Ramsden Street Oval
The Big Picture:
It’s the last game of the 2010s for the Quokkas, with the boys in maroon looking to end the decade victoriously, or at least with a few laughs.
A quick browse of the 201011 season folder on my computer revealed little in the way of stats, but I did find a photo of Pup and the Big Dog.
In all, that’s what we’re all about; giving people a go and bringing people together through the medium of pub-grade cricket. It’s been quite a journey over the last ten years, but more on that another time.
For now, its all about getting this Sundays game organised and executed with as close to eleven “players” as possible. And having some fun.
Incidentally, many thanks to the 101 friends / family / passers by to line up for us over the last ten years. It’s been fun and I think we’ve created some smiles.
A quick look at the “Rainbow Hotel” folder on this very site indicates that we haven’t beaten this weeks oppo for many years, with yours truly bowling one of my special many-ball overs, and hitting the winning runs the last time we did beat them.
There you go, sometimes strange things happen when giving everyone a go.
The Quokkas have been in unprecedented form (weirdly coinciding with my unavailability), knocking over The Clyde Hotel with relative ease in the last match – losing only 1 wicket in the chase in fact.
Thanks to J Rod for representing the true Quokka spirit.
In the Spotlight:
As two of the founders of the Club, its probably about time Ed and The Big Dog got a bit of publicity.
THE DOG is in career-best form with the bat, having creamed 58 runs in his 2 innings so far off only 61 balls. Both innings have also been not outs. If he were to start a band, it’d be called The Foundations.
In addition to this, he is on 598 career YPCA runs, so needs only 2 to be the third player to score 600 runs or more. He has also taken 47 YPCA wickets at 22, which works out to be nearly 5 wickets per season or 0.72 per match.
This will also be his 91st total appearance for The Quokkas, ten more than the clubs second-highest wicket taker; Ed.
One of two players to have scored more than 1,100 runs (G’day Dutchy), Ed has a YPCA batting average of 39.46, a high score of 58* and 27 not outs to boot. He always talks down his footwork, but with 89 fours and 33 sixes, an even 50% of his runs come from boundaries; so there may not be too much movement there. Ed is not out in 49% of his innings.
Our “offie” has also snared 46 YPCA wickets at 18, and is equal for most catches on 25 (G’day Tuesday) with an impressive average of 0.43 catches per match. Ed is also 3rd for run outs / stumpings (5) behind Radar (12) and Curto (6).
After having a list as swollen as a belt after Christmas lunch, the numbers are down this week and we have just the ten available at the time of writing. Jay is Captaining though, which almost mean at least 14% more fun and entertainment, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we have 20 ins by Sunday morning.
Pitch and Conditions:
Ramsden Street is a personal favourite and I was moved but unsurprised when it was renamed Revsden by the local council in recognition of my sporting achievements there.
Its looking like a cool morning with a top of 22, so it should be rather pleasant out there.
Stats and Trivia:
From Captain Dutchy….
That time of the season had come again. An annual dark period with some still in therapy re flashbacks of J-Rod’s opening stint in 2018. But this year, surely would be different. During the off season they had recruited well as the Draught looking favourably upon them. With more wins than losses and much vim and even vigour surely 2019 BDNO could see the lads show some pluck.
I had been dragooned into captaincy and formulated a rather simple plan. If we could make the opposition score less than us we were a mathematical possibility.
Our first game was against the Rose and we bowled first. On Albert Crescent it’s normally a four/six fest and the only way i could see us with a chance was to bowl full and outside off. Systems had been put in place during the week to ensure the Peel Nightclub was shut and so Ami was available to take the new ball and did not disappoint with a great over of near yorkers. Snipper followed suit and managed three much sought after dot balls (there were only ten for the inning). Special kept the the theme going and we had them at 0/21 off 18 deliveries.
Pete started with a dot ball but then the Legside boundary saw a few. Jay steadied the ship and the mood was good. Sizzle sent some fizzing bombs down and in four balls had 1-for-3 with a lightning stumping from the Quokkas weapon behind the stumps, Radar. Big shout out to the guy in the gloves as he has made us spin bowlers, plus Ed, look really good. Pup kept it tight and Ed came back well after a couple got away.
It was time to ‘bring on the Dawg’ and he didn’t disappoint conceding six straight singles. I then finished proceeding with 1/5 (catch to Radar) and we had actually done it! Kept an opponent to 84 runs. Only nine boundaries. On Albert Crescent. Outstanding.
Time to bat and thoughts of previous quokka collapses were pushed out of mind. In the end we got there comfortably in the eighth over with only five batters needed
(Me – 20 off 9, Ed – 20 off 15, 25 off 13, 5 off 7 and Jay 18 off 9).
New territory as we now had to play a second game on BDNO, only the second(?) time in a decade of trying. Unfortunately for us we were to face the Dan. All 73 of them. Strange for a team that turned up with six a couple of times during the season… But all we had to do was execute the same plan.
And after Ami and Snipper had bowled the first two it was looking promising, conceding only a boundary each. But then the floodgates opened with Pup the only wicket taker and the rest of us getting pummelled with a further 21 boundaries peppering the North Fitzroy passers by.
144 was the target.
