- Match Report
- Photos 1
- Photos 2
by Ian Gason
Wombats defeat Lalazar to lift Kanto Cup!
The Tokyo Wombats CC have been crowned Premiers of the Kanto Cricket League (Div 2) after inflicting a heavy defeat upon a previously undefeated Lalazar, at Shizuoka. Batting first, Wombats’ yield of 4/201 from 40 overs was too much for Lalazar, who were bundled out for 111. The win was the culmination of 3 years of hard work for the Club, and was anchored by Club veterans Skipper Chuck and Prez Jarrad.
The Wombats’ Road To Glory was stalled at Harajuku for over 30 minutes by a delay of the intergalactic kind, and when the wagon was finally put in motion, I drove with speed and determination that was later sadly lacking from my bowling. Despite accuracy (lack thereof) which was later reflected on the pitch, I had the lads at the ground on time, more or less.
Chuck won the toss, and he and Jarrad padded up and headed into battle.
Jarrad survived an early scare, when an edge fell frighteningly short of Lalazar’s new found ‘keeper. That moment aside, the two West Aussies constructed the foundations for the Wombats innings, giving nothing away.
They kept their heads rather than worry about the run-rate, which was initially dragging around the 3/over mark. A smattering of big hits interspersed a constant trickle of singles all around the ground, making life difficult for the opposing capatin’s field.
An eerie silence took over the Lalazar field, only interrupted by the annoying sounds of Zulu breaking in his new Slazenger. Wombat supporters where given a few opportunities to cheer, as a few more boundaries pushed score up to 90 without loss at drinks. On the sidelines we where wondering when the push would come, and how much ‘enough’ would be on the slow but small Abekawa ground. (178 according to Robert. Not 180, or 175….)
Shortly after the break, after setting a Wombats 1st wicket partnership record, Jarrad felll for 39, with the score on 92. Soon he was joined in the pavilion by Chuck (36). Little Richard joined Steve at the crease, and almost immediately the much awaited push was on. Initially Richo was circumspect with the spinners on, but with men in the shed and knowing that it would take air strike to remove Burkey, he let loose. In the blink of an eye he’d racked up 22, and helped change the tempo of the game. Shacksie, padded up, was getting shunted down the order. Again.
Andy Hall was the next man in, and copped his fair share of bruises, each one no doubt catalogued for future reference. Several “leg” byes resulted from thuds to the chest, allowing Burkey the strike. Andy score of 5 doesn’t really reflect the true value of his brief innings.
The best was saved to last when Zulu, back from Briz Vegas having missed the semi, joined Mr Equipoise and played a pig hunter of an innings. His second scoring shot was murdered into the vicinity of the shithouse for 6, and another was put across the road. A few deft dabs through the vacant 2nd slip area resulted in twos. Meanwhile, at the other end, Burkey had compiled 50 with all the urgency of a pensioner collecting his morning paper. Not to be outdone by the young upstart, he too had a few hoiks up his sleeve. One lofted straight drive into the lone tree was followed by a savage shot back at the bowler which had umpire Rob McKenna scampering for cover and lucky to be alive.
The pair added 40 runs in the final 4 overs, taking the score from a run of the mill 160 to a challenging 201. Equalling importantly, they snatched the momentum of the game and performed a psychological battering on Lalazar, one from which they would struggle to recover.
Wombats ever reliable opening pair, myself and The Body Koolhoof, were certainly not reliable ever today, and not only failed to get the early breakthrough but allowed Lalazar to skip away into the 20s in 4 overs.
Seeing one opener falling across his stumps, I switched to around, and although failed to get a wicket, at least put a halt to the runs. Captain Jones sensed now was the time to change and brought Spacey into the attack at the Lone Tree end, and he was promptly dispatched way, way, WAY across the river and into another time zone.
Spacey soon had his revenge, when one of the openers played an idiotic shot, stepping across his stumps, attempting to lift him over square leg and getting himself very, very leg before. The original and best WMD Rob Mann came on at the Car Park end, and soon induced a momentary lapse of reason, as a top edge went stratospheric and into the waiting hands of Jarrad Shearer. With the help of the square leg ump, who pointed out there was one to come, Rob castled one for his second wicket of the over.
Battered and bruised, NIKKA came on for Spacey, and put in his best performance of the year. In the space of a few overs before drinks he had the prized scalps of Aqeel and Gulzhar (Bollywod) and Fine Cotton, who was displaying signs of a bold personality. Only the quality fo the competition saw him not take out the Hardys’ Man Of The Match. Whether or not we would’ve wasted a good bottle of champagne on NIKKA is another question.
The champagne was flowing for Axe Mann though. Papa looked into his crystal ball, and said to his Skip, “I’m just going over there to cover to catch this bloke.” The very next ball, Axe delivered and Burkey was in exactly the right spot to get his safe hands around a rocket. Lalazar 7 down for 70, and the familiar number of ‘7’ was not going to haunt the Wombats this time. Was it?
Prior to drinks, Shax was given one over. I thought it was pretty good, but I’m not captain and Chuck took him off, and gave the openers a chance to redeem themselves. Alex did, though he tried his best to make a meal of another stratospheric top edge. 4 Wombats were close enough to take it, Tugga was the only brave enough to call it, but Big Al it was who got under it. And spilt it. And grabbed it, almost. Calls of “Yeaaahh” were cut off, but just like McGrath, when you thought he couldn’t possibly, he held it. A yorker got Al his second, and The Wombats were just one wicket from the Premiership.
My one chance at redemtion was too hot for even Mr Equipoise to hold onto, and I was banished in favour of Axe. The last batsman were determined to make us earn this victory and showed determination and concentration that was so badly lacking in their team-mates. Finally, with the score on 111, Axe sent down the winning ball, which was pulled over square leg into the safe hands of that little magician, Richard.
“Glorious, victorious” was belted out for the first of many times. Somehow between all the singing, beers and air-guitars, we managed to get across the street, where the champagne was popped. Amongst all the highlights – and how good were they – it was Yuki Koolhoff who started the tears flowing. She was not the only one, and was joined by a few of the blokes too. Don’t worry, I want name you, Richard, Burkey…..
The Highway To Hell was even more demonic, and things were out of control by the supermarket carpark. Ice fights, more tears, flying shopping trolleys, “anti-drunk repellent”. Spacey entered the Golden Thong fray with a rooftop highway piss. “Once a jolly swagman”, “Advance Australia Fair” and “True Blue” were given various degrees of punishment, as was the car stereo. Andy had tears in his eyes, possibly due to the windscreen cleaner Zulu got him with. Cap’n Jones was just one big happy camper, belting out his favourite tunes in the front seat. Richo penned another Club song, not fit to repeat here. By the time I had them back in Harajuku the car resembled a bombsite, and popcorn, chips, regurgitated NIKKA whiskey, broken eskies, beer cans (empty and full) poured out the door like…..well, like drunken Wombats really.
It’s not every day you win a Grand Final though.
Thanks? Where do we start? Chunky & The Freak, for coming down and being there. Rob and Neil for a superlative umpiring job. Robert for your technicolour wonder work in the scorebook. To Lalazar, not just for the game, but for getting the ground ready. To all the KCL officials. To our sponsors HARDYS & The Clubhouse. To the Shizuoka Tasmanians. To all the girls. If I’ve forgotten anyone, as I’m sure I have, I apologise. Oh yeah, to Nippon Rentacar…..