was raining pretty hard in Fitzroy on arrival. It was actually quite depressing. There was a strong, icey wind a-blowin’ and I felt quite guilty about asking Sean, Simon and James to play. They didn’t seem to mind, “we don’t mind” they said. JAMES ASKED HIS PARTNER MIRANDA TO MARRY HIM THE NIGHT BEFORE AND SHE SAID YES AND HE STILL CAME TO PLAY CRICKET FOR US HE IS A LEGEND. I was pretty hungry and it was still raining hard so I decided that we should eat some dim sims and wait for the rain to pass. That we did and that it did. 

    Simon had never batted before. That comes as no surprise to you as I wrote earlier that he hasn’t played cricket before. That in mind I had him open the batting with me. Why did I open with myself? I guess I had some lofty notion of leading by example and so on. Why did I open with Simon? I felt personally responsible for his good time and wanted to do my best to provide it. I provided it with positive comments from the other end of the pitch. Simon didn’t know how do put pads on. That was pretty funny and also understandable. Sean Was batting 5th but was padded up on arrival and was receiving throw downs before Simon and I. That was cool and funny. Simon and I did pretty good but probably lost the match for the Quokkas. Because we didn’t score quick enough. I hit lots of good cut shots directly to fielders. Simon missed the ball a bit because he hadn’t batted before. Eventually Simon hit some great shots including a ‘4’. With the blessing of the Rainbow’s captain, Simon and I planned to retire pre 30 (we were on approx 20) so as to give someone else a shot and having a good time and also maybe scoring heaps of runs quickly resulting in victory. I threw my wicket. Simon retired. I don’t remember much about the game after this as I started thinking about my life. My new album for instance. Is it gonna be respected by my peers? How am I gonna pay for mastering and marketing? I also thought about this great girl I’ve been seeing and then I got sad because she is pretty hot and cold and she was cold that day. I also thought about the bike the Dutchy generously gave me. How long has it been since I’ve cycled? How do you do it? I know that saying says that once you’ve learnt you can’t forget but some times saying are incorrect. Like the saying – “Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough or rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful”. That’s not true. Think about those who died violent deaths after a life time of suffering and so on. I got to thinking about Centrelink too. 

    This is what I remember happening even though I wasn’t really concentrating – 

    Sean came in. He has played district cricket. I don’t know that that means but the way James said it gave me in the impression that district cricket is and impressive level o quality. My intuition was proven correct. Sean gifted us cricket card (and or poster) quality stroke after stroke. His technique wowed us. He wasn’t hitting the ball very hard though. Once again, pub cricket frustrates the best equipped. What else happened. Oh yeah. The star of the day. Ed. Ed hit some awesome cricket shots. He made 32 off 14. He tried his best to help us win. Which we did not. In the end. Win. Jay hit some nice shots too. He was dropped a few times and almost got bowled a couple of times but made the most of his 9 lives with a score of 15. Dutch came in and did what he had to do. Hit the ball hard with his batt. He made a quick and needed 10 runs. Res, Nick, Big Dog and James Gow also contributed with the bat. They played good shots and ran hard and tried their best. For that we are grateful. It was raining a fair bit during this time so credit to those who endured. It reminded me of a film Jay and I are yet to make titled ‘Warnie In The Trenches’.

    As mentioned Jaime didn’t turn up.

    Luckily Rev arrived with his cute kids. Rev batted great and made 10. Rev also bowled very well later in the match. I probably should have given him a vote. Sorry Rev. 

    Sad Rev

    Sad Rev

    Then we drank more beers. 

    Then practiced catching. 

    Then we went out to field. 

    James and Jay opened. 

    I’m getting bored. 

    Lets just say everyone bowled well. Jay, Rev, and Ed bowled especially well. I bowled pretty good. Sean’s second over was unreal. 

    Ed caught the first dude. Then the second dude. Then the third dude but that didn’t count on account of it being a free hit so he decided to run him out instead. Then Ed caught the fourth dude. Simon took a great catch in his new jacket.

    jacket

    Artists impression of Slow Dancers jacket

    Big Dog’s second over was good too. Listen everyone bowled great. Dutchy kept well. One dude stepped back onto his own wicket. He seemed disappointed so Nick shouted “Life is like the ocean. It can be calm or still, and rough or rigid, but in the end, it is always beautiful”. This didn’t seem to help because he was still out on account of walking into his stumps which is truly depressing. 

    We had a break when it started raining again. 

    Also, we fielded one person down. That didn’t help. Thanks Jaime.

    We got close. The spirit was correct. Everyone seemed to have a good time despite the weather. We needed to get 3 wickets prior to them scoring 40 runs. We didn’t. 

