• Whalers CC 94 (Yak 4/15, Evil D 2/19) lost to Quokkas CC 117 (Ches 33, Faggy 24)

    I’m sure you’ve all heard of Gustave Whitehead, the German-born Connecticotian that was the first man to fly a powered plane in early 1903, right?  (Ed: Ches, are you not thinking of Wilber and Orville Wright?  Oh wow, 35 years on and I just realise the inspiration for Keith Harris’ dummy)

    Well OK, perhaps the Wright’s claim is stronger, but is that simply because it is backed up by the Smithsonian’s, fearful of having the historic flying machine removed from their museum should they ever recognise that an alternative was `capable of carrying a man under its own power in controlled flight’ before the Wrights? Who knows, but Whitehead’s problem is not just down to the might of the Smithsonian’s PR machine, it’s more attributable to there being no creditable witnesses, no drawings, no photographs and the only reports available merely suggesting that he was a romancer and a supreme master of the gentle art of lying.

    I’m inclined to tell the odd fisherman’s tale now and then myself, so in a hundred years it will be seen as fortunate that, along with The Egg, the Quokkas scorebook made a welcome return last week, otherwise there might be some doubters as to the remarkable Quokkas bowing performance on Sunday. An opposing team skittled out for 94 and The Yaks seven overs claiming four wickets for fifteen runs are the sort of pie in the sky figures that Quokkas can usually only dream of, or lie about. However, unlike Gustave’s efforts, this incredibly unimportant moment in the history of cricket has been recorded for prosperity and available for the whole world to see. Well, at least until we lose the scorebook in Bucharest during some alcohol-fuelled escape and then we will have to rely on the memories of 10 aging and very biased cricketers.

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    This ball is not round

    I was reminded of the Wright’s and Whitehead’s fight to conquer the skies by the seemingly endless aeronautical battle between plane and helicopter that took place above our heads all afternoon on Sunday. Airbus 319 was followed by Bell407, Boeing 747-8s by Marenco SKYe09s and MD-11 by Robinson R44. Why anyone attends the Farnborough International Air Show when the Kings House Sports ground hosts the most comprehensive display of in service aircraft is beyond me. As distracting or entertaining these aircraft might be (which depends on how devoid of a personal life you might have), the accompanying overhead conditions had a much greater impact on the match as a whole. Vast sways of stratus and cumulus nimbostratus, combined with the typical Londinium July temperatures helped create the perfect storm for medium paced swing bowlers. Which is something I quickly learned as I edged a ball straight in and out of their keepers’ hands in the very first over.

    No, I’ve not missed anything out here. With only five Quokkas present at the toss and an important part of my brain located somewhere in a field in Hampshire preventing me from finding a suitable excuse, I was opening the batting for the first time since 1991. Although a team of five (two batsmen, two umpires and a scorer) is ample to get the game underway, quick wickets could seriously undermine the longevity of our innings. So, with the ashes dropped, so to speak (Ed: Don’t make me laugh), I was given free reign to demonstrate my full portfolio of leaves and blocks for an extended period. As a result, it was a painfully slow start, but in Slick and I’s defence, we were facing some decent late swing bowling. Said swing eventually did for Slick when attempting to move things along. The innings of The Yak, in at a lofty three, never really took off and he sadly fell in similar fashion to Slick. Our opponents smelt blood. Thankfully by now re-enforcements had arrived, but the scorer won’t have been unduly concerned as to whether he had packed a spare pencil sharpener as next in Skip was also quickly undone by the `swing’, or as Fruiti remarked, `playing down the wrong line’.

    quokka_whaler2017_binman

    Quokka daycare opens for business

    We seemed to be hovering on the edge of the abyss, but the one run an over scoring rate was given a shot in the arm by Faggie, dispatching several over-pitched balls through cover. This encouraged me to try to get the odd ball off the square myself and between us we added fifty with little incident.

    Three dots balls in a row were more than Faggie’s patience could bear though, which led to his downfall. As skip opined that “he could get out here”,  Fagster attempted a lofted drive to a ball he would have been better off blocking. After that, wickets fell at regular intervals, before a daddy day care outing provided Snoop with a rare opportunity to strut his stuff in the middle helping us propel past the hundred mark.

    We eventually finished 117 all out, which DOC felt was about 117 runs short – we would have our work cut out.

    banana

    food for crows

    Over tea, which included the finest chicken sandwiches I’ve had in a long time, we discussed the wind tunnel tests to determine the appropriate conditions for swing bowling performed by NASA aerodynamic scientist Rabi Mehta (maximum lateral force is experienced at 112kmph with seam at 200 to the bowling direction and a backspin velocity of 11 revolutions per second, if you are asking), Jarvis Cocker’s northern authenticity, the slow emergence of Pulp and whether the total volume of 100 shots of beer was greater or less than five pints. All fascinating stuff, but with Skip correctly concerned that the crows were consuming his banana left out on the pitch, we needed to get this flying circus back in the air.

