- Match Report
WOMBATS FALL PREY TO SHARK ATTACK
by Matt Stride
All assembled in the morning and ready to embark on the record chasing 5th straight JC1 final victory, that would go down as the one that got away, with smiles, anticipation and a few tales of the previous week’s debauchery, memory gaps and UDIs (unidentified drinking injuries) with Zulu having been in town for a week leading to the grand final.
The bus trip mainly filled with discussion of the previous day’s tied AFL grand final certainly set the tone for a historic occasion at the somewhat bare looking Sano 1 ground. Arrival saw the Chiba Ichihara sharks already present and raring to go for their opportunity to claim their first victory over the Wombats.
After set up and some preparations for after match celebration, ie. icing down the beers, Captain GT went out to the centre to win the toss and send in the Sharks. It was thought that if we could keep them to 230 we’d be a shot, anything under 200 and we were looking good. Laids and Nick ‘Strepsils’ Goold got the Wommies off to a good start with some tight pressure bowling and were unlucky early with a couple of chances going down. Laids had his competitive juices flowing giving plenty of lip and was duly rewarded with the first wicket, Nick skying one to yours truly in the 4th over. Pat Giles-Jones was next to the crease and looked fairly determined to right a few wrongs in taking out his first victory over the wombats. Down the other end however, Ashiq Hussain was out caught behind to Dino Shearer off a beautiful away moving delivery from Nick Gould three overs later.
Video camera set and ready to record a sublime, faultless innings, Prashant sauntered to the wicket only to be looking in all sorts trying to slog across the line from the outset. A couple of times too many had him hit one, a leading edge, in the air off Laids down Phil ‘Big Red Johnny’ Walker’s throat and the Sharks looked in trouble at 3/30 after 10. Kumal was next in and he and Pat laid on a very solid partnership of 111 seeing off the opening bowlers as well as an over from BRJ Walker who somehow managed to pull both quads at the same time, B.G.A with little luck from a couple of decent overs and GT with his customary tight bowling, slowing the run rate.
Yours truly was introduced in the 30th over for a couple of unpredictable (read complete rubbish) overs which saw Pat nick one behind first ball which wasnt caught but called byes and the fortunate removal of Kumal for 54. A juicy wide full toss that was launched at and probably would have been sent into orbit had Beath not been standing in the way. No one was quite sure how he caught it but surgeons tell us it may still be lodged somewhere in Beathy’s spleen.
Dave Lollback came in to accompany Pat and the pair looked solid moving the score along at a heightened pace for a 50 run partnership withstanding some bamboozling bowling from Rony, Ferris and a reintroduced skipper GT. GT Then broke through with the wicket of Pat caught behind for a hard fought half century (61). GT broke through again 3 balls later to remove Lollback for 25. Beathy was called on to bowl the last over and managed to score a direct hit run out and a wicket to leave the Sharks with 8/200 off their allotted 40 overs. Not a bad effort but something we felt we could chase down, despite our seeming lack of spring in the field.
After lunch the task was set. 201 for a memorable Wombats win. Able openers Beath and Shearer to go out and amply supported by what seemed like a long enough batting lineup. The openers set about their work in earnest fashion and were looking good until Shearer was given out caught behind off Pat for 8 in the 5th over to one he swears he missed by “at least a foot”. The usual dummy spit ensued. Donkey Ferris was next to go out and accompany Beath who, like all year, looked in good touch. Ross played the support roll well for 4 or so overs looking to bat himself in until falling to Thurlow for 10.
Skipper knock needed, GT marched to the crease and looked as though he was eager to finish the job off early and smash some piss. These two pushed the score ahead at a brisk pace with some lovely shots all around the wicket. GT tried to put one a little too fine down leg side off the gloves but was given a reprieve only to see Shearer give plenty of lip from the embankment to the Sharks wicket keeper Chris who had put the Wombats captain down. It seems Shearer had yet to pick up his dummy telling Chris that “I would’ve caught that one”. Unfortunately this invoked the commentator’s curse and GT was dismissed the very next ball in the exact same circumstances. A somewhat amusing end to a finely put together 18 from GT.
Strepsils was next to the crease and he looked determined to keep pushing the Wombats score along. He and Beath were able to push on through drinks and move the score to 3/114. Wombats looking good. Unfortunately things started to go pear shaped and Nick was caught out for 22 in the 25th over. Stride to the wicket, perhaps not a recognised bat, but in his own mind capable of helping Beath take the Wommies to glory. Beath however, latched onto a loose one from Kamal and ended a fine season on 67.
At this point, 5/122 some of the heads started to drop but in such a commanding position, with Laids heading out to bat, we only needed one of the batsmen at the crease to stay for a while and we were still a shoe in. Well, Stride finally succeeded in running himself out the next over after unsuccessfully trying to do it three times previous and things started looking a little grimmer on the scoreboard, 6/129.
Next in though, was an unknown quantity and self proclaimed “star” of the T20 version of the game, Rony. If ever it was time to show those champion qualities, it was now. Which, Rony duly did, pushing the score along very briskly with Laids and daring the men on the sideline to dream of a victory which, when Gav fell, looked somewhat remote. Laidler fell in the 33rd over and needing 53 runs off 7 overs for victory, a sense of foreboding fell upon the Wombats as The Sharks were whipping themselves up into a feeding frenzy.
Walker went out to join Rony and hit easily the biggest 6 of the day. They tried hard to keep pushing the score along but with a rising required run rate and lack of wickets in hand the job was looking a bit much for the struggling Wommies. Rony fell stumped for a second to top score of 25. Walker (18) and Koolhof (1) were the not out batsmen in a valiant loss to a well fought victory by 20 runs to the Chiba Sharks.
The after match function saw the awarding of the man of the match to Pat Giles-Jones with a half century and 2 wickets. The Sharks produced a bottle of bubbly which seemed a little cheeky but in the end well deserved. The match over, it was time to hook into some of Koolhof’s great bbq catering service sausage sizzle and the beers which were now cold enough to drink. Although they didnt taste as good as they would have had we taken the prize, the day was enjoyed nonetheless.
A slightly subdued (comparatively) bus ride home saw the Wommies, injured from their Shark attack, vow revenge for next year. Well done fellas, tough way to go down. Thanks to Shaxxy for being 12th man for the day and chief photographer. Also Hajime for a great fielding effort and bringing along supporters for the day.