    Thanks Big Dog for the salads. Saul for the bbq. Ed for the food. James for the Dim Sims. 

    Sorry if someone did something note worthy which I haven’t included. 

    Nb. I have not, and will not check for spelling and grammar errors.

  • Sunday 15th January 2017 saw the Quokkas take on Asylum Seekers Resource Centre in what has now become a highly anticipated annual fixture.

    With the Quokkas on BBQ duty and batting first, Local courageously faced up to 2017’s most fearsome opening over to date. Four balls later the pads were off and he was firing up the BBQ. Ed joined Big Dog at the crease and after 5 overs they were dug in like an Alabama tick with a run rate which projected an innings total of about 17.

    Alabama Tick

    Alabama Tick

    Big Dog eventually fell for 11 after seeing off the nastiest of the bowlers and Ed set about rectifying the mostly binary scorecard by unleashing a flurry of boundaries off the back foot, retiring unbeaten on 27.

    Dutchy came to the crease and bludgeoned 27 from 14 with support from Rania who was eventually run out at the non-striker’s for 2. Nick A-W didn’t put a foot wrong and kept the score ticking over, retiring unbeaten on 20, and it began to seem as if a competitive total wasn’t completely out of the question.

    With J-Rod at the crease a run-fest ensued as he belted an unbeaten 32 from 14 balls. However, with simultaneous retirements for J-Rod and Nick A-W the innings came to a screeching halt.

    The Captain’s (middle stump) knock(ed out of the ground) unfortunately saw the Quokkas worm plateau just prior to which Rev ran down the pitch and covered the most ground for a dot ball in the history of cricket.

    A large amount of running for no reason

    A large amount of running for no reason

    As the innings wrapped up with Rev and Tuesday unbeaten on 5 and 4 respectively it looked to be a tough total to defend with the Quokkas limping to 129 off the 20 overs.

    ???

    ???

    Rumour had it that some of the ASRC players were keen to wrap the match up and head down to the MCG, so you didn’t need to be Hari Seldon to predict what was to come…

    Boundaries. Lots and lots of boundaries. Most of them found their way to the fence, or over it, via J-Rod who had replaced Tuesday at deep mid-wicket (perhaps 2017’s most disastrous captaining oversight) however some cleared the rope so comprehensively, as in Jay’s second over which went for 17, that fielding was simply made redundant.

    The highlight was Rania’s over which claimed 50% of the wickets taken and resulted in the team’s best figures of 1/6.

    Somewhere around the 14th over the Captain had to find a way to relieve J-Rod of his fielding position while preferably avoiding the obligatory criticism from Dutchy for reactionary field changes… “So alright J-Rod, time for a bowl.”

    Somebody, maybe Bid Dog, yelled out “bring the field up, save the single” and, as the captain was trying to comprehend why in blazers we would do that, the ball once again sailed over the boundary at mid-wicket and, seemingly out of nowhere, that was the end of the match.

    As it turned out, the ASRC had good reason to steamroll the Quokkas in a hurry as Pakistan pulled off their first win at the MCG in 32 years. Congrats Pakistan and the ASRC!

  • From Captain Jay…
    O dim delicious heaven of dreams-
    The land of boyhood’s dewey glow-
    Again I hear your torrent streams
    Through purple gorge and valley flow,
    Whilst fresh the mountian breezes blow.
    Above the air smites sharp and clear-
    The silent lucid spring it chills
    But underneath, move warm amidst
    The bases of the hills.
     
