- Match Report
On-Top Tigers Trample TWCC on “Cho Atsui-ne” day in Fuji
by Richie Bracefield
With the top three teams in the JCL all but guaranteed a playoffs berth, the Wombats are one of three teams scrambling for the fourth and final semis slot in this year’s JCL tournament. Needless to say, with only four rounds remaining in the season, a win against the Tigers would be a massive leg-up for the Wombats. Sadly it was not to be, as the Tigers showed the Wombats why they are top of the table this season.
Keeping composed on a bastard hot day at Fuji, the Tigers, led by in-form “I am the team” Sabaorish, easily chased down the Wombats under par score of 177 with 4 wickets in hand and 17 overs up their sleeve. Not the way the Wombats wanted to farewell departing Wombats, Michael “Chat Cop” Farrell, who departs for Shanghai, and Narendar “it’s a brown thing” Madhavan, who is bound for that white thing, Sweden (Naren is yet to deny that he is only going to become the best leg-spinner in Sweden).
It was typical stinkin’ hot Japan summer day on Saturday at Fuji 1. Yet, in spite of the warnings of numerous Japanese doctors and insistent news reporters, 11 Wombats ventured out of their hutches to risk severe dehydration and lethal heat stroke to play cricket (and keep Dino company) in Fuji. Wombats’ Skipper, Alex Patmore, continued his sublime run of winning tosses (the relentless off-season tossing practice clearly paying dividends for Alex), opting to bat first to avoid the peak mid-day temperatures.
With that, Dino and Patmore strode out and built a solid opening partnership, with assistance from the Tigers bowlers struggling to adapt their lines for the left-right hand combination. With 78 on the board without loss after 17 overs, a platform had certainly been laid, though the heat was clearly starting to take its toll on Dino who looked like the leaning tower of Pisa while facing. Dino finally succumbed for a patient 16 (41), albeit to a questionable LBW decision (even some Tigers were in obvious disbelief) as the ball appeared to have struck Dino high on the pads while he was advancing down the wicket.
Richie Bracefield joined Patmore at the crease and the pair continued to score freely, getting the Wombats to 100/1 by the end of the 21st over. Having got to a very classy and composed 50, Patmore became embroiled in a war of words with some of the Tigers who had questioned the Umpires ball count in a particular over. Seemingly agitated, Patmore made an uncharacteristic error, looking to whip a ball around to the leg-side for a single and instead getting a leaning edge and lobbing a soft catch to the man at short cover for 57 (88). Another great knock from the in-form Skipper to set a decent platform for the Wombats at 126/2 after 25 overs.
Unfortunately, the dismissal of the Skipper and the introduction of leg spinner Sabaorish heralded the beginning of a major collapse, with Bracefield getting caught in the deep the very next ball for a belligerent 21 (22). There was to be no swan song innings for Naren Madhavan, getting bamboozled for a golden duck by a rogue off-cutter from the otherwise wayward seamer, Thakur. A similar fate was to follow for fellow farewell Wombat, Michael Farrell, who offered some resistance but was eventually also undone by Sabaorish for 7 (23). Sabaorish then tore through the Wombats middle order: Luke “Masterclass” Eyes 5 (17), Evan “80’s Headband” Hitchman 0 (2), and Augustine “too many nicknames” Jacob 3 (7). The Wombats were reeling at 155/8 by the end of the 36th over.
Enter the cool-head of the eldest new member of the Club in recall, Mark McTamney. A Fuji local and longtime shoulder to cry on for Dino, McTamney was clearly no stranger being patient in tough situations. Having been present decades ago, when the first Fuji block was being concreted, McTamney’s experience also brought more than a few sideline yarns along with his much needed composure to the situation. In tandem with Himanshu “My Milkshake brings all the boys to the Yard” Bugalia, the pair saw the Wombats through to the final over and adding a vital 20 runs to the total. Searching for the rope in the last, McTamney was eventually out, stumped for 12 (20), giving Sabaorish his sixth wicket, with the impressive figures of 27-6 from his 8 overs.
