A new season is fast approaching and in preparation for it, we had our AGM last Saturday. There was quite a bit of change for the club this year. Firstly, Chuck stepped down as captain and GT was elected in his place. Curly also stepped down as social secretary and was replaced by our webmistress, Big Ghey Al. GT and Al have big shoes to fill but I’m confident both will do a fine job. We also agreed we should spend more time at the Black Lion in Meguro watching cricket, drinking and socialising in general. Scott always treats us superbly and since we haven’t had a home in a few years, this would be the perfect place to make a burrow.
Unfortunately the turnout for the AGM was extremely disappointing, and one major challenge the club will face throughout the year is finding 11 players to wear the Wombat shirt. Its the biggest challenge this club has faced in its 7 year history, and with club mainstays and inaugural members Chuck and Curly returning to Australia next year, the club could be in serious danger of slowly disappearing. Therefore, the club needs current members to represent the club as much as possible, and to also ask any mates they may have to come and have a hit with us. Posters have been placed in some bars in Tokyo to attract new members, and depending on the results of those posters, we may also place ads in the Metropolis.
Wombat numbers for our annual CM 6s tour may be indicative of the season ahead. Currently, only Curls and I from Japan are going, with Marty coming from Oz. We will again have the Sri Lankan ex-international Pushpakamara playing for us and occasional CM tour member Paul Knightington will also most likely suit-up. But we are still one player down so I have asked a few teams in Tokyo and the KRAC in Osaka if they have anyone interested in coming. Barring success on those fronts, we will have to source from other CM teams when we get there.
We will still be favourites to defend our J1C title – especially with Wyverns and national team player Gavin Beath likely to become a Wombat this season – but much will depend on our ability to field 11 at every game. As for other teams, the runners-up from the past 2 seasons, Wyverns, may struggle as not only are they likely to lose Beathy, they’ve also lost their opening bowler and national team player Patrick Giles-Jones to Ichihara, which will improve the Shark’s chances. Although one could argue that they are on an even keel, recruiting-wise, as by far their best player, Dhugal, has returned to Australia. BECC will struggle to field a team this year, as they have done for the past few years, and the job hasn’t been made easier with their co-skipper and main organiser, Anton Winston, in Dubai for much of the season. Millennium will again struggle for players this year and their force on the pitch will be decided by whether they can get their best 11 players together. As they have only done so for play-off games for the past few seasons, expect them to be cellar dwellers again. The unknown prospect are the newly promoted Predators. They are one of the few teams with an abundance of players but the question remains: are any of them any good? By getting rid of their opening bowler/batsman/captain/cricketer extraordinaire they are certainly a more balanced side from what I have seen. But will their bowlers be able to handle the likes of Burke, Jones, Turner, Ferris, or their batsman wilt when facing Koolhof, Gason, Shackleford et al? Only time will tell, although we certainly will get an idea of their quality when we face them in a practice game on the 15th of March. As of this writing, we are undermanned, but I’m sure we shall have 11 able bodied Wombats to take the field come game day.
Good luck to all Wombats for the season ahead and let’s make this another year of the ‘bat!