- Match Report
VOICEFEROUS MILLENNIUM BUGS OUST WOMBATS
by Ian Gason
By hook or by crook – some might say – Millenium have beggged, borrowed and appealed there way past the sloppy Tokyo Wombats in the do-or-die clash Saturday. The 9 run loss was not without controversy, and has dented if not destroyed Wombats finals’ run.
No-hoper Labour leader Bomber Beazley has made a lot of rubbish statements lately about “Australian Values.” Y’know, mateship is somehow uniquely Australian. Substituting a race-horse would be “un-Australian”. Play hard within rules, but also within the spirit of the game. It could be inferred that Millenium don’t subscribe to Beazley’s views.
At the Fuji Family Mart we met Indian Engineers’, Japan National Team and Fine Cotton Fan Club member Sriram Sampath, kitted up for a game of cricket. Seems not all members of the Indian Engineers’ have such strong objection to JCA policies.
Anyway, the game got under way with Gez Brady struggling into the wind and sending down a bag of wides, some of which went to the boundary. Better fortune at the other end as Pup completely outclassed Munir, sending his woodwork walkabout. 1-8.Wides and extras continued until Pup cleaned up his second with the score on 40.
The ring-in, Sriram, came out to earn his pay, and first ball, Pup had him plum leg-before, struck low on the foot (if there is any other way to be struck on the foot) smack bang in front of the stumps. Not out. Well, at least we thought we had an umpire who would apply the benefit of doubt.
Gez was replaced by me, and soon Sriram had another life when Dino grassed an inside edge chance. Sriram then rode his luck, going the aerial route to the rope, and almost holing out with a difficult chance cut to Kyal’s feet at point.Lucky Phil’s number were soon up, when he skied me way up. There was a pregnant pause as 3 fieldsmen could have taken it, but Kyal’s monstrous, confident call of MINE at mid-off sealed Sriram’s fate.
Millenium continued to move along nicely at 5 runs an over. Wombats lack of discipline. which ultimatley cost them the game, also continued. Suicidal singles were allowed by lax returns. The first overthrows began to appear. Our man from bear valley, Reggie Dawson put the brakes on with a tight 8 over spell, removing the dangerous Muhammed Rizwan. Reggie wasn’t far off a few more, as many times an edge boobed, lobbed and jagged around the stumps like dingoes testing the electric fence of a kindergarten.
Chuck came in for some stick, but after drinks switched ends and got a handy stumping. Doctor B Love perhaps typified our bowling Saturday. Good spells of domination interspersed with the odd bad ball put away for 4. A look at our score card reflects that while we bowled lots of good (ie dot balls) our bad balls were really bad.
Doc earned himself the run-out equivilant to the Herschelle Gibbs award when, with the batsman nowhere to be seen, he threw from 5 metres and missed the stumps – and salted the wounds with overthrows. He wasn’t the only Wombat at that late stage to gift Millenium valuable runs.In the closing stages, Pup got the first of 3 run outs, when the batsmen took a silly second, and the fiery Adelaideian threw down the stumps with a snarl of disdain. The innings was wrapped up right on 40 overs for 201.
Wides ran all the way to 36, a crucial factor in our defeat.
The return-to-form Dinosaur came and went like Etsuko’s pachinko winnings, in a flash. With the bowler bowling left arm over inswingers, a well rehearsed chorus of appeals sung out as our Prez was pad-struck. The umpire who had seen Sriram’s toe-crusher felt that in no way shape or form was there any doubt about the final 250 centimetres of the swinging ball’s direction, and that it was definetly not missing the stumps. Jarrad begged to differ. 1-0, 0.2 balls, and in comes the skip.
Doc and Chuck put their heads down and saw off the better bowling from Miyaji, and used the others to keep the run rate in touch with our target. Both played some fine shots to all parts of the ground, but after one luscious pull to the jungle, Doc was bowled on 25.
