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  • From Captain Local…

    Alphington Oval on a sunny afternoon is one of the prettier places to enjoy pub cricket – an irony maybe lost on the Quokkas as we experienced an ugly mauling.

    Our opponents: The Royston, a nemesis from recent years who luckily don’t mind throwing on a few jugs after the game when we inevitably get back to their pub. They’re a very decent bunch of humans – it’s just a shame that the decency doesn’t extend to not smashing you relentlessly over the fence at deep long on.

    Where to start.

    Captain Local went in to his 7th game as captain with a hope, a plan and an intact W/L ratio of 0/7. The Quokkas had offered to get pizza for the innings changeover (thank you Ray Jayner), so we batted first.

    Our openers J-Rod and Jay battled battlingly on the spread-out field, before Dutchy and Radar went to work in the overs pre-drinks, both bringing up hard-fought 30s. Boundaries were difficult to come by and all the Quokkas batsmen were made to run, except Dutchy, who was able to get over the fielders regularly.

    Coming in next, Alex wasn’t able to capitalise on recent good form unfortunately, but Ed and Local then combined for a 50-run partnership that saw them both retiring back to the pavilion at the end of the same over. A great day for Tasmania, if not necessarily for power hitting.

    What followed was definitely not a great day for Ami (who, it has to be said, had stepped in to the breach when Nimble wasn’t available and driven quite a long way to be at the ground that day – thank you Ami). Batting with The Reverend ‘yes/no/YES’ Nicholls, Ami was unhappily run out at the non-strikers end before facing a ball. A small consolation is that he is now the member of the exclusive Diamond Duck club, and a very nice trophy is coming his way.

    The remaining batsmen cycled through, which brought Dutchy back to the wicket for one last tonk, getting him to a half-century. Well done Dutchy, well batted.

    Overall, it was a better than solid batting performance, setting a total we thought could be competitive against the big-hitting Royston.

    Sadly, no.

    Ami suffered his second indignity for the day, opening the bowling with Radar and becoming the first in a long line of Quokka cannon-fodder for the afternoon, despite bowling well.

    Local shuffled the bowling options and fielding positions and was fortunate that the Quokkas found wickets regularly. Radar had an outstanding game behind the stumps and both Jay and Alex held excellent catches.

    But the Royston batting lineup was too strong and the runs kept coming. They had a number of retirees and any bowling success we had just meant that the retirees were closer to returning. Things turned unpleasant at about the 19th over when Ami was repeatedly picked out at cow corner. Unfortunately for him, the balls that were picking him out were already well over the fence when they reached him.

    Not long after that, the Royston reached the total and the game was over. Congratulations are in order for them – they played well and in great spirit. Congratulations also to all the Quokkas who played, for their spirit and good humour. It was a great afternoon despite the loss.

    Tags: ,

  • From Captain Local…

    Pub league games at Fairfield oval on a pleasantly warm day in late November are placed squarely in the column marked ‘good’ on life’s ledger.

    When they’re played against a team like the Royston and with such Quokkas at a captains disposal as we had on this day, the entry edges over to ‘excellent’.

    Another good day

    Another good day

    That’s not to say we won the game. Captain Local does not break his duck that easily. But a good game – a bloody good game – was had, and the Royston were deserved winners.

    Bowling first, the Quokkas brought the heat to bear in support of an audaciously conventional field set by Local (conventional in the normal cricketing sense. In the pub cricket sense it was optimistically heavy on off-side fielders and conspicuously light on legside boundary riders. Luckily Dutchy was there to point this out several times).

    Our bowlers were up to it however, and the Royston found boundaries hard to come by throughout the period before drinks. They still clicked along at 7 or 8 an over, but they had to run for it. They retired a couple of batsmen and both Alex and Jay took the first of their wickets.

    After the break, the Quokkas turned the screws, ripping through the middle order. Alex and Jay did the bulk of the damage, not just bowling but also catching off the other’s bowling in an outrageously courteous display. The runs kept coming though, and as the fielders tired, mistakes crept in.

    Another good day

    Speaking of courteous displays

    We hung on against some huge hitting in the last few overs – and some injudicious use of our greatest bowling weapon, Big Dog, by Captain Local – but while the Royston ended up posting a big score (219), to the Quokkas credit we bowled them all out, including their returned retirees. Jay finished with 3/7 off his three overs, which is not a bad return in any form of cricket, let alone one only slightly less batter-friendly than playing on the beach.

    The last wicket of the day featured an all-time classic Quokka catch from Sizzle, running along the forward square leg boundary to take an unbelievable one-hander right on the rope. MAGNIFICENT. It was exactly what we needed to send us in to the sheds in a positive mood.

    After an excellent bbq laid on by the Royston, our openers Ed and Special suited up to begin the chase. Showing off his full range of shots, Ed began effortlessly harvesting singles down to backward point, having survived a scare on the second ball of the innings when he was dropped at third man (this would set the tone for the Royston fielding all afternoon). Special offered support and elegant stroke play as the pair took us towards drinks and our total.

