- Match Report
2009 Begins with a Rusty, Muddy Win
by Ian Gason
The only predators to land a blow on the Wombats at Fuji Sunday were the crows that stole Ross and Trent’s lunch, as the team formally known as Tokyo Dragons chased their tails all day. Marsupials ate, rooted and left victorious by 7 or 8 wickets as Ballarat’s Billy Birmingham Ross Ferris spanked an unbeaten 79.
The Wombat unit assembled for the first practise match of the year bore little resemblance to the Grand Final team – no Rhino, Reggie, Morty, Pup, Burkey. And with 5 or more players lurking on the sidelines, it would appear our numbers have been shored up for our 2009 season.
Four new Wombats – Rory from Jo’burg, Trent from Aust and two Kiwis Jesse Beath and Eugene Bogun (no really, that’s his name) joined the hardy vets at Harajuku, piled into the (late) van and we made good haste to Fuji. Beaut clear skies, marvelous views of the ol’ mountain and small festering ponds on the field? What more could you ask for in a day’s cricket?
New skip GT lost his first toss, and after we made a meal of some fielding practise, we headed out to dust off the rust, and knock the Predators over. Huge Euge was given the first over and delivered duly with a LBW. Not to be out-done, yours truly at the river end saw his LBW and raised him a C&B. 3/7 at the end of the second, and down at fine leg I was thinking, “that Jarrad bloke IS right. It’s NOT rocket science.”
Big Gay Al ended a recovery of sorts by getting his big gay body down and grabbing a catch at square leg, an effort which earned him a bottle of Hardys. Not that he was grateful, bleating at the presentation, “but I’ve already got one of those!” Well, now you’ve got two, ya blouse…..
GT tossed the ball to Trent, who threw down a pie. The batsmen tickled it round the corner where H-eugene spilled it. So was the pattern of the day. 7+ catches went down, from the GT’s comical slip & slide, to Shaxxie’s gully sitter, and a couple of sharper but catchable ones here there and everywhere in between.
Determined to make a game of it, we sent down a disgraceful 38 wides for the day. Gavin Beath garnered 4 in one over and plenty of blokes 2 or 3 an over. Rory bowled some handy stuff, as well as some stuff best summed up by mate Eugene’s call from fine leg, “Rory, that’s shithouse! Come on!”
With Koolhof’s famously dexterous digits not delivering his deadly shwing, and our slapstick efforts in the field, Younis and partner added 60 for the 5th wicket, although it wasn’t a partnership for the proverbial photo album. The reluctant bowler GT (or was it Rory?) broke the partnership with his usual no frills, do-I-have-to style of pin-point bowling.
Some of the better techniques on display in the field included the old “Fall over and lie in the path of the ball” method, the “Fall over and watch the ball go under you” method, the “Fall over 10 metres from a catch” method, and the “Spike the ball over the boundary for six” method.
Our slow men – Luke, Shax and Ross – who we can expect to play an important role in the post Pup & Morty era, followed the skipper’s tight example in the latter stages. Rayos in particular sent down one of the most controlled and controlling spells of his career. With the red pens warming up, the last pair had a belated crack and added 20 or so, mostly in the last two overs. The final total a flattering 195, and as a Predator whoopied as the 100 came up, “we need two hundred today.” Nah, try 3.
As the temperature dropped and the wind blew cold, Gav and Jarrad went out to accomplish the mission. Runs came steadily, and the 4th over produced 20 runs. Seems these IT blokes had all read the Monty Panesar Big Book Of Appealling, and had a few Wombats doing a Bish – “where’s my Ipod!?!”. Or some earplugs.
Gavin Beath feathered one and walked with the score on 49, and when Jarrad followed moments later with his woodwork assunder the celebrations caused him to ask, “You think you’ve won the World Cup, do you?”
Despite not having his preferred MRF, Ross Ferris wheeled through the Predos bowling. Several overs went for 20+. He raised his 50 in 40 balls before he’d even raised a sweat. (And Ross aint no super athlete!) No raise of the bat though, a sign of a job half done. Chuck however was a little more circumspect, racking up 13 dot balls between his 1st and 2nd runs. The over appealling had now got out of hands, and though I can’t recall the exact phrase he used, the former skipper politely suggested to the slips that perhaps you gentleman may wish to curtail these frivilous enquiries.
It wasn’t a suggestion well received, and the Predo boss thought the comments out of line. Difference of opinions were exchanged, the umpires consulted and a skipper to skipper tet a tet on the boundary followed. Apparently they had found cause for concern in our fielding demeanour (not enough dropped catches?) and we now had to sit back and enjoy their 4.5 appeals an over.
Not long after that Chuck slashed at a couple of rubbish balls and was dropped once and missed once. The pair really began to tee off after drinks and wrapped it all up quicker than a dry one-liner from Richie Benaud. Ross plonked how many sixes 20 rows back? Chuck joined in the dragon slaying with some big shots of his own. Ross retired on 79 to make an early start on his bottle of Hardys, and GT and Chuck took us home in the 25th over.
15 overs of centre wicket practise followed, with me and GT shamelessly hogging half of it. Eugene came in and launched his second ball into the jungle. Rory showed he could up the ante late in the day, and Shax saw live action for the first time since June of 2006.
The journey home was its own special challenge. That super market with the easy parking and a Maccas is now on the Wombat’s shit-list, courtesy of a team of glo-stick waving oji-sans, a round the block and inside out maze of a carpark and no longer having a McChucks. As the driver said, you stick ya f****ng glo-sticks up ya bums.
If that traffic jam wasn’t THE worst ever, I would not hesitate to rate it the second worst we have ever encountered. Fortunately the new Wombats got into the spirit of the van (depsite seriously under-catering – 2 cans?) paying out on their new buttered fingered, tea-potting, pie-chucking team-mates in the high (and low)lights. Conversation ended up in the gutter, and these new blokes showed no hesitation in sharing with fellas 10 hours ago strangers, their deep held feelings for Steffi Graf and Miko Lee. The present and future make up of the Nine Commentary Team was giving a critical once over, which inevitably lead to guest appearance from Darrel Eastlake, Ray Warren, Richie, Tony, Bill, Maxie Walker, and even Killer and Morty.
League games commence April. Schedule out soon. A few blokes could do with a few more overs in the nets, so get down to training – details coming.
In the meantime, it’s off to the chrome pole palaces and the Chiang Mai Sixes! Watch this space!