- Match Report
WOMBATS CANTER TO VICTORY IN T20 DEBUT
by Ian Gason
Wombats chalked up their maiden 20 over victory Sunday, cantering past Lalazar’s 78 in 7 overs. The early morning roll-call at Koiwa proved no obstacle to our valiant 20-over pioneers. Refreshingly some of the earliest arrivals were Koiwa virgins, Killer Kelly and Tim Whiskas, who would soon get their first look on that unique cricketing entity that the Koiwa pitch is.
In keeping with tradition the game got under way late. Cap’n Chuckles, who has put in hours of hard work on his tossing, finally reaped the rewards, and sent Lalazar into bat. Whilst tactical discussion Friday centred largely on the captain’s tossing, there was also a brief mention of getting match practise for some of our rustier marsupials.
Well, anyone who is anyone will tell you this 20 over caper is a batsman’s game. Slogfest, the most common description. Bowlers are just cannon fodder. Well ask yourself, when was the last time Richie Benaud donned the beige, cream or off-white jacket at Koiwa? What would Tony Greig have to say for his pitch report? The Edogawa pitch, bless it, certainly brings batsmen back to the fold.
The hard ground at the non striker’s end meant we began using the 17th century 2-stump set-up, although the more conventional 3 stump look was used at the action end. Action a-plenty in the first over, and isn’t that what 20 over cricket is about! BYO exclamation marks, as yours truely got re-acquainted with every bowlers favourite 20 metres! 3rd ball it was 1-0, as I held onto a soft return catch! But wait! That’s not all! 2nd man down in the same over! A pitch-assisted castle-down, as the SG stayed low! Lalazar in trouble already!
The excitement of Collingwood’s upset win over West Coast didn’t get to Spacey’s head, although it did make him forget to bring any of his special hats. The sight of Our Jim in a regular Greg Chappell white cricket hat stunned the next Lalazar bat, and he took got a pitch-assisted one-way ticket to the pavilion. Next over, Gulzar Bollywood made like an Italian Tank, and beat a quick retreat after I found another one of those bowler-friendly spots on route to the woodwork.
Dear oh dear, Lalazar were in all kinds of trouble. They were going to need someone to stand up and play a big innings. Rashid would be that man, though he would get a little assistance from Spacey. Axe was brought on at the River End, and Cap’n Chuck made a double change, bringing on Killer Kelly, also from the River End. Both bowlers bowled pretty well, though both suffered a mid-spell case of the yips. Mark’s being a Steve Harmisson impersonation: 4 wides in a row. (OK, so Harmie bowled 7!) Axe chopped one set of stumps, and also got a knick which the energetic sunglass wearing ‘keeper Zulu held onto. Overall, good work from that pairing.
With the SG ageing fast, the spin twins, Whiskas and Shaxxie were brought on. One lured a big schwing and a miss, and the Man In Shades removed all 3 stumps and several tonnes of dirt, before pointing a gloved finger at an unconvinced square-leg, asking, “ARE YA LOOKING AT HIS BACK FOOT, ARE YA?”. The answer was still not out.
Shaxxie lured the big cow-corner slog, and The Man In Hat, Spacey became the first man to win a Herschelle Gibbs and a Golden Thong nomination in one go. Spacey moved nicely back into position just inside the shortened boundaries and completed a nice “catch”, and then casually walked backwards, over the rope, throwing in a bonus 6 runs to the life Rashid would enjoy! An unimpressed captain at square leg could only look and laugh, as the off side fielders ran to celebrate.
The under-manned Lalazar innings would soon be over though. Wookie was cucumber-cool at short extra cow corner, as one rocketed towards him. The big man stood his ground, and at the last moment simply knelt down and his plate-like hands swallowed the SG just near his ankles. Spacey soon had his revenge, or perhaps redemption, as an almost identical cow-corner chance landed in his safe hands. Of course it’s not his hands we have to worry about, but his feet. No fear this time, as his new found knowledge of the rules saw him stay safely inside the rope, and for the first time in season ’05, out came the jig, Major Jim dancing his way along the boundary.
79 runs should not give you cause for concern, except that we had already seen a few P.A.D. (That’s 20 over speak, for Pitch Assisted Dismissals.) Things began well enough, with Chuck and Burkey moving us into double figures in the first over. From then on things began to resemble a good night out with Smokin’ Pete: a blur. Dinky pencils, broken pencils, this scorer was on the verge of a hissy fit, and in my confusion I called out some encouragement, “Well bowled, Burkey!”
The Club’s best over record was smashed, although it was helped by an umpire with a counting problem. Chuck and Steve hit 25 runs: 4,3,6,4,dot,4,4. The next over yeilded 22 as the fifty came up in 21 balls. Steve Burke got the tiniest speck of dust in his eye and retired hurt on 23 to allow The Big Cat, Whiskas to have a go. Chuck marched on to 37 including a massive calypso pull which cleared the old pavilion. Upon the skip’s dismissal, Chunky came out and mopped up the winning runs with a on drive to reeds for 4. Wombats won their first 20 over adventure in just 7, for the loss of one wicket.
HARDYS awards went to Spacey for the catch-and-jig, Rashid for his 30-odd, and with a big asterix next to it, I picked up the other for 3/4. Axe and The Big Cat hit the sack. Lalazar hadn’t come all this way to head home at 11 o’clock and got some mid-pitch training in under the watchful eye of Spacey. Me, I was just wondering two things: where was FOOD MAN, and where was BEER MAN. We were not to be disappointed, and not long after tucking into the immaculately dressed FOOD MAN’S curry and chappatis, BEER MAN Luke Ray appeared on the horizon, slab on shoulder. My only regret was my failure to get the cheerleaders to come out. I’m working on it, boys.