- Match Report
FLACCID WOMBATS SURVIVE SHARK ATTACK
by Ian Gason
Tokyo Wombats 2007 campaign limped off at Fuji Sunday with a skin of our teeth win in the Grand Final Replay clash with cross town rivals, Ichihara. Big Al Koolhoffff made his driving debut, in between perving of Ralph’s Top 200 Top Slappers Issue. New recruit Chris Mortimer settled in down Kiwi corner and set his Wombats career in motion by asking, “So tell us about Chiang Mai.”
A smooth Tomei trip, no splattered crows, no IBS, and Jarrad steered us into Furuya. For the ignorant, Furrier is a wee Japanese Inn, where, based on a similar Cricket Australia policy, all teams must report to collect the shed key and match balls. Neither of which were there.
Of course the balls weren’t at the ground either, so while Prezi-dino sorted out an Only In Japan SNAFU, Wombats presented its tall timber Chris his XL Wombats shirt. Steve Burke re-invented himself as a hard task-master: “Get ya whites on do some fielding practise!”
Wombats chose to bat, but didn’t get the start we’d envisioned, loosing Jarrad early. Burkey and Chuck circumspectly went about the bizzo. Burkey belted consecutive no-balls for 6 then 4 until he was deceived by a Bill Smith doosra (one that lands) and was bowled. The Vicar, Chris eased into Wombat-hood with a first ball boundary, and together with Chuck lay the foundations of the Wommies innings. At one stage he struck 3 4s in a row, looking like breaking Whiskas debut record of 57.
Chuck passed 50, but fell to a quick leg side stumping by Chris T.. Chris M’s long legs couldn’t save him as he scampered through for a quickie he never completed, run out on 40.
Doctor B Luv tried to hold the Wombat machine together, with some good running and a Calypso pull for 6. The wheel nuts haven’t been adequately tightened it seems, and the as the innings progressed, they came right off and left the Wombat’s looking like a poorly maintained Skoda, banged up and busted by the side off the J1C highway 3 overs short of 40, all out 212.Rhino, Axe, Big Al and mself all came and went in quick fashion, contributing 2/3s of f** all. Al and me didn’t even have the decency to give the bowlers a wicket, running ourselves out in way that’d make that consummate athlete Inzy blush.
While there were signs off improvement in the Sharks’ fielding (good catches and 3 run-outs), Wombats should have posted a larger total than 212. Most of us fell to sloppy batting and failed to take advantage of some batsmen-friendly bowling.
Pup opened with his usual venomous speed, and I trundled in with my usual pedestrian lack thereof. I got one to ‘swing’ (actually think the breeze carried it, or was it reversing in the 4th over?) in and take off, and then with the score on 23 first change The Vicar showed the Wombat in him. He grabbed a chunk of wood on the way through to keeper Dino and celebrated his first Wombat wicket uttering a short blessing that didn’t appear to be the Lords Prayer. More like F**K OFF!! Must be an English thing.
Nick Creese and Dhugal B combined and steadied for the Sharks, and despite Dhugal having more edges than a dodecahedron, manned the sandbags and halted the Wombat assault. They punished loose balls, milked wides and pushed singles, staying ahead of the run-rate. Dhugal survived a justifiably confident caught behind appeal, and to my untrained eye, it appeared he had even begun the lonely walk to the shed, before seeking confirmation with the ump.
It took a Killer pie full of poo full toss and a Gadget Arm grab from Chris to remove Nick. Rick Astley probably hoped to be Together Forever with Dhugs, but was only there long enough for one sledge regards his questionable attire, before the pipes, the pipes were calling.
Captain Courageous Chris T came out, no doubt thinking “you dirty f***ng Tomei-pissing Wombat mother f***ers can get f***ed.” Well, that’s how he batted anyway. His was the dictionary definition of the captain’s knock: confident, controlled, aggressive and passionate. No bowlers were spared as he and Dhugs motored along towards victory. He dissected the field, went over the ropes and plucked off singles. He sailed a cut shot tantalizingly over Rob Mann’s hands, survived a no-ball catch and looked set to piss in the Wombats milk-shake.
Armed with some Rocket Science 101 advise (look where you’re bowling) The Axe Mann swung his big Tasmanian wrecking ball through the Sharks’ hopes when he found Dhug’s edge and The Prez dived forward to hold a great catch.With Captain C farming the strike, two comic run out fluffs kept the Sharks on the victory course. One was a panicky throw off the ground, the other a perfect throw from long-off which Rob Mann hot-potatoed. The square-leg umpire was counting un-hatched chickens, saying that just turned the game.He hadn’t counted on one angry young crow-eater, Pup Ainslie. While Axe was tight as a Scot’s purse strings in the death, Pup had 3 overs to snatch victory for the Wombats. Sharks needed 20-odd, we needed 3 wickets, and to cut a long story short, we got ’em.
Well, Pup got ’em. He was full and straight and fast, and had Chunky tied up like a naughty school-girl. Chunky resisted, the stumps stayed upright until Pup eventually prevailed. Then in his 8th and final over, a baker’s dozen the difference, Pup grabbed his 3rd wicket and sealed a thrilling victory by violating the captain’s fortress.
Chris T was a shattered man; the Shark bench stunned. The Wombats breathed a sigh of relief. The Sharks recovered quickly and worryingly were all into the beers while we was still pussy-footing around. Clearly, Wombats have yet to wake from the winter hibernation.
Hardys Man Of The Match went to debutant Chris Mortimer for an all-round performance, while Sharks’ BOG was a no-brainer, Chris T for his 70-odd. The show-pony Pup got the best of the rest award for his life-saving 3 wickets at the end.
Yours truly lead the Wombats into their first victory song of the year, then steered the van to McChucks, where we consumed more Mega Macs than Mark Cosgrove. The highlights soon degenerated into the usual gutter-smut talk and fantastical dreamings, and while the young Englishman’s huge highlight skulls showed plenty of on-van potential, we hope he will adapt to the open nature of our discussions.
Thanks to the Sharks for a classic game and to another Chris (Thommo) for umpiring.