- Match Report
5-fa Goes Begging as Skipper Spoils Student Party
by Michael Farrell
A 4-wicket haul from skipper Evan Hitchman was the catalyst for Tokyo Wombats’ 32-run Japan Cup T-20 victory over Aoyama Gakuin at YCAC on SundayJuly 8.
Hitchman, who was in the midst of a rising fast hangover from the previous night’s bender, brought himself on in the 12th over after the local university side was seemingly cruising at 2-69 in response to Wombats’ total of 138. The one-step super-slow bowler struck immediately in his first over, taking two wickets with his first four balls, and then striking again in his second and fourth overs to wrap up the Aoyama innings in the 16th over, all out for 106.
Hitchman could have had his first five-wicket haul on Japanese soil, however newcomer Patrick O’Donnell dropped a catch at mid-on, much to the displeasure of the Wombats captain, who had to settle for the figures of 4-14 off 3.1 overs. Fans flocked to the ground on Sunday and were surprised the in-form skipper didn’t bring himself on until the 12th over, particularly after his impressive display in the previous outing when he took 3 wickets against Alpha Quashers.
However, after experimenting with newcomers O’Donnell and Santosh Pagire for the 9th and 10th overs, the New South Welshman threw himself into the attack and turned the match on its head. The skipper was ably supported by his fellow bowlers, with opening bowler Kyal Hill taking 2-21 with his usual consistent spell of excellent line and length to start the innings, while Adam Cronin took the wicket of Aoyama’s highest scorer and then wrecked through the tail to finish with the impressive figures of 3-22.
Dean Abbott opened the bowling and though wicketless, bowled a consisted line and length and finished with 0-22 off his 4 overs. Aoyama was at 2-33 after the first 8 overs but then got on top of Pagire and O’Donnell in the next two overs to mount a serious challenge to the Wombats. Pagire bowled a record 15-ball over for 19 runs and then O’Donnell, the English teacher who couldn’t even remember England’s second goal in the previous night’s World Cup quarter final, was almost taken off for sending down beamers to the Aoyama batsman with his first three balls. Though there was some discussion by the umpires to take O’Donnell out of the attack for dangerous bowling, the batsman said “no way, keep him on”, but he bounced back and finished with 0-7 off his over. However, by that stage the young guns from Aoyama looked capable of taking the game from the Wombats at 2-69 after 10. But then Hitchman and Cronin righted the ship and Wombats cruised to a comfortable victory.
With the bat, Wombats took a while to get going, with openers Adam (I’m not running today) Birss and Luke (Nor am I) Eyes being well held by the Aoyama bowling lineup. The opening duo struggled to pierce the gaps in the field and Birss was lucky not to have been caught twice at mid-wicket in consecutive deliveries on their way to 6 runs off the first 3 overs. Eyes started to get going and hit 5 boundaries before being bowled for 20 in the 8th over, leaving the Wombats innings at 1-32.
The message from the dressing room, which seemed to be very popular with new fans in attendance, was to get a wriggle on, and the Wombats gained some momentum over the next 12 overs. Birss tried to get moving but lobbed one straight back to the bowler for 12, and Cronin came out swinging at number 3 and made 6 before being bowled. A nervous Richie (I’ve never played in front of my girlfriend) Bracefield joined Michael Farrell at the crease and the big hitting Kiwi piled on 26 runs from 16 balls before nearly putting a dent in one of the veteran lady lawn bowler’s head with a massive hit that landed inches away from the jack-high player.
Richie had to go, and the polite spray the veteran lawn bowler gave the Wombats bench for not warning her of the incoming missile was warranted. Perhaps the Wommies blokes in the pavilion were a little distracted. Farrell soon joined Bracefield (or is it Blackmore?) in the dressing room, caught by Powder for 12 at mid-on, but then the tail got going and steered the Wombats to the defendable total of 138. Alex Patmore batted at number 8 and smashed 31 off 15 to really give the Wombats a much-needed runs boost, and he was ably supported by Hitchman (7) and Hill (6).
It was a day to forget for Wombats debutant O’Donnell. He was out for a golden duck with the bat, dropped two catches in the field, couldn’t throw a ball to save his life, bowled like an Afgani hand-grenade launcher, and then fell asleep on the Shinkansen and ended up in Nagoya. It was the first time an Englishmen was heard saying “not coming home” since the World Cup started.
The win takes the Wombats T-20 Japan Cup record to 2 wins and 1 loss, and closer to earning a semi-final berth.
Beers: 5 Hours, Many jugs.