    – Joh O’Donnell (1837-1874)
    Gippsland is a curious place. It looks like Ireland; every place is named with a nod to Mother Ireland and much like our QCC, the Irish-Australian folk willfully attempt cricket.
    After several country lattes (premix bourbon and cokes) and an inner urban hunt for some match balls, the splendid site that is Nerrena Recreation ground rolled up from the hills to meet Radar’s 2005 Mazda 3 like a cricketing mirage.Picture perfect, a lush outfield and solid locals on the lawn.
    Nerrena’s captain ‘Irish’ Brian and I met at the center where QCC suffered the first lost toss of the year (0/1).
    Sensing the Quokkas wished to bat first due to widespread, general and overwhelming fitness concerns Brian kindly sent the Quokkas out for a bowl.
    Nick Name AW was tossed the new ball.
    The captain favoring his late, subtle swing, solid line and wanton pace in these conditions.
    Determined to run a competitive and tight field, captain, bowler and catcher (Ed) were rewarded just 5 balls into the innings with the scalp of Nerrena’s captain –  Big ‘Irish’ Brian –  a duck off 4 tightly held balls.
    This was the start we were after. Sun is shining, catches being held, fielding is at times inspirational. T’is was happy Quokkas.
    Ed (caught Dutchy – behind) and Big Dog (catch at short cover by Nick) struck in quick succession..
    Then came the retirements, 4 in all.. (scores of 38 and 39) followed by a few guys that just wanted a walk in the sun before retiring – rotating the batting in a great gesture of sportsmanship from the Nerrena 11.
    Some excellent bowling from Nick, Local, Ed, Big Dog, and Rev and some tight fielding left the Quokkas with little reward at drinks.. 3/91
    Post drinks, Nerrena with batsman in the shed had begun to stride out before Big Dog (QCC’s in form strike bowler) and local (put’n on the pace) struck, followed by some pressure from Tuesday QCC slowed Nerrena to a mere trickle before the end of their innings.
    Nerrena – 5/166
    F.O.W – Possibly tells the story best;
    1/1, 2/33, 3/37, 4/150, 5/161
    Fielding/Bowling  – Special Mentions:
    Big Dog: Brought on as strike bowler with immediate success in both spells. In form bowler of the season so far, great flight!
    Rev: Managing to get under a sky ball, miss it entirely and knock himself out in the process. (Glad the neck is better now mate! )
    Nick AW: Inspired positivity, and fielding at short cover – Kept QCC spirits up all day (Especially between 2/37 and 4/150).
    With some serious health concerns over Rev’s fielding fall the opening batting position was left open.
    After some general avoiding of eye contact from most in the QCC Local stepped up and took the bull by the.. rib eye.
    Local combined with Radar to get QCC off to the start it needed!
    Local 17/7
    Radar 10/10
    Shano then tried to steady the ship for an over but was eventually caught – Bowlin 6/12
    After a perfect start (1/26) this was now familiar QCC territory (3/37).
    Tuesday and Jay (C) took a vow to hold the fort which resulted in some test match like batting from the pair as they put on 40 odd runs at a steady rate.
    On 25 Tuesday, generally bored of watching the ball on to the bat tried to unsuccessfully put a yorker into the bass straight (62km away). It was 4/90
    Jay missing Tuesday’s company played on off his thigh.. now 4/92.
    Dutchy, Alex, Ed, Cat and Big Dog tried in vain to bail the water but the ship was sinking..
    Good tight bowling/fielding from Nerenna did the Quokkas in on this occasion.
    Restricting QCC to a slower than required run rate Nerrena held QCC to end on 8/145.
    The Country folk rolled us again!
    Great day in the sun in a beautiful part of the world. 
    Cricket was the winner today (and Nerrena) 
    Local 17/7
    Radar 10/10
    Bowlin 6/12
    Tuesday 25 / 31
    Jay 16/22
    Dutchy 8/9
    Alex 5/7
    Cat 3/14
    Nick 3/6
    Ed 12/12*
    Big Dog 8/8*
     
    * Not Out
  • From Captain Ed…

    It was the week before Christmas, in the Yarra Pub League…..

    That was a far as I got before the little Chef on my shoulder reminded me it would never be near his poetry. So instead, as I’ve been at a VCAT panel, the match report will be in a series of statements.

    Case – Quokkas versus The Rose Hotel

    The Bowling:

    1 – Conditions, as always were perfect at Alphington, except for the 10 quokkas present, which meant for the first time ever I was excited to see the Rev turn up at last minute to help us out. This lasted 2minutes to when Jack, aka Nimble, (credit – J.Rayner) also answered the SOS and became Quokka #70.

    2 – Shane opened the bowling and then once he finished told me he couldn’t see, which explains why he bowled better than ever.

    3 – Nick built himself a shanty town at backward point

    4 – The Rev took 2 catches and a wicket. Keen not to be outdone, Nimble also took a catch and a wicket and as was pointed out to the captain was doing something with the ball, “turning it” I believe is the phrase. Nimble let a catch bounce before him, to which Dutchy welcomed him to the Quokkas. This statement was retracted when he hit the stumps from 50m side on, on the return throw.

    5 – The captain was hit for some say the biggest 6 off a quokka, 84m onto the roof of the rooms. See attached image. It must be noted the bowler brought the field in prior to this ball thinking the guy couldn’t bat….

    Editors note: Image does not convey that the ball was 3 stories up at its peak

    Editors note: Image does not convey that the ball was 3 stories up at its peak

    6 – At Drinks the Rose we 101 (7.77runs/over), however only managed to get to 175 at the end of their innings. Captains tactic of eliminating the post drinks slump worked. Predrinks….Captains tactic of not utilizing a deep mid wicket didn’t work.

    7 – Quokkas held 7 catches!

