- Match Report
WOMBATS PIPPED AT POST IN CONTENTIOUS SANO WIN
by Matt Stride
Morning of the grand final and there was tension in the air as the wombats gathered at the ground with almost everyone on time, Stryder and Hitchman falling victim to alarm malfunctions and dodgy train connections respectively still managed to make it before kick off at the ridiculously (or so it seemed) early time of 10:30am at the very picturesque Tanuma High School in Sano. The Wombats assembled and keen to exact some dominance on the JCL league which is widely believed to be rightfully theirs.
Captain Beath won the toss and accompanied Patmore out to the centre to begin the innings. Both showed determination and resolve as they started to accumulate runs in a very steadfast manner. Without giving any chances in the first 20 overs (from memory) the wombats came in at drinks with the score on 87 with zero in the wickets column and it was apparent there was some panic starting to creep into Sano who had started with all the hiss and bang of an exploding fireworks factory only to be reduced to the decibel level that would make the state library of Tasmania seem like a rave party at 2am.
Beath and Patmore continued after drinks and started to play some classic cuts and drives, Beath hitting more than 1 over long off and Patmore hitting a couple of wonderfully timed pull shots that had the square leg umpire with his heart in his mouth on more than one occasion. 50 for Patmore, then Beath, had the Wombats starting to talk about biggest opening partnerships and if there’d ever been 2 batsmen carry their bats in tandem in the Wombats history. Both bats continued to open their shoulders a little with wickets in hand and hoping to eclipse a very respectable target score of 220 odd. Alas, Beath holed out after trying to hit the cover off one in the 34th over for 92. Captain’s knock which had the Wombats giving their skipper a standing ovation as he walked off the ground to a Wombats record 1st wicket partnership of 193.
Angry Wombat, who’d been anxiously pacing in the shed for 34 overs stomped his way out to the middle after declaring that batting in these situations was very different to opening (duh) as if a disclaimer were needed. However, with the Wombats in a commanding position with 6 overs to go and a load of wickets in hand Patmore and Shearer put together a brisk partnership of 24 for the next 3 overs until Patmore was caught out off the day’s favourite bloke for a very well built innings and top score of 93. T20 specialist and pocket dynamo Roni was next to the crease and promptly tried to demonstrate to the global warming naysayers how we could generate oodles of electricity through wind power that caused no real damage.
Shearer was next to go in the 2nd to last over with a quickfire 11 that included one big six but for the life of me now I can’t remember where and at least 5 gay dabs that went for runs. Angus Brooks was next to the crease although there is still some contention as to his bat choice which had been mulled over by Angus and anyone who’d listen for 38 and some odd overs made a quick splash with two dots, two fours and then a walk back to the pavilion. Shahir out to join Roni in the final over but by then the damage had been done and the Wombats were looking good with 4-228 off their 40 overs.
The Wombats were rearing to get out there and defend the total which they were confident of being able to do but meanwhile Shax was asking permission to play with Shearer’s wife whilst Shax and Etsuko happily sent balls back and forth between each other in full view of all Wombats, seems celebration may have been a little premature, hopefully thats not a trend from Shax…..
Back out in the middle the Wombats with Fuller and Kyal opened the bowling with some very tight, unplayable deliveries. The Sano intention to swing at just about everything was clear from the outset but it wasnt until the 5th over when Kyal broke through that the Wombats had their tails well and truly in the air at 1-14. With Sano swinging for the fences but only managing to send edges annoyingly anywhere but where fielders were standing, the runs began to flow. The first of 2 contentiously disallowed run-outs came shortly before Miyaji was finally runout for 23. 2-67 after 15. This was going to be tense.
Sano then somehow managed to be 1-96 at drinks (according to the scorecard, although this Wombat remembers being ahead at drinks) left the Wombats scratching their heads wondering how on earth the display they had just witnessed had yielded that many runs, resolved to give it everything they had in the last 20 overs of the season and bring the trophy back to the Wombats cabinet.
Shortly after drinks, Fuller took his first wicket with a classic top of off stump bowled that rattled the stumps. Koolhof and Beath supported with some frugal overs in the middle section to no avail and after a second contentious run-out (and by contentious read, out by about 3 feet) Fuller struck again to take a wicket that had plagued the Wombats with a great deal of luck in a scratchy innings of 48. Unfortunately at the other end, Danny was starting to build an innings having brought up 50. Roni was introduced into the attack to try and bamboozle with a few. Unlucky early the batsmen had little idea what to do with it but managed to dispatch a few before breaking through with the wicket of Nomura.
With wickets falling steadily the scorecard was still looking tight with a run a ball needed off the last few overs, the Wombats were confident when Kyal came back on to bowl out and took the prized wicket of Danny and Rizwan. Last over was looking ominous though and the winning runs were hit when Fuller and Shahir both running for a catch off the final ball were caught in a Thompson/Alderman, Waugh/Gillespie -esq clash at mid wicket leaving both completely laid out and Fuller with a couple of cracked ribs. The fact neither Wombat could breath certainly took the exuberance out of Sano’s victory celebration.
Right, time to have the presentation. Patmore best Wombat, Danny best for Sano and a very amusing speech. Off to the yakiniku restaurant where much jinro (thanks President Koolhof) was consumed during highlights, leaving at least one Wombat regurgitating on the JR platform in the evening and on the way to work in the morning, another stuck on the last train out to Saitama and the typical inability to speak in coherent sentences by another. Well done boys.
Pity about the result, more than one Wombat felt we were hard done by and called for neutral umps for both ends but overall a hard fought game that came right down to the wire. Wombats played the better cricket, lost the game and celebrated the hardest nonetheless.
Thanks to the supporters Etsuko and Shax also for making the pilgrimage all the way out to support us and to umpire Chris who umpired a good game.