    Low scoring affairs are usually the most exciting games and we often play our part in creating such affairs. Ensuring our opponents also participate obviously relies on finding a Quokka able to bowl three or four consecutive balls with similar line and length. Without that at his disposal, Skip settled on Evil Dave and The Yak, who, fresh from two weeks of NTPA tractor pulling events looked keen drag us back into the match. As dog lovers the world over know, `Friends don’t make friends wait in the car’, but a thirty minute `sauna’ in the back of Skip’s Audi provided the perfect warm up for Evil. Fired up and ready to burn his foe, Dave proceeded to bowl a truly terrible first over. Thankfully that was not indicative of what was to come, which as it turned out was excellent line and length stuff that continuously troubled the openers. At the other end, The Yak took the pace off the ball, enabling him to provide the accuracy needed to pin down the batsman. As pressure built, wickets fell, first one (Ed: that’s how it usually starts), then a second, a third…you get the idea. At 21 for 4 we seemed to be in the driving seat, but keen to sniff out any quality batsman hiding down the order, the two completed their spells, eventually taking 6 for 34 from 14 overs between them. A simply marvellous display of bowling that had left us on the verge of victory.

    Which was all but assured when Skip grabbed the key wicket with a super delivery caught beautifully by Faggie at first slip. Skip then showed some generosity to our opponents by bringing on Faggie, but even he managed to bowl a straight delivery which had the number 8 “plumb” in front. A late rally, including the first four of the Whaler’s reply from `Special K’, kept the Quokkas on their toes, but a wicket from the equally frugal Fruiti and the killer blow from a wonderfully flighted ball from The Egg, saw the Quokkas home to a famous victory.

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    Giant Quokka seen rampaging at Heathrow!

    The drive home would now fly by, but beforehand 7-up shandies all round gave the Quokkas the chance to discuss Qantas’ inevitable sponsorship of the Rottnest tour – the airline having recently named one of its Boeing 787-9 Dreamliners after us. The opportunity to host Ronnie’s attempt on David Boon’s drinking record is bound to lift them to the upper echelons of aviation world.

    Aviation has come a long way since Clément Ader’s managed to gain significant distance, but not altitude, in his self-propelled aircraft in 1890 and the Quokkas seem to have progressed nicely too since being bowled out for 23 and losing by 236 runs during their first season. Three wins, one draw and a solitary defeat would normally be seen as very unQuokka-like, but in a season where Quokkas are flying so high they threaten to give NASA a fright (sorry Mr Ashcroft) maybe we have found our level. See all of you highflyers at Luton Airport…

  • In order to obtain the full match day experience from the Kings House Sports Ground, please play the following video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fM9eFLImpEY in the background at Spinal Tap levels whilst reading the match report. A per usual internet etiquette, words in capital letters represent SHOUTING, which should help you to hear my writing above the noise of the Heathrow air traffic.
    I don’t care what Albert Einstein, Hermann Minkowski or Dr Emmett L. Brown might have to say about the theory of relativity or the space time continuum, as you get older time seems to go faster and disappears at an ever increasing rate, unless of course you are watching yet another dour FA cup final involving Man United.

    Apparently it’s all down to the fact that timekeeping in the brain is decentralised, with different neural circuits having their own timing mechanisms for specific activities, causing our sense of time to change in different conditions – such as when we are having fun or being bored out of our brain watching Michael Carrick play yet another square pass.

    That leaves you with somewhat of a dilemma. DO YOU ACTIVELY SEEK TO BE BORED, THEREBY SLOWING TIME AND PERCEIVABLY LENGTHENING YOUR LIFE, OR DO YOU FILL WHAT LITTLE TIME YOU HAVE WITH AS MUCH FUN AS POSSIBLE, but at the cost of speeding up the sands of time? For those yet to commit to one of those two options, yesterday’s game against the Whalers offered a rare mix of both philosophies.

    For those tempted by the former, the first few overs of the match will have been most welcome, disappearing in a relative blur, with no incident or excitement to report on whatsoever. In fact absolutely nothing of note happened in the first 10 overs, other than some very solid regulation line and length bowling from Evil and Skip, who toiled away gamely against some solid, but very unexciting batting. Now, that’s all fine and dandy if you are a scorer looking for an easy life or an aging cricketer looking to extend your days through the art of time distortion, but if you are assigned to write a Quokkas match report, it’s a bloody nightmare.

