- Match Report
PUP POWERS WOMBATS ASHES ASSAULT
by Courtney Jones
“We should have taken the train today!” Agreed all Wombats around Yokohama as we languished in a long weekend traffic jam, but if we did, the return trip to Tokyo surely wouldn’t have been as entertaining and so full of unbridled winning joy as it was. Is a day playing cricket in Japan more about the game of cricket or post game team mate bonding and laughs?
I like them equally, but last Saturday had me appreciating post game performances more than the game ones. That’s not underselling the terrific performances that went on the field but when Kyals alter ego shows up and The Monster turns it on…..well, hang on!……O.K. match report.
Hardys Tokyo Ashes 2007 was comfortably won for the 3rd consecutive year by the Tokyo Wombats by a margin of 92 runs thanks to a marvellous allround display by Pup.
I felt immediately that The British Embassy C.C. weren’t confident in beating the Wombats because upon arrival the opposition skip asked the Wombats to bat without taking a toss so “You blokes can get a full 40 overs of batting!”. Whats a skip to do? Bat we did, with Pup and Morty fronting a new look opening partnership and Dino rested down the order after a mega season of opening the batting and keeping.
It took one ball for the promotion of Pup to look like a good one, as future Japan National Team prospect Abe pitched short and got smoked over square for 4. Pup’s uni mate Darroch also erred short and paid the Pup penalty as the Wombats got off to a flyer. 0-53 after 10 overs. Morty looked every bit the opener as he left good balls around off and handsomely drove anything overpitched. Such a circumspect start to the day for The Monster was a polar opposite to his end of the day display. More of that later. Abe changed ends with an immediate result producing a corker, that depending on who you speak to, either cut in appreciably between bat and pad or pitched and cut away. Whatever it did, off stump was sent cartwheeling and Morty was out for 17.
Chuck came in at #3 and pushed singles around for the Pup show. A lofted coverdrive for 6 brought up Pup’s 50 and he’s dropped to his knees to kiss the pitch in an apparent celebration. I thought it was a great 50 but I didn’t think it was worth kissing the pitch for!? I went up to congratulate Pup and he looks up in anguish as a stomach strain dropped him, not the pleasure in reaching the milestone. A Pup upper cut over forward point for another 6 was the highlight of the morning for me as the Wombats went to drinks at 1-125.
Pups gem unfortunately ended within sight of a ton soon after the break by dabbing one straight to gully for 86 off 63 balls. Ross joined Chuck and picked up where Pup left off and enjoyed a quick 75 run partnership. Ross clouted some nice drives, a muscular punch over cow corner and ran nicely between wickets before falling for 34 trying to up the scoring rate. Chuck was bowled by Blatt the destroyer soon after while Mann, O’Carroll and France all fell quickly to hand Blatt 5-20 off 4 overs!
Jarrad was last out, run out and for the first time in a few months he roared and grumbled his displeasure at his running partners call as he trudged off the ground. Not to worry though as 8-258 on a slowish outfield was an excellent total.
We needed to get through our overs quickly as we started the game later than planned. Alex didn’t speed up proceedings by opening the bowling with 6 consecutive wides. Once he relaxed and found the pitch he was rewarded with the wicket of Anton clean bowled. Ian was his usual frugal self and such was the mastery that these two had over the Embassy bats they were bowled out. Koolhof finished with 2-24 (including 15 wides!) and Gason 0-34. Gasons figures were blown out a bit by a final over onslaught by B.E.C.C.’s Sam who landed a couple of big drives into the jungle.
Chuck burgalled a wicket before drinks thanks to a fine catch by Ryan at cow corner and a terrific pick up and throw to keeper Axe from Reggie dispatched the 4th wicket just before the 20 over break. Embassy 4-84.
Reggie and Ryan bowled well after drinks but the irrepressible Sami would hit a ball per over for 4 or 6 and frustrate their best efforts in prizing him out and into the Embassy bottom order. Embassy skip Thommo was also showing some pluck and timing with the bat as they combined for 65 runs. Morty was stretching his back, shoulders, groins, etc, in a too obvious signal that he can break this partnership. Unfortunately Morty’s pregame comment “I’m happy just to have a bat today” to the skip counted against him.
Ryan beat Thommo with his outswinger 5 times before he produced another peach which at last hit the stumps.
It was soon going to be too dark to bring on the pace so Pup was called on and the game quickly ended. Pup’s Todai mate Darroch lost his off stump which I’m sure he’ll be hearing about all week. Sami was caught at mid off by Alex and Sharma also had his stumps uprooted. Ryan chipped in with his second bowled to finish with the respectable figures of 2-46 off 7.
Jarrad had been complaining that he’d done nothing all day and wanted a bowl (That was plainly wrong because he brought the webber and flesh for all to enjoy post game). Jarrads gone with his enigmatic leggies which rip and mesmerize at training but go all astray on match day. His first delivery almost hit Ross in the back of the head at silly mid off. His fourth ball was smashed by Blatt and his placement was spot on for us as it millimeter perfect rocketed into Roy’s immobile right hand. The force of the hit has caused all Roys hand motor neurons to fire simultaneously snapping his hand shut and plucking a ripper of a catch. Much laughter and rejoicing as the game ended and the BBQ could begin.
Good Kyal (Bad Kyal incoming!) whom earlier had allowed the skip a sip of his asahi during play and had stoked the BBQ was doing everything right so we were straight into the Hardy’s awards and steak and sausage sangas.
Wombats best went to Pup for his 86 and 3-18, Brit Embassy best to Blatts’ 5-20 and play of the day went to embassys Sam for his powerful hitting.
The sangas went down a treat and highlights came thick and fast. So t&f that Curly’s call for us to depart with still a full esky of beer had the Wombats up the ante and within 15 minutes it was empty and I reckon the first glimpses of Bad Kyal and The Monster could be spotted.
Reggie, Roy, Dino and Alex chose alternate transport back to Tokyo as the magnificent 7 on the van divided themselves into the Jinro Jokers and the Whisky Swillers a.k.a. Bad Kyal and The Monster. Kyals shorts were the first to feel the wrath of the Jinro Jokers as one leg and most of the crutch of his shorts was ripped off and thrown out the van window. Kyals then decided that if I can’t have my shorts leg and crutch I don’t need shorts at all. Traditional Tomei stop had The Monster on the roof doing pushups. Perhaps last minute pec priming before his strip at Geronimos?
I hope this last one isn’t true but there’s a rumour that someone was caught cleaning the pipes with a stick mag on the back seat of the van. I had my shorts on the entire journey and I was in the front seat so it wasn’t me(although the stick mags somehow ended up in my kit for my wife to discover!) but one Wombat had his bottom half naked for most the return journey so I’ll leave the rest for you the jury to decide, if not mentally picture.
What a day and we haven’t even hit Roppongi yet…….! That episode of this story shall be left and eternally etched into the memories of those who attended and witnessed. I will say one thing though, I did feel briefly sorry for the two staff at Geronimos who were valiantly trying to get The Monster off the bar and into his shirt.
Well played Wombats for retaining the Hardys’ Tokyo Ashes and lets finish off this great season by adding the Pacific Cup to our glorious 2007 campaign.