The Quokkas 7/109 – 25 overs (Paris 19, Mark 18, Big Dog 17, Dan “Cupsy” 15) The Royal Oak 2/112 – 12 Overs (Morty 1/16, Ed 1/17, Steve 0/5, Paris 0/7)
Morty’s absence from a BBQ Breakfast at my parents was explained in a text to the Rev around 10.30am, “just got home, don’t know her name, she had tatts, love Tassie”. Not sure the love Tassie bit was true or it was Rev’s editorial. Breakfast was egg and bacon rolls of which Big Dog had 3 for medicinal purposes on the advice of the pharmacist he’d brought neurofen from for his hangover who told him to eat some greasy food. Good old small town service. Paris must have still been getting over the repressed memories of high school the posters for the band “Gay Paris” in the pub brought back and not focused on eating as half his eggs ended up on his Windies shirt.
We headed down to the ground at 11.30 to get a bit of net practice in, well some of us. The absence of Curto, the selected tour keeper and the non-availability of his nearest rival in the all-time wicket taking list, Pup, meant that Big Dog would be behind the stumps and his warm up for this was to literally warm up by lying in the sun.
The atmosphere was starting to build on the picturesque East Launceston Primary School Oval. The Oak had brought a PA to have tunes playing all day, the BBQ was warming up and even a small crown was beginning to swan in. Apart from the quality of the cricket about to be played, it had all the makings of a Big Bash 20/20.
At 12.45 the teams came together for an explanation of “Pub Rules” and the crucial toss. With the batting strength of the opposition unknown it was important to win the toss and bat. A lost toss could result in
25 overs of fetching the ball form peoples backyards. The cricketing gods were on our side and we won the toss and as Captain, I had no hesitation in batting and hopefully putting some kind of total on the board.
At 1pm, Marty and I strolled out to the middle and I faced up to the Royal Oak’s opening bowler, which I smashed away for a single. Their bowlers were all pretty sharp and accurate, with Morty falling for 6, debutant Dan a classy 15 and myself a picket fence 10 that Curto would have been proud of. Dutchy was next to wander back to the pavilion continuing his record of only scoring 0,18 or 22 with the lessor of those scores next to his name in the book. In fact his innings was so short his song to walk into bat to “pass the dutchy to the left hand side” was still going as he walked back. The Rev came in a smashed a Rev like 2 and we were struggling at 5/40. The Oak thought they could roll us, but the calm style of Paris and the dogged exploitation of the No LBW rule by Big Dog got us into the 70’s with Paris becoming the first in his family to hit a six in his top scoring 19 and Big Dog paddling his way to 17 before being run out from the boundary without even attempting a run. Apparently he took his frustrations out with a throw of the bat, just like a real cricketer would do. I missed this as I was with the scoreres trying to match up the two scorebooks. The Oak had a guy to score, but he knew their players just as well as we did and hence the bowling scorecard contained names such as Cargo Shorts, Long Shorts, Beardo and Robinson Crusoe.
The scorecards were fixed as was the Quokkas innings with an unbeaten partnership of 30 between Mark and Steve meaning Kathleen’s batting debut was put off for another week. Our Tassie quokkas got us to 7/109 with backfoot cover drives from Steve, who like his brother got a picket fence 10 and 18 from mark including a big 6 over midwicket. 109 was commendable considering the quality of their attack and the quality of our night out.
The innings break was where the third of my family did their best work with Dad cooking up a storm on the barbie to the praise of both teams.
After some sustenance of a few snags and cans of Boags Red we refocussed on the task ahead, defending 109.
The Rev took the new cherry and proceeded to outdo Steve Harmison’s first ball in the 2005 Ashes by landing his first ball off the pitch with it not even carrying to the batsman. Little were we to know at the time that this was probably the safest place to bowl to. After 10 of a very Rev like opening over I threw the ball to old school mate Mark, who opened the bowling in Grade 10 and had shown form with the bat. It was a tough comeback to the bowling crease to say the least with the next 6 deliveries going 446644 and the batsman becoming yet another victim of the Quokkas tactical retirement tactics. I turned to Morty and his leggies, who I knew with his new unnamed friend in the stands, would put on a magic show with his leggies. It did the trick and the castle was rattled which meant we weren’t going to loose by 10 wickets.
It was always going to be tough to comeback from 1/47 off the first 3 overs, but we tried with Paris and Steve bowling 4 overs between them for only 12 runs. Dutchy welcomed Dan to the team with a hand-breaking return from the boundary, sorry I mean 10ms away and I bowled a beautiful dart which got deposited over the fence and thought “he can’t do that again”. I was wrong, this time it went ever further.
Wickets were elusive and the runs were flowing, but as captain I got the prized scalp over my opposite leader, psyching him out after he missed 2 in a row with the old “do you want me to put a bell in it”.
Next ball he went to hit it to Melbourne and was caught and while the Royal Oak had a convincing 8 wicket victory, I at least had a small moral one.
We handed them the trophy and drank a few more thousand Boags Reds and drank to an awesome day. The highlight was later in the night, about midnight, when their player who was in the book as Robinson Cruse came up to me and said “Nice beard, a man without a beard has 2 mums”.
Thanks to Mark, Steve and Kathleen for playing and to everyone making the effort to come over to the apple isle. The Oak players said they’ll come over our way next year for another game.