TWCC 272/8 - 200 Alpha Quashers Yokohama

March 16, 2024 - 11:00 am at Fuji 2
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Wombats Defeat Cwicket Fwends

by Joe Lewis

The Wombats arrived at Fuji ground with many of their bags packed for a polar expedition, a reaction to the trauma many of the team faced in the previous game. March, however, proved fickle as, contrary to just a couple of weeks prior, the weather was fine and sunny. Fourteen Wombats took to the ground to warm up (or fifteen if you believe Satyam’s insistence that he had been there the whole time and was not late) for a competition anointed in the scorebook as ‘Cricket with Friends’. Only one AQCC friend was there to inform the Wombats that their friends would be held up in traffic for 10 minutes for the next hour.

Undeterred, the Wombats engaged in warm-up activities that magnified all the poor fitness decisions of certain veteran Wombats, further highlighted by the energy of the four squad members who are still at school. Eventually, with match time under threat, Ali started to put a little pressure on the AQCC representative, letting him know that the AQCC innings would be the one reduced if it came to it. The normally super-polite Ali seemed to have developed a ruthless streak, further confirmed when he opted for the Wombats to bat the second the AQCC cars pulled up.

The Wombat openers, Kawashima and Ali, strode to the crease, hoping to take advantage of a rushed AQCC side. Ali nicked the first ball of the innings straight into the keeper’s gloves, who inadvertently spilled it in what was the biggest dolly drop of the day. The AQCC perhaps rueing that in their haste to prepare, they had been forced to borrow the Wombat keeper gloves, no doubt tainted and shaped from the countless fumbles in its past. With this reprieve, Ali sought to toe-end to extra cover three balls later, leaving the Wombats 0/1.

In came Rex with the Wombats in a precarious position and the ball appearing to move in the air. Rex, normally the first to comment on his strike rate, came in channeling a bit of Richie Bracefield and (after getting spilled in the 20’s) got the Wombats off to a flier, ably watched by Masaki (“supported” would be a stretch considering Masaki only managed to score about 12 during Rex’s innings). Rex blistered his way into the 60’s, which included 5 towering sixes with a strike rate near 200. But again, just like one shouldn’t fly too close to the sun, one should also never go full Richie, and Rex threw his wicket away with the Bracefield patented miscue to deep extra cover. Rex insisted he gave up the wicket as he knew he would be retired at any moment due to it being a friendly. Noble words, but seeing as he was replaced by Tomo who would finish with 24 (48), I don’t think Ali was in the same headspace on that one, El Presidente.

With Masaki suddenly out-reserved, he began to play his shots and managed to get his maiden fifty for the Wombats before getting out by (checks notes) “retired a legend”, good to see we’re letting the kiddos get experience in scoring at least. Kavin strode in and was soon lulled into getting his stumps splayed by the only female player of the day, who had a very distinct ballerina-style run-up.

This left a youngest-oldest partnership between Tomo and Louis, Tomo cheered on by his dad on one end of the ground as stoically held the crease while Louis bombed the pedestrians on the other end with some baseball-inspired swipes. Once bowled after an entertaining innings (“I’m too old, my age means that I can’t see the ball so well.”), in came the elegantly inexperienced Sanira, who after facing only a few balls, convinced Tomo (who probably was wondering what on earth was coming next) to start playing his shots. Indeed, in a short time, his hunch proved correct as in the time it takes the no.11 to take a whizz, the Wombats had slipped from 234-4 to 239-8 (Masaki retired).

Joe “Spider” arrived to find a cheerful Sanira, a grumbling Bilal, a seething Hassan (having been run out with Tomo), with Tomo already on his way back after finally surrendering his wicket. Spider scrambled out there to meet Arpan and together the last 2 batsmen ably supported the last recognized bat E. Extras to make it the last 5 overs to the close, adding a handy 33 runs as the Wombats finished on a big score of 272-8 (Masaki retired a legend). E. Extras carried his bat and top-scored with 66, backed by fifties from Rex and Masaki.

In the next innings, happy that everyone was able to have a bat, it was now time to see them bowl. Opening with Archit and Joe, both were able to provide a wicket. Archit with an LBW so plumb that the batsmen could only bleat “you can’t give an LBW in a friendly” and Spider finishing his first spell with the batsmen playing on to the stumps, the fielders also made their mark with a couple of sharp run-outs to leave ACQQ creaking on 72-4.

ACQQ weren’t finished though, with Dhina, Joji, and Japanese woman star Ayaka finding their eye and realizing that their best hope was to get the ball over the rope one way or another, which they did with gusto. Eventually, Satyam had Ayaka caught and Louis bowled Joji, following it up with another wicket, catching Sakuish off his own bowling, leaving ACQQ 176-7 still nearly a 100 adrift.

However, Dhina was still there and was giving it enough clout to worry Rexi (“I can’t believe we might lose this!”) that if he was still there at the end, AQCC had a chance. Fortunately, Ali had been playing to experiment with the young Wombat side and not go for the kill. He had held one of his best bowlers Kavin out of the attack so he could see more of the new faces (or maybe at the end of each over every time he tried to look for Kavin he couldn’t see him as Kavin had gone prone to work on his rig!).

However, ruthless Ali had returned and he brought Spider back on to sort out the nonsense. In a couple of overs, Dhina was gone for a defiant 86 and another tailender with stunning catches from the reliable Masaki and Bilal (that catch of Dhina prompted a jubilant pitch invasion from the sub bench by Rexi to celebrate the wicket, he had faith in you lads, honest!) leaving ACQQ 9 down, it could’ve been 10 but Spider graciously dropped a dolly off his own bowling to let the younger faces a chance to keep up. The last two batters were confined to 200 odd to hand the Wombats the win. Some promising performances were seen, and we look forward to seeing the new faces in the season to come. Here’s to a great 2024 season. Big up the Wombats!

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