• It’s hardly surprising that the English like the Germans so much. Their love for football, sausages and beer very much mirrors our own and they have even embraced our game of cricket now too. With that in mind, what other reason would you need to join the quorum of Quokkas on this years’ tour of Hamburg? A quick straw poll to find out what tempted the others drew an almost universal “you’re not married with kids, are you Ches?” response. True, but despite lacking that additional motivation, I was no less keen to sample the world famous Reeperbahn, fish market and some of the finest Weizenbier known to man.

    PHOTO-2018-09-13-20-43-32Skip was so keen to get there that he selected the `Oh my god that’s early’ red eye flight from Heathrow, which meant a room at the Travelodge and a desperate search for culinary delights in Hounslow the night before. Whilst the Yak and Dac somehow found a Michelin star curry house, my search unearthed jam doughnuts washed down by a solitary Cobra.

    “Can anyone recommend a dish at the Travelodge restaurant?”
    “Yes, pringles”.

    At least the view from the hotel window was impressive.

    The pre-tour excitement and Yak snoring enabled me to get exactly one hours’ shuteye – the perfection preparation for a weekend where we normally envy the amount of sleep Navy SEALs get on their training courses. Things could be worse, you could be waiting for your passport to return from Her Majesty’s Government or worse still, forget where it resides completely.

    For those allowed to leave the country, the check-in was uneventful, but my request for balaclavas seemed not to resonate with the clubs’ hierarchy. Instead we took ownership of the latest piece of tour merchandise and the new `mug a granny’ Quokkas hoodies had us mistaken for oversized fans of the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. When matched with shorts, we presented ourselves as a group of boy scout leaders. To be honest, on the Reeperbahn no one bat an eyelid.

    PHOTO-2018-09-14-14-16-42With no time for the usual Irish breakfast send off, we prepared for the first game with Alpha beers and pina coladas at the fabulous StrandPauli bar. Sitting nicely on the edge of the River Elbe, the deckchairs, sand and lashings of late summer sun ensured the day flew by. Afterwards we took residency at a restaurant far exceeding our standard of attire and consumed our own bodyweight in veal schnitzel, warm potato salad and basil-flavoured gins. Has anyone got that taste of Basil out of their mouth yet?

    The tour party hit the streets of Hamburg and was soon bolstered by The Professor, Lockie and Evil Dave, who had somehow found his passport. Apparently, it was in the passport draw, next to Mrs Evil’s passport, in a passport holder with the word `Passport’ emblazoned on the front. He muttered something about Brexit, but after a bottle of Jagermeister had entered the bloodstream he seemed happy enough.

    Well lubricated, the group was keen to put their purposefully selected sequences of human movement on display. We made our way to the excellent Molotow Musikclub in search of the next Beatles and to the soundtrack of Franz Ferdinand, Tocotronic and Kraftklub  we spent several hours convincing the locals that tomorrow would be best spent watching the Quokkas dismantled in a field somewhere on the outskirts of the city. Despite best efforts and Kevin Keegan stickers offered as enticements I feared that would not be enough to convince anyone.

    It’s surprising how quickly tomorrow comes when you are having fun. Thankfully Michael D was on hand to provide us with some local grub (yes, according to my friend Wiki, burgers do originate from Hamburg) and that set us up nicely for the long day ahead.

    PHOTO-2018-09-15-14-48-08We were warmly welcomed by our hosts at the wonderful Sports Club THCC Rot-Gelb, but on a first glance it appeared that `one of the few grass wickets in Germany’ had metamorphosised itself into a coconut matting. Perhaps the long Indian summer was to blame. It appeared to have also affected the lush outfield, which didn’t quite replicate the lush bowling green advertised on their website www.cricket-hamburg.de/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/THCC-Ground_1500x520.jpg [the Chesney school of marketing in action right there]. Less than smooth outfields are the norm on tour, so we just got on with it. I moaned, obviously.

    As is customary, we sent the locals into bat (we always want to make them feel like they got a game) and initially we found the openers to be stubborn. However, Evil Dave continued his fine form with the ball by taking a brace of wickets. He really shouldn’t have bothered, as that just brought a talented Australian called Cam and the equally adept Murali to the middle.

    When we took drinks 15 overs and over 130 runs later, it looked like we were going to have our work cut out keeping things below 300. The combination of the square leg boundary located inside the fielding circle (which meant sixes were downgraded to fours – thank god for that aye Dac?) and some high-quality batting was proving problematic.

    PHOTO-2018-09-16-17-24-05Thankfully, Cam took pity on us and retired during the drinks break. Then when our new and extremely hyperactive Quokka, Jigger, brought a little more pace to the attack and we started to make inroads. Jigger eventually got Murali out and with the talent safely back in the hutch, Skip saw that the coast was safe and made a long-awaited bowling appearance. He, along with The Egg efficiently cleaned up the tail, with The Egg claiming the prize wicket of expat captain Andy. Despite this we still were set over 200 from our 35 overs. Have we got even close to that on a first day of a tour?

