• Evolution is a helluva thing. It isn’t simply about something changing to ensure its survival, its about something fundamentally changing, down to its DNA.

     

    The Quokka is a good example of how evolution can sometimes not play-out as you’d expect, or then again, perhaps its evolution playing out EXACTLY as you’d expect.

     

    Living on Rottnest Island without a natural predator in the world, these tiny marsupials hop about the place in a relaxed fashion that would make rastafarians look positively anxious.

     

    Without any threats whatsoever, people are not allowed to so much as feed or touch them, Quokkas have become so placid that they are (apparently) confused by changing weather conditions – with large rain falls often resulting in many of them dying from cold.

    They do get excited about Spiderman swimwear though

    They do get excited about Spiderman swimwear though

     

    With this in mind, the Victorian branch of the Quokkas Cricket Club headed to their spiritual home of Rottnest Island last weekend to take on the local “Rotto” Quokkas CC.

     

    While the Victorian Quokkas have evolved considerably as a club, developing a range of opportunities for different parts of the community to come together and have a game, they haven’t changed much in regards to Tour matches having never won a single one.

     

    More on that later.

     

    Rottnest Island itself is as beautiful a place as you will find in Australia, girt by white sandy beaches, with no cars allowed and the friendliest / most gaumless marsupials you will ever find hopping about.

    It also has a nice wind turbine that gets right up the nose of onion-eating Prime Ministers

    It also has a nice wind turbine that gets right up the nose of onion-eating Prime Ministers

     

    The local cricket ground was situated between the beach, the school and the golf course and was of a size that made postage stamps look big. Early examination of the ground led to conclusions that a big score would be needed to secure our first Tour victory.

     

    With the customary drop-outs before the game, phone calls were made and emails were sent, with Dale, Ivan, Karl and Vince being found available and willing to make up the numbers. Dale and Vince were also good enough to volunteer the fielding services of their kids, who were to later put us all to shame.

     

    Still, Radar, Ed, Big Dog, Jay, Rev and tour specialist; Cat, were all ready to fire.

     

    Jonesy, Captain of the Rotto side, pulled out all the stops in getting the ground ready. The club room sign was re-painted, the Quokka flag was flown on the flagpole, the bar was stocked and the music was pumping.

    Also, this sign

    Also, this sign

     

    Going the extra yard again, Jonesy pulled out an Australian penny (pre 1966) for the toss of the Coin, which the Rev politely lost, giving the touring Quokkas plenty of time to get used to the ground while standing in the baking West Australian sun.

     

    Not having played a game in 10 years, the local team was nervous, so The Rev decided to open up with the heavy artillery early; by bringing on the Big Dog.

     

    The tactic paid off, with the opening batsmen only hitting one boundary in The Dogs two overs, and their consternation at his deliveries being audibly heard by the fielders nearby at deep long off; “What sort of trick is this?!?”

    magic

    Much like one of the Dogs water pumping stations, the pressure was kept level by Vince and then Jay, who evolved his run-up from 38 steps to just 8 and bowled one of their openers through the gate.

     

    The excellent bowling continued, with Karl and Ian both going for not many and having the other opener unluckily given LBW by his own umpire.

     

    The rigors and pressure of the game began to show as the Rotto number 4 had to retire hurt, while their first drop retired having scored his 30 before drinks.

     

    It was this penultimate over before drinks that was telling for the visitors, with the new batsman Scotty dropped twice and managing to find the boundary twice.

     

    At 3 for 60-odd at drinks, the visiting Quokkas were overcome with that awfully stomach-cringing feeling of confidence, the kind that inevitably comes before a fall.

     

    Resuming after the welcome break, Scotty provided the Quokkas with the solid bit of granite which they normally fall on, smashing 25 convincing runs off The Rev in a punishing display that will surely see the spiritual leader put his ‘offies’ in the bin for good.

    bin

    Taking his cap from the umpire, The Rev spotted the islands ambulance on the side of the pitch and briefly felt like leaving his cricketing career in it, only to be told that it was being used to bring more beer to the bar.