    8 – Big Dog had the best bowling figures (3 overs 2/14) by an Irishman in the Pub League since Paddy O’Igotsmackedagain in the infamous 1986/87 summer where the league banned steel cans, eskies on the field, Darryl Summers and upped the price of beer to 50cents.

    The Batting

    1 – Nick A-W got out to the Rose’s Big Dog impersonator for 4 and then claimed the Rose had no bowlers. His opening partner Jay guided us to drinks with a solid 35 from 37 balls, providing the back bone for Snippers 30 retired, Dutchy’s 26 and 23 from 14balls from Radar, who continues to deny his age by loving score sin the twenties.

    2 – 45 required from Tuesday and myself from the last 5 overs which we decided to make harder with airswings, refusing to hit boundaries and more two’s than the day I spent confined to my room in Sri Lanka.

    3 – Not all was lost though as Tuesday, who already had his man of the match Harley parked at the ground was facing the last over with 17 required.

    4 – Last over 2 – 2 – 6 – 0 – 2…..6 to win of the last ball

    5 – Rose wins by 4 runs, Tuesday a gallant 28n.o, still got the bike and joins the didn’t win it off the last ball club with me and Dutchy.

    6 – Loss mitigated by plates of wedges, chips and salt’n’vinegar onion rings at the Rose

  • From Captain Local…

    When I was 17 years old I caught a coach service from Melbourne to Townsville. Somewhere in the never-ending blackness of the third night I had a dream that I was a ghost and that the bus I was on was somehow a tiny fragment of rock which was all that remained of Alderaan; and together we were spinning through the void in a kind of endlessly repeating scream of horror in the second after the Deathstar had blown the entire planet to smithereens.

    Sometimes I remember that dream when Rev bowls an over.

    Thankfully, on a dull day of restless wind and heat-mad flies at Fairfield Oval against the Curtain Hotel, Rev produced the finest spell I have yet seen him bowl, sending down two near-perfect overs of line and length thunderbolts that were – for me – the highlight of the Quokkas fielding effort.

    Yes, the highlight.

    The Curtain, or ‘Beefies’ as they are known (possibly humorously) enjoyed the goodwill of the Quokkas field and set us a target of 190 or something similarly absurd.

    Like Ernest Shackleton rowing – in desperation or madness or both – across the endless bitterness of the Southern Ocean, we began our chase with a determination to achieve against the odds.

    J-Rod opened reluctantly, and yet repaid the faith – or bullying – of his captain by smashing the ball to various points on and over the boundary, often with a casual insouciance that was as surprised as the rest of us to be used in a description of his batting.

    With this laissez-faire flair from the opener came a renewed sense of ambition in the hearts of the Quokkas. Perhaps. Or it may have just been the captain who felt it. Who knows, it may have simply been the lunchtime sausages.Whatever the case, the ambition was for a victory that seemed unlikely an hour earlier when the Quokkas had just dropped their 67th catch of the afternoon.

    However.

    The death of ambition is a quiet cut that lays bare your hollow bones. It comes inevitably on a slow, grey afternoon amid the heat and tiny flies.

    Chef batted with courage and power, and without thought, which is when he bats best. Dutchy scored some inevitable runs. Rev attempted a last-wicket something, and attempted it well.

    Alas. Like the doomed people with no weapons on the peaceful planet that has just come into range of the most powerful weapon the Galaxy has ever known, the Quokkas were never going to end up as anything more than space dust.

    “Fire when ready”

    Congratulations to the Curtain, they played well, and thanks to Big Dog for making the Captains speech in my late absence. I am now 4 from 4 and can only accept that the blame must squarely fall on the playing group’s refusal to adhere to my instructions regarding the Nu-Metal theme. Next time gentlemen, next time.

  • Coming off a close win two weeks before, returning to Fortress Quokka and a much nicer day than the arctic winds experienced the previous game, Quokkas tails were up like Tiger Woods on tour. Electing to bat by default, vibrant (I work for govt) opening pair of Ed and Big Dog got the innings underway. Slow and steady scoring built a solid platform before the Dog was unceremoniously bowled for 19. Ed picked up the pace before losing his next partner in JRod who had half convinced the Captain pre-game that the law of averages demanded he never bat top 3. Consider this captain convinced!

    A handy retirement for Ed at 31 could lead to votes for the Tasmanian Pirate Man.

    Enter Nickname who pounded away in Bill Clinton intern style with a quick fire 26 before being caught behind without a reach around. Meanwhile some Gow called Alex had strode to the crease and proceeded to craic on at lightning pace. Very un-Quokka-like display of crafted shot after shot. Backfooted cover drives reaching the boundary – the lot! 32 off 19 deliveries no less.

