TWCC 306/6 - 36 Chiba Sharks

September 26, 2004 - 11:00 am at Fuji 2
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by Ian Gason

Captain Courtney Jones commanded an unprecedented destruction of Ichihara at Fuji, utilizing with brutal and merciless force a full arsenal of Wombats Of Mass Destruction. Like the born-again Jarrad Shearer Stand, the Wombats rose from the ashes of their JGC elimination to earn a final berth and promotion to Division One, with a 270 run victory in the KCL semi final.

Harnessing the pain of their Grand Final hangovers, security pillows properly packed, and inspired by The Captain’s pre-game sermon, Wombats sent their Chiba brethren into the field for a long and painful first sesion. The Sandgropers, Shearer and Jones opened the account, and played the first few overs with a conservatism which masked the team’s true intentions.

Having taken 8 balls for no runs, Jones got off the mark with a calypso-style pull which landed in the adjacent field. Despite a superlative spell by David Lolliback at one end, Cap’n Chuck raced to 28 from 20 balls, before being caught behind off the first change bowler, Nick Creece. Papa Steve’s long awaited Fuji debut got a perfect start when Creece was cracked through the off for four. One dot and one over later, Papa was again facing up to Creece and raced to his quarter century (8 balls) as he stroked and pushed the bowler’s offerings to the boundary in a 22 run over (444442).

Lolliback continued without reward at the City End. His first 6 overs yeilded just 4 scoring shots and 7 runs. Sadly for him, at the River End runs flowed like free beer at a 21st. As instructed, The Dinosaur played the anchor role so well you expected him to be covered in barnacles, and allowed Burkey the freedom to dip into his vast and varied bag of tricks. Though the big Victorian did slow down from his initial onslaught, you’d hardly have cause for complaint. On a slow wet outfield, Burkey harvested his runs with timing and placement, carressing balls with the sweetness of a twenty dollar whore. His cool, calm head so him rarely go over the top.

The pair had the crowd on their feet more often than not as milestones came and went like Michael Schumacher victories: 50, 50 partnership, Burkey’s 50, 100, 100 partnership, Jarrad’s 50, 150. After drinks, with Lolliback out of the attack, Jarrad joined in and the run rate went from 5-6 to 6-7.

Regrettably, just a dozen runs short of their own Wombats partnership record, Jarrad fell for 59 with the score on 170.

Enter Richard. Appropriately hammered on Grand Final Day, the little Tasmanian was in the mood for run-making, and had spent 25 overs champing at the bit. Confusion reigned in the scorers’ tent, as Tugga was like a pit-bull with a baby. The 50 partnership was just missed altogether, and when the Wombats rose to applaud his 50, he was actually on 57! Somewhere amongst the carnage, Steve Burke scored the first ever Wombat century, an effort so graceful it had Spacey combing his hair in appreciation.

Promoted up the order, Paul Shacks had padded up in the fifth over, but with just a few overs of the Death left when Burkey fell for 104 (50-odd balls!), he was demoted back down in favour of the big hitters. Tugga meanwhile had racked up 70 before walking back to embrace his pillow. Like a swaggie swatting a fly, NIKKA flicked a 6 over mid wicket. Ax chopped, and Smoker said ‘salabas’ to a few loose balls, and with thunder and lightning in the background, our 40 overs yielded 6/306.

As we chomped our cheeseburgers (again, thanks Hasib!) in the rain, some of us wondered wether Chuck’s bold style of captaincy may mean our efforts were in vain. Chuck had a game plan (bat and destroy) and was buggered if he was going to let some dinky clouds divert us from his chosen path. Although he may have mixed it up in his sermon, Chuck wasn’t about to die wondering.

Under an M-sized rain, Wombats took to the field. Umpire Robert’s disparraging insults about my family name’s meaning in French lit the fuse which blew apart the Ichihara batting. Third ball I found the edge of Lolliback’s bat, and this time Jarrad made no mistake, 1-0. Creece tried to hook his first ball to Alex, but manged to land it safely. A wet new ball proved a challenge to the bowlers (myself and Alex), and Creese picked up some easy boundaries, before the rain forced Robert to force the participants from the field.

With the rain getting heavier, Robert and the other semi’s umpire consulted and agreed on a 3:15 inspection. As if acting upon orders the rain eased up, and the teams given 5 minutes to be ready. Far from the comforts of the reconstructed Jarrad Shearer Stand, Alex and I had been out in the rain warming up (better late than never…) and when play resumed, we were focused and ready.

As Alex is prone to do, he uprooted some stumps to end a 25 run 2nd wicket stand. And then came: The Mother Of All Overs.

First the danger man Nick Creece drove a half volley back at me. The ball was seemingly destined for 4, but as Chuck had said he’d die out here for us, I thought I’d better at least make a show of stopping it. Unbalanced and unconvinced I nonetheless stuck the left paw out in the vaig direction of the ball, and, pinch me I’m dreaming, the bloody thing stuck. Hasib got no thanks for the cheeseburgers, and after a swing & miss first up, got a swing & snick 2nd up. Like a slightly saner version of Gary Fischer, Chuck commanded Burkey at 2nd slip a little to the right. On cue, the batsman slashed and Burkey’s hand somehow managed to come between the ball and the boundary. Third wicket for the over, Ichihara 5/27.

Meanwhile at the other end, The Body Koolhoff’s Glenn McGrath impersonations had me wondering if Mrs Koolhoof has ever been to Narromine. Precision bowling brought 2 more wickets, with another bowled and another catch to Jarrad. I abandonded my run-up for a 3 step, and picked up my fifth with an LBW, and was a couple of coats of varnish from a sixth. With only 9 wickets on offer, The Body bagged the last of the day to finish with 4-16. Ichihara had gone from 1-25 to all out 36 in 10 overs, 8 wickets faling in 6 overs.

Special mention must go to Shax, who not only spent 35 overs padded up for nothing, left Fuji without having once touched the ball! On-board celebrations had to go ahead without Jarrad. The soft heart which lurks beneath that tough exteror dictated that he should spend the night with his other true love, Etsuko. Rest assured, big fella, we batted on without you.

Any stories you might hear about Smoking Pete brandishing a salami and running around the carpark in undies are pure furfies.

Thanks again to Hasib, David and all the Ichihara boys, as well as Robert for his umpiring and French lessons.

Next week: KCL GRAND FINAL, WOMBATS v ICHIHARA. THIS is what it’s all about, Wombats!

Steve Burke & Ian Gason
vs Chiba Sharks (Sep 26, 2004)
Steve Burke plundered a new Club high score (105). Ian Gason re-wrote the bowling record (5/20). The jury couldn't split the two Vics, so have annointed them BOTH MOM.