- Match Report
WOMBATS DERAIL INDIAN’S PACIFIC
by Ian Gason
The Tokyo Wombats finished their 2004 season the way it began, with a stong victory over Indian Engineers at Shizuoka, taking out the 4-team Pacific Cup at its first attempt. Under clear winter skies, Engineers’ score of 7/158 (35 overs) was chased down for the loss of 4 wickets, with 7 overs to spare.
Unlike the last time these two old rivals met – Koiwa mid-year – the dramas, comedies and throwing of toys was largely confined to off-field activities.
And unlike last time, tinkering with the batting order didn’t prove our undoing, as we recorded our first ever win in a legit fixture over Biju’s boys in 3 years of memorable tussles.
Dramas began with a phone call on the Tomei. It was Jarrad -who else would be calling me at 8am Sunday? Rather than a dummy spit resulting in suspension, this time it was suspension resulting in a dummy spit! Etsuko’s car had gone bugger up, and a quick pit-stop at Fuji was needed to rectify the situation. Inside the car, Mr & Mrs Shearer, fresh off the plane from Perth, must have been teary-eyed, seeing their boy Jarrad was just the same after all these years.
Promises that he’d be there at 10:30 in time to start were ignored, and we instead worried about how to tell a hungover Zulu he’d have to stand in as ‘keeper. Thankfully, The Indians were more ship-shape and had the ground ready to go. After a quick reminder from Robert about parking regulations, Wombats lost the toss and took to the field, using a borrowed ball.
Mind you, even if he hadn’t forgotten a new pill, Jarrad still wasn’t there anyway.
As always, it was Curly from the Car Park, and Big Al from the Lone Tree end. Tight bowling was met with tight batting from Vimal and Viswa. Few runs were conceded in the opening spells, and just one chance was given.
With the score on next to nothing, Vimal flicked one of mine to the normally safe Rob Mann at short mid wicket for a regulation chance. Lucky we’ve had the Presentation Night already Rob, as Vimal top-scored with 46.
The openers began to accelarate after the first changes. Despite bowling a good fast 4 overs, Reggie finished with 0-34. After umpire Robert didn’t call dead-ball for an unprepared Vimal, the batsman took his anger out on Axe’s next ball, spanked cross bat over mid-off for 6. The arrival of the Shearer family was in no way related to the fall of the first wicket, as Papa Steve turned and hit from mid wicket to run out Viswa for 33, ending a 72 run stand.
With shutter-bug Shax rested for the clash, dibbly-dobbly duties fell to Brett Pollard. On a day when rubbish half-trackers were rewarded rather than punished, Brett bowled well AND got wickets. First he had #3 Anupum plum as they come for a quacker, and later had opener Vimal caught by Chuck for 46. Some rough treatment from Indian big-gun Ashok left him with 2-26 after 6.
Rob Mann experimented with the indiscriminate use of WMDs, before he shortened his run-up for immediate results, with a catch to Jarrad. The day’s biggest wicket came on possibly the day’s dinkiest ball. The agressive Nari Ram’s first ball was an innocous piece of leg-side tripe, a ball so bad it sat up and begged to be banished. Instead, Nari’s top edge went sky high to fine leg, where Reggie did the rest.
Impressed, Chunky Cosway went the shit-gets-wickets way with a similar ball to dismiss Indian veteran Bobby at square leg. This brought an end to the Indian collapse, as Biju’s big-gun Ashok was deployed. Our old friend made merry with Chunky, leaving him with 1-20 from 2. Brett suffered a splash-down, the ball lodging in the mud at the bottom of the Abekawa.
Cap’n Jones went sensibly into damage control mode, doubling up at cow-corner, and turning to the Tasmanians, Alex and Luke. They did a great job of keeping Biju at the action end, leaving Ashok to watch on. After a quick fire 34, which included a fair smattering of boundaries, Ashok fell bowled to Alex. With all the wommies gee-ing him up, The Body Koolhoff sent his last ball down for the Wombats. It was dispatched in between cow-corners #1 and #2, and despite the despearte head-first lunge into the rocks by Little Richard, the ball rolled back onto the road for an inappropriate end to his 23 wicket season.
Paired up with his old mate for the first time since backyard days, Luke Ray was given the unenviable task of bowling to Ashok at the death, with wickets in hand. Personally, I was glad I’d bowled my 7 overs through, but Rayos rose to the challenge, and came through with shining colours. As ever the run-saver in the field, The Freak finished with 0-18 from 5 overs, to restrict IECC to just 7/158. Wombats thought we had a run out off the last ball, but it was dis-allowed by Robert, who came in for some questioning by a dissenting wicket keeper.
At lunch we were left to wonder how Mrs Shearer could sledge so well, and yet her son Jarrad after 27 years of cricket, can still do no better than lame offerings about clue shops and pianos. Inspired by Glenn McGrath, the man he denies is his biological father, Alex said “I want to bat up the order” and was given the all important #3 slot. Brett and Tugga went out to do battle with Ashok and Nari, while the rest of listened to stories of Jarrad’s earliest bat-throwing adventures.
Perhaps the Indians had over-indulged at Depvali, as they were not their usually menacing selves. Aided by a Parthiv Patel impersonator and some wayward bowling, the openers added 23, before Brett fended a short ball from Nari for a simple catch.
The Body didn’t disapoint, playing some lush drives, some so good he chose to stand and admire his work rather than run! Unaccustomed to batting outside a net, Al almost cost Tugga his wicket in a mix-up, but Parthiv failed to gather the ball. Tugga’s luck did run out on 14 when he tried to pull a Sandeep ball into the drink, but the ball kept low and he was castled. (2/52) Golden Thong winner Chuck joined the Golden Wombat winner Alex. After minutes of patiently knocking in his MRF, a bat with more meat than a backyard barbie, the captain endured a monotonous two dot balls before effortlessly sending Sandeep into the vicinity of Lone Tree for a 6 every bit as big as the one I saw Sachin put onto the roof of Wankhede. (Well, almost.)
While the fielders searched for a ball which they never found, Chuck checked for dents, which he never found. Inspired, he raced to 20 in 8 balls, before a top-edge scare brought him back to earth. Fellow golden boy Alex drove through the covers, calling ‘SHOT’ as the ball raced away for 4. Next ball though it was the Indian doing the talking, when he holed out to Biju for 14. (3/91)
Chunky Cosway combined with Chuck for a 26 run partnership, contributing 8 before he was removed by Vimal. (4/117 after 22) The Shearers were then given the chance to see their boy in action, or in-action as Brenda would have it. Biju turned to his opening duo to try and remove the Sandgropers, but it was in vain. Chuck’s 50 came up in 37 balls with a boundary, but Golden Thong safely in hand, Chuck declined to show us a Gillespie-style Happy Gilmour bat-riding celebration.
With his dear Mum’s careful words of encouragement (“Stop BLOCKING and HIT the ball Jarrad!”) firing him up, the Prez picked up the pace. As the Wombats neared the target, Jarrad was also nearing 400 runs for the year.
Scorers scrambled to make the calculation, but it appeared he’d need to first level the scores, then hit a boundary. Just as we’d reached this conclusion, Jarrad pulled Ashok into the gateball ground for 6 to win the game. Chuck finished not out on 58, Jarrad 23, leaving him on 398 runs for the year.
Thanks to the other Clubs (IECC, BECC and Kytes) for inviting us to join the comp. We appreciate being taken seriously in the cricketing community.
Thanks again to Robert and Neil for umpiring, and to all the Indians for getting the ground ready. Thanks of course to Andre and Brenda Shearer for moulding the unique individual we know and love as ‘Grumpy’.