- Match Report
BLOOD, SWEAT AND TEARS AS WOMBATS WIN THRILLER
by Ian Gason
In a remarkable day, on and off the pitch, TWCC took a step closer to Super 6 action in The Japan Gold Cup, with a nail-biting 2 wicket, 4 ball win over hard hitting India Blue, somewhere in, near, or beyond Gunma. Piloted by The Dinosaur’s 95, the Wombats chased down 206 runs to move to 3 wins, 2 losses.
The morning after some excessive Trivia Night bonding, Wombats assembled at ‘Baba at 8am to be greeted by the sight of Vice Captain (still smoking) Pete sleeping in the street. Which is better than Little Rich, who was still sleeping in Nishi Azabu. The early risers chowed on McChucks, and eventually Tugga appeared and I set the wheels in motion. Co-pilot and navigator Cap’n Chuck soon confessed he had no idea which road to take, and that he had lied his way into the front seat.
With The Angels pumping through the dinky stereo, Pete did his best to deprive the weary of sleep, before he too joined the rest in the land of ZZZZ. With one last call of ‘UP THE GUTS’ the navigator nodded off, leaving NIKKA as our last hope of getting to the right place. We needn’t have worried. The Indians were on the blower to Dino, asking where the ground was, a question which 24 hours later, I’m still wondering.
Thanks to NIKKA, we did eventually arrive at The Dandilion Ground, to be greeted by the sight of, well, dandilions, and no cricketers. No matts, either. No umpire. Most of the ingredients for a succesful days cricket were conspicously absent, so as Dino described the ‘5 foot weeds’ to someone else who had no idea, we concluded that it was back on the bus, back to 7-11, and off to Fireman Cricket Ground.
Up the guts, over the hill, and along some dirt tracks that had me reminiscing Crockie Dave’s African Navigation Adventures, and what did we see? A 20 foot fibreglass dinosaur! This had to be the place! Alas, no Indians, no matts, no umpire. They were all amongst the Dandilions, now 6 foot tall, so we went and picked them up, removed all the furniture from the FCG and set up Mr Stinky’s matts in the gravel/dirt square. Wisden has yet to respond to my inquiries, but I am confident that this is the first ever game of cricket played with a dunny ON the ground!
Wombats were asked to field, and THE Man, Rob Mann, Trivia Champion, soon had the break through as Dino snagged his first catch. Then another, and Indians’ blue at 2fa bugger all. Bugger all was what the Wombats got for a long time, as our old Engineers’ friend Ashok, had his wicked way with us (OK, me….). Luck was with the Indians as plenty of balls went in the air, but none to hand. Little Rich soon had some blood stains to go with the coffee stains on his whites after bravely attempting a diving catch in the square. At 2/115 at the 17 over drink break, Wombats looked to be in trouble.
A hangover defying fightback began in the 2nds session, as we summoned up all our reserves of energy. NIKKA’s spell was as fiery as that garbage excuse for whiskey he is so fond of. Not content with imprinting KOOKABURRA on Dinesh’s forearm, he went up to check on his health, “Yeah, it hurts, doesn’t it?”. In between maiming and mauling, he did take some wickets, but the leader of the fight was fellow crow eater, Shax.
Switched from the Dunny End to the River End, the Wyhalla Warrior floated the ball up to Dinesh & Co, who were soon doing some excellent Helen Keller impersanations. Having used deceipt to gain the front seat of the van, Cap’n Chuck tried to see if he could trick the Indian bunnies too. Unlike the firmly bolted dunny door, The Indians were swinging in the wind, and the procession to the dressing room was soon on.
Chuck dropped a return catch off his first ball, as his glasses had fallen off! Jarrad Shearer careered THROUGH the stumps to take one Shax catch, even taking the batsman to the ground and giving him a kiss goodbye. A couple of Indians holed out to the deep, and Dino picked up a sharp leg-side stumping to give Chuck his second wicket (ever?). From 2/115 to all out 206, an excellent fightback in uncomfortably hot conditions.
