Gunma Star XI 206 - 171 TWCC

September 3, 2006 - 11:00 am at Gunma 1
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by Ian Gason

Despite ending in 35 run defeat, the Wombats’ practise game v Gunma Sunday was a vital work out for the cricket starved Club. Several players enjoyed their first or second run for the season, and one big man proved that form is temporary, while class is permanent.

The selected XI bore little resemblance to the crew that gathered at Takadanobaba, with Reggie driving his silly-car with Roy and Ray, and a couple of late withdrawls: Rob Mann (heart muscle), Daniel Mugen (parallel universe). Still, the show went on, and once we worked out how to get to Distinctive Bridge Dori, normal (Gunma) programming was resumed.The 7-11 rendevous was a smooth as a Lao Aviation landing, and after 30 minutes of waiting, we were escorted to the ground. Thankfully, Zaheer’s boys has the ground work under control, so all we had to do was warm up, lose the toss and go out and bowl.

I opened, and was up first ball for a polite enquiry LBW. Declined. The contest was fair at both ends: lots of dots, but bad balls sent away. 4 overs in after a few more polite enquiries (all declined) I had my most confident appeal yet. Somehow declined. Fortunately, the pad failed to save the same gent next over as I worked it out: gonna have to bowl ’em. 3 balls later and I had grabbed the #3 for a duck, and we should then have taken the ascendency.

Mr Leftie was careering along nicely, having survived a half chance or 3, and after test driving the reverse sweep, even pulled out the reverse hook on Rayos. There was a silly run out. Soon our man Mr Leftie was waving his hat and bat to the raucus crowd celebrating his 50 in a manner which suggested his job was done.

Kyal Hill came on and went about bowling more wides than me, no mean feat I assure you. In between all the wides, his slipped one past Mr Leftie and down came his castle.We were all as dry as a dead dingo’s donger at drinks, and the score was 4-115, evenly poised.

Rhino got his first trundle for the Club, and joined in the wwwwide party, but then started sending down some rip-snorters. Cap’n Chuck came on 2nd over after drinks and got a wicket first ball, with a ball that slo-motioned its way to Dr Love at slip. Chuck was lobbing down donkey drop grenades with so much air that our first gamer, Canadian Gavin asked, “what are the rules about bowling in this game?”

Jarrad, having been called a ‘tortoise’ by his skipper, produced a beauty of a catch from an inside edge, which he took around the leg slip position, with his right hand. Work that out.

Sadly there was a period of stagnation which saw a few catches go down, including an absolute Herschelle from Doc at first. Gunma skipper I believe? There was a mongrelized run out attempt, for which I am to blame.We pulled ourselves out of that slump and Ryan redeemed himself for two earlier fluffs and Doc wrapped up the tail. Gunma had snuck away a bit, managing 206, which from the Wombats point of view isn’t a bad effort against a team with a big hitting reputation.

With plenty of runs to chase (the same score as our famous 2004 Gunma run-chase) Jarrad Shearer was promoted back up the order, with Doc (on omen?) to open, Roy #3. The 2005-06 Shearer bore little resemblance to the bloke batting Sunday. Perhaps it was the 8 foot play-ground dinosaur watching over him, but this was the Dinosaur we once knew. Back to basics? Confidence restored with Chuck umpiring?The Good Doctor quietly supported his senior man, but did a fine job too.

Jarrad was doing everything right. For once. Pushing the ball into gaps and taking singles. Finding the middle of the bat. Finding the boundary. Going OVER the boundary even! At drinks the collosal combi had amassed 80 without loss. A slight upping of the tempo was required, but what we good was a pure nitro-hit. Jarrad thundered a six into cow corner never land to bring up his 50 and raced from 46 to 75 in 13 balls. Such was the restoration of his confidence, that amongst this carnage, that when he timed a ball too well and only got a single, he could be heard apologising to the Doc!

What followed was another Gunma tragedy for Jarrad, who as Roy carelessly remarked, was destined for 3 figures. For the second time in 2 Gunma outings a doctor hit the ball to a fieldsman and called the ageing Sangroper through for a suicidal, piss in your milkshake single.

That triggered the Violet Crumbles (G’day Biju). Roy Boy, plum as they come first ball. Our Canadian, also a duck. Our emergency replacement Jabin from Gunma made a quick few, then returned. Kyal Hill scored a rapid dozen, including a massssssive six over mid-wicket.No sooner than I had called for a volunteer to replace Chuck, Chuck was tit-for-tat LBWed by Roy. The run-rate then skipped away, into double figures. Me, Reggie, Rhino and Rayos gave it a shake, but in the end were well short. 36 needed off the last over was due to some very tight bowling from the Gunma lads. 1 ball was all it took before I did a Graham Wood and pissed in my own milk-shake trying to run a second.

Ifs, buts and maybes all over the place, but we got what we needed: a game of cricket. Our catching and concetration let us down somewhat in the field. Gavin saved a bucket of runs in his first game of cricket. Well done. Doc’s 25 is encouraging, and surely the sign of things to come. The Dinosaur’s roar is ominous and timely, coming into the crucial Millenium game.

Wombats have gone through the de-rusting process and have 4 front line players returning for that crucial clash.

Our hosts Gunma were great, thank you. please have us back again next year. It was a treat to sit out and watch the sun (or in Reggie’s case, the moon) go down, pondering why every day can’t be like that. Inevitably we ended up drunk and rowdy in the van, talking filth and depravity, before finally emptying our bladders on Shinjuku station.

© Tokyo Wombats Cricket Club