Cometh the hour, JCL debutant, Paddy O’Donnell was the last Wombat out of the hutch. Seeking redemption from his inaugural Japan Cup appearance for the Wombats the weekend prior, O’Donnell had just 3 balls to break the longstanding record for highest score for a No.11 Wombats batsman (of 2 runs not out, held by Alex Koolhof since circa 1963). Alas, despite some mighty swings from the Irishman, Paddy was only able to tie the record, finishing on 2 not out. Bugalia also impressed at the tail with a valuable 12 (14) not out. The Wombats posting the Tigers a score of 178 to win, a defendable total but far less than the Wombats hoped for given their promising start.
To have any chance of defending the meager total, the Wombats needed something special. They needed a hero. They got Evan Hitchman, headband and all.
After marking out a 15 pace run up for his first delivery, new pill in hand, “2-step” Hitchman had the Tigers batsmen on the back foot, launching a mental assault right from the get-go. Riding the confidence from his recent “almost 5-fer” in the Japan Cup (Paddy still owes Ev a beer for dropping that catch…), Hitchman quickly found his rhythm and, to his own astonishment, struck first blood, dismissing opener Kumar caught behind off a tactical slow shorter delivery. A brilliant take by Patmore behind the stumps who took the thick bottom edge off Kumar’s cut shot at his shoelaces. Fired up Hitchman even gave Kumar a cheeky send-off “Was I too fast for ya mate? Did ya for pace!!”
Buoyed (and/or aroused) by the positive start at the other end, Augustine “AJ” Jacob started to ask questions of the Tigers batsmen as well, finding the outside edge twice in his 2nd over. Unfortunately, “Chat Cop” Farrell was unable to snare the difficult, low chances at gully. Riding their luck, the Tigers batsmen Balu and #82 began to open up, chipping away at the total with a barrage of piercing fours and sixes. AJ eventually made the next breakthrough, spraying the bails of Balu everywhere like it was the Shinkansen’s “Multi-purpose Room”.
The match still evenly poised at this stage with the Tigers at 69/2 after 9. However, the introduction of in-form Sabaorish to the crease brought the stability the Tigers innings needed. Sabaorish frustrating the Wombats bowlers scoring freely and giving away few chances to get to a quick-fire 50 runs alongside the chatty #82 who continued to persist at the other end. Luke “Masterclass” Eyes finally dismissing stubborn #82 in the 17th over, finding the outside edge which carried to the safe hands of Dino at 1st slip. It was starting to feel like too little too late, however, as undiscouraged Sabaorish started accelerating after reaching his milestone, hitting some lustrous sixes over square point to rapidly chase down the Wombats meagre total.
Naren’s leg spin looked to be a turning point for the match (pun intended), quickly dismissing Kumbhare and Thakur to some good catches in the outfield by Eyes back-peddling in the ring, and Bracefield running in from deep square. The late introduction of Bugalia was to finally undo the seemingly unstoppable Sabaorish, seeking to smash yet another six but holing out AJ at deep mid-off. Too little too late however, as the Tigers were just 5 runs short of their target with 4 wickets in hand and 16 overs up their sleeve. A valiant effort by the Wommies, who might’ve had a sniff with 30 more runs on the board. All the bowlers contributed, with only Paddy O’Donnell unable to pick up a wicket. Naren, the standout bowler of the day, with figures of 2/31 off his 6 overs.
The Wombats still in with a chance at the finals though their destiny may no longer rest in their own hands. After accounting for the loss to the Tigers, the Wombats are tied on points with both Max and the Wyverns, though the Wombats trail on Net Run Rate. Furthermore, the Wombats appear to have a relatively more difficult road ahead, coming up against the 2nd placed Chiba Sharks, who will be sure to want revenge for their loss to the Wombats earlier in the season. Comparatively, Max and the Wyverns are next up against the winless Paddy Foley’s and 2nd to last placed Sano, respectively. Insert Tense emoji here.
