TWCC 121 - 43 Paddy Foley's

July 8, 2023 - 11:00 am at Fuji 2
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Paddy’s ‘Foiled’! Young Wombat Says ‘Give Me Half a Dozen’ on Debut

by Richard Bracefield

The team looked on eagerly at the back of their captain, Ali, as they distractedly slipped into their green and yellow uniforms, sure to keep their bare feet from the swampy Fuji surface.  It had been raining on and off during the drive to Fuji and the overcast conditions threatened to bring more yet. The rhythmic trill of the cicadas’ early morning chorus filled the palpable silence among the Wombats’ circle.  ‘What would he decide to do in conditions like this?’

Ali’s hands lay calmly in his pockets. His gaze fixed on the dank, flowering Fuji outfield. He could feel the eyes on his back as he brushed away another rebellious streak of sweat from his furrowed brow on his faded yellow long-sleeve shirt.  Ali was doing his utmost to block out the distractions from any side-mouth banter as he weighed up his first big decision of the day, though the unabashed volume of the chat from Welshman, Joe “the Spider” Lewis was difficult to tune out.  “Thank Allah I can’t understand a word Joe says, Ali thought to himself.”  ‘Bat first? Might dry out enough for us…’. Last year’s narrow loss to the unpredictable Paddy Foley’s suddenly flashed into his mind.  They had chased down a massive Wombat’s total of 260 back then. ‘Bowl first and chase then? Lots of cloud cover, and maybe the wet outfield will slow them down…’. Hmm.  He checked his watch. 10:28, no, 10:29, any minute now before the umpires would stride out to the middle and beckon him to make a decision.  “Good toss to lose I reckon!” remarked Joe nonchalantly.  There it was.  ‘Lose the toss and I’m off the hook’ Ali thought to himself, as his cheeks flashed with a pang of guilt at the thought.

“Captains!”, the umpires cry snapped Ali from his reverie and his body jolted forward as if pulled by gravity. He steadied himself and strode out to meet them in the middle for the toss.

Looking around the team, the Wombats had several new faces among them this Saturday.  Most noticeable was our fresh-faced 16 year-old debutant, Archit Choudury, who decided to ditch an under 19’s game to try his hand at the top men’s club division in Japan.  His casual, confident attitude toward his debut match despite his wiry, narrow frame, was an immediate threat to the elder players who knew deep down that their inclusion in the squad was not based on their skill or athleticism.  Contrastingly, the sphinx-like demeanor of off-spinner Samat, another relatively new face in the team, gave off an entirely different vibe.  One look into his steely eyes and you instantly knew that ‘Samat has seen some shit’…  In contrast, Aidan Sarawan and Tanzeem Khedeker were beaming as if it was the morning after losing their virginity.  The new Wombats were clearly excited to find themselves playing some cricket in Japan at last.

“We’re batting lads”. Having won the toss, Ali had quickly returned. Steeled confidence had replaced any uncertainty that had been on his face minutes ago.  With Alex Patmore absent, Masaki ‘Stickers’ Kawashima was given the chance to open the batting alongside long-time opener, Richie Bracefield with Ali, Rex and Samat making up the top 5.

And so out strode the Wombats’ openers, watching to avoid puddles in the outfield as they made their way to the wicket.  The pitch mat was a dark green swamp, still heavy with water from the rain fall just hours earlier.  ‘No bounce on this today’ thought the pair.  They were half right.  The opening salvo from the Paddy’s bowlers would roll along the carpet one ball, before kicking up and threatening helmets the next, forcing a cautious start by the Wombats opening pair.  Indeed, Stickers copped a heavy glance on his helmet from a length ball in the 2nd over and did well to stay focused and continue playing on the front foot.  Occasional loose balls would allow Bracefield and Kawashima to rotate the strike and get the scoreboard moving, but it wouldn’t be long before the treacherous turf would claim its first victim.  Bracefield would be the first to go, cut in half by another ball popping off a full length with surprising speed to go between bat and pad, clipping his thigh as it zipped through.  Unluckily for Richie, the umpire was swayed by the persistent maternity-ward-like screams of the Paddy’s keeper that there’d been an edge, judging him Out, caught behind for just 8 (12).  Stickers’ watchful vigil would also come to an end shortly after, undone by a ball that didn’t appear to leave the mat after pitching and rolling into the base of Stickers’ stumps.  After just five overs, the Wombats found themselves two wickets down with just 19 runs to show for it.  What other surprises would this dicey pitch serve up for the anxious Wombats…

Undeterred and up for the challenge, Ali looked focused and would wait judiciously for the right balls to attack.  Meanwhile, the pale-faced Rex Kobayashi-Boulter was still rubbing away last night’s bender from his bleary eyes at the other end, pushing shyly at numerous balls and sending the Paddy’s cordon into delirium with each near miss.  Despite nerves, and a liver working overtime, the two worked hard to string together several quick singles and occasional twos as the lush outfield was proving as slow and dense as Rex’s morning chat on the ride down.  Alas, Rex’s hard graft would be undone in the 11th over as he finally managed to edge one to the keeper for 6 (19).  Ali also fell later that over after blasting one straight to a well-placed ring fielder for 4 (17). Having lost their top 4 for a measly 40 runs things were beginning to look grim.

