- Match Report
Friendly practice match with Nippon Tigers
by Alex Patmore
With the scarcity of decent net facilities in Tokes, 8 Wombats (Patmore, AJ, Michael, Naren, Vik, Frank, Solaiman and Himanshu) made the first trip up to Sano for a practice match with the newly formed Nippon Tigers, the brainchild of Wombat members Solaiman and Rony, a team made up of Bangladeshi expats.
Sano looks like the end of the world at the best of times, but go check it out in mid-March before spring has hit. Seen the post-apocalyptic film ‘The Road’? Visit Sano in winter for the real thing.
With only 15 players across both teams, the captains agreed to play an 8-a-side pairs game, with Solaiman playing for both sides. 8 overs in the middle for each pair, 5-run penalty for a wicket, so everyone could spend some quality time in the middle. With two umpires, a scorer, and two boys fielding for the Tigers, everyone was doing something the whole day.
Wombats batted first, and every bloke out there got going at some stage, openers AJ and Patmore looking solid, AJ’s cut shot working very nicely in particular. Next up was new boy Mike and returning Wombat and record signing (¥2,000) Naren. Mike technically got a duck on debut, getting his off bail flicked by a beauty from Solaiman, but thanks to the ingenious format he was able to go on and show his array of shots. Good to have another cack-hander in the ranks. Naren also finished his innings strongly with an array of fours and sixes. Next up Vik and Frankie teamed up well, Vik playing to his strengths and Frankie remembering what it was like to be out on the cricket field after a few years out of the game. Good to have you back Frankie boy. Solaiman and Himan brought up the rear, Himan thwacking a rapid half-century without being dismissed, brought the innings to a close on 263/8 off 32 overs, setting the Tigers a net 224 to win.
Solaiman and AJ opened the bowling for Wombats, Solly bowling with real pace and venom at his own team-mates, presumably for not having paid subs yet. At the other end AJ was doing his best Koolhof impression, bowling accurately and with swing to keep the batsman honest. Naren was ripping them sideways, big turn and bounce emanating from the Wombats’ very own Neymar.
At the midway point of the Tigers innings we were well on top, wickets tumbling and not many runs on the board. The last two pairs of the Tigers used the format well to their advantage however, despite being dismissed early on they then proceeded to slog their way to the bizarre total of 307/15 which gave them the technical victory. Highlights included Himan taking 3 wickets in an over, and Vik getting hit for 5 consecutive sixes! He had already bowled the guy, in fairness.
Overall a good workout, Wombats played the format to their advantage for the 40 over competition, and the Tigers for their T20 campaign. Train beers, a Dogenzaka izakaya and the Wombats dispersed into the night….