    Just as I was thinking I might have to resort to unearthing actual facts and figures from the score book, Skip brought The Future on to bowl, who promptly took his first Quokka wicket with his opening delivery. OF COURSE THERE IS NOTHING REGULATION ABOUT A QUOKKA CATCH, BUT WITH CONAN BEHIND THE STUMPS IT WAS NEVER IN DOUBT, WHICH MEANT AT LONG LAST WE HAVE A GAME on our hands. Garlic bread didn’t stop there either and rather than wait to discover which Quokka had borrowed the other catching gene this week, he clean bowled the new bat. For those of us taking the boredom route to slowing down time, at this point we started to get a little nervous!

    As is so often the case, a decent start by the Quokkas is undone by an opponent that knows which way up the bat is held and it appeared they had a couple of batsman that fit that description. A leg glance followed by a cut shot are not seen all that often at our level of cricket. Neither is calling or decent running between the wickets. This combination of actual batting ability and our allergy to fielding is one that starts to cause us problems and no matter how accurate the bowling, runs flow freely. Chuck into the mix some dropped catches, fielders that have the mobility of the afore mentioned centre midfielder and pair of batters growing in confidence and you start to see a solid total emerging in front of your eyes.

    WITH FRUITI, VRESH AND THE YAK ALL BOWLING WELL, BUT HAVING LITTLE LUCK, IT WAS TIME TO GIVE THE BALL A LITTLE MORE AIR, with Skip bringing on both Mat and myself to try and tempt them into something they shouldn’t. He’s not as daft as he looks is that lad from Dronfield and Mat almost immediately grabbing himself a wicket with a ball out of Egg’s back catalogue. At this point we don’t exactly have them on the ropes, but having created some sort of time paradox, great scott Marty, and the status quo altered I join the quest for 1.21 gigawatts and grab two wickets in two balls.

    Time starts to stand still at this point as I have visions of trapping the next man in leg before with something special from the back of my hand. The hat-trick ball is a shocker though and we’re thankful of a tall fence that stops it making its way into the Thames. Short of breath and one day closer to death (Pink Floyd anyone?) my spell is over, but the damage is done and we can see the tail. Sadly that tail wagged in fine style, even when Skip went back to The Future (now tell me that’s not brilliantly done) to try and skittle them out he was hit for a few.

    SOME GOOD TIMING, THE ODD LONG HOP AND SOME QUITE TERRIBLE FIELDING HELPED ALLOW THE WHALERS TO SCORE 215 IN THE END, WHICH, WITH A SIZEABLE BOUNDARY, presented a considerable chase. Undeterred the Quokkas ensure Hillel the Elder and John Montagu’s legacy proudly continues and do everything in their powers to ensure nothing is added to the UK’s food waste mountain.

    I instantly regret those two extra Cheese and Ham numbers as the first of our wickets falls before I even had chance to find my thigh pad. That regret is compounded as the first delivery I face flies through my limited defence straight on to said thigh. Speaking of regrets, I nicked the next ball only for their keeper to drop a dolly. Could that prove costly? With wickets falling at the other end I try to put my good fortune to work by blunting a confident attack.

    With some defensive prods, favourable umpiring and numerous miss-come-leaves I prevent a domino rally type situation. For those suffering from the boundary, we have no doubt entered into another of those` time slowing down’ phases, but with Conan now with me at the crease that is never going to last long. Conan-Smash-Four-Nice-shot-Bow-Tie-Killer has a familiar ring to it and ensured the scoreboard ticked over.

    WITH HEAVY RAIN FORECAST AND THE FIRST SIGNS OF IT CAUSING BOTH CONAN AND I TO FALL FLAT ON OUR FACES A FEW TIMES, TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE FOR BOTH SIDES if there is to be a winner. UNFORTUNATELY In his efforts to lift the run rate, Conan is caught in the covers to a very fine catch. Just the ten an over needed at this point, but “well within our grasp” I am informed by Skip as he gets to the middle. His confidence in me is immediately dashed as I see out a maiden.

    After several `practices’ I eventually I do find the boundary with a nice pull shot and Skip thunders a few across the rope too. Can we win this? I can almost hear Han Solo saying “don’t get cocky kid” as a cut a ball straight into a relieved keepers hands.

