- Match Report
THE BODY FLEXES MUSCLE IN UNEVEN TUSSLE
by Courtney Jones
The Tokyo Wombats have begun season 2007 with an emphatic 144 run victory over the Shizuoka Kytes on Sunday March, 18th. The win was set up by a huge first innings total of 295 combined with a polished bowling and fielding display.
First time team driver Burkey surprised all at Harajuku turning up with a vehicle more suited for transporting a stable of sumo wrestlers rather than a bunch of Wombats. All was good as we jumped aboard with 3 First gamers in Atul, Lozza and Tim. After 16 alcohol fueled days holidaying in Japan without a glimpse of the big pile of gravel, Lozza and Tim were rewarded with absolutely stunning views of Mt. Fuji on the way to Shizuoka.
The team was warned that we had to move a park bench at the ground pre-game in exchange for a curry. Sounded like easy curry to me but what confronted us was a ton of difficult to grip, half buried concrete. After an initial foray I suspected the concrete beast was going to get the better of us but with the help of some Kytes and 2 wooden logs we got the job done and could commence the game.
Burkey’s lack of any pre-season was obvious and he was soon walking back to the riverbank after chopping one onto his stumps. Doc walked out and after a very, very close LBW shout he drove and cut beautifully to his first 50 for the club. Dino also, began to score more freely as the Wombats powered to 1-122 at drinks. Did I mention it was 10 C, windy and no sun? Sitting on the boundary waiting to have a bat was turning into quite an ordeal. No offence, but the cricket on display wasn’t exactly spectacular, combine this with freezing weather and very solid hangovers and the lads on the bank were getting quite restless. Thankfully at around drinks we were able to devert our attention to cranking up a fire to cook the curry, which warmed bodies and eased tensions.
Doc fell soon after drinks under orders to increase the run rate and/or hit the first six of the season. After falling two metres short of a rare cover driven six he tried to repeat the shot only to sky the ball to mid-off and depart after compiling 57. Rhino went in at #4 and after a watchful start really blossomed. His square and straight drives were hit as hard as any shots all day and he really showed his genuine talent with the bat. Dino in the meantime did put the first six on the board with a cow corner swat and soon after brought up his ton with another dinger over cow. To give others a hit he retired on 105 and in doing so equalled Burkeys record of 4 consecutive scores of 50 or more for the club. Rhino also retired on 53. Great efffort! Pup came, slogged a 4 and went. Atul showed his batting skills but not his judgement as he ducked a shot ball only to see his stumps rattled, while Chuck and Tim remained on single figure not outs to see the total through to 6/295.
The curry supplied by Bunny of the Kytes at the break was terrific and really hit the spot considering the weather conditions. It was with little apparent enthusiasm that 11 Wombats covered in assorted warm garmets with hands in pockets made their way onto the ground to defend their daunting total. After overhearing Doc turn down fielding in the slips because of the cold, the captain asked him to take up the short cover position, much to his displeasure but bringing a wry smile to his teammates faces. Alex and Killer opened the bowling with Alex picking up where he left off in 2005 by simply locking onto a perfect line and length while Killer struggled with his usual assured rhythm and control.
The first wicket was a runout as the Kytes captain, Sharpey called his partner through for a second run only to refuse to bugde while the bails were dutifully removed at the non-strikers end with both batsmen arguing at the other.
Killer did eventually find an assemblance of line and enticed Sharpey to feather an edge to Jarrad which the umpire didn’t hear. However, in a cricketing first for Sharpey he showed great sportsmanship by just bowing his head and walking. This bought the dangerous Harvey to the crease who has hurt the Wombats with his hitting in the past. Killers waywardness lasted 3 overs before he was replaced with Lozza who hasn’t played cricket in years and it showed. His spell was a real mix of donkey drops, double bouncers, wides and even a no-ball which ran out of legs and spluttered to a holt barely halfway down the pitch. When he did land them he troubled the batsmen and he was rewarded with the wicket of Mohamed who cut hard but straight at Pup who gleefully accepted the sharp chance. Meanwhile, Alex’s amazing accuracy was beginning to get the better of Harvey as he played at air numerous times and was dropped at Gully by Lozza who takes a broken pinky back to Perth for the effort. The kettle was starting to boil and a cup of tea was waiting to be made as an attempted slog out of trouble picked out Atul at mid-on who leapt straight up to take a screamer. This wicket was perfect reward for “The Body” who bowled 8 straight overs to finish with the ground economy record breaking figures of 8-5-4-1!
The sun finally appeared which made the cricket comfortable and enjoyable at last and with it signalled a precession of wickets. Atul bowled a very tidy spell of nippy, accurate swing and finished with 2-31 off 7. Pup was eventually handed the ball and signalled his feelings about being left out of the attack for so long by sending the bails flying first ball. Another castling in the same over and I think the captain has discovered how to really get Pup fired up!
After a bit of a whinge Burkey was eventually convinced to roll his arm over and and duely took 2 quick wickets. The second brought the innings to an end at 151as Killer took a well judged catch at cow corner The cold quickly forced us to depart the ground for the warmth of the soba shop. Beers, food and highlights with the Kytes ensued, followed by the mandatory stop at the supermarket for the return journey supplies. It didn’t take long for conversation and body functions to degrade to the usual debauch levels and Killer, of all people, went down as the first van victim of season 2007! The excitment of the first game of the season, combined with the usual high quality soba shop fare plus 10 beers proved too much for even Killers iron-clad fortitude as he arked up out(mostly!) the window of the van. Record breaking return trip as 2 bottles of vodka, 1 bottle of bourbon and about a slab of beer were devoured:Respect Wombats!
A real top days cricket Wommies with particular mention to Jarrad and Alex for their respective record equalling/breaking efforts. Also, Rhino, Doc and Atul for their good form. Hopefully this excellent hit out points to the club having a real strong start to the season proper come April 15th when we play Ichihara in last seasons J1C grand final replay.
Thanks Burkey for organising and driving the van and to the Shizuoka Kytes for again supplying the ground and great oppostion. See yas this Sunday for our next practise game.