- Match Report
Hairy Halfie Hammers Hundred in Season Finale
by Alex Patmore
Struggling to get 11 all week. Traffic jam on the highway. Arrive after the scheduled start of play. 2 blokes still miles away. Good toss to win. So might as well lose it. “We’ll have a bat”. Ok then.
As far as preparation for the last game of the truncated, elongated 2021 JCL season went, a lot was left to be desired, so the events that transpired over the next 6 hours were even more remarkable.
On a sunny yet windy, late October day at the Sano International Cricket Ground, the Wombats were looking to end the season on a high against basement boys Sano in their own backyard. The team welcomed back Zubair after his time back home in Bangladesh and just out of quarantine, debutant Ben from England, and Chelsea’s mate from the Japan national team Marina kindly agreed to help out at the last minute to make up the numbers (turned out she did a lot more than that!).
Laurel and Hardy the Jinasena brothers battling the setback of a tire blowout on the highway (more on this later), the rest of the team essentially stepping out of the car and onto the field, Sano’s opening bats would surely have been very confident of some easy runs first up. Not to mention an opening bowler who had just emerged from his house for the first time in 2 weeks, a sunny, dry day with no hint of swing with a gale blowing sideways, and a field setting with more gaps than a Jinasena cover story.
Yet somehow, somehow at drinks, Sano found themselves 57-5 thanks to a combination of gutsy bowling, crackerjack fielding and a few daft shots thrown in for good measure. Rasika got things going with a wicket in his first over, exploiting the skiddy wicket by bowling fast, full and straight that was too good for veteran opener #1 Rizwan. Then, he showed commendable fortitude by sticking to his guns against baseball coat Musashi “I’m not out my foot was on the line” Yamamoto, who after hitting 3 big bombs back over Rasi got done all ends up by one that nipped back through the gate.
The big yakyuu wicket precipitated a collapse of the Sano top order, veteran opener #2 Munir nicking off another skiddy one, this time from Ali. Chelsea then got in on the act, bamboozling another hapless batter as she has done all season. Ali then removing the Sano captain, with Richie getting his first action of the day with 2 catches. This wasn’t the only star fielding on display, with the energy of all 9 on the park making up for the lack of numbers. New boy Ben played a part, bringing out the slide on more than one occasion, and Marina, pint-sized and resplendent with number 9 and ‘Evan’ emblazoned across her shirt (the Prez’s kit being the only one that would fit her, ha!) pouncing on everything in the infield hit in her direction.
One over before drinks and the Jinasena brothers made their belated arrival at the ground, having successfully repaired the punctured tire. More on that later. In their rush, Kavin hadn’t noticed the scoreboard, and was more than a little surprised to be told that we had Sano 5 down in the first 15.
Taking the field after drinks with the full complement of fielders felt almost unfair on Sano, and yet cricket being the totally f333ked game it is, proceeded to not lose a wicket for the next 20 overs, the 6th wicket partnership putting on 124 runs to drag Sano from obscurity to respectability with some determined batting, riding their luck on occasion with a few tricky chances going begging for the Wommies. A hard slog through the middle overs, and as so often the case for us this season, a good start squandered with some big hitting from the lower order to take Sano up to a very competitive score of 241/7 from their 40 overs.
Richie and Patmore set about chasing down the big total after the break, and as they say, the rest is history. Richie was quickly into his full flow, carving boundaries all around the park, and whilst Patmore was struggling to reach the boundary (slow outfield!) he was at least getting Richie back on strike to do his thing. Early Sano optimism quickly fizzled out, as the run rate remained high and a few notable chances went begging. Richie reached his half-century in double-quick time, and with ample time left in the game the big Kiwi had, whisper it, a golden opportunity to reach that first, elusive Wombat century.
Team milestones came and went, Patmore reached his own half-century, whilst Richie continued to take the revolving cast of Sano bowlers to the cleaners as the final result looked more and more a foregone conclusion, the question that remained was how far could the hairy halfie go.
And all the way he did go, finally reaching three figures for the first time in a Wombat shirt, deserved reward for an overall excellent season with the bat. Richie’s final tally of 129 containing 17 boundaries and 3 maximums, paving the way for a massive win for the boys (and girls) in yellow. Along the way, Richie and Patmore shared a club-record partnership of 196, the skipper getting strangled on 67 down the leg side, which was enough time for Zubair to remind everyone that he was last season’s Golden Wombat with a brisk cameo containing some big hits to the rope.
