- Match Report
WOMBATS FIGHT HARD AND BRING HOME FIRST WIN OF 2008
by Courtney Jones
Ohh…the pain! Glad I’ve got Monday off because I feel like I’ve barely slept, played cricket, drunk a bottle of jinro and spent a couple of hours brawling. Sunday March 23rd in a nutshell!
The Tokyo Wombats 2008 campaign started with a bang by convincingly disposing of the Shizuoka Kytes by 8 wickets and then each other under sunny then cloudy skies at the Shizuoka ground. On board the van was debutant Rich Laidler, second gamers Gav Beath (hereonin refered to as Jesse), Masa “Pidge” Itou plus the usual array of marsupial cricketers.
The van trip started blandly but Laids announced his presence by diving onto a sleeping Chuck saying “If I can’t sleep then you can’t either!” which in hind sight was a preview of the return legs more forceful exertions. Also, Al Koolhof’s straight forwardness in explaining his lifelong 6-fa also provided a point of conversation. Such unbridled honesty is typical on Wombats van trips but it usually takes alot more than a blueberry yoghurt drink.
At the ground it was warm and sunny and a bat first up would be terrific. Unfortunately Neil won the toss and asked the Wombats to field. Ian and Luke opened up under a gorgeous blue skied, warm day, but it was the Kytes who got off to the bright start. Sharpe looked intent on belting Luke out of the attack with a couple of slogs.
Thankfully, Ian soon induced an edge out of Sharpy to Laidler at first slip who pushed the ball up goalie style, fell back onto his butt and stuck out his right hand to pluck a marvelous catch lying on his back. Harvey joined Phillips and the runrate slowed right down as Luke and Pidgeon continually found the right lengths. Luke got the dangerous Harvey with the second last ball of his 8th over when another perfect length ball caught a fine edge for Dino to do the rest. Kytes 2/60 at drinks.
Phillips’ stubborn resistance ended immediately after the break by Alex with a ball so immaculate that it produced life and then bowled him. Phillps must be an English teacher because when walking back to his team mates after his dimissal he proclaimed that the delivery “conceived him!” After all it was Easter Sunday!
The play of the day brought down the next Kyte wicket as Laids ambled at top pace to an outside edge, picked up the ball and then threw down the non strikers stumps 30 meters away with the batsman well short. “I can’t run anymore but I’ve still got an arm!” proclaimed the thrower as the boys swarmed around him.
Runs and wickets now came regularly with Shax leading the way. The Kytes had few answers to his flight and control and they twice spooned catches to Wombats. Rhino did his best to make his catch look easy from a starting point of extremely easy. Arthur Harrison had his off stump knocked back by Shax in his last game for Shizuoka before relocating to Osaka for his studies in economics and Kansai chicks. His Dad at #11 spanked a few around to finish 9 n.o. and the Kytes were bowled out for 141 with Shax’s 3/24 and Alex’s 2/33 doing most damage. Special mention to Pidge who was unlucky to finish with 0/17 off 8.
Needing 142 for victory doesn’t usually present many problems but straight away it was obvious that Arbab and Sharpe were bowling well so maybe this chase was going to be no pushover. Morty unfortunately top edged Arbabs worst ball of the day to present mid-off with an easy catch for a well constructed 0. He didn’t look forlorn at all walking off and I suspect the anticipation of the joys of Thailand and Chiang Mai in under a weeks time were the reason for that.
Chuck joined Jesse at 1-10 and some tight bowling restricted them to 1-20 of 10 overs with Curly’s sledge “Are ya bats painted on!?” summing up scoring rate. A bowling change was all that was required though, with Harveys first 6 deliveries all wide on his way to a 14 ball over. Jesse started demonstarting why he opens the batting for Japan with placement and timing through the legside and pure power with a slog over cow corner and into the dry river bed. He looked set for a very big score until Arbab got him LBW for 62 including 11x 4s and 1x 6. Laidler looked confident at #4 playing the cut expertly and when Chuck finally hit out the total was passed in the 26th over.
The capatins agreed pre-game to bat the full 40 overs for practise sake so Dino, Ryan and Ian went out for some valuable time in the middle. Dino’s swipe off Harvey for the maximum was as impressive as it was massive. The intensity petered out and the cloud and wind rolled in so post game the Hardy’s awards were quickly handed out. Arbab for his wonderful spell of 8-5-2-9. Shax’s 3/24 was the Wombats best and Laidlers direct hit runout took play of the day.
The slab was consumed, song sung with Curly leading the chorus from Dinos shoulders and finally off to the soba shop. The chow hit the spot and highlights brought smiles all round. Coach Morty highlighting his teams fine fielding performance brought a mix of reactions raining down on him.
Bottles of whisky, jinro, chewies and beers filled the esky for the return to Tokyo and it wasn’t long before the back of the van was reduced to a mass wrestling bout. Each person took on every other person in the van numerous times with Jesse in particular looking to maim as many Wombats as he could before the J1C starts. The bloody Tomei had a huge traffic jam so for hours spot fires continued to break out in the van and the injury count mounted.
What happened Wombats!? We decided at the AGM to tone things down on van trips this year. It seems we still have some work to do before the J1C season begins or is it a case of……If it ain’t broke……!
See ya’s this Sunday for what promises to be an equally eventful day of cricket vs the Giants.