     

    Well played Rotto, well played.

     

    Needing to evolve to meet the changes in the game, The Rev brought on some young blood and they immediately delivered. Ethan, and Levi bowling their self titled “pace” to dry up the runs and even claim a wicket.

     

    Ed was brought on for some of his famous death bowling, which evolved into something that worked; bringing the retirement of Scotty, a wicket and only 10 runs in 2 overs.

     

    Radar was also relieved of the gloves, which had been relatively drowned in the sweat of his success behind the stumps (he really did a cracking job) and were worn gleefully by the Dog.

    The man is an excitement machine.

    The man is an excitement machine.

     

    Radar continued his dominance, taking 2 quick wickets, though this did bring Scotty back to the middle, allowing him to belt two more sixes – bringing his total to 50 for the match and Rottos total to 166

     

    The innings break provided a welcome reprieve to the visiting Quokkas, many of them resembling the wicket-keeping gloves by this point, or perhaps evolving into some sort of jerky.

     

    Needing to beat a score of 167 off 22 overs, The Rev knew a good run rate was needed and had a lot of confidence in the players at his disposal, but more confidence in himself.

     

    The Rev is going through an evolution as a batsman, having scored 50 runs off 43 runs so far this season, so decided to open the batting. He knew that real class was needed to go with his ‘close your eyes and swing’ approach, so Cat strode out with him.

     

    The move paid off initially, with 8 runs coming off the first over before Cat faced a lifter which she had a go at, resulting in a gloved catch going to the (very) agile Sandgroper behind the stumps.

     

    This brought Ed & his beard to the crease. Ed used to be a nurdler, then evolved into a swatter & is now someone that likes lifting the ball from outside off over the fine leg boundary. He tried it on his first shot, failed, and then started fours everywhere else around the ground, including a 6 over cover.

     

    He and the Rev put on 33 in very quick time, before The Rev got impatient, playing a cut shot to Jonesy at long off, rather than into the bar.

     

    Still, only 4 overs had gone and the run rate was as healthy as a young Shane Woewoeden.

     

    Jay came to the crease and started to score immediately, he and Ed taking the score to 73 before Ed was the victim of evolution, bowled through the gate by a ten year-old.

     

    Radar managed to make it out to the middle, an admirable effort considering the work he had done so far, but wasn’t able to add much more to the scoreboard.

     

    Coming in for some badly needed drinks, the Quokkas were 4/87, with more runs than Rotto had at the same juncture for the cost of only 1 more wicket. The traditional collapse was well on track.

     

    Jay retired soon after drinks, bringing Dale and Karl to the crease. Both pushed the runs forward admirably, but were brought undone by the suddenly swinging ball. It hadn’t evolved, it was the famous Fremantle Doctor making a house call on the weekend.

     

    The Big Dog came and went for only 2 runs, but did the most Big Dog of things and walked when the umpire didn’t give him caught behind. Western Australia is a long way to drive for 2 runs, but your life can be a long one to lead in shoes you don’t feel comfortable in.

     

    Vince then came to the crease and started belting the ball to all corners, bringing up 25 in quick time but started running out of partners. The local policeman, Duncan, was the last man out there for the Quokkas (though Jay was padded up and sweating enthusiastically in the shade) in his first game of cricket ever.

     

    20 was needed off the last 2 overs, which became 16 off 1 which finished with the visiting Quokkas ending up 6 runs short of victory in a tense game that was enjoyed by all.

     

    It is funny to think that the Quokkas started as an indoor team that evolved to play outdoors against English village sides and is now helping Australian villages start their own sides, enabling visitors to learn more about this great brown land and admire the dim-witted (but cute) marsupials that roam it.

     

    Many thanks to Jonesy for organising the game and being so hospitable, the entire Rotto team for the game and Jeremy for his great work behind the bar.

     

  • For the uninitiated, I quite like statistics and I quite like Cricket. I know that this is a pairing as unbelievable as Gum and Nuts, but here you have them, together at last.

