• From Captain Dutchy…

     

    Beware the Ides of March (and Keyser Soze).
    The Rose, 1st of March @ Fairlea West

    Captaining is a unique experience. You are informed of your impending captaining-ness, safe in the knowledge that you shall be the only one. That and Emu+Curto weren’t playing so the bluff was on. Having decided some left field thinking was due for the Quokkas I promptly arrived at the ground at noon. Unheard of. As were my team mates. Upon phoning Rev and discovering the opposition were making requests for the BBQ bike as there were no such facilities at the ground, I smelt a rat whilst standing next to the perfectly functioning BBQ facilities. At Burnley Oval.

    In my endeavors to introduce Left -field thinking I had gone so far beyond the outfield as to be at the wrong ground. 20 minutes of channeling that Ford-financed-Ad-I-mean-Bullitt-movie involving Steve McQueen and the Green Mustang (not easy in an ex ambulance!) saw me safely at the correct ground.

    JRod had inspired (shocked) me the previous week by arriving organised so I decided to follow in those footsteps and wrote down a list for both bowling and batting.

    We only had ten but the Rose lads kindly agreed to supply a fielder. Perhaps they sent him to the Burnley oval as he never eventuated. Ironically we fielded much better than normal as we avoided ‘getting in each others’ way’ with one short. The Oval was looking strangely green, as opposed to its usual dead grass tones and not its usual cow-paddock come runway type speed.

    Cuz, another Nichols family member more talented than Rev, opened the attack and managed to miss the bat at a pace and movement not seen since Lennie Pascoe terrorised batsmen in the 80’s.

    Pup, and Snipper bowled the 2nd (8 runs) and third overs (12 runs) as part of the rotating (possibly confusing) one over each policy.
    Snipper seems to have developed the ability to bowl really good line and length and STILL get carted. There is no justice in Pub cricket. But more about that later…
    Bowl’en (I think Rev misplace that apostrophe just to wind me up!), Rev and Cuz all were at the wrong end of some lusty hitting by their captain (Tooms) but luckily my ‘left’field’ captaincy knew this would result in retirees. Both openers for that matter. Time for my secret weapon. JRod.
    I knew he could regain medium pace glory, as long as i gave him most of the match to recover before his second over. He proceeded to bowl two Maidens. Potentially a Quokkas first?!
    It seemed like the right time to hide my bowling whilst the batters were somewhat comatose. 25 runs, a wicket (we shan’t mention that someone dropped another chance nor shall we mention it was Bowl’en…) and a tea break later I could let the real bowlers back onto the track.
    So at the break The All new Rose were about 114 and the numbers were looking ominous. With the Rose’s first three batsmen making a combined 115 runs (all retired including 50!!! from Tooms). The Quokkas have historically entered a ‘recession we had to have’ like post drinks torpor. Or to be blunt we tend to get spanked in the second half.

    And then a miracle descended upon the ground, placed curiously next to a female prison. To be clear no prisoners descended upon the ground but an escape was the order of the day.

    Mick, Don ‘small goods’, and Rev were really tight (insert your own double entendre ) and then he arrived. The Big Dog.

    ‘Sending down’ isn’t really applicable as Dog tends to send the ball vertically upwards. He even hit the pitch consistently (it must be noted the pitch was 60% its usual width due to the City of Yarra’s ‘maintenance regime’ or lack thereof…). Never a dull moment as the Irishman, dreaming of Irish cricket glory (not the English captain’s. who is also Irish, but those actually playing for Ireland…) totally bamboozled the batsmen.

    One lad asked Pup who was behind the stumps “What does this guy do wit the ball?” to which Pup replied “Usually puts it over the midwicket fence”.

