- Match Report
Sharks Take Bite Out of Wombats Celebrations
by Evan Hitchman
A beautiful day greeted us upon arrival at the glorious Fuji International Cricket Ground, in tip-top shape thanks to the hard efforts of the Fuji ground staff, hard at work keeping the ground in good nick. The eskies were fully packed, beers on ice. BBQ’s were on standby, ready to be fired up to start off the Tokyo Wombats 20th Anniversary Season celebrations, hopefully with a big W to go with a cold beer, and some halal sausages courtesy of Master Chef Shearer!
Pre-game, a small presentation was made to show off the Shearer-Thurgate Cup, kindly made and provided by Anton and Kris from Chiba Sharks, that will be a perennial trophy shared between the two teams, well hopefully it just stays with us mostly though! Brown envelopes were passed to umpires Chris and Adam, with the knowledge that they’d make sure the right team got over the line!
Things started to go wrong in the warm up for the Wombats though, with older Wombats wondering what the heck is warm-up! Richie began with some stretches, but was beautifully blindsided by some pinpoint needling by Ken, critiquing every single stretch, questioning which muscle this one was stretching, before inducing a great dummy spit from RB! Dobson took over the stretches, and with the glute muscles fully relaxed it was time for catching practise.
Ash may have relaxed the glutes a little too much, as he appeared to break a finger trying to catch a high one. With blood pouring out of a crooked finger, it was an auspicious start for the Wommies, at least it wasn’t Ash’s bowling hand, but still – warm ups are a dangerous thing! With that, the warm up was called off and it was time to get into the middle.
Zubair and Ash, despite his injury opened up the bowling and both had the Chiba openers Dhugal and Marcus playing and missing a few times with some zippy bowling that went unrewarded. 0/39 off the first 10, and it was an even match – the Chiba batters able to see off the Wombat openers, as well as Ken’s dodgy chat! Dhugal looked in ominous form, putting away any loose balls to the boundary, courtesy of the useless Fuji groundsman who clearly cut the grass too short! At the 15 overs drinks break it was 0/73, with a wicket very much needed.
Straight after the break, the breakthrough finally came with Marcus skying one off Ali and Ev taking a simple catch. Ken D was brought into the attack, and his sledges and deliveries failed to make the mark, with Dhugal taking full advantage and dispatching a few big ones towards the Fuji 1 pitch. Bill and Satyam gave it their all, and we got a second wicket just after the drinks break, with Ev catching a zooter at point off Bill to have the Sharks 2/183 off 32. Big last 8 overs coming up.
Despite the best efforts of special guest Nige to jinx Dhugal at the break telling him he was on 96*!, he went on to make his century, and thanks to the ball following Ash like a magnet, whacked a few more runs before finally getting caught by Richie. Satyam bowled well, and got a few wickets, and was on a hattrick at one stage, but by the end the Sharks had 268, including a last ball 6 just to rub salt into the wounds.
Ali and Richie went out to open and looked comfortable enough at 0/31 after 7, setting up a good foundation for us to attack a decent target set by the Sharks. Sadly Richie went next over, and the Dinosaur himself stepped up to the crease, needing a big partnership with the skipper if the Wombats were to be any chance. Ali was looking in great nick, as he always does, smashing glorious drives and cuts to the boundary, including 20 odd off one Matsumura over. 1/71 off 11 and things were looking promising, if we could get to drinks at 15 overs still 1 out for 80 or 90 odd, the Wombats would be every chance. Of course we didn’t get to the drinks break at 1 down, as the Wombats love to do, a quick middle order collapse saw us go from 1/71 to 4/72 in the blink of an eye.
First to go was Dino, who was looking comfortable and seeing it well, drove one to mid on, where Dhugal threw out his left hand by reflex, and took an arsey catch that he had no idea about. Dino stood in the middle of the pitch for what seemed like minutes, bewildered, before finally limping off to the sheds to start the BBQ. No worries though, as we had the in-form skipper Ali, and last year’s Golden Wombat all-rounder Zubair at the crease who would surely see us through. A few balls later and both were gone, as Ali missed a straight one off the least loved Thurgate sibling, and Zub was caught. 1/71 to 4/72 in the blink of an eye! At least the smoke of the bbq was something to look forward to, as it seemed the Wommies were going to be out in quick order.
Ken and Bill didn’t muck around, going big and whacking some great boundaries before Bill was out caught. Satyam looked good before missing a straight one, and Jack somehow forgot to put his foot down, getting bizarrely stumped, leaving the Wombats 7 for 130, with only Ev and Corey to come, with Ash already on his way to the hospital. Ev was keen to get it over and done with, as the smoke from the pulled pork and steaks was smelling great, but Ken had other ideas, smacking a quick 50 off not many, and with 12 overs left, the wommies only needed 90 runs. “This is doable”, says Ken – “let’s just last till drinks, nothing stupid, we can do this Ev, are you gonna stay with me?”. It’s the hope that kills you.