    250px-Nuts_and_Gum

    I also like The Simpsons

    What I have attempted to do here is look at the data from the games the Quokkas have played using the Yarra Pub Cricket Association (YPCA) rules to identify trends and consistencies to get a better understanding of changes in the games. None of the statistics analyzed include wins, as this is not recorded and not the point of the Quokkas at all. The data includes results from the last 6 seasons, as this is the most accurate and comprehensive data available.

    It should be noted that YPCA rules include; no LBW, no wides, retirement in the over you get to 30 runs, free hit on the first ball, dangerous balls etc.

    Coming out to Bat

    The Quokkas Cricket Club played its first game of Pub Cricket in the Summer of 2009/10 and have gone on to play over 50 Pub League games since then, as well as Big Day Not Out matches, T20 tour matches, Blind Cricket matches and even two 35-over games in Sri Lanka.

    We shouldn’t talk too much about the statistics from Sri Lanka.

    It should also be noted that the Quokkas have played games using YPCA rules against non-YPCA teams, so the number of games played and quality of opponents has varied. The YPCA games played over the last 6 seasons are as follows:

    Screen Shot 2017-07-11 at 10.03.27 am

    The Dream Team

    In its time, the Quokkas have had 67 different players represent the side, with the Big Dog on most appearances (51) and twenty one different players having appeared in 1 game only.

    pic 1

    This indicates at least two things; the level of consistency and improvement may be lower with a more varied and inexperienced team, and that players who appear more regularly really is a celebration of availability over ability (thanks to G Haigh for that one).

    Ticking like a clock, a fast clock

    One of the easiest things to look at to show performance and change over time is runs scored and runs conceded over time.

    A look at the graph below tells a story of fairly close games (excluding 2013/14), which can be self-explanatory when explained by the team chasing a score. Also impressive are the wild swings in runs for and against make our fresh air attempts look positively elegant.

    pic 2

    Again, the relative closeness of the runs for and runs against totals are probably better explained through the nature of a game in which one team chases a score, apart from our old friend 2013/14, but it does show an overall upward curve in the number of runs being scored in YPCA games.

    I would be very interested to track this against cans sold if anyone has that data.

    Looking at the average of runs scored and runs conceded per over argues this point even more starkly.

    pic 3

    So how are these runs being scored? An analysis of the % of runs scored as boundaries and the average number of boundaries hits per game tells a different story (below).

    pic 4

    The % of runs scored as boundaries has remained pretty consistent over the 6 years, sitting somewhere between 50% and 57%, despite the total number of runs scored.

    What this indicates is that The Quokkas have found ways to score more often per ball, other than just smashing it. Not very pub like.

    Like the Budget, its all about the Economy

    But hitting runs is only half the game, there is also that pesky issue of needing to bowl or stand in the field and smash cans under the sun, rather than the shade or back in the opponents pub.

    No, that has to wait.

    We’ve already had a look into the number of runs scored against and conceded per over, so understand that opposition teams are scoring more and scoring more quickly. But what does this mean in regards to wickets and the old adage about ‘putting pressure on the batsmen’? A look at the number of wickets taken per season against bowling average and the average number of wickets per match also tells an interesting story.

    pic 5

    There appears to be a direct correlation between the increase in wickets and wickets per match, which is expected. This chart also shows that where the bowling average increases, the number of wickets decreases, which is also expected.

    Perhaps the most interesting piece of data from this chart though, is that the average number of wickets per match has not really changed over time. This can be easily explained in that there are only 10 wickets that can be taken, but this doesn’t take into the retirement rule in YPCA games.

    It does suggest, though, that it doesn’t matter who bowls; wickets will fall.

    In all, the data does support the basic tenets of the game; if you bowl well, you will get wickets and go for less runs.

    Summary

    Success, if that is what you are chasing in YPCA games seems to be reliant on the ability to score more often off more balls; post a high score and put pressure on the other team.  It doesn’t matter who bowls, wickets will fall.

    Scoring more doesn’t have to be through boundaries, but minimizing dot balls.