    Enter the human volcano Dutchy who quickly raced to 29 off 14 AND Quokkas tails positively hard by this point.  Captain’s apology to Local who really should have been batting instead of Dutchy but due to Local sunbaking out the back with his formidable white skin rendering him invisible to this Captain.

    Captain’s log – pre-game injury had forced the withdrawl of Cookem up Chef. By all reports, even though he didn’t step onto the field in anger, many many runs were scored with consistent backend play:/ Yowsers!

    Total of 181 allowed us all to enjoy the fine burgers during the break.

    Local (suddenly visible) opened up from the end we always bowl from and started with a tidy 2 run over. Tuesday followed suit with another tidy over and  ‘Nice – here we go’ thought the Captain, ‘my first win at the helm coming up’. Old Bar boys Blair and George had other ideas, blasting 34 off 12 and 32 off 13 respectively. Dilshan, Cuss and Andy picked up from where they left off and we were staring at 108 at drinks!

    Beer is the natural fluid choice of the Quokka and after refreshments, the Dog had his first wicket on second delivery. A Riccardo-esque celebratory beer in shoe display left no Quokka wondering how questionable hygienic choices may have led to his dengue fever contraction over the Winter months. Further wickets to Alex, Dutchy and Ed combined with some great Siddlish JRod bowling (5 runs conceded from 2 overs) gave the Quokkas a chance, but in the end Old Bar boys ran away with the spoon with 2.5 overs to spare.

    All in all though a fun day against a good bunch of guys and we look forward to our next game against them. Next up – we get our deliverance on in Nerrenna. Yee Ha!

    Finally  – A Fast Fact

    Our Don 99.94% batting average

    Their Don 99.94% grope ‘o’ pussy average

  • To play or not to play, a question being asked by Quokka minds on the morning of October 23rd?

    The weather conditions created doubts, posing a curious blend of excitement and apathy at the prospect of the new season and one’s desire to not leave the room. Together these forces merged into a Sunday morning mix of confident uncertainty. No uncertainty went into the design of the Ramsden St Oval and its efficient drainage meant we were good to go.

    As Visitors, the Quokkas took to the field braving an icy southerly wind and set about the task of taking ten wickets on one of earth’s coldest cricketing spring Sundays.

    And a good start it was!

    Opening with a maiden, Tuesday and Bowl’en were keeping tight lines and broke through in the third over for the first wicket of the season. Yet as the match settled through the early overs, a sharp start from the Quokkas was being undone by dropped catches and the growing confidence of the opposition batsmen, a sign of how momentum would shift from team to team throughout the day.

    Snipper with the early catch

    Snipper with the early catch

    Quokkas were keeping Terminus scoring down with tight bowling and solid fielding, and had a few dropped catches been held, would’ve been well on top at the first drinks break. Instead, The Terminus were only two down at drinks, the second being a seductive and mysterious Big DogDutchy combo getting the batsman caught behind. Following drinks, any concerns of earlier promise ebbing away were allayed as the Quokkas took four wickets in four overs. Beginning with a great Chef catch deep on the mid-off boundary from the captains bowling, Snipper, Rev and Ed came in and excelled with their bowling and catching, such action it was! Picturesque, poetic, profound, these middle to late overs redefined such terms. The Quokkas had had kept them down and yet the Terminus continued pushing and once again seemed to take the momentum until some Tuesday fielding magic created a runout and led the Quokkas on to get all ten wickets with no retirees and a few overs to spare, oh yes.

    B. Rev C. Big Dog You'd feel pretty unlucky

    B. Rev C. Big Dog
    You’d feel pretty unlucky

    Lunch break and The Terminus all out for 142.

    The Quokkas were confident going into the chase and batted with a relaxed enthusiasm displaying the first round nature of the fixture.  Whilst many were showing promise, none of the top order were able to take control of the target. Jay played some sweet shots before getting caught behind for 16 and Local was seeming to slot into a groove before being run out for 12. The Terminus were holding their catches, affecting run-outs, the Quokkas were six wickets down and needing over ninety runs to win at drinks!