Of course, next ball Ken mishit one and an easy skied catch was taken, leaving the wombats with Corey and Ev at the crease. Corey toyed with the Chiba bowlers, playing and missing everything outside off stump, and blocking with ease at the last second, anything on the stumps. Drinks were offered and not taken, as Ev, having every confidence in his batting partner said, “nah, let’s keep going, this could be over any ball. You just need to bowl one straight!” Of course that’s exactly what happened, and there was a walking wicket at the crease, but it was Ev himself! Undone once again, by a straight one! With that the Wombats innings was over, 9 out, with Ash unable to bat, for 183.
Post match drinks and bbq were a great success though, on a beautiful afternoon beers were sunk, meat was served up by Anton and Dino behind the grill, and a fun highlights session was run. Sadly not the result we wanted, but a great day out nonetheless.
Special thanks to Anton, Dino, Mark, Etsuko for their help before, during and after with the bbq preparation, set up and clean up. Thanks again to Kris and Anton for the trophy and we hope to be back next year to do it all again and hopefully win it back! We’ll have to up the amount in the brown envelopes in 2023~!
|Tokyo Wombats CC vs Chiba Sharks CC|
|Japan Cricket League 2022 (Div. 1), Fuji 2, Shizuoka, July 30, 2022|
|Result||Chiba Sharks won by 85 runs|
|TWCC MoM||Ken Dobson|
|Chiba Sharks CC Innings: 268/6 (40.0 overs)|
|M Thurgate||c E Hitchman b M Ali||40||55||8||0||72.73|
|D Bedingfield*||c R Bracefield b Singh||146||127||17||5||114.96|
|I Takahashi||c E Hitchman b B Bhinder||25||35||3||0||71.43|
|D Lollback||c K Dobson b Z Bappi||21||16||2||1||131.25|
|R Matsumura||c&b A Muhammad||4||6||0||0||66.67|
|A Thurgate||b S Singh||0||1||0||0||0.00|
|T Mookherjee||not out||3||3||0||0||100.00|
|H Murakawa||not out||6||1||0||1||600.00|
|Extras||(b 2, lb 3, w 14, nb 4)||23|
|Fall of wickets|
|1-83 M Thurgate, 2-181 I Takahashi, 3-254 D Lollback, 4-255 D
Bedingfield, 5-255 A Thurgate, 6-262 R Matsumura|
|Tokyo Wombats CC Innings: 183/9 (32.0 overs)|
|R Bracefield||b I Takahashi||12||25||1||1||48.00|
|M Ali*||lbw b A Thurgate||40||36||8||0||111.11|
|J Shearer||c D Bedingfield b A Thurgate||3||16||0||0||18.75|
|Z Bappi||c R Matsumura b I Takahashi||1||3||0||0||33.33|
|K Dobson||c D Bedingfield b M Kumar||68||50||6||4||136.00|
|B Bhinder||c M Thurgate† b M Kumar||12||10||1||1||120.00|
|S Singh||b H Murakawa||15||18||2||0||83.33|
|J Jermyn||st M Thurgate b V Ragunathan||1||4||0||0||25.00|
|E Hitchman||b H Bacha||9||18||0||0||50.00|
|C Hunter-Park||not out||1||12||0||0||8.33|
|A Muhammad||dnb (injured)|
|Extras||(b 0, lb 2, w 19, nb 0)||21|
|Fall of wickets|
|1-32 R Bracefield, 2-71 J Shearer, 3-72 M Ali, 4-72 Z Bappi,
5-90 B Bhinder, 6-134 S Singh, 7-147 J Jermyn, 8-175 K Dobson,
9-183 E Hitchman|
- Ev – with a blinder at point
- Two balls in the same over going straight to poor Ash playing with his broken finger
- “You’re on 96 by the way mate” – Nigel(?) to Dhugal at the drinks break trying to jinx him. It didn’t work!
- “You’re not even the best bat in your own family!” – Ev to Marcus, trying to rile him up to no avail!
- “Ash won’t get his bat near it, you watch” – says Chris T the umpire, about his own son! Who was bowled first ball!
- “How do you make halal meat Dino?” – “it’s chicken…!” – says Jarrad keeping it simple!
Great Moments in Sport
- Corey – first run for the Wombats! unbeaten too!
- Ken’s heroic stand, the umpire chirping his own son, the anticipation on the hattrick ball
- Richie – gave up quickly after some pinpoint needling by Ken about his warm up routine, spat the dummy and said you do it yourself!
- Dino – standing in disbelief for about a minute after Dhugal took a one handed, left handed, miracle arsey catch!