    The ability to score more often and more quickly is increasing in the league, and it seems to be a more equal distribution of scoring among teams, given that they are all scoring more with the same number of wickets conceded. There appears to be less weak (conservative) players in the league, or perhaps they are all just wearing maroon.

    Taking wickets does not seem to be a priority in the game, though economy rates do. Getting a batsman who is struggling out to be replaced by a hitter can end up hurting you, this is particularly pertinent in regards to the return of retiring batsmen.

    It is, though, against the spirit of the game and the league.

    Scoring quickly and fielding economically, is easier said than done; particularly when you have a team made up of ring-ins who are unfamiliar with the game. Or perhaps lack of expectation and emphasis on enjoyment does help? That being said, the whole point of the Pub League is not to win games but have a go, and possibly feed a borderline unhealthy obsession with statistics.

    Play up, play up and play the game

  • May 27th is not only the 147th day of the year, for this year it also hosted the Gasometer Quokkas Best & Fairest Night; The Gownlows. While the night might not get the same media attention as other sporting awards nights, not that any come to mind, but it certainly allows us to celebrate all things Quokka cricket.

    This years night started with the MC of the night, The Big Dog, giving a detailed explanation of what went on in our Tour to Sri Lanka last season, making several of the players wish for less painful memories; a visit to the Dentist perhaps?

    With the overview done, MC Dog launched into the season review, sensibly starting with Round 1 and moving chronologically from there. Where match Captains were present, they were given the opportunity to read out their votes for each game, so long as The Rev had agreed to the votes allocated.

    MC Dog took an early lead in the votes and, much like his beloved Hawthorn Hawks, managed to hold on to win his first B&F despite late challenges from J Rod and Ed. Ed did take some consolation by winning the Most Runs award, while MC Dog also took out the Most Wickets award by pipping The Rev. Its no wonder the club only won 2 games with The Rev and Dog being the leading wicket takers.

    Other notable award winners included:

    • Best Match Report (awarded by Local): Local, Someone
    • Darragh O’Donovan Bravery Award: Nickname AW
    • Best on Tour: MC Dog (his wheelbarrow was pretty full by the end of the night)
    • Best at the Big Day Not Out: Snipper
    • Worst at the Big Day Not Out: Bowl’en and his 10 litre bag of goon
    • Biggest 6: Tuesday (scored), Ed (conceded)

    Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone present and otherwise for a great season. Here’s looking forward to 2017/18!

  • Scaff says "relax"

    Scaff says “relax”

    eggandskip

  • Match Facts: November 20, 2016, Nerrena Cricket Club

    Time: 1pm

    The Big Picture: This is The Quokkas second visit to Nerrena for a social match against the locals. Normally this would qualify as a tour game, but considering we just played 2 games in Sri Lanka, its more of a social visit.

    Still, we are looking forward to it eagerly.

    Not being a pub league game, we are playing by the standard T20 rules, which will bring the nastiness of LBWs and other ways of getting out. So unfair.

    Form Guide: The Quokkas started the season with a famous win, with Snipper hitting a 6 off the last ball to win it. They backed it up by piling on 181 runs against the Old Bar in 25 overs, only to watch their opponents chase the total with 3 overs and 3 wickets to spare. Not exactly the sort of thing that will terrorize the Nerrena batsmen as they sleep this week.

    In the Spotlight:

    Nickname AWs last innings of 26 took him to 46 total career runs, more than doubling his run tally in his previous 8 digs and showing us what he is capable of with the bat. He also averages a wicket every 4 overs, and not having taken a wicket with his last 2, is due.

    Dutchy famously scored a 49 in this fixture last year and will certainly be looking for the chance to go literally 1 better.

    Team News: The Quokkas playing stocks are plentiful this season. If only they had the ability to match their availability. Jay has been handed the Captains Jacket for this game, but only metaphorically, I have no idea where the actual Jacket is. If anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the Jack could get in touch, that’d be great.