Ed and Radar strode out with Ed returning shortly after a runout with seven next to his name. Radar and Snipper retired with 23 off 13 and 21 off 9 respectively. We were in with a shot but the Dan’s bowling improved and the runs were harder to get. Jay couldn’t keep his strong form with the willow going and got a donut and Pup, Special, Sizzle, myself and Big Dog could only add another thirty runs off thirty deliveries for a total of 85. The same as our winning score the first game.
It was small consolation that the Dan went on to win the Cup and I honestly think we could have been in with a show against other teams.
At this point i think it is worth highlighting Ed. He did the majority of work to put this great day together (over many days in the lead up), ably assisted by Kathleen.
In summary a good day and something to build on in 2019/20…
It’s obvious to me now the reason we lost the second game was simple. Council’s boorish licensing laws stated that the Bar could not open until 11:30am. How are finely tuned athletes supposed to play under the oppression of Local Government,
an organisation too distracted by ‘Way-finding Workshops, Ferret Outplacement Programs and Adopt-an-Alaskan initiatives to see the plight of the common man/woman/etc???
Its just not cricket!
I’m writing a stern letter to the Green Guide…
Ramsden Street Oval, Clifton Hill
The Big Picture:
The last game of 2018 brings with it a sense of optimism for The Quokkas, having made an unparalleled start to the season, as well as playing with a previously missing sense of vim and vigor.
The Old Bar are a fantastic club and mighty strong with the good side of the force. We are still living off the sweet bread earned through selling an SUVs bootload of tinnies to them 2 years ago.
On top of being powerful smashers of cans, they are also a great group and I can’t think of a better team to wrap the cricketing year up against.
How things have changed. With 3 games completed this season, The Quokkas have already won 2 games. Thankfully the tour match followed the traditional path or I’d be getting truly worried about changes afoot. I mean, what next; dogs and cats living together?
It should also be noted that The Quokkas have bowled their opposition out in both wins, with new recruits often starring.
In the Spotlight:
I recently learned that a new Avengers movie is coming out next year, which would be exciting if there wasn’t a superhero returning to the cricket field this Sunday. That’s right dear reader, J Rod is back.
While he may not wear his jocks on the outside, or at all, or run particularly fast, or at all – the master of napping whilst still standing returns.
Recent parenting responsibilities have seen the great man slip to 6th for all time Quokka appearances (and he now has Pup biting at his heels), his pick-and-mix bowling style and big hitting is always in demand.
Along with J Rod is another returning player who will be well received is Snipper. While an Engineering degree can be considered a baby that requires parenting, it probably requires less nappy changes than a human child. I dunno, you’ll have to ask Snipper.
Anyway, he’s back.
As for our other games this season, we start the week with a squad that resembles David Boon in the latter part of his career; bulging. Also, scoring runs.
This, aspirational attendance, happened in the last game too, though we only had 9 on the field until almost drinks, so who knows.
The team, at the time of writing, is:
Pitch and Conditions:
We finish off 2018 at arguably our favourite ground; Ramsden Street Oval. With a soft outfield and a public barbecue on site (!), Ramsden is easier to play on than a cabbage patch and a simple place to host a match; which we are doing this week.
The forecast at the time of writing is for 22 degrees with a possibility of thunderstorms, so if we do get a game up it should be nice and, like a good chowder; clammy.
Stats and Trivia:
Now I become death, destroyer of worlds:
Alphington Park, Vere Street, Alphington
January 14, 2018
The Big Picture:
A very happy new year to all. With a new year comes new hopes and, inevitably, failed resolutions. And so it is with The Quokkas, who managed to win 3 of their 5 games at the end of 2017 and so go into 2018 with a new – perhaps temporary – confidence.
The Quokkas ended 2017 in hitherto unknown form; holding catches, scoring (lots of) runs and taking wickets. Much like working on the Death Star, it was pretty fun at the time but you definitely got the feeling it wouldn’t end well.
The Royston are something of an unknown entity as the Quokkas have never played them before. That means little for The Quokkas as they get beaten by unknowns, as well as knowns, regularly.
The Quokkas have already started 2018 with an impromptu game against the VBCA to assist them with some practice ahead of the All Abilities Carnival. The game was a loss for the Quokkas, but that is hardly the point.
A scan of The Quokkas results from this looks more like morse code than anything else:
In the Spotlight:
It’s been a long-time coming, but the co-founder of the Quokkas; Skip, will be making his debut for the Australian team this weekend.
Originally flown over for back up for Ben Stokes, the Skipper has been released by the ECB as it seems the role of drunken larrikin has already been filled within the team. Also, he couldn’t punch his way out of a wet paper bag.
Not sighted by the Aussie Quokka lads since his majestic Century at Galles Test Ground (that’s right), we are all looking forward to a big knock from Skip here.
The ebbs and fortunes of team selection continue this week as we don’t have 14 available at the start of the week, which could be dicey as all the ‘reserve’ players have all ended up going into the starting 11 by game day so far this season.
The XI at the time of writing is:
Pitch and Conditions:
Alphington Park is a Quokka favorite. Seemingly permanently soft, flat and green outfields, a picturesque white pavilion and a car park almost a safe distance from the middle (thanks Dutchy for “adjusting” my Subaru).
We are expecting an English Summers day on Sunday; a few clouds and a top of 23, so it should be a cracker.
Stats and Trivia:
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.
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.
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.
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?!?”
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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:
Congratulations to all the winners and thanks to everyone present and otherwise for a great season. Here’s looking forward to 2017/18!
Match Facts: November 20, 2016, Nerrena Cricket Club
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:
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