    After Ed retired and Special departed for 23, Jay, J-Rod and Sizzle all swung the bat, each making valuable contributions, but at this stage the run rate had started to climb. Dutchy and Radar then came together and lifted the Quokkas back into contention, each composing their own style of 30 in quick time.

    Alex came and went, the victim of an unfortunate run out but doing the right thing and trying to keep the score moving, before Nimble and Local came out for the eighth wicket partnership. Nimble was damaging square of the wicket and the pair ran hard, benefiting from both dropped catches and some wayward throwing.

    The last over began needing an unlikely 24 off of it, but Local got lucky and sent the first ball over the backward square leg boundary. Hope, that cruel flower, began to bloom in Quokka hearts.

    Alas, the Roys held their line and neither Local or Nimble could find anything more than ones and twos for the remainder of the over, coming up shy of the total by just 11 runs.

    Despite the loss, it was an excellent performance from the Quokkas against very high quality opposition, and a lot of credit has to go to the Royston for their win. Their big hitting in the final overs of the first innings was always going to be hard to overcome, but their hospitality after the game made losing very easy to endure.

    Speaking of easy to endure

    Speaking of easy to endure

    Congratulations to all the team from the day for the effort, especially Ed, Dutchy and Radar with the bat and Alex and Jay
    (and Sizzle!) in the field.

  • Match Facts:

    Fairfield Oval

    Cnr Heidelberg Road and Yarra Bend Road

    Fairfield

     

    Time:

    1pm

     

    The Big Picture:

    After a thumping win in the first game of the Season, the Quokkas have emerged from the seemingly haunted and overgrown forest that is Cox Oval to face the Royston Hotel at the luxurious surrounds of Fairfield.

     

    The Quokkas haven’t taken on The Royston for approximately 2 years, the last game being a close loss for the Maroons. Not all bad though, The Royston were good enough to put on an open bar when we went back to their pub.

     

    I’m not saying which shouldn’t win, but maybe we shouldn’t not not lose.

     

    Form Guide:

    Much like my year 8 music recital, my fingers are currently trembling over the keyboard as I face the unfamiliar; The Quokkas may have peaked.

     

    Victory in the last game against the Cherry Tree saw the boys in maroon smash over 200 runs in their 25 overs (including 5 retirees and one out on 29*), then bowl the opposition out for 130.

     

    Sure, there are a lot of variables not being counted here, including; it being the Cherry Trees first game, the weather being atrocious and…well, those are the main two.

     

    To be fair, the Quokkas did keep it competitive by seemingly start to drop catches competitively, but it was as concise a victory as we have ever put on and quite the change from normally being the ones on the other side of the pasting.

     

    Little is known about the Royston, though Radar and Dutchy did undertake some clandestine work last weekend to discover they are a strong batting side if a little weaker on the bowling front. Well matched teams then perhaps?

     

    Revisiting the only other score card against them shows that, batting first, we put on 164 before t hey chased that down with an over to spare. For context, that match did involve some slow batting at the start from a YPCA debutant before a vet closed things with a strike rate of 225.

    Artists impression of a YPCA debutant

    Artists impression of a YPCA debutant

     

    In the Spotlight:

    After lulling bowlers into a sense of confidence over his last 4 games, THE SIZZLE burst out of the blocks in the last match, smashing 33 off 25 balls including 3 fours and 2 sixes. Here’s to more fireworks from the man in the bluey.

     

    Team News:

    Its that magical time before Christmas, Festivals and hangovers when the squad all seems ready and able to play. As a result, the team (at this stage) is:

    1. Ed
    2. Bid Dog
    3. Dutchy
    4. Local ©
    5. Radar
    6. J Rod
    7. Alex
    8. Jay
    9. SPECIAL
    10. Sizzle
    11. VP
    12. Pete “The Animal” Sforcina

     

    Pitch and Conditions:

    Fairfield is a beautiful ground that has been much improved since the drainage was “done” at the ground. With plenty of room around the pitch, the boundaries can be set as deep or as short as the fielding teams energy allows for.

     

    We are expecting a mostly sunny day with a top of 22, so it should be a rather pleasant day out.

     

    Stats and Trivia:

    • Jay and J Rod are currently equal for YPCA wickets taken (21), though J Rod has it over the TFB for runs conceded per over (5.8 v 6.35). Insert excuses here
    • J Rods average catches per match of 0.085 really is very impressive though
    • This will be Specials 10th Quokka match in total, though he says it feels like a helluva lot more
    • This will be Dutchys 60th YPCA match for the Quokkas (his moonlighting obviously doesn’t count), he is 2nd only to The BIG DOG (63)
    • Radar is now only 2 runs off joining the 500 run club

     

     

     

     

   

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