- Match Report
DINOSAUR HEROICS CAN’T AVOID NARROW DEFEAT TO JAPAN
by Mark Ainslie
JAPAN 6/252 (Chino 79, Ahmed 27, Beath 25, Giles-Jones 24*, Ainslie 2/47, Kelly 2/47) defeated TOKYO WOMBATS (Shearer 109*, Jones 37, Turner 23)
A lesson in cricket professionalism was handed to the Wombats, falling 20 runs short of Japan’s total, despite heroics from Jarrad ‘Dinosaur’ Shearer – scoring another ton for the club, which was towards the end a true monument to the human struggle, after keeping for 50 overs, then batting for all 50.
Heavy rain late in the week caused concern for the game to be a no-go, but the ground was given the all clear for our 50 over practice match versus the Japan national team down at Fuji #2.
The meeting time was a little earlier than usual, and too early for Ross who became the first shink casualty of the year. A worse punishment is being thought up by the management team after its first AWOL.
Not a first gamer for the club, but GT was initiated to the world of the Wombats’ van trip – it was somewhat unfortunate for him as it’s going to be tough beating what was one of the best ever.
The outfield was still quite muddy from the previous rain, but safe to play on, and play started on time with Japan batting first.
The Wombats opened up with Curly and Morty who both bowled tight and accurately to have openers Beathy and Chino under pressure early. Pup was brought on for Morty and picked up his bunny Beath straight away. Amigo joined Chino, who put together an 82 run partnership for the second wicket in good time. Killer was brought on to create a wicket, and that he did, taking Chino’s wicket with a rank, leg side full toss, Junmei taking a great catch on the boundary.
Small, but valuable partnerships, and a gradual acceleration of runs, helped along by poor fielding on a difficult outfield, and a few dropped catches, saw Japan score 100 runs in the last 13 overs, ending their innings at 5/252. The rules of the 50 over game came into dispute near the end after a front foot no ball from Pup saw a free hit offered to the batsman, Pat, who was consequently bowled, but scampered through for a single!
Our innings didn’t get off to a great start when another Dino-related run out saw Junmei’s innings cut short. GT came in and the two put on a good partnership, with GT showing his cricketing prowess with some glorious strokes and one gorgeous flick over square leg for six, reminiscent of Doc (Bjorn) circa 2007. A rush of blood saw him castled for 23. Another rush of blood saw Rhino go quickly, which brought experienced campaigner Chuck to the crease. At 3/185 in the 42nd over, both Chuck and Dino were looking good, and 10 an over with 7 wickets in hand seemed attainable.
A comical, but unfortunate incident with Chuck telling Dino to play straight, only to have him follow that advice, the ball hitting the bowler’s hand, deflecting onto the stumps, with Chuck short of his ground backing up. Pup came, hit a trademark cow corner six, then was caught. Morty joined Dino for the last five, but with accurate death bowling from Pat and Munir, saw the Wommies fall 20 runs short. Dino, playing for red ink at the end, finished with 109.
It’s always unfortunate to lose, especially when victory is within our grasp, but the professionalism, particularly fielding, of the Japanese team made the difference. Hopefully we all take something away from this game to put us in better preparation for defending our attempt at our third J1C premiership in a row.
Without any drunken wrestling on the way home this time, a safe journey was enjoyed by all – no fatalities, no injuries even. Highlights began as we hit the Tomei, with Chuck, Dino and Rich copping most of the sculls. The Wommies may also have a new supporter base after one of our stops for bladder release, we just have to learn how to play soccer! Respect must go to Morty for a great off-field performance.
Thanks go to Japan national team coach Rich Laidler and the Japanese national team boys for a good day of hard fought, high quality cricket, and we wish them all the best in the 2008 ICC World Cricket League Division 5 tournament starting next month.