Sri Lankan Lions 122 - 98 TWCC

November 2, 2003 - 11:00 am at Koiwa
  • Match Report


by Ian Gason

On a day dominated by bowlers, The Sri Lankan Lions advanced to the Japan Gold Cup final by defeating The Wombats by 20-odd runs.

Batting first, The Lions were soon on the back foot, when yours truly, Curly, grabbed an LBW in the first over. The score could well have been 2/0 the next ball, when the number 3 feathered an edge through to Dinosaur Shearer behind the stumps, but the umpire ruled in favour of the batsman. With Smokin Peter as a new ball partner, the combined age for the Wombats opening attack was 75 years, and Smoker proved that he’d learnt a thing or 2 in his 42 of those years, when he lured the Lion’s bat into a hill-gully trap: 2/3. With new-wombat, Andy, on standby as 12th man, it was decided to bowl Smoker through till he couldnft move. He might be feeling it today, but he’ll always have the figures of 3/22 from 7 to remember. Not bad for an old bloke.

Wombats dominated the first session, with Little Richard and Spacey also getting amongst the wickets, and the Lions looked in trouble at drinks at 7/49. To their credit, the second session belonged to the Lions, as they fought back to end all out, 122. The Lions are always are hard side to dismiss, with 11 genuine batsman in their side every game.

It took an act of divine intervention to remove Captain Roy, as Luke Ray pulled off a catch which belonged in a different league altogether. Fellow Tasmanian Ax Mann Robb bowled and Roy drove uppishly with power between bowler and mid-on…..or so it seemed. Luke Ray moved sharply to his left, and looking to save a certain boundary, dived with his left hand stretched out in what seemed like a lost cause. 3 foot from the ground and more than 6 foot from where he’d taken off, the ball stuck. The moment seemed to freeze, Roy walked off shaking his head; no one could believe what they had just seen, least of all Luke. This was a catch that would hold its own in any company. Our own little Johnty Rhodes.

We’d failed to finish the job on the Lions, and given them 30-40 runs more than we should have, but still believed that 124 was within reach. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, as the Lions unleashed a bowling performance that would’ve undone any side in this League. Mahen and the unfortunately named Manur ripped our top order apart like a kid with his Christmas presents. Bird was first to go, having been softened up by some excellent short bowling, bowled. Next ball Chuckles, caught behind. Little Richard, Zulu, Ax soon followed, Wombats in deep at 5/19. Mahen finished with 8 overs 4/22, and Manur’s first spell amazing: 6 overs 1 wicket 5 maidens, one run.

Again, age and experience came to the fore, as Dino and Smoker fought the Lions second string bowlers off. Levelheaded cool cricket prevailed, as the old fellas pushed the ones and twos, and picked up a lovely 4 overthrows for their trouble too. Both batsmen looked like they’d play themselves into the nearby Edogawa hospital, as they coughed and spluttered away for a 49 run partnership. Smoker holed out after a valuable 20-odd. I joined Cap’n Grumps and steadied for a while before a rap on the pads produced the finger of death (9). Wombats 7 down, the little man from Calcutta came to the crease with a big job to do. A good throw on a second run saw Dr Dave run-out without facing a ball. His season stats: (plus 3 games rained off…) 3 matches, 1 innings, 2 minute, 0 balls faced, 0 runs. 2004 is YOUR year Dr Dave!

Spacey, having shaved off his porn-star moustache, couldn’t provide Dino the support he needed, coming and going without trouble the scorers. Luke Ray was the last man, and we all hoped that the Hand Of God could repeat its miracles with the bat. We needed 26 from 9 overs, with 1 wicket in hand.

Luke fresh legs got us a few quick runs. He turned the strike back to Cap’n G, who was left with no choice to go out with all guns blazing. It was, really, now or never, and with Roy on to bowl, one over could have given us the game. It wasn’t to be, as Jarrad, having survived 30-odd overs of carnage, was caught by a good running catch while attempting to hit over the in-field. Wombats all out for 90-something. Jarrad, I’m sorry I don’t know your score for the day, but whatever it was a truly mammoth effort.

So concludes a very dramatic season for The Wombats. Our fight back from 3 straight losses at Koiwa is something we can all be proud of. We were written off, jockeying with Tokyo Bay for last, but produced 3 stirring wins to earn a semi berth. The Lions, 6 from 6 in the rounds, are a class act, and we can honestly say that not only were we beaten by the best, that we gave it our best.

Sadly we bid farewell to James Watson, who you probably know better as Bird (brain), and were unable to give The Chef a farewell game in the final. We wish you luck, and hope that you’ll be staying in touch with Wombatland.

Sunday 9th sees The Lions take on The Indian Engineers at Koiwa, play starts at 10, and you can be sure of seeing some fine cricket. Expect a colourful day with a good turnout of (other) players and supporters. Sheikh will be presenting The Cup to the winning team after the game.

© Tokyo Wombats Cricket Club