    At the time of writing, there are 14 players available for this game:

    1. Tuesday
    2. Local
    3. Jay (c)
    4. Rev
    5. Radar
    6. Tigger
    7. Chef
    8. Cat
    9. Bowl’en
    10. Alex
    11. Nickname AW
    12. Dutchy (w/k)
    13. Ed
    14. Dog (w/k)

    We are going to rotate through the fielders to make sure everyone gets a bowl, but not everyone will get a bat. Those that have only batted once this season will get a priority.

    Pitch and Conditions: In this same match preview last year I joked about how wet and awful Gippsland is, then we were presented with sunshine, undulating hills and green countryside. It’s a beautiful spot.

    Stats & Trivia

    • Nickname AW is the leading 4 hitter for the Quokkas so far this season, with five boundaries
    • The Big Dog has the highest batting average this season (54) and has faced the highest number of balls (73), the next highest is Ed (38)
    • The mode average for balls faced this season is 17; 4 players (Rev, Dutchy, Jay and Local) have all faced that many
    • The last game v the Old Bar was certainly one for milestones, J Rod played his 30th YPCA game for the Quokkas, the Big Dog had his 60th total Quokka appearance (club record), Local had his 25th Quokka appearance
    • The last game also saw Ed get his first Century for the Quokkas, having now bowled 100.2 overs
    • Tuesdays last catch took him to 24 dismissals (catch or run outs / stumping) for The Quokkas, he is quickly closing in on Curtos record (29). His catches per match average (1.44) has daylight between him and the rest
    • Alex was a little worried about his lack of involvement in winning teams of late, but should be happy about his latest wicket; it took him out of the 11 wicket club (Mo, Radar, Robbo, Local & Snipper), which was getting a little crowded. He is the only member of the 12 wicket club.
  • Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 3.42.34 pm

  • Get out of Bed!

  •  

    SONY DSC

    Once some Jolly Quokkas camped by a Billabong, under the shade of a Coolabah tree…

    SONY DSC

    J Rod giving it some

    SONY DSC

    Cupsy ditched his leggies for mediums once the ball started being ditched into the River Torrens

    SONY DSC

    The Big Dog, wondering who he would run out next

    SONY DSC

    The Quokkas and the most hospitable Heaps Good XI

    SONY DSC

    Dutchy finding the boundary, prior to being run out by his Captain

    SONY DSC

    Ed, in all his glory

    SONY DSC

    The Phantom was finding runs through slips, until the greatest catch since Mike Veletta stopped him

    SONY DSC

    Pup, showing his elders how its done

    SONY DSC

    Shotgun, showing how everyone bar Pup does it

  • Ed, our resident off-spinner, has taken inspiration from another Ed (Ed Cowan) in deciding to write a cricket book that will only be purchased by the Quokkas.

    Right Arm Over The Fence is chronicling the Quokkas 2012/13 season with all the lows, and the high, captured along the way.

    More entertaining than our games, check it out.

    here's hoping Ed's writing is better than his illustrations

  • If it ever stops raining in blighty we might get some games in, though this year’s tour to Portugal should  provide some sun at least and hopefully an actual track to play on.

    2012 Fixtures

    With work, holidays and future Quokka childcare taking up valuable Sundays from our existing players, and with the Shandyman scheduled to defect back to his motherland mid-season, the Quokkas are on the lookout for more players for 2012. If you appreciate the social aspect of the game, can play cricket hold a bat the right way round and have a passing acknowledgement of the rules* then the Skip is after you.

    Our first Sunday game is versus the RV Strollers in Greenford this week and with no Ashes or T20 action so far this year due to inclement environmental conditions, fear of falling to the mighty Mellan from batting rustiness is high. A maiden win for the Quokkas in this fixture last year gave us a good start to the season and any opportunity to wind up the highly-strung French surely shouldn’t be missed.

    Team selection for Strollers thus far:

    • Egg
    • Skip
    • Smithers
    • Fagberg
    • Evil Dave
    • Rage
    • Gymnast
    • Tom the Yank

    We still have a few spots open on the team so contact the Skipper if you fancy a game either this weekend or later in the season here.

    *not strictly necessary

     

    EDIT: So much for the preview. Despite the nice weather this weekend, match is off due to waterlogged pitch. Bugger.

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