- Match Report
Sharks Retain Shearer-Thurgate Cup
by Joe Lewis
In a clash that was as intense as a Sumo wrestling match, the Tokyo Wombats took on the Chiba Sharks in a thrilling encounter for the Shearer-Thurgate cup.
The Tokyo Wombats won the toss and decided to bat first as the outfield was “squelchy as f**k.” The opening over bowled by Yohan went for 13 runs but gained a wicket. Difficult to pick “first blood” for this one so I’ll go with “bloody abattoir”. Fozan and Samad, looking like ninja warriors, bowled with pinpoint accuracy, making the Sharks dance nervously at the crease. Samad’s opening spell deliveries were so tight, it looked like Dhugal was trying to hit a moving target with chopsticks, he instead opted to play with a lovely straight pad, a proven wise move that had the Wombats appealing no less than four times in a single over to no luck.
The Sharks, however, displayed disciplined patience, weathering the storm and reaching the break with a steady 65-1 on the scoreboard. As the match progressed, they steadily accelerated their innings, showcasing their teeth with some explosive strokes. The Wombats’ bowlers toiled hard, but it seemed that the cricket ball had developed a magnet-like attraction to the gaps between the fielders. Lady luck decided to enjoy a leisurely stroll around Mt. Fuji, leaving the Wombats in a state of despair.
At the end of the second session, the Sharks were in a sharknado of dominance, standing tall at 168-3 (Satyam and Kavin taking the big scalps of Dhugal and Takahashi) The third session proved to be a rollercoaster ride, with the Wombats roaring back to life, taking three quick wickets in the first five overs. However, the Sharks, refusing to be fish bait, fought back with some big hits, leaving the Wombats in deep waters. Eventually, the Sharks finished on an impressive 257-8 as they took full advantage of any delivery pitched short by launching it into the sky.
The Wombat bowlers, displaying more twists and turns than a Shibuya intersection, were excellent in their efforts. Kavin Jinasera, Samad, Fozan, Satyam, and skipper Ali all had their moments, but luck seemed to have missed the shink on the long journey to Fuji. The ball repeatedly landed just out of reach of fielders (or were within reach and didn’t stick!) leaving them to ponder the unfairness of cricket’s sense of humor.
A target of 258 is a tall order. Fortunately the Wommies had a tall fella called Richie, fueled by a mere two hours of sleep (thanks to being a dad of two) he took to the field with his diminutive partner-in-crime, Alex Patmore. They built a steady partnership that brought hope to the Wombats’ den as they began to accelerate. Crafting a century stand defying a good bowling attack and sleep deprivation.
Alas, the partnership was broken when Richie fell for a remarkable 69 off 69 balls, a score that will forever be remembered for its ridiculous numerical convenience. Ali came in and fell in the next over and just like that the pendulum hanging on knife edge for the past 65 overs swung permanently into the favor of the Sharks. Alex valiantly tried to defy the impending slump but fell edging behind for a fighting 66, leaving the Wombats peering down the barrel at 161-6.
Kavin showed resistance till the bitter end. However, the game was slipping away, and the Sharks emerged as victors by bowling out the valiant Wombats for 189, winning by 68 runs, but let’s be honest, losing a memorable one by 1 run. It was a hard-fought victory for the Sharks, and well earned however there are some things that can be reflected on in hindsight. (Seeing as they dominated the chat throughout the end of the day’s play!)
Tokyo Wombats: 16
Chiba Sharks: 8
The game was an excellent competitive tussle with Sharks coming out on top and overall they were probably, narrowly, the better side. Their team of 11’s significant past experience of playing with each other perhaps provided that vital edge over a Wombat team with many new faces and still finding its groove.
We have to acknowledge the two moments in the game where the match was on a knife-edge and in both of these moments the decision went against the Wommies. A strong, (like, Herculean strong) LBW appeal against eventual top-scorer Takahashi during the Sharks innings which happened just before he accelerated and added a further 60 runs for the 4th wicket stand.
The second moment was in the Wombat innings where a filthy full toss delivery was launched at skipper Ali’s torso area in the fourth delivery of his innings in which he mistimed a swipe and was caught. It was perceived by many to be above waist high (even the Sharks were waiting for the signal) but the opinion who matters (the third umpire) thought otherwise. This followed with Masaki’s dismissal two deliveries later meaning the Wombats went from 123-0 to 126-3 in 10 deliveries.