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Aoyama Gakuin CC|
|Japan Cup 2018 (South Kanto), YCAC, Kanagawa, July 8, 2018|
|Toss||Tokyo Wombats CC|
|Umpires||Alpha Quashers-Yokohama CC|
|Result||TWCC won by 32 runs|
|TWCC MoM||E Hitchman|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 138/7 (20.0 overs)|
|A Birss†||b K Abeygunawardana||12||26||2||0||46.15|
|L Eyes||b Y Hamamichi||20||20||5||0||100.00|
|A Cronin||b K Takita*||6||16||0||0||37.50|
|M Farrell||c H Matsuchika b K Takita*||12||8||2||0||150.00|
|R Bracefield||b T Takada||26||15||2||2||173.33|
|E Hitchman*||b T Takada||7||11||1||0||63.64|
|P O'Donnell||c T Watanabe b K Takita*||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|A Patmore||not out||31||15||5||1||206.67|
|K Hill||not out||6||7||0||0||85.71|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 1, w 9, nb 5)||15|
|Fall of wickets|
|34-1 L Eyes, 48-2 A Birss†, 54-3 M Farrell, 96-4 R Bracefield, 96-5 A Cronin, 96-6 P O'Donnell, 102-7 E Hitchman*|
|Aoyama Gakuin CC Innings: 106/9 (15.4 overs)|
|K Aoki||retired hurt||20||30||2||0||66.67|
|T Takada||c L Eyes b K Hill||5||6||1||0||83.33|
|H Matsuchika||c D Abbott b K Hill||2||7||0||0||28.57|
|K Takita*||b A Cronin||24||16||4||0||150.00|
|N Takahashi||b E Hitchman*||8||3||2||0||266.67|
|K Abeygunawardana||c A Cronin b E Hitchman*||2||3||0||0||66.67|
|S Takase†||b A Cronin||9||8||2||0||112.5|
|H Murakawa||c A Birss† b E Hitchman*||0||2||0||0||0.00|
|Y Hamamichi||b E Hitchman*||6||10||1||0||60.00|
|T Watanabe||c A Birss† b A Cronin||1||4||0||0||25.00|
|H Takayanagi||not out||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 0, w 10, nb 6)||16|
|Fall of wickets|
|11-1 T Takada, 23-2 H Matsuchika, 64-3 K Takita*, 73-4 N Takahashi, 74-5 K Abeygunawardana, 82-6 S Takase†, 82-7 HM Murakawa, 98-8 T Watanabe, 106-9 Y Hamamichi|
- A top effort by Kyal at Cover, diving forward to take low hard-hit cover drive. A brave dive considering the unforgiving YCAC rubber top.
- Dean pawing one skyward and behind but then smoothly recovering it in two mitts, I think partly to his surprise and much to his relief.
- Paddy, dropping a dolly at mid-off to deny a deserving Kyal a wicket. Upon gathering the ball to throw in, Paddy then made things worse by losing the ball mid-throw. The ball going straight up two meters before falling sadly back to Paddy’s feet. An eruption of laughter ensued from both teams.
- Paddy again, this time at mid-off with another dolly. This drop robbed Ev of a rare 5-fa!
- Patmore dropping one while keeping up for [Paddy???]
- Luke returning to the hutch after being dismissed reporting on batting with big Adam to the boys on the sidelines (as Adam C left to join Adam in the middle): “Not gonna be many quick singles or twos out there with Adam”. Next ball, Adam C is left sprawled on the ground having dived to make his ground after being turned around by Adam. Patmore: “looks like Crow almost learned that the hard way…”
- Advice by Ev and Patmore to new Wombat Santosh after a plethora of wides: “Doesn’t have to be quick mate”, “anywhere on the pitch will do mate”. Santosh proceeded by doubling his run up and bowling beamers.
- “Well I did say “HEADS!”” says Ev (quietly) in response to being told by the Japanese lady to give better warning next time.
Great Moments in Sport
- Mike surprising everyone with a sudden turn of pace (especially having been run out the day before) to come back for two after hitting a beamer to 3rd man so that he could face the consequential free hit.
- Mike sprinting like a maniac (again) and diving on the boundary to try to stop a boundary. Apparently it only takes a few female spectators to get Mike motivated (?). hrew himself at the ground and ball and unlucky not to pull it off. Lucky not to break any ribs too. No one out there was dare going to be caught in a half arsed fielding effort after that. (At least not willfully eh Paddy — look forward to seeing you at the next game too!)
- Not a Wombats moment – but gold nonetheless. Takady picking up and carrying off his team mate, bodyguard style, who retired hurt after succumbing to a bad case of cramp. And they call us the old buggers!
- The Wombats getting stuck into Takady who came out to field wearing his violently red Japan national team cap.
- Another tough debut story, this time by new Wombat Santosh with the ball who ended up bowling 2 and a half overs worth of deliveries to complete his solitary over, finishing 0-19.
- Ev, coming in off his signature 2 step run up to take 4 wickets (should have been 5) to sink Aoyama Gakuin’s hopes of any revival.
- Richie belting boundaries and unlucky to get out over the back onto the bowling lawn but thankfully lucky not to have connected with the lovely old lady who rightfully gave us a mouthful for almost killing her.
- Richie’s missus and 2 girl friends who gave us their Sunday and braved the heat to watch and cheer us on — made sporty gentlemen out of usually motley wombats.
- Ev making it very clear how unhappy he was that Paddy had just denied him from his 5-fa, repeating:“Where’s my beer Paddy!?”
Golden Thong Nominations
- A Japan Cup debut to forget for new Wombat Paddy O’Donnell who, after reveling in the English soccer team’s quarter final win over Sweden the night before, managed to score a golden duck with the bat, drop two catches, perfectly execute a Jamie Payne-esk misthrow (immediately after dropping a catch), bowling a solitary 11 ball over (thankfully only 7 runs from it), and tucking his borrowed over-sized pair of whites into his striped socks. Unfortunately for Paddy, the pain didn’t end there. After the match, Paddy, in his haste to meet a friend he had “lost” the night before, left his sunglasses behind and fell asleep on the Shinkansenhome, awaking to find that he was all the way in Nagoya. Gonna be hard to top that!