- Match Report
WINTER WOMBATS PACIFIC CUP WINNERS
by Ian Gason
Taking Wombat cricket into new territory, a rusty display from the Wombats wrestled the Pacific Cup from Indian hands with a 4 wicket victory, made possible by local boy Regan Dawson’s Spicy display of bowling.
This was our first December match and our first trek out to Ageo, Saitama. Rugged up and looking like Michelin Men, the lads de-trained at 0810 and by the time we left the station building one Dinosaur who shall remain nameless had racked up 3 dummy spits. Procrastinating like Kim Beazley after a few too many bong-hits, the boys stood around like oba-san discussing neighbourhood gossip, their legs not such much as painted on, more like imagined on
With Biju’s assistance and some taxis we ventured off down inaka-dori across the distinctive bridge to the green but slippery Ageo Cricket Ground. The gravtitational pull of the full moon was clearly affecting a couple of Wombats, and in between fraying tempers and discussing dish-washing liquid, the pitch was laid (layed?) the toss was lost and the 0930 game got under way right on flexitime at 1010.
In the absence of Chuck (no backbone) and Burkey (whip-lash) skippering was designated to Dr B Love. Shax and Gez took the new ball and attempted to re-Engineer the batting. Wombats were fielding in the latest hi-tech Grey Nicholls Teflon Gloves and many an Indian was given a life. The skip lead the pack with 3, followed by Gez (2) and lord knows who else. Some of the Wombats seemed to wearing banana peel shoes, over running and over-falling the ball all over the place.
It appears the dai-veteran, Paul Shax had read more than the Catching 101 section from Monty Panesar’s “Cricket My Way” and took a page out of the Monster’s book to get the 1st wicklet. Bowled of course. 1/24 from 8 overs straight. Killer Kelly fell on his Kybher first ball but regained his feet (figuratively at least) and had 1-16 after 7. After 8 he had the still respectable 1/27.
The bulk of the Indian runs came from Messrs Vimal (28), Sangan (29) and Chaman (31).
At the Distinctive Embankment End I sent down a distinctively shizzo spell. 4 overs cost me 6 runs. 4 more overs cost my ugly twin brother 35 runs. Enlivening an already lively display was umpire Courtney Bowden. An LB appeal was answered in the affirmative, not with a slow Koertzen, or a Bucknor nod, but with a 360degree wind-up and for good measure “Ooooh that is OUT!”.
C. Bowden didn’t do the “chugalug” signal for drinks (Indians 3/70 after 20), but he did add commentary to his signals “Yep, that’s four bits” or just in case you couldn’t see his out-stretched arms “That is SO wide.” Typical batsman.
Indians upped the tempo after drinks, but Reggie came into the equation too. The Saitama Express picked up 4 (all bowled) wickets including the Mother Of All Slower Balls, so paceless that the batsmen fell asleep waiting for it. Indians biffed and bashed their way to 161. Restricted chiefly by great displays from Oi Killer, Shaxxxie and Reggie, the score inflated by our 100% record for dropping catches!
Luckily for some the Presentation Night has been and gone. A fifth DS, described by umpire Bowden as ‘obnoxious’ was accompanied by a quote-worthy quote, “All I said was ‘Can you please pay attention.’” As Bill Lawry might say, “Can you believe it? I don’t believe it!”
Hard drinking, 110kg Big Roy, the first man to bring a pet rabbit to a cricket match, provided some communal oden for the team to tuck into as they sulked through lunch. Doc promoted me so far up the order I got a nose bleed (pun intended, manga readers?) and I went out with latest Wombat in fine, cotton whites, Gavin Beath to bring home the Pacific Cup.
My first ball was in the slot and allowed me to get off the mark with a boundary. Gavin was also soon getting amongst the runs, spifflacating the Indian attack. One shot was a hybrid pull-flick that landed in amongst the pictureques woods on the short square boundary. A cover drive to gate-ball corner for 6 was placed with such accuracy and care that in landed in between 4 parked cars and bounced into the rubber bumper of one.
Not even the sight of a fully padded Zulu running 500 metres through a nearby paddock could interrupt the flow of runs (but it did have us shaking our heads). Not long after a message had been relayed out from the young, upstart, who does he think he is, Stand-in captain about retiring the batsmen, Gav (46) went for one six too many, holing out down gateball corner, 1/92 putting the Wombats in a winning position. 2 balls later it was 1/93 as I top-edged down to the same place.
Zulu, who’d taken Gav’s wicket as a cue to take a nervous dump, scurried out of the port-a-dunny, into the middle, minus his hector. With bunny-loving Roy, farewell gamer Zulu showed so much of his unrealized potential in a 40 run partnership, full of crisp running, back-foot forcing shots and scintillating drives. The bunny-lover’s driving also undermined the Engineer’s bowling.
The usual mid-innings Collywobbles followed, losing 4 for 20 in 6 overs. In amongst that carnage was Gez Brady, also playing his last game before heading off to Scandinaviastan. Gez managed just 7, but like Zulu, showed that with a fairer roll of the dice, he too would have made far more runs this season.
In the fading light, temperatures starting to remind us why we don’t play cricket in winter, a 21 run partnership from Dr B and Grumps saw the Wombats home in 28th over. Wombats’ Hardys Man Of The Match went to Reggie Dawson, and Indians best on ground won by Sangan for his 29 runs and clean catching. The 3rd bottle, for that Classic Moment, went to that Classic bloke playing his last game, for providing us with 4 years of classic off-field shenanigans.
For the first time this year, Wombats descended upon an izakaya, and as usual it ended with mountains of empties and half empties and flying chopsticks and oshiboris. Chuck’s dodgy back kept him from performing any of his usual party tricks.
True to form, Gerard, whose 2 drops took his Wombat catching stats to none from 4, left Ageo showing that he REALLY couldn’t even catch a train. Pot-plants going walk about, bladders emptied on platforms, simulated man-love; just another day in the office really.
Wombat are grateful to Biju and the Indians for organizing the game and the ground, and also to Mumtaz for bringing the Flix down. We look forward to a few more games at Ageo next year.