We can’t say if these moments would’ve changed the result, as stated before the Sharks earned this win. However the Wombats were a live dog throughout and these moments had a big impact on the momentum and energy flow in the game. It is hard to not be wistful and ponder that if these two moments went the other way that the Shearer-Thurgate cup could’ve had a deservedly close and memorable finish. But it was not to be, the Wombats will dust themselves off and move onto the next one. Come on the Wommies!
Though the match didn’t end in triumph the game finished with an awesome BBQ provided by Shearer, Matt and Anton. Both teams enjoyed a good chinwag and some Halal meat with wings, pulled pork and homemade sausages. Much thanks to those men and their efforts in preparing the ground!
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Chiba Sharks CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2023 (Div. 1), Fuji 2, Shizuoka, May 20, 2023|
|Result||Chiba Sharks CC won by 68
|TWCC MoM||R Bracefield|
|Chiba Sharks CC Innings: 257/8 (40.0 overs)|
|M Thurgate||cB Bhinder b Y Alvis||8||4||2||0||200.00|
|D Bedingfield*||c R Bracefield b S Singh||41||59||3||1||69.49|
|I Takahashi||c M Ali b K Jinasena||78||83||5||5||93.98|
|T Takada||b M Ali||39||34||1||4||114.71|
|M Siddique||b M Ali||15||16||1||4||114.71|
|D Lollback||c & b F Aziz||20||18||1||1||111.11|
|A Thurgate||b F Aziz||8||5||0||1||160.00|
|A Ahmed||b A Samad||27||18||1||2||150.00|
|R Matsumura||not out||2||2||0||0||100.00|
|H Bacha||not out||6||1||0||1||600.00|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 2, w 11, nb 0)||13|
|Fall of wickets|
|1-10 M Thurgate, 2-106 D Bedingfield, 3-163 I Takahashi, 4-185
T Takada, 5-194 M Siddique, 6-203 A Thurgate, 7-240 D Lollback,
8-251 A Ahmed|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 189 (38.4 overs)|
|A Patmore||c M Thurgate† b H Bacha||66||80||5||2||82.50|
|R Bracefield||c H Bacha b M Siddique||69||69||4||5||100.00|
|M Ali*||c A Tallapragada b M Siddique||1||5||0||0||20.00|
|M Kawashima||b M Siddique||0||2||0||0||0.00|
|Y Alvis||b I Takahashi||1||4||0||0||25.00|
|A Samad||c A Tallapragada b R Matsumura||12||13||1||0||92.31|
|K Jinasena||not out||13||25||2||0||52.00|
|B Bhinder||c M Siddique b I Takahashi||2||13||0||0||15.38|
|S Singh||lbw b H Bacha||4||7||0||0||57.14|
|F Aziz||b M Siddique||4||11||0||0||36.36|
|J Lewis||b A Ahmed||1||5||0||0||20.00|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 6, w 8, nb 2)||16|
|Fall of wickets|
|1-123 R Bracefield, 2-126 M Ali, 3-126 M Kawashima, 4-129 Y
Alvis, 5-158 A Samad, 6-161 A Patmore, 7-167 B Bhinder, 8-172 S
Singh, 9-188 F Aziz, 10-189 J Lewis|
- Ali caught a thunderbolt to remove the danger man Takahashi
- Bilal – another unexpected, but very nicely held, catch at point
- Joe- deep down at square leg while running back and the banging his head on the ground and not only dropped but helped to make it 6 rather than 4
- Samat – could’ve had Dhugal cheap on the square leg boundary. Hit hard but straight to him, doh!
- “Alright guys now we really want to bowl them out for 150, anything from 150-200 is what we want to be aiming for, if they get more than 200 that’s ok as well. If we just keep bowling good balls we will get them out but for a score around 150 would be really strong position, 200 is ok though.” – Ali’s pre-game pep talk setting the bar…just about everywhere!
Great Moments in Sport
- Richie’s perfect 69 for 69. Better than any hundred or 5 wicket haul
- Alex’s 50 (3 in a row now)
- Alex Patmore’s dummy was hanging for dear life for half the match after some questionable decisions by the umpire.
Golden Thong Nominations
- Joe’s driving back to Tokyo. Sketchy as hell.