    Needing over ninety and with only four wickets in hand, a Quokkas victory was an unlikely prospect. Discussion referred to a good bowling and fielding performance we could learn from and a range of other cliches to put a positive spin on an inconsistent and disappointing performance. Such thoughts were not in the mind of the Big Dog who stood bravely in the cold sunshine knocking singles to mid wicket or behind point, frustrating the bowlers and inching towards the target. Some quick fire hitting from the Chef brought a distant target into vague view and then Snipper came in and seized upon the platform established by Big Dog. With Snipper hitting boundaries and Big Dog joining in on the act, the vague target became real and when Big Dog retired the quokkas needed a run a ball off the last three overs. it’s getting pretty dang breathless by this stage and we’re all over the place in our minds and so on. Not really but you know what i’m getting at. Geez i have to say that big dog was really good, a perfect example of taking your time and playing to your strengths and the situation, (i was out caught for one in a pretty dingus and shabby performance i must say) and folks are watching on the boundary and whatnot. there was feelings everywhere, emotion was visually manifest in the shape of the icy wind giving the Rev dropsy and causing my gout to whinny up my nodules none too funny. cat comes in and helps snipper step closer towards the target, it’s pretty edgy – the game is poised, it’s on the edge of a nanoknife! Cat and Snipper had some tight moments yet stuck fast and needing three off the last delivery to win Snipper hits a six over mid wicket for an outstanding victory, crowd goes wild, courteous professional styled touching and expressions of affection and overall agreement that yes i said yes and what a good day it was.

    The man of the hour

    The man of the hour

  • Social cricket is not something you do for financial rewards. In fact, if you took the average length of a game (approximately 6-8 hours) and applied a decent hourly rate, you’d see that it was actually costing you cash. Particularly on Sunday rates. The rewards you get from standing in the field under the blazing Sri Lankan sun are also something that don’t naturally reveal themselves, but lo, they are there.

    After a game of social cricket you are left with the memories of taken or dropped catches, runs made or conceded, the weather, the teas and those you played the game with and against.

    The challenge of competing, as a hastily-drawn-together group, over a prolonged period in tough circumstances against far superior opposition is something that (in the words of Jeremiah Springfield) “embiggens the smallest man”.

    embiggens

    Peak Quokka

    The second, and final, match of the Quokkas tour of Sri Lanka brought them to Galle international stadium, a beautiful ground whose cricketing status and history was somewhat grander than what the Quokkas deserved.

    It is fair to say the Quokkas arriving at Galle were more than a little overwhelmed. After all, the last visiting team to play there was the Australian Test Squad, with evidence of their footy tipping results on display to prove it.

    Incidentally, it seems Shaun Marsh isn’t in the squad for his tipping skills either.

    For the Australian Quokkas, walking through the reception and up into a Test changing room with ice baths, a viewing deck, eating area and massage table made a fair change from their normal ground arrival; which normally incorporates dropping your kit bag under the tree that provides best shade while also the lowest percentage chance of being hit by a 6.

    We weren’t in Kansas, or Alfred Crescent, anymore.

    A week had past since the Quokkas had taken on the Singhalese Sports Club Academy side in Colombo, a game in which the Quokkas were so well defeated that the RSPCA could have been called to investigate abuse to animals. The team was hopeful not to repeat the punishment.

    Thankfully out tour guide Ravi had gotten in touch with the Galle Cricket Club and ensured that we would be lining up against an invitational XI and not the next Lasith Malinga.

    After using his stakeholder management skills to talk his way into the Scoreboard during the ODI match between Australia and Sri Lanka earlier in the week, Jay followed up by talking his hotel masseuse into massaging the team before the game, something that came in handy following the intense and enjoyable fielding practice at the beach the day before.

    Hard at it

    Hard at it

    It’s not all looking good while drinking beers at the beach for the Quokkas.

    So here we were, at a Test ground, in a Test change room, getting warmed up. What could possibly go wrong?

    As it turns out, quite a bit.

    Walking down the steps to the pitch, Captain of the day The Rev asked to meet his counterpart whereupon he was presented with a local man named Someone, whereupon the two Captains discussed the format for the day and exchanged pleasantries:

    “You’re Someone?”

    “Yes”

    “Someone?”

    “Yes”

    …pause…

    “So I guess afterwards you’ll be Someone that I used to know?”

    ….end of conversation.

    Wanting to make the most of the opportunity to play at Galle, The Rev asked Someone if the Quokkas could field first & Someone agreed. In fact it was their Captain, Someone.

    Back upstairs in the rooms, The Rev mustered the troops together and did a quick count of heads before heading out:

    1. Scaff: recently arrived from Singapore, on the massage table – check
    2. Cat: sporting a broken toe from the first game – check
    3. Ed: ridiculously excited – check
    4. Jay: disappearing somewhere for pain killers – check
    5. Skip: repeatedly asking what time we are starting & where the beers are – check
    6. Big Dog: looking quite pale from perhaps a curry too many & concerned about keeping his whites just so – check
    7. Alex: looking longingly at the massage table – check
    8. Ren: see Ed – check
    9. The Yak: ridiculously focussed – check
    10. Mahesh (our ringer, it wouldn’t be a Quokkas game without one): wondering what he’d volunteered for – check
    11. Rev: you don’t need to count yourself – check

    Once assembled, the team made their way down the steps and onto the field, huddled for a few insipid words from The Rev and took their positions.

