It’s been a while since Eric Hollies’ wrist-spin googlies absolutely decimated Bradman’s batting average, but at long last we have found a new Don. We are not sure where Zoolander has been hiding him, but the Quokkas very own `Don’ burst onto the scene on Sunday with a wonderful display of measured batting and some of the slowest running between the wickets the world has ever seen. Frustrated batting partners aside, in a world increasingly tired of sports science, group hugs and on field gestures to higher beings, it was nice to just see a player get back to basics, blocking the good ones, hitting the baduns and trying at all costs not to give his wicket away cheaply.
The match? Well, a sun drenched Kings House Sports Field in Chiswick saw witness to a marvellous, tightly contested, high quality game of cricket. Unfortunately that game wasn’t ours, it was the mixed under 13 game being played on the pitch next door. Our match with the Whalers was much more of a one-sided affair, with the Quokkas getting out in every conceivable way without troubling the Quokkas’ new expert scorer (Tom the Yank is talking about using different colour pens next time) and in some cases more than once (“those second innings runs don’t count in top trumps Ches”). Fortunately losing wickets at a steady rate meant every Quokka got a good chance to study how batting should be done by the youngsters (and The Don) and hopefully they will be better for it next time. However, my money is still on the bowlers.
Perhaps I’m being a little harsh (some would dispute that), certainly our batting was below par, scoring just 101 on an excellent, rock hard, all be it turning pitch and fast outfield, but as is always the case with a Quokkas side, we did put up a valiant display in the field and had the opposition at 26 for 3 at one point. Inevitably we were just a few runs short (well about a hundred really), which on the upside gave us plenty of time to get back to the pub for the World Cup Final, but on the downside left us feeling a bit like Higuain…wondering what might have been if we hadn’t totally bottled it.
Stars of the show (it wasn’t too hard to separate them from the rest) were without doubt the father and son debutants, The Don and The Kev. The Don held the batting together with a fine 27, which, if he actually had knees that worked, would easily have been a fifty. The Kev offered him some decent support, but really came into his own when thrown the ball, bowling seven overs of tight leg-spin that included the wicket of their key batsman, caught in the deep (to the relief of Ches, who’d dropped him god knows how many painful runs earlier).
In the field The Kev seemed to be everywhere, admittedly he had to be as we were only 8 strong, but he and the likes of Connan, Slick and the Yank gave the bowlers fantastic support, making the Whalers fight for each and every run, right until the bitter end. That sentence suggests a long drawn out battle, but we’re actually only talking about 20 overs here, but we did bowl them quite slowly, so it felt like a war of attrition.
In truth the Quokkas bowling display was quite good, with Evil Dave running in hard and causing one or two genuine problems for the openers (no, not, which side of the wicket to smash him to). His seven overs went for almost nothing and two wickets in two balls had the Quokkas surrounding the bat in expectation of a hatrick. Sadly it wasn’t to be, this time, but for a while (about an over) the pressure was really on.
At the other end Ches, brought into the attack early after a truly awful opening over from Skip (no need to sugar coat it Ches), offered his usual array of leg-spin and loud appeals, grabbing a wicket with an absolute pie, before returning to the field (complaining about bowling uphill and against the wind) to maintain his averages. Skip then returned after his tough opening spell and this time (with the slope and wind behind him) bent his back and caused similar problems, all be it without great reward other than a very painful set of thumbs.
Bruised fingers were very much the order of the day with the Whalers seeming to hit the ball a hell of lot harder than the Quokkas. Although perhaps this just demonstrated the willingness of the Quokkas to put their bodies on the line for pretty much no reason whatsoever.
With The Kev tiring after a fantastic spell, on came Tom the Yank to bring new life into the attack. He quickly found his line and length (not the one all cricketers choose of course) and almost broke the partnership with his little leg cutters. With the light not fading at all because we had set such a paltry score, it was left to The Don to turn his arm over. By this time runs to defend were in short supply and sadly he, like those before him, could just not get their bloody skipper out, who eventually carried his bat and claimed the victory for the Whalers.
After the game attention turned to the forthcoming tour (which if you haven’t signed up to already indicates that your life has taken a wrong turn somewhere) and the end of season finale, which seems to be approaching way too fast. This year promises to be an even more hotly contested game if a pitch offering me enough turn to bamboozle Faggie and Connan again can be found. Hopefully by the time of the Ashes you convicts will have found a Don of your own!
Despite the result I enjoyed the game as much as ever and it really was great to see all the new Quokka dads so bright-eyed and bushy-tailed after yet another good night’s sleep. What was the stat about fatherhood again Binman?
See you on tour.
The Oval (1948)
D.G. Bradman…………………bowled…………….. W.E. Hollies………0