- Match Report
WOMBATS DOWNED BY KYTES IN OPENER
by Ian Gason
You know the kind of day where you wake up on a cold, cloudy morning. You look at your bike sitting there, cold. “C’mon,” you think, “don’t fail me now.” First kick is a splutter, of course, but second kick she purrs into life. Soon the clouds clear, the sun appears and you are cruising down a long-windy highway bound for your favourite LBFM and long stretch of beach. Well, that’s not the kind of day the Wombats had yesterday. Not in the least. So far removed was yesterday, that we do believe that the Gods -cricketing and other- owe us one of those days.
Personally, I missed the Grandpa Shearer bus adventure and tend not to believe any hogwash I was told about it being a quiet affair. Grandpa had the boys and the beer there on time, and I rolled up from the in-laws just in time to catch the first few drops of rain. Just as well, good lord indeed, as I only had another six hours of standing in the rain to come. It wasn’t our day.
Chuck won the toss, and opted to field. The Kytes were keen to extract revenge for two Wombat-whippings from season ’04. Even the new faces seem to have heard stories of these obnoxious Aussies that interlope from Tokyo, bundle Kytes out and sing songs about the size of their dicks.
First ball, good line, bit short, McKenna lovely forcing shot off the back foot, four runs. Second ball, carbon copy of the first. Not the kind of shot you expect from a guy who borrows his sisters suitcase for a cricket bag. Fortunately, he didn’t last long, schnikkoed one to Shearer. Two balls later, Inzaman’s slimmer twin schnikkoed one which didn’t stick, and lady luck had showed were her loyalties lay this day.
At the other end, Gerard Brady was working up a head of steam, bowling with menacing pace, on a wet slippery pitch. He was rewarded with the wicket of Inzy Jnr, and by the end of his debut spell, had 3. He was all over Joel like a cheap suit. He had skipper Ash swinging and missing, swinging and snicking, snicking and missing. When he was spelled for the youngster Pup Ainslie, the ownership continued. Schniks, bobs, lobs, dabs, oooohs and aaaahs, and the odd F**K ME, balls dribbling past stumps, more edges than a cracked piss-pot.
Still, the bottom line is you don’t get wickets when they almost hit the stumps, or if they just keep out a yorker (or ten), or when a ball is just out of reach. Joel must have had 50, and the skip got 90, and the Wombats had a lot of runs to chase. With the fall of the 3rd, we reckoned on 180-200. What we didn’t reckon on was Jammy Sammy and his eight bloody sixes. He picks the ball early, gives it a hefty swing and more often than not deposits it on the wrong side of the ropes. Even the ones off the middle. It took a Chris Judd running two grabs at the cherry effort at long-on from Chuckles to remove this irritant. 60, 70 runs too late.
Luck. He of the white, beige, cream and off-white jackets said that captaincy (or cricket, I dunno) is 90% skill and 10% luck- but you don’t want to go without that 10%. Wombats went without. All day. Kytes played better cricket (that’d be the 90% bit, I guess), scored more runs and deserved the four points (if not more actually….).
Luck alone doesn’t win you cricket matches. She is like the 12th man: when the other 11 blokes perform, she might get you home in a crunch. When the other 11 don’t perform, she looks back at you and says, “Not my fault. Don’t blame me.”
Kytes had 11 blokes perform, and the ol’ girl at #12 was with ’em, too. I don’t think the Wombats bowled all that badly, especially not our debutants, Pup and Gerard. The scoreboard begs to differ, to the tune of 293 runs. It was going to take something special to get there.
Chuck opted to open with Burkey, and a few wides and legbyes got us moving. Then Chuck hammered, nailed, drilled, gunned one back at the bowler Toppa. Was luck a factor? Yep, from square leg I thought it was lucky that the guy wasn’t killed. A foot higher and it would have been fatal. The ball would have entered the skull via the left eyeball and exited through the back with large parts of grey matter and claret spraying all over umpire Chris Thurgate. Instead, it attached itself to his arm and snuggled up in his armpit. He had no choice in catching it: there was no way he could have got out of the way in time.
Jarrad was next in the firing line, and to continue to the mechanical metaphors, was triggered. Umpires are fallible, but Old Man Shearer somehow has turned himself into a walking, squawking fallibility magnet. A caught behind call of dubious accuracy isn’t what you need chasing 293 with the skipper nursing a fresh duck in the shed.
What followed was our only real partnership of the day. Whiskas and Burkey played some delightful shots, particularly square of the wicket, giving the normally quiet Dinosaur plenty to crow about. When Whiskas walked on 32 things went from worse to much worse. Pup’s Flix debut ended pre-maturely when he misjudged the pace of the pitch. The skip’s criptic instructions on the batting order, two blokes told to come in at #6. The first #6 diamond-ducked next ball. The second #6 (who should have been #8, so was actually queue-jumping the real #7….) spooned a sitter soon after. A fieldsman running out a batsman after his team-mate had signalled four…….
Look, it wasn’t pretty. Like a train wreck, it was. You’d rather watch your parents have sex than watch our batting. Kytes went through us like salmonella. I guess if luck was a factor, you’d have to say we were lucky they didn’t enforce the follow-on, such was the margin (180 no less). All this on a cold, shitty grey day standing in the rain for 6 hours, chasing a slippery red ball over a muddy park, with nothing to look forward to but an oily plate of deep-fried grass.
From the first to the last, Kytes out played us. They gave us the fight we wanted, and some. Even the shittiest day on the cricket field is better than one spent vegatating in Tokyo. So, whilst we could have cried rain at any stage of the day, it’s not about points, it’s about you v me, us v them. Having a game, having a laugh, and getting on the piss after.
By the time we dragged ourselves out of the Kytes pavilion, the stupid gene had been activated in a few of the wombats. One of ’em who may or may not be the skipper forgot the scorebook. Zulu was soon leaping in and out of moving vehicles, depositing ANOTHER mobile phone on the dark side of the moon. Sharpie, who though not a wombat certainly has an IQ low enough to be one, pulled a rippa stunt, dislodging a full can of beer from Zulu’s hand. Big deal you say? Well, Sharpie was driving one car and Zulu was sitting safely inside another at the time. Obviously this couldn’t go un-answered, though some have questioned the wisdom of Spacey’s response, a half-full bottle of Sapporo directed at the driver.
Grandpa Shearer wasn’t about to hang around, and about 30 seconds after hitting the Tomei was heard muttering to himself, “Call me f***ing Grandpa now you bitches!” In the blink of an eye-lid, Fangio Shearer has us back in Harajuku, so fast that we hadn’t even finished the contents of the eski. Luckily the said contents had been removed when said eski was driven over not long after.
Just look forward, Wombats.