    Jay, new ball in hand, took his mark and got ready to come in from the Fort End. Someone asked for middle and the umpire said “Play”. The opening over was solid and revelead that the Galle pitch actually offered something different to the Colts Cricket Club ground in Colombo; bounce.

    Jay quickly found a good line around off, not letting the batsmen get many scoring shots apart from the cut, something that would become a regular feature of the day (though not off Jay).

    The Yak was asked to share the new ball duties & came on from the Pavilion end, something he executed brilliantly from the start, slowing it down while maintaining a good line and length. Very un-Quokka-like in all; confusing the batsmen and Captain alike.

    After watching Someones batting partner in the yellow cap scratch around a bit, The Rev got ambitious and brought the field in. Almost straight away Yellow Cap clipped one off The Yak uppishly, Alex dove forward from short square leg, and the Quokkas had a wicket!

    Beach cricket may not be for the foolhardy, but it does get you used to taking catches diving forwards.

    With Jay rightfully starting to tire under the Sri Lankan sun, The Rev brought himself on, whereupon the momentum of the game changed right away. Struggling to find his radar, The Revs first two deliveries went wide and loose. One of them is still missing in the greater Galle area. Please direct all information regarding it to the local authorities.

    Artists impression of Revs bowling

    Artists impression of Revs bowling

    Changing to bowl around the stumps, The Rev was able to correct his line, but it didn’t stop Someone from taking big lunges forward, free from the perils of LBW, to slap the ball over long on.

    Wanting to keep The Yak fresh for later & invoking the lessons of Australian Cricket Captains in Sri Lanka from yore, The Rev brought Alex on for a bit of leg spin. Alex’s first 5 deliveries landed close to the pitch, frustrating the new batsman and bowler alike, before the 6th landed gently half-way down the 22-yard strip whereupon the batsman pulled it mightily – straight to Ed on the Square Leg fence.

    Thinking this was a Warne-(insert medium pacers name here)-type partnership, The Rev kept himself and Alex on for another 2 overs each, which yielded somewhere in the vicinity of 50 runs.

    Mahesh approached The Rev at one point, asking him to bowl over the wicket on an off-stump line. The Rev responded with an incredulous look and replied; “Mate, I have no idea what I’m doing here”.  Once again, Mahesh was left to wonder about his life choices.

    The only other real chance in the partnership was a caught & bowled opportunity put down by the Captain.

    At this point you could really sense the air rushing out of the Quokkas balloon, with several opportunities on the boundary being either watched or ushered through by the fielders for 4 more runs against. A special mention must go out to the Big Dog, who was keeping wicket masterfully against some real dross while also keeping his lunch down / in. Credit too to Cat, positioned at slip with a broken toe, who was often forced to chase late cuts to the boundary, which she did with vigour and without hesitation.

    At the 15th over drinks came on the field for a welcome reprieve. While it was overcast, it was still over 30 degrees celsius (we prefer to avoid Imperial entanglements) and humid.

    Wanting to bring the momentum back their way, The Rev brought on Mahesh for some line and length from the Pavillion end and Ed from the Fort end. Both bowled tight lines & few runs were scored. Like Easter, it was time for the resurrection, so the Captain brought the Scaff on for a trundle.

    Artists impression of Scaff

    Artists impression of Scaff

    The result was a mixed bag of some balls hitting good areas of the cut-strip and others not hitting it at all.

    Ed continued unchanged for 5 overs from the Fort end, a marathon effort for a pub cricketer, giving away few runs and even clean-bowling one batsman with one that actually turned. That wicket of Eds was the first chance seen for more than 10 overs and provided more of a relief than the next drinks break. As it happens, the next drinks break arrived shortly after the 25th over, with the score on approximately 200. With ten overs to go, the Quokkas were a good chance to keep the opposition under the 350 they had conceded the week before! The hunt was on….

    Not wanting to let Ed get above his station, The Rev replaced him with the Skip, having saved Skips ‘deceptively straight’ ones for the death overs. It should be noted that the Skip had spent a great deal of the match to this point in the outfield, chasing the ball to the boundary, developing a skin colour much closer to that of bacon than an Yorkshireman.

    An artists impression of Skip

    An artists impression of Skip

    The Skip took some time to adjust to not bowling too straight, finally finding an off-stump line, while developing a more reddish-hue with each over. The Rev was tempted to take him off but could see the collective frustration of fielding on the boundary for 25 overs boiling over & thought it best to just let him have a trundle.

    Having taken 2 wickets in the previous match, The Big Dog swapped the gloves with Alex and came on from the Pavilion End to baffle the batsmen with deliveries they had never seen before or are likely to see again. While expensive, a wicket did fall, giving The Big Dog 3 wickets for the tour; the most of any Quokka.

