- Match Report
SPIN INSPIRED WOMBATS WOUND WYVERNS
by Courtney Jones
Dizzy Gillespie’s 201*, Micheal Clarke’s 6/9 vs India and Simon Katich playing one-day cricket for Australia. Anomalies, freak occurances. In cricket they happen from time to time. One such abnormal performance contributed to the Tokyo Wombats opening it’s 2006 KCL account.
The Wombats second KCL game vs Wyverns was on April 30th played at Fuji. Curly was back behind the wheel of the Wombats van after his 6 month Asian/middle eastern sojourn. Familiarity was immediate as all the lads settled into general banter about the usual: cricket, footy and girls, although Roy could only contribute to two of those topics as he reckons when we speak about footy we may as well be speaking chinese such is his understanding of the conversation.
Does familiarity and routine play any part in Wombats victory? After Sundays game I’d suggest so. We arrived at Fuji an hour before play was due to start which enabled all to have a hit in the nets or in Whisks case, sleep another hour. 10:45a.m. and no sign of the umpire so it was decided to start on time at 11a.m., self umpiring. Wyverns were asked to bat and just as play was about to begin the umpire arrives dressed like he’d spent the morning shopping in Shibuya rather than preparing to umpire a cricket game.
Ian bowled the first ball of the day only to see his slightly short offering dispatched over square for 6! Game on with G. Beath of the Wyverns showing immediate intent. The Freak opened from the other end and his first short ball was also plonked over square by the same batter. More boundaries followed and the Wyverns were off to a flyer. After 4 overs they were 30 and I was having nightmarish flashbacks to the previous weeks workover we received.
Well, fire needed to met with fire as Pup replaced Luke with success first ball with Beathy semi-spooning a drive back to the bowler who did his utmost to spill a multi juggled catch. A big wicket! Out came Noguchi who obviously wanted to maintain the 7.5 runs/over runrate by attempting to blast his first ball out of Shizuoka. He missed to a chorus of comments from the close in fielders, all in Japanese, which brought a smile to those in hearing range. Next ball he takes an even bigger cut only to miss again, beaten for pace. Noguchi’s idea was sound but his application wasn’t as Pup blew a full one past his flailing blade for a castling. Pup was generating such good pace that the highly respected umpire and long term Japan cricket admirer, Anton delayed his departure from the ground to watch the bowlers spell.
Nakamura and Chino then put together a quick 45 runs and on 2/90 at the 16 over mark were guiding Wyverns to a healthy total. Reggie changed the complexion of the game in an over by clean bowling Nakamura and the dangerous Hanada in 3 balls with beautiful off cutters. From the other end Shax was working his way through a marvellous spell of flighted offspin and as I had suspected pregame the Japanese boys were having trouble getting him away through a lack of attacking intent. With nothing to lose I thought I’d roll my arm over in the last over before drinks and I managed to sneek a donkey drop under Hiroses bat and onto the stumps. Wyverns were 5/97 at drinks and the Wombats now in a strong position.
A twin spin attack greeted the Wyverns after drinks with Shax sapping the batsmens confidence from one end and Chuck burgling wickets from the other. Chuck crowned his 5/23 (ed: second best ever bowling figures for the Wombats) on the last ball of his spell with a one handed caught and bowled that may or may not have escaped instant replay analysis from the Herschelle Gibbs catching authority. Pup was re-introduced and proceeded to knock out the middle stump of the stubborn lefty to end the innings on 167. Pup finished with a pacey 3/21 while Reggies spell was also excellent finishing with 2/17.
Needing 168 against a team that boasts the opening bowler of the Japanese national team is never going to be a walk in the park. Dino and Burkey opened up and looked comfortable until Burkey called Dino through for a quick single. Agile fielding combined with an accurate throw to the keeper saw Dino short of his ground for 2. Unbelieveably Dino stomped off the ground without a bat toss, curse or major dummy spit. Some things you just can’t predict! Roy O’Carroll went in at #3 and was dubiously given out LBW soon after to reduce the Wombats to 2/12.
Wyverns were now pumped up and could sniff blood however Whisk then clubbed 2 of the first 4 balls he faced to the boundary to signal he’s in a mood to take the game back up to the Wyverns. With Burkey batting a little more circumspect than usual Whisk put the result beyond doubt with a superb 68 off only 53 balls. His straight and off driving were awesome as he continually drove powerfully on the up, while anything short was dispatched through and over square. Burkey soon upped the anti and stroked some elegant cover drives and cuts as the scoring rate took off. In one mid-innings burst Whisk went from 29 to 59 in 9 balls!
When Whisk was caught on the boundary the score was 129 in the 22nd over and instead of cruising to victory Pup and Burkey knocked off the runs 6 overs later with Burkey unleashing 2 of his trademark pullshots for 6. Not to be outdone though, Pup also displayed his liking for the short ball by dispatching Pat for 4 behind square and then emphatically sealing victory with a pull for 6. Pup finished on 22n.o. and Burkey a perfectly paced 69n.o. How sweet victory was compared to the previous games disappointment.
Post game saw beers at the ground and the Hardy’s awards. Wyverns best went to Chino for his intelligent 52 opening the innings. Wombats best went to Chuck for his Michelle and play of the day went to Whisks powerhouse batting display. A stop at the supermarket thankfully saw no eskys run over but a van fully stocked with Maccas, beers and Black Nikka whisky. Roy set a cracking swilling pace and devoured his sixpack by Kanagawa. Dino, Luke and Pup easily accounted for the Nikka and proceeded to carry on like the drunks we love, while Pup’s impersonations had everyone in stitches.
Top team effort Wombats. Keeping the dangerous Wyverns bats down to a modest total was ultimately matchwinning but equally important was Burkey and Whisks ability to see off the dangerous Pat and also put together a quick 117 run partnership. It’s great to return to the normalcy of Curly’s van driving and the Wombats winning.