- Match Report
No Max spanking as Mr. Bum emerges from bush and bares teeth
by Alex Patmore
The Wombats missed a golden opportunity to put one over serial tormentors Max on Sunday June 23rd, however lots of positives were still to be had.
To put things into context, just over a year ago at the same ground, Max racked up 354/9 in 40 overs to condemn us to our heaviest ever losing margin (266 runs!) — “Wombats spanked by Supun”, and in the semi-final of 2016 racked up 263/3 from 23 overs: “Wombats Ousted in Bog Slog“. To say there was an element of trepidation amongst those carrying the scars of previous tonkings going into this one would be an understatement. However, after back-to-back convincing victories and a newly acquired discipline and determination with ball, bat and especially in the field, there was also an element of quiet optimism in the ranks.
This was quickly dispelled when on arrival at the ground at 10am, all 11 Max boys could already be seen dressed in full garb, warming up on the outfield and looking every inch the part as would be expected by the reigning champs. The Wombats, on the other hand, turned up in dribs and drabs, did a half-assed warmed up in various combinations of playing kit, training kit and in one instance chinos (you know who you are!) To make matters worse, mystery (in more ways than one) spinner Rony turned his ankle over on the uneven outfield and looked in no fit state to play. Max duly won the toss and elected to bat, eyeing up the sort of monster score against us that they had been accustomed to. Rony was coerced on to the field with the promise of trying to get in as many overs in at the start before his ankle finally gave up and he could go sit down for the rest of the day, and Rasika just made the start running on to the pitch with his car keys. An inauspicious start.
The Max openers, young Japanese starlet Takahashi and Sri Lankan tormentor-in-chief Supun found life tough going, a combination of aggressive pace bowling by Henry ‘Joffrey’ Adams and tight bowling by the one-legged Rony keeping them honest. To put the challenge faced by our bowlers into context, Supun had scored 3 massive tons in his previous 4 innings against us. This year he had a noticeably shortened pre-ball routine, in years gone by the Sri Lankan batsman would go through an elaborate religious ritual before every ball, seemingly invoking the blessings of Jesus, Allah, Vishnu, Buddha, Xenu and any other minor deity to help him ward off the anti-Christal likes of Koolhof, but this year had seemed to settle on just checking in with the big JC before each ball.
The ball was swinging for the Wombats but the luck was not, a confident caught-behind appeal against Takahashi turned down off the bowling of Henry, the same man in the thick of things once more, shelling a tough catch at square leg after a rare loose ball from Rony was smashed hard at him. Rony found the edge of Supun’s bat, but the ball ricocheted off Patmore’s shoulder and away to safety. Luck was really not on our side when Deano clipped Supun’s stump, dislodging the bail out of the groove but failing to topple it a la Zing bails. To add insult to injury, the umpire deemed it a no ball and the free hit was duly dispatched over cow. 70/0 at the 15 over drinks.
In recent years (or even earlier this season) these setbacks would have been enough for the Wombats to fold, but roar back we did after refreshments. Ginger ninja Dan Mee came on and cleaned up Supun for 35, proving to him that in cricket just as the afterlife, when you’re gone you’re gone. Next in was the dangerous ‘Boom Boom’ Hanif Khan, one-time wearer of the Wombats floppy. Dan has always been in Hanif’s head, ever since a Japan tour of Samoa back in 2012 where Hanif was enraptured by Dan’s ‘screaming eagle’ impression (Google search, Urban Dictionary it if you need to). Perhaps unable to get this image out of his head, Hanif submitted meekly to Dan next over, edging behind the ball after copping a volley of sledging for a slightly thicker edge. 80/2 and the two most destructive batters back in the hutch. Dot balls and pressure continued to rise, Vig and Rasika coming from the top end to complement Dan’s skiddy mediums, after Rony had completed his heroic spell of 8 overs 1 maiden 0 for 20. A Herculean effort from Rony, who earned himself a deckchair and icepack for the rest of the day. On in his place was Wombat alumni Zeeshan Naglekar, back in to Tokyo for the weekend and keen to come out and support the cause. He got more than he bargained for, ending up on the field for more than 20 overs in place of UniQlo’s number one sporting asset.
Youngster Takahashi was shafted by previous incumbent of ‘Japan’s most promising player’ Taniyama, a mix up that ended with a smart run-out by Samarji, who was ‘on one’ in the field all day. 102/3 soon became 116/4, Achal’s moon balls luring the number 5 out of his crease and into a walk of shame back to the tents. By the second drinks break, Wombats had fought back to restrict Max to 140-ish/4.