Unable to string a partnership together, the Wombats were forced onto the defensive and Paddy’s looked to capitalize by keeping the field up to deny quick singles and tightly bowling wicket to wicket.  Successive dots would become successive maidens as Samat and Tanzeem were forced to absorb pressure from the Paddy’s patient assault.  Samat looked relatively resolute in defense and looked due to punch back. Unfortunately Lady Luck would have none of it.  Instead he would limply find the hands of mid-off on his very first genuine attacking swing for 4 (8).  Tanzeem would be the next victim of the treacherous turf for a bravely fought 6 (22), getting bowled after the ball hit another landmine and rolled into the base of his stumps.  Hassan similarly came and went after a patient and stubborn stay at the crease for a hard-fought 9 (22).

It wasn’t until Kavin Jinasena and debutant Aidan Sarawan combined during the 21st over that things would start to turn around for the Wombats.  Under pressure and against the grain, Kavin put his big levers to work and smacked a couple of towering sixes off some complacent Paddy Foley bowling, shifting some much needed momentum back in favor of the Wombats and forcing the Paddy Foley’s skipper to make changes.  Meanwhile, Aidan stubbornly denied the Paddy Foley’s bowlers and anchored his end, granting Kavin license to continue for aerial routes to the fence. There was a welcome feeling of relief washing over the Wombats camp as 100 came up on the scoreboard in the 28th over, and the prospect of posting a defendable 150+ total remained feasible.  Though with just 3 wickets in hand, Kavin and Aidan would need to go deep.  Sadly, as it often does, the drinks break at the 30th would prove to be Kavin’s undoing, holing out in the 32nd over for a well compiled 35 (33).  A huge contribution in the context of the match and his personal best for the Wombats in the 40 over format.  Debutant Archit and No.11 Belayet were both unable to resist long, falling in consecutive balls in the 33rd over to end the Wombats account and leaving Aidan stranded for a battling 16n.o. (47) on debut. The Wombats all out for a disappointing 121.  Just Aidan, Kavin and the Extras column scoring in the double digits.

To make matters worse, a steady easterly breeze was finally starting to dry the outfield and wicket, presumably meaning Paddy’s would have a much easier time of navigating the conditions.  Each Wombat felt that awful feeling of dread deep down in their stomach that this game could be over quickly.  All except our skipper, Ali, that is.  Ali made the brave call to hand the new ball to our young debutant, Archit.  With a sinking acceptance that the game may well be lost, we were at least glad to at least see what the young lad could do.  None of us could ever have predicted what was to follow.

Running in down the slippery hill from the ‘pavilion end’, Archit delivered an impossible hooping in-swinging yorker that crashed into the base of middle stump on the very first ball of the innings. What. A. Ball. An unplayable delivery.  The Wombats were more disbelieving than the hapless batsman. Any feelings of woe and malaise were washed away by a tidal wave of hope and intrigue.  The ball had swung at least 1-2 feet and was by all accounts, a perfect ball.  What was that? Beginner’s luck? Surely, he couldn’t do it again?

Opting for a pace/spin combination right from the outset, Samat came on at the other end with his uncompromisingly precise off-spin darts, and not to be out-done, immediately had the Wombats screaming for an LBW as ball after ball skidded heavily into the pads of the battling Paddy’s batsmen.  Faces were in hands with seemingly every ball as both Archit and Samat continued their devastating barrage of swing and spin.  The Paddy’s batsmen had given up attacking and were fighting just to survive.  Everyone could sense another wicket was coming soon.  With his tail-up, the menacing young debutant struck again in his 3rd over, delivering an easy catch to Richie Bracefield in the slips, before uprooting off-stump with another unplayable in-swinging yorker just three balls later.  Paddy Foley’s were left reeling at 18/3 after 5 overs with seemingly no way to respond to the Wombat’s new look opening bowling attack.  While still wicket-less somehow, Samat was not giving the Paddy’s batsmen delivering 3 consecutive maiden overs filled with LBW appeals and close calls.  Ali decided to give the pumped-up Archit a rest after his 4th over and opted to give Kavin the still shiny ball to combine in an all-spin combination with Samat.  The Paddy’s batsmen looked desperate turn things around and looked to attack Kavin’s more floated off-spin by pushing a couple of risky quick singles.  They ran one too many, hitting one along the moist carpet to an alert Richie at mid-on who quickly collected and threw in to Kavin at the non-striker’s end to execute a devastating run-out.  Paddy’s were facing the abyss at 28 for the loss of their top 4 at the end of the 10th over.

