- Match Report
TOKYO ASHES: PUP LASHES, EMBASSY CRASHES
by Ian Gason
The Hardys Tokyo Ashes is destined to spend another year safely housed in The Clubhouse after The Wombats soundly spanked The British Embassy CC in Shizuoka Saturday. The Wombats bowlers overpowered the poms’ batting for just 94 runs, and the took the match for the loss of just 1 wicket.
The mid-season cricket calendar re-jig had turned this planned Saturday match into a double header weekend and thrown out a whole pile of logistical nightmares, which we believed we had overcome mid-Friday. The weather had reluctrantly agreed to co-operate, and we looked like somehow we would get two full XIs out over two days, with 16 Wombats getting a run or 2.
“Rightio, I’ll just have another vodka & orange and see you there,” is not want you want to hear on the phone 20 minutes prior to departure.
True to his words, Zulu was there at Harajuku, rip-roaring and ready to go, with Clubhouse bar-tender Trevor in tow, not really sure why he was there, but vaigly remembering something about cricket. New recruit from Hong Kong, Omer was not there, and with a long Saturday traffic jam to deal with, an executive decision was made: congratulations Trev.
Seems some biker needed to be hosed off the Tomei after coming off second best in a bout of vehicular biffo. Took Tokyo’s finest a good while to measure the skidmarks etc, and by the time they’d called the undertaker, a 2 hour grid-lock obstructed our Ashes mission. Trev got in some last minute ‘image training’ and Zulu and the skip set an example by cracking open a flaggon of Hardys.
I followed the Bobby Philips’ Method for Saturday traffic, and dragged the boys into the Shizuoka Supermarket right on the scheduled start time. By the time the lads had stuffed their faces, voided their bowels and negoitiated their way back into the van over 4 eskis and 3 cases of Yebisu, the final hop to the ground had us piling out at 11:30, with the pitch still had to be pegged.
From the dark side of the ‘pong, to the fresh open spaces of Shizuoka, Trev was a bit confused about all this green, grass and trees business. The words “Hereyago Trev, I got some whites for ya” struck him like a frying pan in the face. When the shock wore off, he staggerred and pleaded, but “shit mate, you’re here now” saw him submit.
The 2 skips agreed to go for 35 overs. Chuck won the practise toss. Warren the real won, and Embassy padded up for a 12:30 start, 90 minutes behind schedule.
First ball I found Brent Kinnimont’s pad, but despite my Hadlee-esque plead, the big Kiwi survived. From then on the star attractions were Gez Brady’s fiery opening spell and Iron Gloves Zulu. Gez dominated pommie skipper Wazza Daley from the outset. Behind the stumps and behind Posh Spice’s sunnies, Zulu wasn’t handling him much better, either. Zulu was more like a hockey keeper than a wicket keeper, getting his body – legs, chest, even hands – behind the ball, but never clutching it. His chest took more hits than a junkie’s arm, but to his credit, he leaked byes just once all day. When Wazza finally got the edge, Zulu summoned all his latent powers of concentration and deflected the ball into his chest and wrapped his arms and gloves around it. After that Z reverted to The Wall method.
Embassy resistance came mainly from Brent and later Anton, but the day belonged to the Wommies bowlers. Our Accuracy was very accurate this day, and lead to 7 bowled or LBW dismissals. This lifted the whole wommies side, with even the 100kg Dinosaur making some spectacular diving saves.
Robb Mann got himself on a hat-trick and promptly sprayed one down leg. Pup Ainslie overcame a humiliatingly bad hair cut and dye job to claim 2 vital wickets, both topped off with a full pitch finger in the air YEAAAAAAAAAAAH!!!
Paul and Thommo frustrated the bowlers without overtly stressing the scorers. Paul’s box made regular appearances at the bottom of his trouser leg, and perhaps restricted his shot playing potential. Thommo played one straight to Reggie and called the immobile pom through. Zulu managed to wrap some rubber round the ball and distribute the stumps around the ground. Thommo was unapologetic, “Jeez, back up next time.”