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Tigers CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2018 (Div. 1), Fuji 1, Shizuoka, July 14, 2018|
|Toss||Tokyo Wombats CC|
|Umpires||Chiba Sharks CC|
|Result||Tigers CC won by 4 wickets|
|TWCC MoM||A Patmore|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 177/9 (40.0 overs)|
|A Patmore*†||c M Bhardwaj b P Kumbhare||57||88||7||0||64.77|
|J Shearer||lbw b B Ramamoorthy||16||41||2||0||39.02|
|R Bracefield||c P Kumbhare b S Ravichandran||21||22||0||2||95.45|
|M Farrell||c M Bhardwaj b S Ravichandran||7||23||1||0||30.43|
|N Madhavan||b A Thakur||0||4||0||0||0.00|
|L Eyes||b S Ravichandran||5||16||1||0||31.25|
|M McTamney||st C Ghodasara† b S Ravichandran||12||20||1||0||60.00|
|E Hitchman||b S Ravichandran||0||2||0||0||0.00|
|A Jacob||c R Mouli b S Ravichandran||3||7||0||0||0.00|
|H Bugalia||not out||12||14||1||0||85.71|
|P O'Donnell||not out||2||3||0||0||66.67|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 3, w 39, nb 0)||42|
|Fall of wickets|
|78-1 J Shearer, 126-2 A Patmore*†, 126-3 R Bracefield, 132-4 N Madhavan, 146-5 M Farrell, 151-6 L Eyes, 151-7 E Hitchman, 155-8 A Jacob, 175-9 M McTamney|
|Tigers CC Innings: 179/6 (24.3 overs)|
|A Kumar||c A Patmore*† b E Hitchman||12||8||1||1||150.00|
|B Ramamoorthy||b A Jacob||33||28||2||2||117.86|
|N Nagarajan||c J Shearer b L Eyes||26||42||2||1||61.90|
|S Ravichandran||c A Jacob b H Bugalia||69||46||8||3||150.00|
|P Kumbhare||c L Eyes b N Madhavan||1||5||0||0||20.00|
|A Thakur||c R Bracefield b N Madhavan||2||10||0||0||20.00|
|R Mouli||not out|
|M Bhardwaj||not out|
|Extras||(b 1, lb 2, w 18, nb 3)||24|
|Fall of wickets|
|22-1 A Kumar, 69-2 B Ramamoorthy, 124-3 N Nagarajan, 151-4 P Kumbhare, 167-5 S Ravichandran, 173-6 A Thakur|
- Richie, took one low to the ground running in from deep square from a pull shot off Naren, too late in the game to change the result sadly.
- Luke, backpedaling to take a catch above his head at mid on. Good snare that.
- AJ catching the dangerous Saboarish on the deep mid off boundary off a decent over from Himan. Sadly the damage had largely already been done.
- Patmore, taking an amazing catch keeping up to Ev. A tactical short slow delivery by Ev looked to be cut away with power but found the bottom edge of a horizontal slash by the opening batsman, striking first blood for the wombats.
- Dino – sharp one straight into the guts, took a while to retrieve it from his guts though. It would’ve been the 4th ball lost that day!
- Mike at gully off AJ. Dropped a low one to his left.
- Mike and Luke playing hot potato with another chance off AJ (in the same over as Mike’s earlier drop). Luke standing at 2nd also unable to gather the catch.
- Ev to Naren on the Shink to Fuji “This whole boasting about your cricket abilities, even if you’re shit, is that a brown thing?” Naren: “Yeah mate” (explanation ensued)
- General chat in the morning Shink “what’s the multi-purpose room?? (Referring to the Shink car map). Naren “Ask AJ…” (wry smile appears on AJ’s face)
- Ev – “I forget my floppy” – says Richie? – “Patmore also lost a semi”
- Mark – “The only people who are happy about that, are translators and hookers” – referring to Monday’s public holiday and the long weekend apparently
- Patmore – “How embarrassing no name! How do you feel being the only guy without his name on the back?!” – to #84….the only oppo player without his name on the back.
- Ev to a batsman: “Was I too fast for ya mate? I did ya for pace!!”
Great Moments in Sport
- Ev exhausting every combination of male names beginning with A and J to spurr on AJ during his fiery bowling spell.
- Himan running the water out to the batsmen, jiggle jiggle.
- “Ya can’t appeal to the umpire for a 7th ball! Get stuffed!” says Patmore, while the Tigers were appealing that the next ball would definitely be the 7th and please check with the scorers. Upon the next ball being bowled, he was out caught!……on the 6th ball, after checking with the scorers. He was pleased as punch that he was right, and let the Tigers know it! To be fair the Tigers couldn’t give a shit, they got his wicket!!! The residual hate leaked from Patmore throughout the remainder of the game through plenty of chat behind the stumps.
Wyndham Estate Man of the Match