From Captain Local….
“The only things that are certain in life are death and taxes”, said someone who had obviously not picked up Dennis Rodman’s autobiography Bad As I Wanna Be and experienced the clear insight that this was indeed a book that should be judged by it’s cover and left unread.
To this list of certain things can be added “catches win matches”.
Fairlea West is a hard place for a gentle game. You go there without hope, because in a place like this hope gets sucked down to the dirty river along with the rest of the rubbish, and who’s got enough of it to spare? The freeway cuts a canyon behind the ground, the toilet block is locked (whether to keep you out or to keep something worse in) and running water is like human kindness in the rush to secure an overhead locker on the Tiger flight back from Bali – nowehre to be found.
I heard a story once about this kid who used to wash dishes at a greasy spoon on Smith Street, back when you had to watch out that junkies didn’t steal the spoons, greasy or otherwise. He played in a punk/polka 5-piece called “Zombie Arse” and had some connections with a group of anarchists who ran a popular underground chess night out of a mouldy squat near Victoria Park. This dishwasher punk-rock anarchist kid took some bad acid one night and ran off up to Fairlea West, trying to shake The Fear. There on the narrow, mean strip of concrete that gets called the pitch, The Fear caught up with him. That kid is an old man now, living behind the torn and tattered flywire door of a one-bedroom flat in Thomastown, and his neighbours know to ignore his panicked cries in the night.
The Quokkas batted first against the Curtain (The Beefies) and with solid contributions from most everyone – Tuesday and Dutchy the retirees – posted a competitive total of 7/174. After an excellent lunch effort from Radar and Smallgoods on the bbq bike, we returned to the field and held the Beefies tightly until the drinks break. That is not a euphemism.
However, it may be that The Fear still lurks among the yellowing grass up there at Fairlea, and all it takes is a couple of loose overs, some balls falling into empty space where a fielder should be and a catch or two going through hands for the tables to be turned as if they were specifically designed to do so, perhaps because they have been made for a catering or functions company that requires that capacity in a table.
Several massive sixes and some traditional Quokka overthrows later and it was handshakes and congratulations all round for The Beefies.
Nonetheless, it a testament to the Power of Cricket that this game was played in a spirit very much at odds with the brutalist surrounds. I mean, it could be that maybe the surrounds are actually not that brutal. Maybe this report is overstating the influence of the ground on Quokka fielding. Maybe there is in fact no evil malingering influence that lurks at the ground. Who knows – not me, I am not a Ghostbuster. I do know however that – much like the type of idealised love that Paul Young and Zucchero long for in the sometimes overlooked hit Senza una Donna – when cricket is played as it was here then winning and losing simply become abstract concepts with which to illustrate, rather than define, the game.