    But my downfall just allowed Evil to enter the fray and he took no time at all to get his eye in, finding the gaps with consecutive blows. Game on. Satan did eventually fell on his sword, but with Skip carving the ball through midwicket and The Yak getting bat on ball it looked like we still had a shout. The opposing skipper felt the same, so decided to bring himself back on to bowl. WHICH WAS WISE AS HIS TIGHT, FULL LENGTH BOWLING COMBINED WITH THE 15 RUNS AN OVER WE WERE NOW REQUIRED proved to be just too much to overcome. But it was certainly a gallant chase. Scoring just a couple short of 200 we simply ran out of time, well, overs to be more precise, but that doesn’t fit terribly well with my well-crafted `time’ theme.

    So, a second defeat of the season for the Quokkas, but I am informed it’s the closest we have come to beating the Whalers in our history, which really isn’t saying something. With a two week break before the next encounter, we have a chance to slow things down and get away from all this bloody excitement, which should help to extend our lives a fraction. You never know it might be elongated enough to see the Quokkas actually win a game.

    Ches

  • It’s been a while since Eric Hollies’ wrist-spin googlies absolutely decimated Bradman’s batting average, but at long last we have found a new Don. We are not sure where Zoolander has been hiding him, but the Quokkas very own `Don’ burst onto the scene on Sunday with a wonderful display of measured batting and some of the slowest running between the wickets the world has ever seen. Frustrated batting partners aside, in a world increasingly tired of sports science, group hugs and on field gestures to higher beings, it was nice to just see a player get back to basics, blocking the good ones, hitting the baduns and trying at all costs not to give his wicket away cheaply.

    The match? Well, a sun drenched Kings House Sports Field in Chiswick saw witness to a marvellous, tightly contested, high quality game of cricket. Unfortunately that game wasn’t ours, it was the mixed under 13 game being played on the pitch next door. Our match with the Whalers was much more of a one-sided affair, with the Quokkas getting out in every conceivable way without troubling the Quokkas’ new expert scorer (Tom the Yank is talking about using different colour pens next time) and in some cases more than once (“those second innings runs don’t count in top trumps Ches”). Fortunately losing wickets at a steady rate meant every Quokka got a good chance to study how batting should be done by the youngsters (and The Don) and hopefully they will be better for it next time. However, my money is still on the bowlers.

    Perhaps I’m being a little harsh (some would dispute that), certainly our batting was below par, scoring just 101 on an excellent, rock hard, all be it turning pitch and fast outfield, but as is always the case with a Quokkas side, we did put up a valiant display in the field and had the opposition at 26 for 3 at one point. Inevitably we were just a few runs short (well about a hundred really), which on the upside gave us plenty of time to get back to the pub for the World Cup Final, but on the downside left us feeling a bit like Higuain…wondering what might have been if we hadn’t totally bottled it.

    Stars of the show (it wasn’t too hard to separate them from the rest) were without doubt the father and son debutants, The Don and The Kev. The Don held the batting together with a fine 27, which, if he actually had knees that worked, would easily have been a fifty. The Kev offered him some decent support, but really came into his own when thrown the ball, bowling seven overs of tight leg-spin that included the wicket of their key batsman, caught in the deep (to the relief of Ches, who’d dropped him god knows how many painful runs earlier).

    In the field The Kev seemed to be everywhere, admittedly he had to be as we were only 8 strong, but he and the likes of Connan, Slick and the Yank gave the bowlers fantastic support, making the Whalers fight for each and every run, right until the bitter end. That sentence suggests a long drawn out battle, but we’re actually only talking about 20 overs here, but we did bowl them quite slowly, so it felt like a war of attrition.

    In truth the Quokkas bowling display was quite good, with Evil Dave running in hard and causing one or two genuine problems for the openers (no, not, which side of the wicket to smash him to). His seven overs went for almost nothing and two wickets in two balls had the Quokkas surrounding the bat in expectation of a hatrick. Sadly it wasn’t to be, this time, but for a while (about an over) the pressure was really on.

    At the other end Ches, brought into the attack early after a truly awful opening over from Skip (no need to sugar coat it Ches), offered his usual array of leg-spin and loud appeals, grabbing a wicket with an absolute pie, before returning to the field (complaining about bowling uphill and against the wind) to maintain his averages. Skip then returned after his tough opening spell and this time (with the slope and wind behind him) bent his back and caused similar problems, all be it without great reward other than a very painful set of thumbs.

    Bruised fingers were very much the order of the day with the Whalers seeming to hit the ball a hell of lot harder than the Quokkas. Although perhaps this just demonstrated the willingness of the Quokkas to put their bodies on the line for pretty much no reason whatsoever.