Max rallied after the drinks, seasoned Hiroshi pair Taniyama and Kobayashi adding a quickfire 30 before Vig, back on from the top end, dug one in and induced an upper cut from the latter down to the vacant third man region. Or so it seemed, as out of nowhere, Samarji, who had gone Full Metal Jacket or full retard (Tropic Thunder) emerged from the undergrowth, covered head to toe in mud, held on to the ball as tightly as a grunt taking a grenade for his buddies. Two balls later Zee was back in Wombat action, snaffling a catch at mid-off for the grateful Vig and the less-than-grateful scorers who couldn’t find his name anywhere on the databases. Next over Taniyama departed, run-out by Richie, the first of 3 run outs in 4 overs, 4 for the day overall and 7 in the previous two games by the Wombats, surely some sort of Wombat fielding high-point. From 171-4 in the 34th over to 188 all out in the 39th, a hell of a fightback from the Wombats bowlers and fieldsmen.
Alongside the run-outs, of particular note was the 7 wides bowled by the Wommies in 39 overs, surely the least in a heck of a long time. Other notable mentions include Deano running straight into a tarpaulin-covered tractor and coming off none-the-worse for wear, Chandu sending out his hologram to field on the boundary for the first couple of overs, and Ninja cursing himself to the high heavens after a spectacular diving stop turned into a spectacular fuck up as he threw the ball over Patmore’s head from 15 yards with both batsman up the other end.
Just like this match report will, things tailed off in the second half of the day. Richie was caught out by the two-paced nature of the pitch for a golden duck in the first over, late on a pull and spooning it to midwicket. Dan and Patmore rebuilt slowly thereafter and the score had reached 30 in the 10th over after a confident straight drive back past the bowler by Dan. What followed in the next 22 balls was a gutting of the Wombats top order, ginger ninja the very next ball leaning back on a drive and edging to gully for 6. Deano immediately came in and hit more boundaries in his first three balls than the rest of the top 3 did in the first 10 overs, but should have learned that as soon as you look a million dollars you’ll ‘Japan cricket’ yourself and duly did so, chipping a full toss off the leg spin of Taniyama straight down square leg’s throat for 8. Patmore duly followed in Taniyama’s following over, caught at mid-on and in two minds whether to play along the ground or go over the top for 19. This left the Wombats 46-4 in the 14th, 3 of the top 4 back in the hutch wishing they’d given it a whack, and the other one wishing they hadn’t.
Drinks and Max pressure on the Wombats middle order, GI Jane Samarji and Vig to repair the damage. The pair rattled along very nicely, putting on 27 in 5 overs, running aggressively and placing the ball in gaps that were starting to appear. Then came a moment of controversy, Samarji adjudged leg before on 13 despite a muted appeal and a number of factors counting in the batsman’s favour. Yet the finger duly went up, and so did Mr. Bum’s blood pressure, incredulous at the decision and displaying a rarely seen anger and contempt for the spirit of the game that if anything goes to show that the Wombats can still make anyone a bad person in the space of a few months. Nevertheless, the still-chuntering Samarji had to make way for Henry, who kept up the pace with Vig at the other end, taking the score over the 100 mark with plenty of overs still left in the bank to play with. Unfortunately Henry departed shortly after the milestone, as livid as Samarji but this time with himself, having guided one to slip after a brisk 15 off 19 deliveries.
Rasika came and went quicker than any of the singles he had been leisurely taking in his knock of 6, Achal joining Vig at the crease with the score 121-7. Throughout the wickets falling in the middle overs, Vig had been playing watchfully from the other end, but had pounced on any loose balls, crashing two big maximums to keep the Wombat flame alive. Achal was also in the groove, making a mockery of his position at 9 in the order (too many all-rounders this year boys -learn to specialise!)
Our slim hopes dwindled further with Vig caught for a valiant knock of 29 off the bowling of Hanif, were briefly revived with a solid partnership of 20 between Achal and Chandu taking us to 155 and within 34 runs of victory, but the end came quick, Achal caught short of his ground for 16 and Rony, gamely taking the crease despite not being able to run going first ball.
What could have been a real statement win for the season turned into a game of lots of positives but too many what-ifs, if the luck had been with us early on but mainly what if the top 4 batters had adapted themselves better to the pitch and match conditions.
Max spinner and no.4 Taniyama picked up the wine for the victors for his 44 and 3/34, and Dan Mee getting the cab sav for the first time this year for removing the two Max danger men. Despite the Sunday game, 6 Wommies still train-beered it home and proceeded to Shibuya Hooters where singles, maidens and long legs of a different nature awaited.