While Samat was banking maidens, Kavin continued his stellar form with a wicket in 2nd over thanks to a well held catch in the deep by Hassan.  Sensing an opportunity to continue the carnage, Ali made the brave call of resting Samat (who at this stage had bowled 5 overs for just 6 runs!) to give Archit one over to attack the unsettled Paddy’s middle order.  Despite three edgy boundaries, Archit delivered on his last ball with his now trademarked hooping in-swinger to skittle the stumps of Adeel, the only Paddy’s batsman showing any real resistance.  Kavin and Samat then resumed their spin assault and the wickets were seemingly falling with every over.  Kavin’s consistency was quickly rewarded with a high catch in the deep being taken by Rex ‘Jesus’ Kobayashi (finally), before the umpires finally relented and gave Samat an LBW just a few balls later.  By the end of the 14th over, Paddy’s were 8 down for 42 runs.  They were utterly shellshocked and had no answer to the incredible bowling clinic put on by Archit, Samat, and Kavin.

Recalling what the Paddy’s tail did last year, however, Ali would show them no mercy. At the 16th over, Ali handed the ball back to the on-fire debutant for a chance of a coveted five wicket bag on debut.  With as much anticipation as his first ball of the day, the Wombats breathlessly willed Archit to deliver yet another in-swinging thunderbolt.  Effortlessly, Archit delivered yet again on his first ball to the still disbelieving jubilation of the full Wombats squad. He had unleashed yet another swooping in-swinger, this time nailing the Paddy’s tail-ender on his toes for a plumb LBW.  43/9, and a 5 wicket haul on debut for the exciting young lad who hadn’t even broken a sweat!  There was only feelings of pity for the Paddy’s no.11 as he took his guard at the crease.  Like a lamb to the slaughter, the only question was whether Archit would play with his prey before putting him out of his misery.  Archit was in no mood for games and spared no quarter, delivering one last devastating hooping in-swinger to send the off-stump cartwheeling out of the ground, finishing the innings the way it started.  Pure poetry.  Archit finishing with an incredible 6 wickets on debut (5.2ov, 28/6), a match defining performance and 2nd best all-time bowling figures for the Club to secure a remarkable and unlikely bonus point win for the Wombats.  Huge contributions as well by Samat (7ov,6/1), and Kavin with bat 35 (33) and ball (4ov, 9/2)

A truly rewarding game to be a part of after an extremely nervy start.  And perhaps for the first time since the Covid pandemic hit the world, the club song was once again sung jovially at Fuji.

Tokyo Wombats Cricket Club -- Match Scorecard

Tokyo Wombats CC vs Paddy Foley's CC
Japan Cricket League 2023 (Div. 1), Fuji 2, Shizuoka, July 8, 2023

ResultTWCC won by 78 runs
TWCC MoMA Choudhury

Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 121 (32.5 overs)

R B 4s 6sSR
R Bracefieldc R Rana† b A Khan8111072.73
M Kawashimab M Riaz7180038.89
M Ali*c M Afzal b S Malik4171023.53
R Kobayashic R Rana† b S Malik6190031.58
A Samadc W Adil b Z Khan480050.00
T Khedekarb S Malik6221027.27
A Bakarc&b M Riaz9201045.00
A Sarawanc M Younis b K Syed16472034.04
K Jinasenac M Riaz b Z Khan353322106.06
A Choudhurynot out240050.00
B Alib K Syed01000.00
Extras(b 7, lb 0, w 14, nb 3)24

TOTAL(10 wickets)121

Fall of wickets
O M R W wd nb Econ
M Riaz7.01202612.86
A Khan7.01221403.14
Z Khan6.00202003.33
S Malik6.00253114.17
R Rana4.00120003.00
S Manzoor1.0070107.00
K Syed1.5082214.36

Paddy Foley's CC Innings: 43 (16.2 overs)

R B 4s 6sSR
M Younisb A Choudhury01000.00
K Syedc R Bracefield b A Choudhury150020.00
W Adilrun out (R Bracefield / K Jinasena)9360025.00
R Rana*b A Choudhury4310133.33
M Adeelb A Choudhury251750147.06
A Khanc T Khedekar b K Jinasena07000.00
M Afzallbw b A Samad190011.11
S Malikc R Kobayashi b K Jinasena02000.00
S Manzoorlbw b A Choudhury08000.00
M Riaznot out010000.00
Z Khanb A Choudhury01000.00
Extras(b 0, lb 0, w 2, nb 1)3

TOTAL(10 wicket)43

Fall of wickets

O M R W wd nbEcon
A Choudhury5.20286115.25
A Samad7.0561000.86
K Jinasena4.0092102.25


  • Rex standing up, behind the stumps….and screaming afterwards

Dropped Catches

  • Aidan at the boundary dropping a sitter


  • “I’ve just gone on a two week bender. Shagged so many birds” – Rex, in front of a 16 year old.
  • Archit – “JCL Div 1 – It’s too easy!!” after the final wicket
  • Kavin while passing a car with random south asians in it….. ‘there’s the oppo’

Great Moments in Sport

  • 16 year old boy wonder, Archit, making his stamp on JCL Div 1 with a 6fer!

Dummy Spits

  • Richie after being triggered….again

Golden Thong Nominations

  • Rex sleeping in the middle of our innings
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