- Match Report
NEW-LOOK WOMBATS STEAL ADORE EASTER EGGS
by Alex Koolhof
In cool but fine conditions in Fuji on Easter Sunday, the Tokyo Wombats took to the field with four debutants to secure a gritty victory against Adore to launch their 2012 JCL campaign. It was no plain sailing for TWCC, as the game swung the way of both teams quite a few times, but the former JCL champs eventually sealed the win by bowling the opposition out in the 35th over, 15 runs short of their target.
With regular captain Gavin Beath absent and admirably representing the Wombats overseas in the Chiang Mai sixes tournament, Vice Captain Shearer stepped in to lead the charge for a solid start to the year. Luck was on his side when he won the toss and opted to bat first. Shearer and new keeper-batsman Alex Patmore opened up, the latter also a new addition to the Japanese national squad. Both batsmen were cautious during the first few overs, but the occasional boundary was dispatched by the Dinosaur when opportunity arose, while Patmore accumulated the ones and twos from the other end. A front foot no-ball gifted Alex a free hit and the chance to swing big, which he did so with just enough oomph to clear the boundary at mid wicket for maximum runs.
His services to the team effort took a nose-dive shortly after however, when he called the Wombat veteran through for a quick single, who was unfortunately caught short of his ground. Retribution from Dino would come later in the form of many tekitoni shellackings in the van, who was mortified, albeit fuelled by alcohol by that time, that the wicket-keeping protégé he had invited to the club had the nerve to run him out in his first official outing. Meanwhile, Patty was soon dismissed not long after that incident, with the Wombats faltering at 44 for 2 in the 10th over.
Wombats next in line to bat abandoned the arduous task of re-gripping bat handles with plastic pipes and scrambled to strap on the pads — but the lack of such essential protective equipment in the TWCC kit bag only served to delay said preparations. Nakazawa and Mori then inflicted serious damage on the Wombat middle order during the course of the next 10 or so overs. Angus came and went for 2, out LBW. Nick tried his best to up the scoring rate with a couple of fours, but was unfortunately run out for 12 by Vakil — also first name Alex. Now with the moniker of Batman, due to his last name evoking distant memories of Val Kilmer, the Englishman attempted to produce a super-hero-like innings by staying the course and watching every ball cautiously.
Malcolm and Evan both came and went for no score — the wombats falling further into disarray at 6-67. The Batman exited for 7, Shahir did his best with 10 handy runs before being castled by Mori, and then Rony added 11 more to the score. Yours truly only managed one before holing out to mid-off and then Rony followed soon after. TWCC all out in over 28 for an even 100 runs. A psychological target for the opposition, none the less!
The Adore openers got off to a reasonable start in their run chase with the odd boundary here and there, mostly from the blade of Uegaki, until Kyal snared the other opener in Yamanouchi with a nonchalant caught and bowled. So casual about the dismissal was Kyal — also known to be erroneously called Carl — that even after the batsmen hit the pill straight back into his hot little hands, he showed no interest whatsoever in expressing his jubilation to his fellow team-mates, and in doing so, the batsmen thought it a good enough reason to try and bat on. Finally the umpire was obliged to raise his finger in order to bring some normalcy to proceedings.
The Hamburger picked up another wicket, the free scoring Uegaki (18), when Adore were looking to press on towards their target, only through a magnificent display of airborne homo sapien movement by Mr Shearer at mid-off. A full-blooded drive to that region was sighted by the Dinosaur, who dived head-long at the quickly dipping ball and snapped it up only inches off the grass. Surely the play of the day, and a certain contender for the Wombats catch of the year award. Someone thought they heard the umpire’s call to change ends –and so we all followed suit and did just that, even though Kyal had only bowled one ball in his over. Even he was willing to end his over prematurely!
Goold’s first three overs were solid, including one maiden, but was then taken out of the attack following his fourth over that yielded 10 runs, and was replaced by Koolhof instead. After a slightly wayward first over, Big Al found his rhythm soon enough and produced a miserly spell with some fine in-swing in his latter overs. The prez removed Shun Hashiba with a late in-swinger that crashed through the gate, and then trapped Nakazawa in front for a duck.
Sasaki was holding up the other end for Adore, but lost a couple more partners when Parvej came on to bowl. The Bangladeshi spinned the Wombats to victory with his deft turners, all four of his wickets being clean bowled. Sasaki was also one of Rony’s victims, out for 16, and the tail wilted easily after that, including a nice pick up and return from Kyal to Shahir at the bowler’s end to effect a run-out. Speaking of Shahir, he also bowled well during his 5 over spell after replacing yours truly, and was unlucky not to get a wicket. Shearer then brought himself onto bowl and gave a hearty roar when his fourth ball clipped the bails to hand the TWCC victory by 15 runs.
A solid fight back for sure, and a good effort in the field by all in support of the bowlers. The Wombats van detoured to the combini and then jammed the queues at KFC before hitting the tomei back to Tokyo. Ex-prez Shearer was in fine form again, dishing out nicknames to new wombats left, right and centre. Somehow Batman became Robin, most likely due to his so-called “custard arm” in the field, although his fielding was duly applauded by Dino. On to Sano next week to face the Sano first XI – last year’s premiers, against whom a more imposing total will be required for any chance of victory.