When Thommo was bowled shortly after, Killer clumsily opened his mouth. “You can practise that shot over there mate,” is not the sort of thing to say to an opening bolwer, but those of you that know Killer won’t be surprised by his verbal indescration. Suddenly with Embassy lots down for not enough, we reckoned we might have a fight on our hands after all.
2 wickets in 2 balls for Gez (4/10) wrapped up the innings for 94. Chuck gave some serious thought to sending Killer out to open, but firing up Chris Thompson would have been good for a laugh, but memories of DK Lillee v QLD saw him opt for the more convential WA Mafia partnership.
In the end we all got a laugh, without having to wash claret off the pitch. Brent K got the breakthrough, when Jarrad (1) was struck on the full and respected international umpire Neil Harrison promptly sent him on his way. Old hands were quickly shuffling debutant Trev out of the firing range. A couple a choice F-word grumbles, and low-and-behold, Jarrad smashed Bird’s long-standing bat throwing record, hurling the Kookaburra from square leg, over the BBQ and not far from the river. With a Level One Code Of Conduct breach assured, The Prez went for broke. Retrieving the distant willow from whence it lay, he sized up a log no less than a Maori All-Black in diameter, and backed his once-loved Kahuna to split said log. He raised his weapon above his head, bellowed out a Graham Kennedy crow impersantion and thundered down upon the timber.
Amazingly the bat didn’t break. Shame really. Dino hasn’t made runs with this bat since Chiang Mai ’05, and looks like he never will. Go to the Post Office, wrap it up, and post it to Eric Little, Chiang Mai Gymkhana, CM, Thailand.
Pup Ainslie didn’t allow this temper tantrum to disturb his concentration, and set about destroying the opposition. Chuck Jones was solid for his 17 runs (31 balls), only giving away a handful of chances. Unlike his efforts at Gas Panic, Pup was putting away anything he could get a handle on. First ball he hooked for 4 and never really looked back. Anything over-pitched was driven to the ropes, a study in effortless timing.
Having shattered young Kenji Murata, Pup went to town on a diet of full tosses. In what became the final over, the young crow-eater plundered three consecutive 20-rows-back sixes over cow-corner. His 2nd brought up his 50 (29th ball) and 3rd sealed the match. Pup, if you had a strike rate like that in the ‘pong you could start your own porn-channel.
A 10 over hit’N’giggle was convened, with Embassy batting. Ashes secured, Wombats switched off and proceeded to let more chances go than Pup on a Friday night. Trev had no less than 3 chances fluffed in 1 over (me 2 of ’em, drinking partner Z the other.) Whiskas bowled bouncers, Dino threw pies, and 88 runs was achived.
Trev’s day just kept getting better: diamond duck. Not to be out done I got a Golden.
Reggie made a heap of runs, Whiskas did too, but we all really wanted to get off and get into the BBQ. Sadly it rained, and the barbie was relocated to the soba shop, for the usual round of highlights, lowlights and other cricketing disasters. Brent and Pup got the Best on Grounds, and Gez’s bowling won the other Hardys award.
The planned double-header never eventuated. A rain soaked pitch and muddy outfield greeted half the Wombats at Fuji Sunday. The other half slept in, perhaps cos the forecast was a 10% chance of rain, and no-one had done a pitch inspection. Having woken and tackled the Tomei, Burkey would have played on a rice-paddie. Despite the presence of little brown fish at the crease, a colony of frogs for company at slip and an umpire saying “muri….muri ne (impossible)”, Burkey stayed positive. “Well if we can sweep the water off the pitch” and “we might be able to get on in an hour or two” he insisted.
He never got his way, but he did get to suck down a whole heap of piss and listen to the team talk garbage, lead by the skip of course. Chuck described Zulu’s wall-style keeping as being “like Rahul Madrid” and wondered what was the difference between identical twins and twins. In a head-to-head battle with the flaggon, the skip was clearly pulling in in 2nd place.
Thanks to Hardys for sponsoring and supporting this great event, and the boys at Embassy for making it happen. Neil and Shizuoka, thanks for the venue and umpiring all day. Hardys Tokyo Ashes ’07 promises to be a rippa.