    With The Kev tiring after a fantastic spell, on came Tom the Yank to bring new life into the attack. He quickly found his line and length (not the one all cricketers choose of course) and almost broke the partnership with his little leg cutters. With the light not fading at all because we had set such a paltry score, it was left to The Don to turn his arm over. By this time runs to defend were in short supply and sadly he, like those before him, could just not get their bloody skipper out, who eventually carried his bat and claimed the victory for the Whalers.

    After the game attention turned to the forthcoming tour (which if you haven’t signed up to already indicates that your life has taken a wrong turn somewhere) and the end of season finale, which seems to be approaching way too fast. This year promises to be an even more hotly contested game if a pitch offering me enough turn to bamboozle Faggie and Connan again can be found. Hopefully by the time of the Ashes you convicts will have found a Don of your own!

    Despite the result I enjoyed the game as much as ever and it really was great to see all the new Quokka dads so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after yet another good night’s sleep. What was the stat about fatherhood again Binman?

    See you on tour.

    Ches

    The Oval (1948)
    D.G. Bradman…………………bowled…………….. W.E. Hollies………0

    😉

  • With everyone keen for the summer to begin, the Quokkas brought much anticipation and excitement for the start of the cricket season. The weather was a bit on the colder side but this did not stop the new team members from bringing all of their visiting family and friends to Regent’s Park to view the sporting excellence that is known as the Quokkas. No pressure. Fielding practice began, went on and then finally ended even when the other team were asking “Where’s your skipper?” Finally after cursing faulty GPS’s and a couple of trips between the car to bring mountains of cakes and sandwiches for tea, the match started with the Whalers starting the batting.

    The beginning was extraordinary, as a first ball wicket was bowled by new recruit Tickets and caught at mid-on by the Skip – what a start! Things looked rosy as Evil and Tickets poured on the pressure and the wickets continued to fall. After ten overs the Whalers were 3/55, an excellent performance with some good fielding (did we really need that practice?). Casey then struck while bowling into the wind, with a questionable waist high no-ball the batsmen lightly edged into the slips, that had the Quokkas adjusting their position on sportsmanship. This was quickly forgotten as the next ball clean bowled the new Whaler and now the Quokkas were thinking hat trick (has this ever happened in quokka history?).  Nothing came of it but it was still an impressive stint on debut for Casey.

    The Whalers continued to score heavily however, despite losing wickets. It seemed that if anything was hit it would somehow make its way to the short boundary. Persistent yet high scoring bowling continued for Yak, Attack, Egg, Faggy and Hairdresser along with a couple of dropped catches along the way (maybe we did need that practice). Well done to the Whalers for persisting in batting after their initial breakdown with good scores of 71, 37*, 25*, 20 and 18 to finish on 237 after the 35 overs.

    After amazing teas (well done to everyone who helped) the Quokkas opened with Faggy and Snoop who definitely needed to get some cobwebs out of the system when calling runs. A clear LBW forced Faggy to depart with 11, while Evil (9) and Snoop were then both seen arguing at the same end forcing Snoop to walk off with 12. Short cameos from Skip (10) and Casey (13) added a few, but the highlight that is the Hairdresser kept the Quokkas afloat with a decent partnership with the Yak until slowly things dyed around him. In the end the Quokkas were all out with a respectable (but losing) 137 and Hairdresser wanting more on 54 not out.

    In summary, the new Aussie contingent brought a new force and excitement to the Quokkas that will hotly anticipated for the Quokka Ashes in September and all in all the Quokkas showed glimmers of hope at both the bowling and batting ends. Hopefully we can produce a few wins this season as more games will bring out the best in all of us.

    Bring on the next game.

  • Yes, after all the barren months the cricket season is back….. this sunday!!

    Whalers face the mighty Quokkas at Regents park. Pre-season has been tough, mentally and physically. After some impressive net performances, competition for places in the team is fierce…..

    Team for Sunday:

    • Skip
    • Egg
    • Attack
    • Snoop
    • Hairdresser
    • Faggie
    • Evil Dave
    • Casey
    • Alex P
    • Tom the Yak
    • Chris F

    1st reserves: Guru, Khurram.

    If you cannot make it on Sunday, please let Skip know asap as reserves are keen. As it is quite early in the season we want to try and start early-ish. We can then ensure we finish when it is light and not too cold?! Therefore 12:30 meet for a 1pm start (please try and be on time). If you have not played at Regents park before. It is a nice ground, we have hired a grass pitch. It is based at ‘The Hub’ which is the sports pavilion/cafe next to the zoo. Parking is on the roads around the park. Outside the circle there is free parking or it is by the meter right next to the park.

    Homemade cakes and quiche are greatly appreciated.

    Quokk’n’roll

     

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