At the pavilion end, the bowler was serving up some absolute dross from around the wicket.Whiskas helped himself to 10 runs from 3 atrocious balls, and looked like a quick 50 was on the way. However, we had another of those “where’s Hawkeye” moments. The umpire’s composure, which had earned the Wombats respect for 40 overs, deserted him faster than Boris Becker in a broom-closet. With everyone from fine leg to deep midwicket bellowing, it’s easy for an inexperienced umpire to be pressured, and Millenium’s pressuring of the umpire earned them the second bullshit LB for the day.
Can’t blame the ump for his lack of experience, although some might question Millenium’s willingness to exploit this. Excess appealling is pleasantly absent from most Japanese clubs. Normally a batsmen struck high turning one around leg would hear nothing but the ball landing on the grass, but Pup heard the cry of the banxsies and the voice activated finger responded in kind.
4-100, Steve Burke is a handy man to have coming in at #6. Mind you, with things starting to resemble a Bingo Night at the Bowls Club, it may as well have been my Uncle Bert coming in. And he’s been dead for 4 years.3 weeks in hospital seemed to have done Papa no harm as he and Chuck steadied the ship and held the pirates at bay. Good running and placement kept singles coming, and not surprisingly boundaries aplenty square of the wicket.
Chuck was in the midst of one of the finest innings ever played for the Wombats, from ball #3 to 4-150. The determination with which he had (unwillingly) held his bladder on the highway came to the fore. With his VC as a partner he had got us within 50 runs of victory and ahead of the run-rate. Sadly, on 82 he was undone pulling as the ball didn’t quite get up.
Burkey and Gez would get us home, I thought, chewing me finger nails through my gloves. Stay there, get Burkey on strike. Of course, that would assume that the opposition had not recently studied “The Nigerian Dictators’ Guide To Fairplay.” Gez played forward with his bat ahead of his pad, and knicked one onto the pad. With a half-hearted appeal for backward square, our man in white showed all the constitution of a soggy cardboard box and sent Gez back to fuming pavilion.
With the captain now openly heaping it on the umpire, the Millenium lads, mingled sheepisly like toddlers not owning up to the crayon drawings on the wall. Guilt, they say, is nature’s way of telling you you got away with some you knew was well dodgy in the first place.
So it was me and Burkey. Like the brave man Geoffrey Boycott, I knew which end I was meant to be at. But my well layed plan to be a spectator came undone when Burkey top-edged a pull and holed out to fly slip. Rhino and me it would be. Run rate was achievable, if we could stay there, push it around, and get the odd boundary. 4 overs 24 runs. Abdul Razzaq however, hadn’t read the script though. He had his own version of happily ever after, which involved a magnificent, match winning maiden. That over was crucial. Hats off to you, Raz’.
Well, a couple of 2s, 1s and a 4 wasn’t enough. 4 overs 24, and 3 overs 24 are so hugely different, and the pressure told. It came down to 12 runs off the last over, which the veteran Munir bowled. At least one of the 6 balls would have to go over the ropes, and like any good tail-ender, I decided it’d have to be the first one….or maybe the second….ow shit. How about the 3rd? Nope, that’s gone straight to cover.
Enter Kyal Hill. A big man with a big swing. And a big miss. Millenium prevailed.There were factors ouside our control which contributed to our loss. However, more than those, the factors which we could control was where we lost the game. Overthrows. Missed run outs. Dropped catches. An extra 4 overs were bowled as we gave away 36 wides. (Millenium gave us back only 6.)
And at the death, big swings instead of controlled placement. In a word: discipline. Millenium had it; Wombats didn’t. We could have bowled 18 wides -half what we did- and still won the game. We didn’t.
Tetsuo Fuji’s 49 runs in the middle order held Millenium together and earned him the Hardys Man of The Match. Chuck’s fine 82 got him amongst the Hardys’ too.
The defeat did not sit well with us, for many reasons. Mixed emotions, knowing that we did not play as well as we could have. A more polished Wombats’ performance would have had the game in bag by 4 o’clock.So we all got pissed and legged it back to Tokyo. Liberal doses of truth serum brought all the Wombats closer. No secrets held on this bus trip. We know things about each other now, which we would never, ever have asked. And that’s the name of the game.