Next up for Wombats is a crucial game down at Fuji on July 6 against new boys Falcons, a chance to put daylight between us and the bottom of the table and start pressurising the top 4 again.
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Max CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2019 (Div. 1), Sano 1, Tochigi, June 23, 2019|
|Umpires||Men in Blue CC|
|Result||Max won by 33 runs|
|TWCC MoM||D Mee|
|Max CC Innings: 188 (39.0 overs)|
|K Takahashi||run out (J Samarji)||44||72||6||0||61.11|
|S Nawarathna†||b D Mee||35||43||4||1||81.40|
|H Khan||c A Patmore*† b D Mee||8||6||2||0||133.33|
|M Taniyama||run out (R Bracefield)||44||51||4||1||86.27|
|T Bijaya||st A Patmore*† b A Gurnani||7||12||1||0||58.33|
|M Kobayashi*||c J Samarji b V Bandi||26||19||4||0||136.84|
|S Nanjundaswamy||c Z Naglekar b V Bandi||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|B Sarkar||c A Gurnani b D Mee||1||7||0||0||14.29|
|A Panwar||run out (R Ethugala)||11||13||1||0||84.62|
|A Jha||run out (V Bandi)||0||3||0||0||0.00|
|T Hagiwara||not out||3||3||0||0||33.33|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 1, w 7, nb 1)||9|
|Fall of wickets|
|70-1 S Nawarathna†, 80-2 H Khan, 102-3 K Takahashi, 116-4 T Bijaya, 171-5 M Kobayashi+, 172-6 S Nanjundaswamy, 173-7 M Taniyama, 181-8 B Sarkar, 183-9 A Jha, 188-10 A Panwar|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 155 (36.1 overs)|
|A Patmore*†||c A Jha b M Taniyama||19||48||1||0||39.58|
|R Bracefield||c A Panwar b T Hagiwara||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|D Mee||c T Bijaya b A Jha||6||20||1||0||30.00|
|D Abbott||c S Nanjundaswamy b M Taniyama||8||8||2||0||100.00|
|J Samarji||lbw b A Panwar||13||23||1||0||56.52|
|V Bandi||c M Taniyama b H Khan||29||44||2||2||65.91|
|H Adams||c H Khan b M Taniyama||15||19||3||0||78.95|
|R Ethugala||c & b A Panwar||6||12||1||0||50.00|
|A Gurnani||run out (S Nanjundaswamy)||16||29||3||0||55.17|
|S Mudunuru||not out||6||12||0||0||50.00|
|R Taluqdar||b K Takahashi||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 2, w 34, nb 0)||37|
|Fall of wickets|
|1-1 R Bracefield, 30-2 D Mee, 40-3 D Abbott, 46-4 A Patmore*†, 73-5 J Samarji, 106-6 H Adams, 121-7 R Ethugala, 135-8 V Bandi, 155-9 A Gurnani, 155-10 R Taluqdar|
- Samarji’s catch at deep extra off Vig’s bowling.
- Zeeshan, returning from India to be the 12th Man and taking one comfortably at mid-off for the Wombats, welcome back buddy.
- Achal running back to take a high one over the shoulder at mid-off.
- Henry with one that was smashed straight to him off Rony’s bowling.
- Rasika standing like a statue at 1st slip and letting one off Rony loop right between his legs.
- “Good morning Mr. Bum” — One of the weirder LINE messages to receive on the morning of game day. Sent from Vig’s phone which made it even weirder, then turned out it was from Samarji as Vig was driving. Not a very ‘woke’ thing to send eh Samarj?!
Great Moments in Sport
- 4 run outs.
- Rony bowling his very economical 8 overs on the trot despite messing up his ankle.
- Wombats bowling a combined 8 wides total.
- Two beautiful booming sixes by Vig, whose knock kept us in the chase.
- Dan Mee firing out Supun and Hanif in quick succession.
- 7 wides in 39 overs, a new Wombats record?!
- 7 run outs in the last 2 games, a new Wombats record?!
- Patmore after Chandu’s second misfield went for 4.
- Dan spitting the dummy at himself, after an amazing piece of fielding which he couldn’t back up when throwing it in to effect a certain runout.
- Samarji questioning his lbw decision on the field, and then making a point of re-pleading his case when thanking the umpire at the end of the game for spending his entire Sunday on the field.
Golden Thong Nominations
- Rony for messing up his ankle pre-game.
- The overall Wombats’ warm up and catching practice.
- Henry, for bringing a bread board, knife and strawberry jam to make arguably the poshest lunch Japan cricket has ever seen.