- Match Report
WOMBATS OVERPOWER ADORE
by Grant Turner
It was a grey and overcast morning that greeted the Wombats as they assembled for the usual morning rituals at Harajuku for the clash against Adore at Sano. It was a welcome respite from the expected Sano scorcher that we had been preparing for.
Arriving at the ground, a couple of the lads went for a quick pitch inspection – yep, green and plastic was the report filtering back to the stands. We found the covers had been taken off the seating areas, perhaps a move against the typhoon during the week, or a clever pre-game ploy from the Adore boys to ensure that the Wombats could enjoy a long session of sitting in the sun. Sadly the plan backfired as the Wombats made sure to bring a tent for themselves and a pair called Beathy and Dino to open the innings.
And on losing the toss, the Wombat pair strode out to face the menacing Adore onslaught. Dino, perhaps a little cautious against the current competition front runners, paced himself early as Beathy took control and brought up a quick fire 50 while Dino was plodding along on about 5. Another fine innings from Beathy, and his impending century was cut short on 93 when he holed out in the deep chasing yet another piddling delivery to dispatch.
This brought yours truly out to the crease for the final time with the Wombats. All the off field talk amongst the boys while I spent yet another 25 to 30 overs padded up on the sidelines before going in was about whether I would have enough time to crack a farewell 100, or would I emulate Curly’s final dig with a golden. And in the end, it was a combination of the two, as I started with a spanking cut shot that looked to have 100 written all over it, but followed this up a few balls later with a misplaced glide to first slip for catching practice and off I walked.
A fired up Goold then came to the crease, and joined Dino, who had now woken from his slumber and was powering along. What came shortly after was one for the record books as we noted, possibly the first 6 hit during an earthquake. As the ground shook, Dino unleashed and sent the ball sailing over the long on boundary while the lads considered the ground shaking under their arses in the tent. Shortly after, Dino saluted as he cracked yet another 6 to bring up another fine 100 for the Wombats, a fine display of aggressive batting after playing himself in, and giving regular chances (about 5 in all) that were dropped so he could have nothing to complain about when he came off, or so we thought.
Dino was finally dismissed for 111, his highest score for the Wombats, and Goold and Junior Andrews managed to see out most of the rest of the innings, Goold making a quick fire 40, and Rhino chiming in with a respectable 5 off the final 2 balls. 297 was going to be a hard total to chase against a strong Wombats bowling line up.
The Wombats opened with the new ball combination of Paula Abdullah and Streps Goold, and immediately had the experienced Adore openers in trouble. The slips cordon was packed, 4 slips and a gully, Streps was charging in, but it was Paula who grabbed the first wicket with a nice caught and bowled to bring up his first official wicket for the Wombats.
The Adore batters were holding their own in the face of our onslaught, as Koolhof came on and picked up the other opener. By now Adore had their best batter and best slugger at the crease and while the Wombats were busy trying to work out when they could get the bonus point, Adore were busy creating their own earthquakes. Kyal came on and went for a few, then GT came in and was duly punished, 40 off his first 3 overs which seemed to have spelt the end of the line as a bowler with the Wombats.
It was then entrusted to Rony to once again produce some Bangladeshi magic by bamboozling the Adore batters with leggies, flippers, wrong-un, and unknown-un’s as he started working through the line-up. An excellent return of 2-19 off 8 overs had the game sewn up, but still the persistent Adore team hung around. Shaxy was bought on to try and wrap things up before the bonus point cut out and started with a nice tradesman-like off-spinner’s wicket. Then Junior was bought on to hand out some diplomatic lessons, and bowled a nice spell picking up a wicket, but still Adore hung around.
Rhino was then thrown the pill, and told to finish these boys off quickly, the beers were waiting. Rhino responded by then marking out his run up to the boundary and steaming in off the long run, proceeded to bowl the slowest ball of the day. Admonished for his time wasting, he went back to the standard Rhino run up and picked up both pace and a wicket.
By now the bonus point had slipped away, and Beathy, feeling perhaps a little sentimental, or senile, bought back GT for a farewell spell with the Wombats, and the offer for a cheap tailender wicket or two if possible. Once again the Adore batters just saw an aging veteran sending down fruit pies and picked up where they left off, but I finally realised that perhaps pitching it up at the stumps may be the way to go. And so it was, a wicket, stump sent flying, and just maybe there could be a fairy tale ending. 2 wickets to go, 4 balls left. Now reinvigorated, I sent down the next for a play and a miss before the next one was smashed to Junior who took a great catch, and the fairytale was alive. 1 wicket left, 1 ball left. And so I came charging in, let fly with a beautiful inswinger to the left hander, caught a rock on the pitch, cut away, he played at it and the ball flew through to Dino behind. The team went up in unison, howzaaaaaaaaat, we turned to the umpire, pleading, who with a sly grin, saw through the charade and shook his head – missed it by about a foot. Fairytale over.
From there, the Adore innings was wrapped up, 232 off their 40 overs, and the game and points were the Wombats. In a wonderful gesture, the Wombats suggested I lead the team off the field for the last time, so I doffed the cap to the crowd and ended my 5 seasons on the field with the Wommies.
Then it was straight into the beers and bbq, and a fired up Streps looking to create havoc on the van ride home. The esky was plied with alcohol, perhaps more than enough for the quick trip back from Sano, and the high jinx were not forthcoming as Al sped the van back into Harajuku and unloaded the usual frothy seething mass onto the sidewalk at Harajuku station to polish off the remainders.
And with that comes an end to my time for now with the Wombats. I joined the club back in late 2006, playing through 5 seasons with the club, leading the team for 2 seasons, picking up a few premierships along the way, all through which I have had the privilege and good fortune to play with a great bunch of blokes both on and off the field. Above all, to have the chance and experience to play cricket in Japan with such a great bunch of guys is something I will never forget. I have witnessed some fine and high-skilled cricket moments on the field and enjoyed some hilarious things off the field. The Tokyo Wombats is not just another cricket club to play for, but a group full of mateship and camaraderie. You never actually leave the Wombats, you just make yourself unavailable for the next game.
Thanks for all the good times.