Labour in Vain Quokkas Vs The John Curtin 21st October 2012
In the tradition of global sporting powers, such as Liverpool, the Quokkas warmed up for the oncoming season with a brand-expanding overseas tour &, much like the Reds, underperformed, on the field anyway.
So to the somewhat unfamiliar, wind-swept fields of Clifton Hill & the winless, after four long years of competition, John Curtin.
Brutal scheduling seemed to be our strongest opponent, two games in a week looking to sorely test us, but the boys were up & about, with Curto hungover as buggery & El Capitan continuing the bizarro injuries of last season but pulling a quad doing nothing more vigorous than running a bar then the morning of the match straining my groin by the severe action of waking up. It’s the ungodly 11am starts I tells ya.
Following tradition, the home side batted first allowing the Quokkas to build on a mounting reputation as a “team of bowlers”. This is attributed to the Royal Oak however it may be referencing our batting ability more than our bowling.
Wiley captain that I am, I chose to open the bowling with our best (only?) batsman & a young fella who’s more confident plying his trade behind the stumps, & of course it worked a treat with Emu (1-8) & Pup (0-3) keeping it tight over their first 2 overs each, with a breakthrough for good measure. This was a surprisingly consistent theme running through the entire innings as each bowling pair kept picking up the odd wicket with overall controlled bowling with the requisite bit of rubbish thrown in to lull the opposition into rash shots. Off a highly reduced run-up, I managed my now standard 1-15, with a clean bowled & a couple of enticing leg side pies thrown in for good measure. The standouts were Radar bamboozling the batsmen with an over of spin then an over of zippy mediums, claiming a wicket in each, & the stroke of captaincy genius of bringing Gimme Ed back into the attack to cries from Rev of “you’re bloody shitting me,” Ed coolly responding with 2 wickets. A shrewd “spinner”, his main wrecking ball tends to be the “one that goes on straight”. And Damo, thanks for coming down mate…I liked your shirt. Let’s not focus on the ring-in Charlie too much, needless to say his vigour in the field & pace & accuracy bowling inspired/put us to shame & was greatly appreciated. With Kermit the Frog conducting, Radar & I kept up our Muppet show in the field, him in the air, I on the ground, generally sprawled scrambling for the ball.
After only one strategic retirement, & Curto passing the gloves to Charlie for a couple of cheeky overs & a wicket to boot, we had the Curtin back in the Pav for 131, confidence brimming.
Mr 97.5 took up where he left off last year, but thankfully that was the day before when he was bowled for a golden duck. The big positive for the day was an opening partnership of balance, solidity & contrasting styles with Emu smashing everything he could, including a ball two feet outside off stump, with the wind to the leg side boundary & Cupsy playing anchoring role playing proper cricket shots & everything. I was describing him as the Boycott, no outlandish shots, defence of a rock, when he then went the tonk & holed out to mid on for 17. An opening stand of 1-49, 1-74 at drinks & looking good. I continued mozzing everything I could by remarking to Beth in a confident tone that “if we don’t win this from here then we aren’t much of a cricket side.” A reasonably accurate assessment in the end.
A somnambulating decent into the middle order quagmire sucked the life right out of the innings, with us making only 24 runs from overs 9 to 16. As the prospect of a scandalous loss suddenly dawned on us, shirt-collars tightened, fists clenched & unclenched & mouths dried up along with the flow of runs. Pup was middling everything but often straight to fielders & the vociferous Curto’s “twos, we need more bloody twos” went unheeded until he himself added some much needed urgency. As solid starts were turned into delivery-sapping single-digit disappointments, the tactics turned. Rev’s inspired “get out quick, get Emu back in” managed to run everyone out around him before his plan finally fell into place. With my quad muscle near torn off the bone from some chases in the field, when the time came for a Captain’s knock of real guts, determination & verve, I was ready & hobbled to the crease from my sheltered position of number 10. Unfortunately, I’m not a batsman’s a***hole & after a couple of truly tortuous twos, I’d knicked one & Emu was back in needing a miraculous 13 off 4 balls. It was too much for the big man & we succombed ten runs short, handing the Curtin their first victory in their 4 years in the comp. To see them celebrate as wildly as any team in the comp ever has, & with them being champion blokes to boot, softened the blow a bit, but geez that one was tough to swallow.
History-makers, that’s what we are & I’d never had any doubts about the fact.
John Curtain – 131 (Radar 2-15, Ed 2-17, Emu 1-7)
Quokkas – 121 (Emu 37, Cupsy 17, Jarrod 10, Curto 10)
Now can I resign in a flood of Kim Hughes-like tears?