- Match Report
OPPOSITION SHAFTED AFTER A CRADLE OF BOWLEDS
by Courtney Jones
Wombats cricket club games are cherished as much for what happens off the ground as on but rarely do off field happenings provide greater memories than the game. Saturday’s practise game vs Tokyo Bay was perhaps one of those occasions where the day won’t be remembered as much for the cricket played but what happened before and after.
Never has leaving Tokyo early been as crucial as it was on Saturday the 18th of March for our practise game at Fuji. Our slightly abbreviated squad left Harajuku on schedule at 7:30am with grandpa Shearer behind the wheel. Grandpa was driving like he was taking the family out for a leisurely weekend drive so there was abundant time for banter during the journey to the game. A memorable early quote came from skipper Jones telling of the Sylvestor Stallone episode involving the actor himself, a call girl and a microphone. This being a family accessable story I won’t repeat the alleged quote but ask Jarrad and he’ll delight in telling you as he’s apparantly already put Rocky’s advice into practise!
The opposition captain had assured me that he’d be at the ground at 9:30 am to set up the boundaries, etc but when we arrived at the planned starting time of 10:30 am we were greeted by only 3 opposition players. I got a call from their captain telling me he’s barely out of Tokyo stuck in the mother of all traffic jams. This news was particularly frustrating as the weather forecast showed afternoon rain! I’d been warned about the possible disorganisation of our oppostion and it became crystal clear as they arrived at the ground at 12:40pm! Being at the ground 2 hours before the opposition did have benefits though, as it enabled everyone to have a good hit and bowl in the nets and the Wombats to bat first when the game did eventually start.
Reggie and Zulu walked out to open the batting in a 33 over a side game. The opposition also made their way out onto the ground, looking like cast extras from Mad Max 2 such was the variety and colour of clothing and levels of organisation on display. One of the opposition picked up the new match ball ran in and hurled one down before anyone was on the pitch and smashed the stumps down, which I had meticulously and perfectly arranged pre-game. I haven’t witnessed such amateurism since under 10’s when little Tommy Dean thought he’d do the same thing only to have his old man charge out from behind his newspaper on the boundary and bitch slap him for his actions so crisply that the sound echoed around the park! I just cursed from behind the scorebook. When play finally got underway runs were very hard to come by against some good opening bowling. So hard in fact, that sundries kept the score ticking along for the first 8 overs! Zulu was first out. Bowled, missing another one. Reggie went soon after, bowled too. At the 8 over mark the score was 2/14 with both batsmen out making ducks and the two current batsmen yet of the mark!
New players Brendan and Dave shared a brief 2 run partnership with those runs actually coming off Brendans bat! This run feast was cut short by another castling. This time Dave. Burkey went in at # 5 to provide some stability and he and Brendan then went about restoring order. Brendan looked composed and compact and a lovely flick off his toes for 4 showed just what potential he has. Unfortunately he became the next member of the bowled club.
Scott was down to bat at # 6 but such was his enthusiasm in manning the scoreboard that he forgot the next man in needs to be wearing more than just a set of pads. Chuck was due in at # 7 and was ready to go, so out he went in Scotts place at 4/30. Chuck and Burkey then combined for an 80 run partnership. Initially very few balls came out of the middle of their bats but eventually the runs came more fluently. Burkey treated the re-introduced opening bowlers first 2 balls with all the power and authority that we witnessed in 2005 in dipatching them to the square leg boundary. Chuck’s painfully unfluent innings was mercifully terminated with the removal of his leg stump for the 5th bowled dismissal of the innings.
Scott was ready now and walked out to face his first ball for the club. He said last year that he can’t bat and who are we to argue after watching him lose his middle and leg pegs first ball. Ring-in Masaaki walked out to survive the hattrick as the clouds overhead got darker and the first drops of rain could be felt. There was just enough time for Burkey to brutalise two more opposition bowlers on his way to 68 n.o. before the heavens opened. The Wombats had faced exactly 30 overs at this point so we called it an innings. The rain turned out to be a shower and we were all in the field 10 minutes later defending 145 in 30 overs.
Alex, ring-in number 2, took the new ball and generated good pace and swing from his nice easy action. It had become noticeably colder now and I was hoping that no edges came flying my way at 2nd slip. Reggie at gully was defineately thinking the same as me but he wasn’t as lucky. He decided his new cricket shoes either needed to be christened with a scuff mark or his hands are painted on when a stinging cut shot was half cut off soccer style. The beauty in Reggies effort was that the ball wasn’t running along the ground but had bounced up to hip height when he knocked it down with his hoof! Thankfully the rain came 3 overs into the opposition chase and the game was abandoned at 3:30pm. I love playing cricket Wombats, but against that opposition and in that weather I was very happy to be in the warmth of the van and outta there.
First stop was a supermarket for Macca’s and beers. We asked the checkout chick for a big foam esky to put all beers and ice into, which I dutifully carried out to the van. I didn’t have the keys so I just stocked up the esky next to the van in the carpark, left it and walked 20 meters back undercover to the stairs of the supermarket. I watch this car sizing up the space next to the van. The esky being so big and white I expected the driver to see it and give way, which she did. But never underestimate the stupidity of female drivers! She decides to reverse over the esky making a huge squeeling noise as foam disintergrated under rubber. My concern was immediate as I feared for the welfare of me and Burkey’s ebisu and smirnoffs. Luckily no harm was done to the precious cargo but the esky was mangled. Feeling very peaceful with life post game I decided against a verbal spray for the driver and instead settled into a very pissed off stare. Zulu went back to the super and produced a full body ice bath. Full of beers, smirnoffs and ice it was a sight to behold and initially had me thinking that we may struggle to get through its reserves.
How wrong I was with guys like Scott pulling his weight from the back seat. In the end, so desperate was I for a drink that I considered the esky water. It wasn’t a complete walk in the park though because whenever that much alcohol gets consumed that quickly shenanigans are bound to follow. First Wombats van victim for 2006 goes to Brendan who showed he’s gonna need more match fitness if he’s going to stand up to the rigors of a full season of Wombats van trips! He passed out within sight of Tokyo and some Jones crayfish behavior. The van stopped at a red signal and Zulu alerts all to the hot chick standing in Baskin Robbins, adjacent the van. I wasn’t so sure of her hotness. I needed a closer inspection to pass judgement so in a moment of ebisu feuled inspiration I bolted into the shop. Told her how hot she was and could she turn around and give all the boys in the van a smile which she happily did. Little did I know that her boyfriend was about to plunge a knife into my back for talking to his missus in a donut shop, as I bolted back the van just as the signal turned green!
Also adding to this trip back was Daves now trademark bottle pee. We’ve seen Nikka use the reverse, squat, pee out the window technique, Marvelled at Spaceys off the van roof GS technique, but never has anyone had the confidence to go the bottle. I suspect that because the van wasn’t chocabloc full he could get away with it and his real challenge will be to reproduce with a full van.
Anyway, we got back to Harajuku earlyish and as usual I left my CDs in the van. Thanks Jarrad for grabbing them and also for umpiring and driving us.
I think we gained a few positives from the game. The main one being the importance of getting away from Tokyo early and on time. I think the guys who batted up the order will ultimately benefit from the experience and now know what it takes to play up the order. When asked to do it again I’m sure they will make a better fist of it. I think the general form of the players who represented us on Saturday probably paints a picture for the club as a whole. And that’s “we need more practice!” So please get down to training this Sunday so we can be at our best come April 23rd.