- Match Report
Sun, sakura, Shearer, and a bloody Samsung
by Alex Patmore
A perfect day out for the Wombats – early morning at Shibuya and everyone accounted for, just about on time. Shout out to AJ for being very early to Shibuya. Probably didn’t sleep much.
The sun was out, the sakura was blooming, Fuji was majestic, and Shearer was excited to see the Wombats make their first trip down to Fuji. A pair of T20 matches lined up against the local Fuji side for the final warm-up game.
Wombats won the toss and batted first, Patmore and Bracefield opening up as per usual. Richie raced to the retirement mark of 30 with some booming shots, that new bat of his going like a rocket. Dino was next in and continued where Richie left off, racing to a quickfire 42 retired. Up the other end the skipper looked like he had never picked up a bat before, getting dropped twice, a solitary single off the first 16 balls he faced before limping to 14 off 30 balls. You know it’s bad when the oppo starts sledging in a friendly.
Later on Luke came and went fairly quickly, Sam on his red ball debut gave Shearer solid support with 18, along with with a few cameos near the end helped get the Wommies to 153/4 from their 20 overs. Considering the instructions before the game was to treat this as warm up for the 40 over stuff, a decent total.
Despite the Fuji opener launching Nige for a huge flicked 6 off a free hit second ball of the innings, the Wombats were never in any real danger of having their total chased down. Wickets fell at regular intervals, Nige bowled with good pace and bounce from the top end, AJ continued his new-Koolhof shtick (despite being older than the legendary clubman!) at the other end. Neymar Madhavan again bowled superbly, Vik sent down his nudies and Himan floated a few up. Luke and Sam also showed their seam bowling credentials, and the energy and ground fielding was overall excellent on a bobbly outfield. A few chances put down in the deep was the only blot on the Wombats copybook.
A quick turnaround for game 2, and Patmore and Bracefield sent out to open up again. Richie B came and went with with another rapid 40 retired, although one wonders if he’d have traded all those runs in for his new stick not breaking on him halfway through. A week ago the sight of a cricketer in tears was a rare thing, but Richie must have come close under his lid that afternoon.
A lunchtime net with Prashant and the practicing Paddy Foleys team seemed to do Patmore the world of good, looking a bit better than the morning for his 30 retired, before a little wobble in the middle of the innings with Luke, AJ and Naren all going pretty quickly. This time the Wombats had Himan to thank for a late innings flourish, a big 6 being the highlight of his brisk 30 not out. Similar story to game 1, Wombats 158/5 off their 20.
And groundhog day again in the second innings for the Fuji batsmen, only a couple of their boys making it to double figures but they did a bit better getting to 112/9 from their 20. Nige kept his pace up from the morning, Naren and Vik again bowled very tightly, one of them spinning the ball, and one of them not, and Luke and Sam bowled with decent enough gas to force the keeper back for a bit.
Due to the lack of sleep starting to catch up with AJ, Wombats turned to Frank and Dino(!) to close out the innings, Frank showing that a few years break from cricket has not diminished his golden-arm wicket taking abilities. Dino was also tighter in bowling than backside, and some good snaffles in the outfield and under some skiers capped off a very fine pre-season tune up.
The esky was quickly drunk dry, highlights and tekitonis were shared, and a 50-minute search for Richie B’s phone in the dark extended an already very long day. Turned up the next day in Dino’s bag. A full investigation into the affair will be undertaken, but given the Aussie penchant for hiding things in their pockets, it might not be long before we see an ashen-faced Shearer face up to the cameras. Gotta do something about that team culture.
- Luke’s catches at mid-on
- Frankie at 45/gully
- AJ’s caught & bowled
- Dino taking a stunner at first slip in the first match, dramatic dive and all. Then taking a second one in game 2 that probably would have hit his nuts if he hadn’t taken it. Good work buckets.
- AJ off his own bowling – arguably the most slow-motion, ballooned-up, diving-forward catch Japan has ever seen.
- Naren at deep square in Game 1, takes a skier over his head and right on the boundary. Finishing with one hand in the air and the other on the ground only added to the drama.
- Himan at cow
- Rich at mid-wicket
- Patmore – putting a keeper’s catch down on a rare straight one from Frankie (*it was a free hit so apparently it doesn’t count).
- Vikram – putting down the first catch of the year off AJ’s first over in Game 1. Ball gets skied to Vik running in from mid-off.
- Vikram standing at short backward square leg. Nearing the end of a long day, a Fuji batsman paddles one around the corner from Frankie, straight to Biscuits who didn’t even need to move his feet. The ball fell straight from Vik’shands to the deck like a stone. Cake.
- Himan – livid with himself after putting down a deep catch at Cow that he’d normally take. Perhaps he needed to take another leak on the boundary,
- Patmore in the Wombats camp to Richie while observing AJ hit a gorgeous lofted on drive: “AJ looks better and better each time I see him play”… AJ was out the next ball, gifting a catch down the throat of square leg. Thanks Skip!
- Patmore: “We need to give them two fielders as two of their boys haven’t come back from 9/11 yet. I mean 7/11”
- Naren, having known Dino for a few years now, plucking up the courage to ask: “Dino, sorry mate but what’s your real name?”
Great Moments in Sport
- Bloody amazing weather and the beautiful unobstructed view of Fuji
- Himan’s big six
- Rich’s batting in both innings
- Overall batting and bowling effort by the team and winning both games comfortably with one player short
- Young Fuji tail-ender informing the team that the ball only touched his gloves, not his bat, before going into Patmore’s gloves. Naturally the ball was quickly wided by the Fuji umpire and that was the end of that. Village.
- Naren – the first ever traded player for the Wombats (the JCA now charges an undisclosed sum for transferring players…) bowling spectacularly and displaying one of the most athletic fielding displays of the day, taking a tough catch on the boundary, speedily chasing down balls and arguably the best throws in to Patmore from the deep. Worth every penny*** (Disclaimer: We don’t know how much we have to pay yet so technically we do not know if he is in fact worth every penny).
- A direct hit from new Wombat Sam Pearson at mid-off, catching the batsman well short of his ground. Sadly, the Fuji umpire has yet to have his eyes checked.
- AJ being the first at the meeting spot at 7am, wearing a classic burgundy sugar-daddy jacket having just come off an all-nighter. Then backing it up with a solid day’s play. Legend.
- One of the best photos of the day taken by Vikwas of new Wombat Sam playing a confident stroke with Fuji in the backdrop, inadvertently immortalizing Sam’s appearance in black track-pants with the thigh pad worn on the exterior. Village.
- Frankie – falling to what looked to be a serious groin strain, before coming out to bat at the death and running 2s at Himan’s calls. And even having a trundle and collecting some scalps, great stuff.
- Richie bombing sixes in both games before the bat-break
- Sam proving handy with bat and ball
- Himan’s hitting in the second game
- Dino slapping a 40 retired in the first game
- Luke’s safe hands in the field
- Dino – It’s not “Deano” you c##ts, it’s “Dino!”
Golden Thong Nominations
- The Australian cricket team should be nominated, not just for ball tampering, but doing such a piss-poor effort to conceal the tampering.
- Richie breaking his brand new bat on its first outing. Close to seeing a grown man cry on the cricket field.
- Richie/Dino conspiring to lose Richie’s phone, resulting in a 45-minute search in the dark for it (showed up in Dino’s bag the next day).