- Match Report
BEATH’S ALL ROUND EFFORT WOUNDS WET WYVERNS
by Mark Ainslie
The Wombats arrived at a pretty stinking hot and humid Sano ground, and although donning the Wombats cap for the first time in four years was a special moment, I hadn’t missed the energy sapping Japanese summer one bit. Both teams were desperate to win the toss and bat first, and the Wyverns happily got the better of this particular battle, putting us into field.
It was clear as Beath took the new ball and the first over that he was on a mission to beat his old team, who have had the wood on the Wommies in recent times, and have been getting a little cocky about it. Time to put them back in their box, says the skip. After a somewhat lacklustre start to the season, losing the first three matches, we overcame the Sharks to turn the tide and get the first win of the year on the board.
Kyal opened up from the other end and the Wyverns were soon 2/8 – Gav castled Ueda on the last ball of his over and Kyal followed up the very next ball with an outswinger that was duly nicked and gobbled up by Gav at slip. To preserve the bowlers for later on, Al was brought on for Gav, and myself at the other end – Al swinging the ball around and me managing to extract a little extra bounce off the Sano pitch, knocking the cap off the Wyverns Masubuchi, flying over the keeper and slips for four leg byes. Not long after a fuller ball from Al saw his stumps knocked over and they were 3/32 and the Wombats well on top going into the first drinks break.
Uehara joined Chino and the two went about building a partnership. Rony copped a few big hits as Uehara tried out his baseball batting technique and Rayos provided some steady bowling at the other end. But the big breakthrough came with the score on 90 as Al was brought back into the action and bowling Chino for 29 with a great yorker. Reggie, in his first match for the year, was a bit rusty and proceeded to leak 12 runs in 0 balls – a beamer hit for six, was followed up by five wides.
Uehara well and truly had his eye in by this stage and proceeded to hit most of the Wombats around, finishing with 75 off just 88 balls, ably supported by Hagihara, with 26 off 34. These two saw the Wyverns to 4/171 off their 40 overs, a total much larger than envisaged earlier in the innings. Beath ended with 1/21 off 8, Kyal 1/18 off 6, Al 2/23 off 6 and myself 0/23 off 8.
Water was drunk, ice rubbed on bodies, bentos eaten, and then the pads were put on for the chase. Beath and Patmore opened up and began cautiously, while off in the distance, the low rumbling of thunder could be heard across the field. Clouds began to form and a big afternoon thunderstorm was on its way, and with a position in the final on the line, we were desperate not to be rained off. Although the drop in temperature was welcomed, as Beath and Patmore started seeing the ball better, more boundaries came and the run rate increased. As the thunder got louder, and the lightning brighter, the hatches were battened down for the impending storm. When the players left the field, the Wombats were 0/97 off 17 overs, and in a perfect position to win the match.
For the next hour, it bucketed down. Some had the luxury of escaping to nearby cars, some squeezed under the tents. Weather reports were followed closely, rule books were checked, a few undies dirtied as the lighting crashed around us, and Al took his clothes off for an animalistic sun dance in the rain (not quite as revealing as Japan’s first streaker circa 2006). Luckily there was no complicated Duckworth-Lewis to deal with and if we could get back on, we had only 32 to chase in 13 overs with 10 wickets in hand… but there was still a soaking wet pitch to deal with. Enter Patmore, Rayos, Al, strongman Kyal and other Wombats who, with metal folding chairs, bare feet and whatever other implements could be found, went about getting as much water as possible of the pitch. The Japanese looked a bit shocked at the enthusiasm to play on something that more resembled a slippery slide. Mick used his skills of persuasion and friendly demeanour to convince the sceptical Wyverns opening bowler with a “Maaaaate, you’ll be right to bowl on this, no worries!”, and with acceptance by the umpire, the game was back on, with 32 off 13 overs to chase.
The Japanese lads struggled with the wet ball and outfield, and the Wombats needed only three overs to get the 129 required. Beath finishing with 54 off 50 and Patmore 57 off 70. The Wyverns man of the match went to Uehara for his solid knock of 75 and skipper Beath won ours for his great all-round effort. A special mention to Reggie for his superb square leg umpiring… from extra cover! There were a few choice comments made throughout the night, too, so remember to get those quotes of the week in!
Thanks again to the Wommies for the opportunity to play, keep up the winning ways and I’ll see you all when I’m back in Tokyo next!