- Match Report
- Photos 1
- Photos 2
5 OF THE BEST!
by Adam Farmer
Let me start this report a little earlier than usual, being grand final week and all, and I’m sure the world would like to understand how the wombats finalised our preparations for a J1C 2009 premiership. A last minute strategy session, some minor weight sessions, a light jog on the beach or catching practise – not likely! Instead, a Black Lion gathering consisting of beer & pizza to watch the AFL grand final, of course!
A little bleary eyed – we gathered at Harajuku station at 7.30am. Excited to see the magazine bus arrive for the modelling shoot, we were left a little disappointed when this week’s specimen was not in the same class as the original beauty we saw before the last Fuji game. It was like comparing Amanda Vanstone to Megan Fox – enough said.
Typical of the Curls we have grown to know and love, he turned up right on time to load the wombats into the van and we headed into the sunrise on a journey to retain our rightful mantle as the number one team in Japan. The usual van conversations began and were shortly tuned to the next level as Al & Shaxxy began discussing the meaning and evolution of life, enough to put most of us back to sleep to make up for the lack of it the night before. The topic eventually turned to Australian geographic trivia and a highlight was Al’s “what is the highest point in Tasmania?”, to which Shaxxy quickly responded “”the 72 election”, which was later corrected to “the arrival of TV”.
The day’s standard was quickly established as we arrived at the conbini to be pumped up with a Burkey speech that a sub-10 minute stop was required in order to meet our kick off time. Not to disappoint the vice captain, the wombats completed the necessaries (including having our orders mixed up by the oldest 7 Eleven owners in Japan) in record pace. The last stage of the journey was somewhat quiet as I am sure all members where soaking up the atmosphere and taking in the moment.
Our arrival at the ground quickly moved into a cramped net session for those of us that had not been near a six stitcher in too long. GT strode to the centre wicket for the all-important toss. Unfortunately that double-sided coin got us again and the Wyverns won the toss. To our surprise they chose to play a tactical game of chase and sent the wommies into bat.
Our President and an ex-Wyvern were sent into open the batting on our march for history. I am sure there was no one on the ground more relieved than the opposing team when they were able to dismiss ex player Beathy from a leading edge to long off for a cheap 7. Short of time in the middle, Chuck stepped out to the challenge, happy to be elevated to 3 whilst Rossco was doing it tough in Chang Mai.
For the next 30 mins or so Dino and Chuck worked hard to bring the score along for the wommies. Several times we heard Chuck cursing himself for not middling a shot that went for four. Dino keep pushing his score along until he tried to break the shackles and was ripped for 23. This brought one Mr Burke to the centre. What else can you say? A man whom has rarely been out in a grand final continued on his merry way and gave an exhibition for why he should have played more games for Australia than Brad Hodge (cheap shot!). Chuck continued to battle his inner demons and knocked out a stellar 50 before falling LBW.
Batting at 5, GT marched to the pitch determined to promote his batting career and commenced nicely but unfortunately holed out and was caught deep on the boundary for 4. I followed in similar fashion, hoping to build a partnership with Burkey whom by this stage was looking like the usual stalwart of the wommies innings. However after managing to crack a couple of boundaries, the ball before drinks saw the umpire pay a leg side LBW that could best be described as “questionable”.
Then the moment we had all been waiting for – Curly’s farewell knock for the Wombats. A quick 50, a rousing 100 – what treat where we in for today? The answer arrived very quickly with a golden wacker….An “unorthodox” shot, tapping a ball from wide outside off stump to a waiting close-in fieldsman, is probably how it could be best politically described. Deathly silence fell as all wommies quickly scurried to be busily pre-occupied during Curly’s return to the pavilion.
The tail did its best to support the man of the moment, including a what he would like to describe as a solid innings-saving 2 not out from Al doing his best to let Burkey build our total to a defendable 198. Burkey finished on a magnificent 64 not out.
After some fine 7 Eleven dining, the Wommies took to the field to give the Wyverns a cricketing lesson.
Curly was thrown the new nut and opened from the river end. GT showed some surprising tactics himself and gave Kasun the job of opening with his spin from the other end. A tight opening spell from both bowlers didn’t reward any wickets but contained the openers to a mere 36 off the first 10 overs.
A drinks break gave the Wommies a chance to refocus. I’m not sure what someone slipped into the water or if it was the continued profanities from GT, but we certainly slipped into overdrive following the drinks break and the wickets began to fall at a constant rate.
Koolhof replaced Kasun and continued his fine style of bowling in the finals, snaring 3/32 off 8 including the wickets of both openers. GT put himself on from the river end and again proved damaging collecting 3/25 off 8. Beathy & Kyle cleaned up the tail taking 2/10 off 2.5 overs and 1/12 off 2 respectively.
Curly was brought on to finish his bowling career for the wombats and finished with a cameo 1/33 off 8.
That man highlighted the fielding effort again – S.Burke – providing two of the best outfield catches you could ever hope to see. Some wommies are obviously becoming all too familiar with his efforts, with Chuck stating during one stage “It’s Burkey, he’ll catch this”, as Burkey was screaming around from mid-on. A worthy mention also needs to go to Dino for a magnificent one hander that he plucked in front of Chuck’s face at 1st slip.
The victory was ours – the moment we had all been waiting for – The Tokyo Wombats were officially crowned J1C Premiers for 2009 with the Wyverns all out for 142 in the 36th over. J Hanada was the shining light for the Wyverns finishing with bowling figures of 3/45 off 8 and 49 with the bat.
Obviously and rightfully, one Steven Burke was awarded Man of The Match for his innings of 64 and two awesome catches. Al Koolhof was awarded play of the day for a continued outstanding bowling contribution during the finals. Hanada from the Wyverns was awarded player of the day from the opposite team for his annoying bowling and batting that gave the Wyverns a fleeting chance of challenging the Wombats.
The usual esky was opened (and demolished on the trip home) and the Yebisu began to flow, along with a few bottles of champagne and some additional drinks provided by our cheer squad. Curly gave a tear jerking farewell speech and handed over our club song to yours truly.
Banning any purchase of Jinro it was and off to the store we go!
What could only be described as a rather quiet first two hours on the trip home turned quickly south as someone in their wisdom decided it was time to arc up a little Guns ‘n’ Roses on the deck to set the mood. Bad Kyle made an appearance and GT carrying on from last games seat hopping decided it was time for some good old fashion “stacks on” at 100 kms an hour down the Tomei.
By the time we arrived at Harajuku, I think every man and his dog in the van was covered in beer, bruises or both. A phantom chucker made an appearance as the van wafted of a defining smell! Chucky was busy making friends with the locals as a few held their breath whilst trying to make the van respectable enough so Curly could at least leave Japan with his deposit back.
Most of the team left too early to see the final Wommies song of the evening, highlighted by Bad Kyle’s solo from atop the roof of the van in the middle of Harajuku. It was at that stage it was time to call it a night and we left Curly to drive off into the evening, farewelling a Wombat legend!
TOKYO WOMBATS CRICKET CLUB – PREMIERS 2009