Final result, a resounding 7 wicket win for the Wombats with 3 overs to spare, a nice way to sign off for 2021.
With the autumn evening drawing in, most of the team did a brief and brisk round of highlights outside Tanuma station. This was when the last shoe dropped from the Jinasena brothers’ tire puncture cover story, and that what had in fact transpired was the wrongful input of Fuji instead of Sano into the car navi!
*Overall it’s been a season with plenty of highs on the pitch, in every game this year we’ve been competitive and always in with a shout right up until at least the last few overs. And yet still there is some frustration that we didn’t make the semi-finals this year, as I firmly believe that we had one of the strongest teams in the league when at full or close to full availability. The team spirit has been one of the best I can remember, even without (or perhaps because of?!) the aid of regular socials post-match due to Covid and other factors. The arrival of Chelsea, Rex, Owen as regulars and other new members played a big part in this, and has kept the club going, seeing Spider Joe develop into an opening bowler of some repute has been gratifying, as has the return of Chandu and Rasika to contribute to impressive wins.
My thanks to Prez Evan for helping organize team uniforms, wines etc and other admin behind the scenes and generally keeping the club operating, Dino and his Fuji bros for putting in hours on the ground to keep it as the best place to play cricket in Japan (apart from the portaloos), Ali as VC for his support, and to everyone else who helped out on game days to make the days go a little more smoothly this year.
Here’s to 2022, a landmark year for the Wombats as it marks the 20th anniversary of the founding of the club.
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Sano CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2021 (Div. 1), SICG 1, Tochigi, October 23, 2021|
|Result||TWCC won by 8 wickets|
|TWCC MoM||R Bracefield|
|Sano CC Innings: 241/7 (40.0 overs)|
|M Ahmad||c A Patmore† b M Ali||11||21||1||0||52.38|
|R Mohammad||b R Ethugala||0||5||0||0||0.00|
|M Yamamoto||b R Ethugala||23||13||0||3||176.92|
|S Hiratsuka||c R Bracefield b C Moscript||3||24||0||0||12.50|
|S Wada*||c R Bracefield b M Ali||8||9||2||0||88.89|
|N Miyaji||not out||67||77||5||1||87.01|
|P Roshan||run out (K Jinasena)||70||72||6||3||97.22|
|K Wakita||st A Patmore† b C Moscript||4||5||1||0||80.00|
|U Pradeep||not out||26||14||0||3||185.71|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 2, w 27, nb 0)||29|
|Fall of wickets|
|11-1 R Mohammad, 39-2 M Yamamoto, 41-3 M Ahmad, 49-4 S Wada,
57-5 S Hiratsuka, 181-6 P Roshan, 185-7 K Wakita|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 243/2 (37.0 overs)|
|A Patmore*||c M Ahmad† b S Hiratsuka||67||87||5||0||77.01|
|R Bracefield||lbw b S Ichiki||129||103||17||3||125.24|
|Z Bappi||not out||17||22||2||1||77.27|
|M Ali||not out||5||10||1||0||50.00|
|Extras||(b 4, lb 4, w 17, nb 0)||25|
|Fall of wickets|
|196-1 A Patmore, 236-2 R Bracefield|
- Richie took a couple – anybody have details?
- More details required here… 🙁
Great Moments in Sport
- Kav’s direct-hit runout to end the 100+ run partnership.
- Richie’s towering 6s clearing the longest part of the field. Take a bow mate!
- Patmore at Kavin – “THINK!!!!” after collecting an overthrow and chucking it flat for another attempted run out.
- Nav for spilling the beans of Kav’s ignorance.
Golden Thong Nominations
- The Jinasena brothers – claiming at first that they had blown a tire and would be late, before spilling the beans after the match. Turns out Kavin had actually put Fuji into the Navi and were on their way in the wrong direction. They finally arrived at Fuji to find the Wommies bowling first, and the score at 59/5. Just before things started going downhill for the Wombats.
- Nav getting hit for a scoop shot off shitty no. 7.