by Alex Patmore
With the first match of the JCL coming up this weekend, now’s a good time to see what the boys have been doing to get into shape for it over the winter.
Japan Indoor Cricket League
The Wombats took part in their first foray into the world of indoor cricket, held over three Sundays in February and March. ‘Indoor’ turning out to be a bit of a misnomer, as the futsal court the matches were held on turned out to be outside, on the roof of a building in downtown Morishita. The weather fluctuated as much as the team members did, on one occasion temperatures barely above freezing, the sight of Wommies fielders clad in wooly hats, winter jackets and grim expressions, desperately hoping the ball wouldn’t get slapped in the direction of their brittle fingers, frozen like icicles. The last game, held in glorious 20 degree spring sunshine, signalled the impending arrival of ‘proper’ cricket.
The tournament was a real eye-opener in many ways, most of the other teams consisting of Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi players, playing the game as if their lives (or as it turned out, a lot of money) depended on it. Despite the games only being 12 overs long (6-aside, 1 over a bowler, 2 overs a batting pair), they frequently went on for ever as barely an over went by without some disputed call by the opposition. It was bemusing, amusing, and downright tedious at different moments.
Highlights of the tournament from a Wommies perspective include:
- Playing in the opening match of the tournament, in front of about 60-odd spectators.
- Tieing a feisty game with the pre-tournament favourites.
- New boys Michael Farrell and Sam Pearson impressing in their first games of any form of cricket in yonks.
- Forays back to Shibuya after the games, happy hour being exploited in the Hub one time and some better quality alcohol being consumed in Hobgoblin.
Overall it was an interesting experience, and perhaps with a few tweaks the club might be tempted to enter it again next year.
The club also organised the following two friendly matches to provide a chance to all players to get some decent match practise in before the start of the season proper. Click on the links for a brief report and photos.