- Match Report
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NAGOYA FEAST ON WOMBAT DROPPINGS
by Courtney Jones
For once the driver held up departure from Harajuku and those waiting for him to arrive decided he should take the shink to Shizuoka for his tardiness. When Ian eventually arrived he’s says “fine! but I’m taking the van with me!” so we let him off this time and to Shizuoka we went for our Pacific Cup game vs new foes Nagoya C.C.
A summer Tomei traffic jam saw us arrive at 11am and Nagoya soon after. No warmup was needed because flattening the Shizuoka pitch with the heavy roller had us all sweating profusely under the sunny, bloody hot skies. Thankfully we won the toss and decided to bat. Previously overheard was a 4am conversation in Roppongi between Zulu and Axe saying they were opening the batting this game and so it came to be. Be careful what you wish for though, as Zulu lasted 3 balls in his return to the Wombats fray. To see Zulu fresh and awake at Harajuku the morning of the game was never going to be a good omen for him plus, not having picked up a bat for 2 years also doesn’t help. Axe hung around a while playing beautifully straight until his first attempt at a cross bat takes the edge to gully and a premature end to a Wombats Legends last bat in Japan.
Burke and Jones set about steadying the ship and just as they looked like getting on top both fell. Burke to a mistimed pull and Jones to a nick behind. 4/74 but thankfully Rhino brought his A game along. His first scoring shot was an effortless flick over square for 6 and I immediately suspected it was gonna be his day. Short, wide balls were consistently treated harshly by Rhino and he looked very comfortable on a typically two-paced Shizuoka pitch. GT unfortunately got a Shizuoka skidder first nut to pick up his first carreer golden. Ian casually slapped a big straight 6 during a 41 run partnership with Rhino but otherwise the tail didn’t really wag and we were bowled out for 154 in 39.3 overs with Rhino 42 n.o. and extras 43 being the major contributors to the total.
Play was to resume at 3pm and the Wombats looked very settled under the trees sitting in the “new” Shizuoka ground spectator chairs so the catching warmup was foregone for a few extra minutes in the shade. What a champion move that turned out to be! Luke and Ian opened the bowling without penetration so Alex was soon called upon and in his first 12 balls I reckon 5 catches went down. Thankfully Nagoya eventually hit the ball to someone who could catch, Burkey and Alex got a much deserved wicket.
Nagoya’s #3 got a hundred in 9 overs the previous week and to see him take a massive cut at his first ball told me we need to take the first chance he offers. He top edges soon after and yours truly grasses one of the easier catches I’ve ever had to deal with and my reaction is perfectly reflected in Ian’s following words. The captain now has one of his butter-fingered hands on the dummy-spit trophy after an undignified, hat throwing, foot stomping hissy-fit, reminiscent of another West Australian Wombat. “C’MON USELESS!” “YOU GIRL!” and other curses echoed around the placid Abekawa ground. At one stage he shaped to punch the ground but decided that swearing at it would yield more tangible results. A minor misfield a little later produced a brief encore performance.
7 catches dropped in the space of about 8 overs and the contest was gone as Nagoya kept swinging and we kept dropping. The #3 did eventually get out, bowled I suspect, for a scorebook confusing 36 runs off 5 scoring shots! And in a bizarre twist to the innings debarkle Chuck pulled off a stunning one handed catch at cover to dismiss Nagoya’s top scorer Madan. I wish I could give you some bowling stats but Nagoya made such a dogs breakfast of our score book that all I can say is that Alex bowled very well to get 2 wickets and so did GT to pick up a wicket for not many runs. Nagoya 4/155 off 25 overs and back to the chairs we went. The awards were dealt out to Nagoya’s Madan for his 40 runs. Our best went to Ryan for his 42n.o. and play of the day to Chuck for his one-hander. Neil who umpired us and has umpired upteenzillion games of cricket in Japan agreed it was the worst display of catching he’s ever seen and I can’t say I’ve seen anything quite like it.
Most players headed to the river for a cleansing, then back to the chairs for beers. Such was the contentedness of the Wombats that it was decided to go buy another slab, chewies and a bottle of vodka for a fines session at the ground. The vodka lasted 5 mins as the catching fines made short work of it. Darkness crept in and fireworks lit up the sky as the now ennibriated Wombats enjoyed the spectacle and continued to drink. However it was getting late and we still had the drive back to Tokyo to deal with so for the 3rd time in a day back to Shizutetsu we went for alcohol.
With Zulu back in the fray and Axe’s last van trip it was always going to be eventful and it quickly degenerated to the usual Wombats rough housing, piling on, ice pelting and drink spraying. It got so rough at one stage that Chuck got his t-shirt ripped off his back and thrown out the window. Curly thankfully dumped us out the front off Harajuku around 11pm and off to a place more befitting of the state we were in-The Pong.
I remember hearing at some stage in the evening “It was the game we had to have!” I hope so! See ya’s this Sunday for the big J1C game vs Ichihara