    Sensing a weakness against lack-of-pace, Ren was then brought on to replace the Dog and another wicket quickly fell after the batsman waltzed halfway up the pitch, only for Alex to whip the bails off in quick time.

    With only a matter of overs to go, the opening bowlers were brought back on (despite a mystery cry of “bring back the Rev” being heard around the ground) Jay and Yak kept a tight line and length & Jay snared a well-deserved wicket, hitting the batsman dead in front to have a rare LBW. With that, the innings was over and the Quokkas were only chasing 301 for the win from the 35 overs to come. Someone might say it was gettable.

    The innings break was an enjoyable affair, taking in the boiled chicken in the dining area of the rooms while family members made best attempts at entertaining young children in a Test dressing room & the Skip incessantly asked after cakes.

    Ed and the Big Dog opened the batting and would soon combine to produce the best opening partnership of the tour so far; 2 runs (1 wide and 1 off the bat).

    #realopeners

    #realopeners

    To be fair, the Dog was bowled by one that pitched on a length and turned in, something that a lack of practice & abundance of games for the Quokkas won’t prepare you for. Ed was lucky to survive an early LBW shout but soon settled and started scoring with shots all over the ground, nudging them about and occasionally hitting out. He was joined at the crease by the Skip in the 2nd over, not-so-fresh from bowling 5 overs unchained at the death but decidedly intent on making an impact on the game. After emulating Ed in poking the ball around a little, the Skip unleashed and hit a straight 6 down the ground, arguably the shot of the day.

    Ed eventually departed for 19 composed runs, bringing Ren to the crease. While the Colombo opposition were visibly and audibly upset at having women in the opposition team, our Galle opponents were much more relaxed. That being said, they did bring the field right in for her.

    Unsurprisingly, Ren kept out a number of overs, helped turn the strike over with Skip and even glanced a 4 to the leg side boundary before being caught behind off a jaffa.

    Rens wicket brought the powerful middle order into the game; the Yak, Jay and Alex. All of them made fine contributions and supported the Skip, who had become more of a red fountain of sweat than a man; twisted and evil.

    Yak plundered a number of boundaries and was getting his big-hitting out of second gear when he inadvertently ‘bunted’ a slower one back to the bowler, bringing Jay to the crease. Jay wasted no time at all in getting in on the cut-shot action, hitting his first ball to the boundary. His intentions were there from the start, but unfortunately they got the better of him, with a straight one eventually pegging him LBW.

    In the background, the Skip was still in, still sweating and had passed 50 runs with plenty of intent left in the tank.

    Alex came in at 7 with The Revs bat, Eds pads and Jays intentions. Hitting 4s from the start and looking to hole out to score some runs & ensure others got a go. A very Quokka-like approach and something to be admired. The Scaff then came to the crease with an approach formed at a school where boys were taught to play cricket with a high elbow and punch rocks on the ground with solid fists. Scaff helped the Skip stay on strike, while the Skip helped himself by raising his run-rate, hitting out and over the field with greater regularity. The Scaff was eventually undone by some tight bowling, bringing Cat to the crease with less than 4 overs to go and the Skip dwelling on the threshold of the 90s.

    Cat, the most skilled bat in the team, did a tidy job at keeping out the good ones and turning over the strike for the Skip on the bad ones. In classic style, she didn’t take a single off the last ball of an over, just to give Skip every chance. With the last over underway and the Skip on strike, the squad was all up on the balcony, hoping for a social cricket miracle.

    Harry, Skips eldest, had already informed us all that his Dad was the best bat in the team, though wasn’t so confident of his ability to hit a century. One hope that’s changed now. With the nurdle in full effect, the Skip got to his century and raised his bat to the air in the Galle International stadium, with seemingly un-ending applause from his team-mates.

    After that he stayed at the non-strikers end, letting Cat finish out the innings, ensuring the Quokkas batted out the allotted overs while also posting a respectable 170 off some high quality bowling.

    Mahesh stayed padded up on the balcony, still questioning his life choices.

    The Quokkas were quick to take the field and celebrate the Skip and his achievement. Skip had scored a century at Galle International stadium, and nothing could ever change that. For a club that started as a whimsical idea between the Rev and the Skip, they had just played a match in Galle with a combined team of Quokkas from the English and Australian sides. This match provided a number of memories that will stay with all involved for a long time and I’d like to thank them all for being part of it.

    – The Rev

    Galle Invitational XI 300, wickets: Jay, Alex, Yak, Ren, Big Dog

    Quokkas 170 (Skip 100*, Ed 19)

    team photo

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