With his 20 foot family member being climbed upon by an annoying horde of Brazilian drug-dealers’ children, Dino debuted THE KAHUNA! Joined by coffee-stained Tasmanian Little Richard, the openers pusrued the 5 an over total. Jarrad played Gibraltar, as Richard revealed a dangerous habit: compulsive hooker. 3 balls in one over went down back of square, even after 2 men had been placed down there. When the moment was right, Jarrad too flashed his Kahuna with glee, with a smattering of 6s and 4s. One in particular was of splash-down dimensions as it cleared the hill at the Dunny End.
For the second week in a row, the opening (and maybe all wicket?) partnership was broken as the pair added 90-odd for the first wicket, before Little Richard (37) became Mr Stinky’s first victim. Any further down the crease and he could’ve blown the ump. Indians luck was not yet exhausted, as Cap’n Chuck fell cheaply to a sharp one-hander at short mid-wicket by Mr Stretch. Pete (0) was Mr Stinky’s #2, and gave considerable voice to his disappointment.
Was the collapse on? Had the wheels fallen off? PIG’S ARSE, Wombats! In came The NIKKA, and proceeded the cautiously slap the Indians around the little FCG outfield. With Dino keeping an eye on the run-rate, the pair didn’t get in any mix-ups, adding 40-odd to take the yellow caps to 4/150. Zulu and Axe were Grumpy’s next partners, making brief but invaluable cameo contributions. As we entered the final 10, the run rate edged up to 7, 8 an over. A couple of ten run overs, including Jarrad’s dunny clearing 6, brough things back. The game see-sawed like a see-saw, as a double figure over would follow a 2 run over.
Doctor Dave joined Grumps for the 8th wicket, and will be buying him beers for a while, although Garna probably owes him a few. Dino moved to 95 by pulling a massive 6 half way across the adjacent soccer pitch. As the dressing room sang out Boom shaggaluggashuggalugga Boom, Doc called for a quick single, and Mr Stinky standing BEHIND the stumps didn’t call for the 3rd umpire before sending Jarrad on his way.
With an average of 0.5, and my old pool partner Roppongi Roy’s words (always play with faith) in my head, I went out to join Doc in what was a 14 ball, 14 run chase. Calming The Doc was the first job, and I had NO hesitation in declining his invitation for a quick single. 12 balls. Bat on ball, turn back for the second. SHORT RUN is the call from square leg Pete. No worries, Doc, we can do this. Each ball on its merits. Loose balls will come. Wait for it. Still time.
Look I really want to be modest here, but f**k that was huge! Did you see how far it went? 9 balls to go? Dinesh came in from the river end, and over pitched one on middle. With no premeditation, I put my best foot forward and swung Little Richard’s Grey-Nich. Reckon I must have found the middle, because by the time I’d opened me eyes, the ball was sailing 40 foot over Dinesh’s aching head, last seen half way to Nagano.
Still, the fat lady might have been warming up, but she still didn’t know for whom she would be singing. 2 wickets, and a run a ball still. The biggest moment came when Doc flicked Dinesh off his pads, back of square.
Calling “2!!2!!2!!” like a roadie gone mad, I turned to find the ball still gaining speed as it passed the boundary. End of the over. Scores level. 2 wickets. 6 balls. It ain’t over til……. Indian Captain Roy, brought in the field for The Ring of Fire, hoping I’d miss hit going over. Looking round, there wasn’t a lot of space to put the ball into, but with 6 to go, I figured I could wait a while to slash. Back me up Doc, nothing silly.
First ball is true, no choice, block it back. Look around. Nothing’s changed. 2nd ball drifted to leg and I flicked left of the oldest bloke on the field, called YES, looked up and saw Doc was coming. His eyes lit up and he was off running, and the dressing room was on its collective feet! We’d done it! Fat Lady was singing The Wombats song!
The best cricketing experience I have ever been involved in, fellas. We were under the weather. We’d wandered round like The North Melbourne Football Club looking for a ground. We’d been up since 6 (or Wednesday for some.) and didn’t start til 12. We played through the heat of the day until after 6.
We’d come back from India’s 2/115, and we’d stopped a collapse in its tracks. Enjoyed that song at the end, Wombats! Glorious, victorous!