- Match Report
BOOM-BOOM BURKEY BARRAGE BAGS FLAG!!
by Ian Gason
Tokyo Wombats secured their third successive Grand Final win Sunday after chasing down a strong total of 200 by Wyverns. Wombats reached the total in the 36th over for the loss of just 2 wickets. Man of the match, Steven Burke, finished unbeaten on 119.
One change to the semi final line-up saw Regan Dawson return, replacing the controversially omitted Jarrad Shearer, who was dragged unwilling, kicking and screaming to a wedding. 11 more fortunate Wombats duly assembled at Harajuku and Tomei-ed away to Fuji. Weather predictions, well, let’s not even go there, OK? The car got wet, the ground was a bit damp, but otherwise it was pretty good for cricket in the end.
Chuck won the toss, and elected for the preferred modus operandi, bowl and chase.
Things began well for Wyverns’ Gavin Beath and Tetsuo Chino, taking full benefit of any wayward bowling from myself and Morty. They pottered along to 33 in after 6 overs, and raised the 50 in the 10th. Morty was then hidden behind the stumps (changing with Pup) while I was allowed to redeem myself. In the 15th over I finally got one through the gate of Chino, and caused moments of concern for incoming #3, Fahim and almost ripping my trousers doing a one kneed Hadlee style appeal for LBW. He survived but not for long as Grant soon had him caught and bowled. Drinks taken in the 20th at 2/87, still very much anyone’s game. Getting big Jesse Beath would as always be the key.
The key fell through our fingers once when GT bowled a rippa that pitched and moved away, finding the big hitting Kiwi’s edge, but stand-in keeper #2 grassed the offering. The blemish didn’t dent Morty’s enthusiasm as he continued to strut up to the stumps, much like he does in his follow through, letting the batsmen know he’s there. GT soon had number two as Junmei sliced one towards point with the score on 125.
That brought brought the fit, fresh and young Pat to the crease to join the not so fit, tired Jesse Beath. Beathy had played a number of blistering drives, and was capitalising on the now infrequent bad balls. But Friday night’s horizontal refreshment was taking it’s toll and Beath had begun to play some tired, lazy swipes. Finally in the 35th over he was castled on 89 by The Body Koolhoff, who brought out a gutteral roar/ground punch celebration.
Pat was undone by the magical Paul Shackleford, who found the edge after twice being unlucky. The ball flew high to Mr Burke at mid on who made a big show off rolling over backwards, as if to say that it was perhaps at some stage in doubt. Wicket number 6 came soon, when again the don’t run on a misfield theory was tested. It wasn’t even much of a misfield as the ball had bounced off my leg a metre or less and with 2 and half stumps to aim at from 7 metres, I ignored the calls of keeper and hit at Mr Shax’s end.
On the 2nd last ball of the innings our sneaky Englishman Morty convinced the batsmen to take a suicidal last ball 2nd run and young Mark Ainslie tidied up and the score was 7/196. The psychological 200 was raised of the genuinely last ball when Mori slapped Shaxxie to the scoreboard boundary, where the Reverend Regan D’ made a dog’s breakfast of the last supper and the ball slipped through his legs over the rope and into the Wyverns’ players’ pews.
200 runs on the board is good place to be in a grand final. Wyverns had earlier looked like making more, but Wombat determination and disciplined bowling reined in the ask. Wombats could now put the feet up (OK, not you Burkey and Morty) as Wyverns went into the heat to defend their score.
Burkey pounced upon the first ball, managing two, but after that the offerings became more scarce. Pat’s first 4 cost just 5 runs; Junmei’s 16. First change was the tired Gavin Beath, and this was the first loosening of the Wyverns’ wheel nuts. Whereas we had bled early runs before tightening up, Wyverns began tightly before Messrs Burke and Mortimer were able to slowly prise apart the door. By way of comparison 53 after ten v Wombats 33. Similarly, Wombats also lost a wicket in the 20th, as Morty edged Mori. His 28 runs had been hard work, facing up to the two tidy openers, as well as Mori, who finished with 1-30 off 8.
At the half way mark, Wombats were 1/85; Wyverns had been 2/87. Neck and neck like two giraffes.
Wombats had the depth of talent to win this match. We had showed it in bowling and we had showed the hunger to use our talent. Now our batting depth would come to the fore. As would Steven Burke’s finals’ experience.
Many a time we Wombats have enjoyed watching Burkey at work, but few displays would match this one. Last week’s timing and placement was an absolute masterclass, but their is something special about making a tonne in a Grand Final. Few who saw would disagree. His concentraion, his placement, his timing up til drinks had been a treat. With Morty he had built a GF base. With Ross he would command the flag be raised. The pair plundered 85 runs in just 11 overs. Once Burkey began landing sixes 40 metres over the mid wicket fence, it seemed he would never stop. Ross showed again what an asset his is, turning the ball of his toes, belting it off his hips, and even swatting it away from his eyes. The choice of verbs should in no way take away from what were all genuinely good genuine cricket shots.
Bowlers were chopped and changed but it could not hide that you need 5 bowlers to win a flag. A flagging Gavin began one over with a Big Burkey Maximum and followed it with 5 very tired slower balls!
But it wasnt until the 25 over mark that Wombats -with GT, Pup, Chuck and more in reserve- began to pull away. Fielding became a dangerous occupation- if you were on the adjacent ground. At one stage in the 70s Burkeys timing and placement appeared to have deserted him, when he was caught on the boundary. However after some lengthy consultation between the umpires, catch taker, fielding captain and a few interpreters, it was ruled that the fieldsman had carried the ball over the rope (a la Spacey at Koiwa) and yet another 6 was recorded.
Pat was re-introduced to the attack. Without a wicket falling, Wombats would be free to swing like a dunny door if needed should the final overs be tight. No wicket fell, and there was no slowing of the run rate. Even when the bat slipped out of his hands, Burkey was still able to find the fence.
A thoroughly shagged Beathy was tried again for one inglorious over. Burkey showed no mercy landing 3 sixes in another postcode. Perhaps not a turning point, but the warming up of the fat lady.
One ball after adding his 3rd boundary to his two 6s, Ross (35) mis-timed an ordinary ball to be caught within sight of victory. To the wicket strode a man who’d waited 14 years for a premiership, Grant Turner. You could bank on him to be there at the end, safe as houses.
Burkey reached three figures with a piercing drive between mid-off and cover, and soon after collected boundaries numbers 7 and 8. (His 3rd six off Beathys last over would be his last for the day, number 8!)
With a crunching cut short in front of square, GT found the boundary and ended his own premiership drought, and securing a massive 8 wicket victory for the Wombats.
The champagne flowed freely (and largely aerially) and the song sung loud. Rhino, complete with Usain Bolt show ponying, went back to back in the 2nd annual Wombat Round-about 50metre sprint.
After putting a few drinks down our throats rather than all over our mates we piled into the van, which had thankfully ceased that dodgy, scraping metal on metal sound. Laughs, songs and highlights all the way back to the city. Not only were we celebrating our victory, but we were also celebrating to of our great mates: Morty and Pup made their final, emotional van ride. Blessed as we are with fine blokes at this club, these two are stand-outs. Our tailored individual highlights could have gone on and on. Thanks for being great Wombats.
Well done Wombats, each and every one of you. Three flags in three years, 4 in 5 years. Outbloodystanding!!
Thanks again to our sponsors Hardys and ANZ, as well as the other teams, the officials and our supporters. And you too Jarrad.