    Tea was a strange mix of cold toasted sandwiches and two absolutely wonderful cakes. I miss the days of a box of pork to be honest.

    It’s not often that a batsman acknowledges that he was probably out lbw and that didn’t happen here when our designated batsman for the tour, Milind, was triggered by Evil. Müllmann fell not long after, leaving him somewhat exposed in our annual runs challenge. Like our rivals, the real talent was at three, with The Professor finally deciding not to hide his bushel at nine, ten or jack, and showing us what he can do when he has upgraded from a piece of balsa to the clubs’ plywood Slazenger.

    PHOTO-2018-09-15-14-48-07We knew he played straight, but with the confidence hair highlights brings to a middle-aged man, he started to display a bit of flair in attack. Having seen off the openers he then picked off the bad ball and of course was resolute in defence when required. We had spent tea trying to construct the ultimate batsman out of the few genuine cricket shots from Quokkas players – it appeared the shoe-in-Guru-cover-drive was now under threat. Myself, Tom the Yak, Skip and Slick provided some support, but not nearly enough and just a little shy of his maiden Quokkas half century the Professor was out trying to move things along. In the end, even with 12 batsman we still didn’t come close, but most importantly we survived to fight another day.

    A delightful dinner provided by our guests, accompanied by a few sherbets and the shortest game of 21s in Quokkas history was the perfect kick start to the evening. I don’t recall too much about it, other than consuming lashings of beer and German death metal, an unusual arcade claw game that replaced soft toys with sex toys and having to suffer the appalling Codeko remix of MGMT’s Kids {Ed: I’ll pass on adding that link] at the titty twister bar night club. For those with insomnia, the fish market completed the evening, with a blues band entertaining the revellers and fishmongers alike.

    It felt like my head had hardly hit the pillow when the call went out to be in the lobby for the taxis back to the Sports Club THCC Rot-Gelb for the second game of the weekend. Lidl and Michael D saved the day, providing us with enough sugar to bring on type 2 diabetes. My 18 trips to the toilet during the day suggested that either I have the smallest bladder in the world or that that ship has already sailed. I digress.

    PHOTO-2018-09-15-18-16-51With the batting order reversed, The Egg and Evil strode out to the middle, with Fruiti following them into the middle shortly afterwards. He and Evil Dave proceeded to put on a fifty partnership, finding the short square boundary especially appealing. After a short cameo from Jigger that saw him take on their quickie, Dac was in and looking to avoid a pair. He was going well until Müllmann sent him back to the hutch. Dac claimed he middle it, but Milind’s video of the shot in question was inconclusive.

    The fast bowler called Bai was too good for Lockie and myself, but Skip stood firm and with Tom the Yak in support played an excellent captain’s innings, scoring a very swift half century and eventually carrying his bat. 180 looked a little short, but with a completely new bowling attack at Skip’s disposal, Murali tucking into far too many beers and no sign of the German Ladies National Team captain, we were confident.

    PHOTO-2018-09-16-15-50-13Milind and Müllmann opened the bowling, one ever so slightly more accurate than the other, but the pair combined well, restricting our opponents to 25 for 1 from the first nine overs. Murali, now into his fifth larger top, demonstrated exactly why you shouldn’t drink and drive kids, showing absolutely none of the exquisite timing from the day before. You can’t take liberties like that when The Egg is bowling and he duly claimed his wicket during another excellent spell. That was proceeded by The Professor substantiating his all-rounder status, with a terrific six over spell of line and length bowling claiming three wickets.

    PHOTO-2018-09-17-10-17-40With us cruising to victory there was enough leeway to bring me on. Right on que the prementioned Tina turned up and began dispatching me into the tennis courts. Fortunately, she began to run out of partners and in an attempt to win the game single handed, The Yak had her caught on the long on boundary. With a nipper to bowl at, I looked far more comfortable and eventually got one to land somewhere near the wickets and the game was ours.

    A trip to Germany would not be complete without some pork knuckle and we rounded off the tour with dinner at the Schoppenhauer restaurant. The non-vegetarian’s within the party were more than impressed with the menu and we proceed to eat our way through half a hundred weight of meat. With tour fines handed out, Professor acknowledged as best on tour and a keg of beer drunk, it was time to hit the bright lights of Hamburg one last time.

    A short uneventful flight back aside, that was pretty much that for the 2018 Quokkas Tour of Hamburg. All I can say is that once again it was brilliantly organised (thanks to anyone that helped with that), great fun to participate in and I can heartedly recommend it to any husband and or/father. Oh yes, I nearly forgot, I moved 2-1 ahead of Müllmann in our usual runs challenge. At his age you have to wonder if he will be back next year. I know I will.

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Recent Comments

  • Strong.
  • Proper swing bowling that was. Pitch it up.
  • Fabulous article which made us smile in the Spanish sunshine...
  • You forgot to mention Harry getting to bowl an over aswell. ...
  • Please see point 5.