- Match Report
CAPTAIN SHEARER PILOTS WOMBATS WITH JUMBO EFFORT
by Ian Gason
Gunma trips have a knack of producing something special, and so it was again this long weekend when we ventured north. Beaut weather prevailed, the ground large, green and dry, and the Gunma hosts’ biryani delicious. To top it all off, a nail biting win, a monumental Dinosaur innings, and one of the biggest freaks to ever set foot on a cricket field! What more could you ask for in a day?
Apparently something, cos only SIX Wombats made the trip! 3 Wyverns helped us out, and we borrowed Zaheer’s young son Yuki, to make a 10 v 11 contest.
But first we had to get there. No Tomei, nice trip up north, 8am departure, too easy, I thought to m’self. How wrong could I be! No-one does traffic jams like the Japanese, and when there are autumn leaves to look at, forget 1 hour, try 2 and a half! On the bright side, we did get to discover what a retard Alex Koolhof is at “I Spy”. Stick to easy stuff like “car” “tree” etc next time please, Al!
Meanwhile back at the cricket, we are having a bowl. Pat opens up and finds out just how narrow the wide marks are. I take the second, throw down a pie, get an edge, and Grumpy One Hand does the rest. Lots of fishing and missing, lots of pad before bat defending, a few singles and things look OK for the Wombats.
Wombats helped things along by dropping the odd catch here and there – short 3rd man, square leg fence, long off, long on, cover. Some suspect returns saved a Gunma batsman or two. Gav’s massive arc from point when the non-striker ran two and the striker ran none was probably worse than Junmei’s under arm at the stumps that was 8 metres too high!
Junmei did however bowl a rippa spell, beating the bat time and time again. No action in his wicket column though. Big Gay Al’s swing deserted him and he copped a bit of a spanking, including an 18 run over. Of course, it wasn’t his fault: the run-ups had tyre marks, the ball was out of shape, the pitch was too short, the sun was in his eyes, his Dad was Dutch and so shit at sport, his dog ate his homework…..
Somewhere in amongst those excuses a Gunma bat called for a runner and then swapped him for a bloke we nick-named Chrystal – as in meth. Suffice to say he had a lot of energy, and a lot to say. Backing up he was bouncing around like a boxer, calling TWOTWOTWOTWO for a prod to cover and backing up half way down the pitch regardless of his partner’s intention or the ball’s location. Can’t recall anything that funny on a cricket field since that bloke from Ichihara came out to bat in his golf pants and pom-pom hat.
Anyway, while this loony was making us laugh, the real batsmen were making us chase. Somehow they added 50 in the 5 overs after drinks. And kept going that way. It took GT to break the 100 run partnership, finding Nawazash’s edge that had eluded the rest of us. While the batsmen were fishing away, our skip was sniffing crays, and soon cast out the pots. In his first over he had opener Zahid caught for 59 down in the deep, where Kyal made his tally 1 from 3 for the day. Chrystal (Tahir actually) went off and changed his pads and then was soon back out for more entertainment.
Chrystal fancied Chuck’s offerings and 24 runs quick enough to have our Courtney spitting away, “F**k! Sorry guys, I’m not a f***ng bowler,” kicking the dirt as he went. Several times Chrystal shaped to reverse swat Chuck, but doing so while Chuck was at the top of his mark!
The skip was all over Ashfaq, penetrating his defences, pinning him on one knee, bang on centre. Plum as it was it took a Sehwag double appeal to get the finger up and have Ashfaq removed. Zaheer the captain did bugger all, and then the moment we had waited most of the innings for – Chrystal was run out!
201 was a good score for a 35 over match especially with the tight start in the first dozen or so overs.
While a whole bunch of blokes back in Tokyo were doing the dishes, listening to their wives nag or going shopping, we tucked into a beaut feed of mutton biryani. Gotta love these Gunma games.
Dino left his uneaten tucker dangerously close to my hands and went out to bat with Gav. GB, as he does, was all over anything short, and creamed 4 boundaries between third man and point in the 2nd over. It all ended to soon when he tried one too many next over and found the fly slip waiting.
In the meantime Chrystal’s bowling action had detierorated to the point where it was as suspect as his mental state.
Jarrad was gliding balls thru the gaps and picking up easy singles. Chuck started this way too, but after a few overs took a wee shimmy down the track and drilled Ashfaq straight over his head for 6. The West Australians, despite that huge cultural divide that The Swan River is, worked well together. A bit of North-South tension reared when Jarrad pushed towards mid-wicket. Chuck bolted down calling, “YEESS…. OH COME ON JARRAD,” as he turned 180 and headed for safety, as Jarrad stood firm saying NO.
The ask was 6 an over, and the chase never strayed by more than a few runs from this. Enough bad balls came along to keep us in the race, but most of the runs came through careful placement between slip and cover. Chuck pounced on some leg side pies, and Jarrad managed to cut a few to the fence.
Chuck gave us a scare in the 15th when he again shimmied down the track, this time without his brain in gear though. Luckily the keeper scooped the ball as he tried to de-bail him and the skip was safe. He didn’t learn his lesson and he escaped with another life the same way in the 22nd. 3rd time lucky soon after, Chuck was caught on the square leg fence for 54.
Junmei came in and earned The Prez’s praise for his innings of 2.
GT survived a confident LB shout before deciding he’d better get back to his girlfriend and being bowled for a quacker. Pat came in with 46 needed from under 8, and kept the scores moving along. Fit, young a fresh, everything that Jarrad isn’t, he also kept our Dinosaur moving with some good push and run cricket. The pair added 49 in good time including a match winning 11 run over. Pat was dismissed caught in the 33rd just 7 runs short of victory.
Dino had crossed, and then scored a single of the last ball of that over, leaving me spectator for the time being. Ashfaq conceed two singles and a wide, leaving us 3 more in the last for a hard earned victory.
I remember a close run chase in Gunma a while back, but obviously Dino doesn’t. Our mid pitch pow-wow went something like this:
“Sorry, tried to hit the cover of that last one,” said Jarrad, “trying to get ’em all in one.”
What, don’t you trust me?” I asked.
So after a dot and missed opportunity on leg, maybe Jarrad was right, you can’t trust a Victorian with a bat?
Nah, horseshit, next ball full toss, pushed down the ground and the game is our.
A narrow 4 ball (5 wicket) victory topped off a great day. The laughs were non-stop, the tucker hit the spot, the cricket hard fought. The bowlers worked hard, the batsmen dug deep, and all in all, it made up for all the hard work of getting this game on.
Jarrad’s unbeaten 76 was a no-brainer for the Hardys Man of the Match award. Gunma’s allrounder Nawazash got Gunma’s best on ground. And the play of the day? More like Man of the Day! Just for making us laugh, for being totally off his rocker, Chrystal aka Tahir got the 3rd award! We’re not playing for train stations, right Chuckie?