    Audible sniggering was heard from the crease, proceeded by repeated swishing of willow as the Rose batsmen managed a meagre 20-odd off Dog’s deserved three (YES, 3!) overs. Possibly another first for the Dog. And why? 2 wickets is why. We all gathered at his messiah-like presence as he held his arms aloft with a total look of “I told you so!” as fell at his feet. Don ‘smallgoods’ sent down a couple of handy overs and the Rose were starting to slow… Bowl

    Having only ten players turned out to be a strange blessing as it meant five of our bowlers had to bowl a third over. This resulted in Rev, Cuz, Snipper, Pup and the aforementioned Dog to make up the extra five overs. And what overs. Dog’s 2 wickets, a plethora of dot balls and only a handful of precious boundaries ensued and none of those pesky retirees revisiting the stage saw The Rose end up with 181.

    The batting scorecard looked not unlike one of those horizontal bar charts comparing a disparate array of elements. Such as Quokka email response-rate (some might place me on that top line…) or the variability of Local’s run-up length (it gets shorter with each delivery…).
    In other words, a big triangle.

    Back at the start of this tome I mentioned BBQ issues. The Rose didn’t bring one. There was genuine fear in some players’ hearts but luckily some lateral thinking saw a grand spread of sandwiches (which doesn’t really do them justice) placed before us. 181. Could we do that?

    Cinderella moments come upon us rarely but the romantic notion of sending Big Dog and Pup out to open seemed fitting. That and a good balance of belligerence and scoring ability.

    The Dog continued a spanking game by scoring 22 off 21 and Pup 18 off 12. A solid start and the captain was pleased.

    Snipper arrived at the crease continuing the merriment with 31 retired off 22 cherry-ripes. Small Goods meanwhile noodled out a handy 8. Thus it was my turn and reeling from some liberal feedback from fellow Quokkas the previous game, where I dared score at a meagre run a ball, I felt the need to get the worm pointing north and to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Feeling somewhat redeemed with a 31 off 20, despite an entire over (Tooms again!) of dot balls (the lad can bowl; when he hits the pitch; a rather disconcerting thing to face…).

    ‘Cuz’ meanwhile was diligently ticking along and only conceded two dot balls, ending in a J-Curve finish to his dig with a sequential 4-6-6-1. At the other end JRod was putting on a master class of running singles. No matter how far the ball was hit. The concept of a ‘two’ seemed about as likely as a Demon’s premiership and i may have given some ‘feedback’ whilst chasing Maxy’s lusty hitting on the sidelines.
    Nick, Bowl’en and Radar came and went in a flurry. Cuz’s last gasp had dragged the equation back within reach and with only ten players the Quokkas were back into the retirees. Re-enter Snipper, who added another 12, among which Radar was run-out in the urge to score. I walked back out and faced Tooms again! I managed to ‘Noodle away a run to leg side’ * and got the Snipper back at the business end.

    With 12 off 12 deliveries required it was a tense affair. The vast majority of 2014/15 Quokka matches seem to have been decided in the last over. Great for TV ratings. All we needed was TV coverage. Eliza and her ‘allegedly’ home baked goods would have to suffice…

    With a four and a six dispatched by the Broadie (not-so) wide-boy we now only required one run with seven balls to go.

    I whispered to Snipper that I was equal with Ed on the season’s runs and was keen to vanquish the engineering Hipster in the runs tally.

    Snipper, being a team player promptly dispatched the next delivery for six!

    And not just for six but, with sedition in his eyes, hit the aforementioned six INTO MY VAN!!!

    Such a nice lad with such a nice smile and disposition; Henceforth to be referred to as ‘Keyser Soze’.

    Oh, and we thus-ly won the match. What a great escape in great weather, a great spread and The Rose lads a truly lovely bunch of lads.

    Much merriment ensued, we returned to the Labor in Vain and all was good with the cricketing gods.

    Yours ‘never lost as captain’ Dutchy.

    * Pup, manning the scorebook, generously scored my legside shot as a run off the bat, putting me one run ahead of Ed in the season’s tally, but I must confess it was a leg bye, which makes next week’s return leg against the Ballarat Seymour Lads a showdown of the willow for Gownlows Glory.

    Posted by Rev @ 11:16 pm

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