- Match Report
Wombats Shell-shocked in Season Opener
by Richard Bracefield
The long-anticipated start to the JCL 2017 season was not to be the positive start the Wombats were hoping for, going down to a deserving Sano team in convincing fashion at Sano. With the outfield a little soggy underfoot but the weather looking to firm things up, Wombats Skipper Alex Patmore opted to have a bat first after winning the toss.
The Sano pace attack asked plenty of questions of the Wombats openers, Patmore and Richie Bracefield. Looking to get some runs on the board, Bracefield found the fence with a couple of lucky strokes before mistiming a drive down mid-off’s throat. Patmore was then joined at the crease by Rasika Ethugala and the pair were able to fend off the pace attack. However, they were not allowed to settle in as Sano turned to their spinners who quickly found their mark. The pair had a few nervous moments running between the wickets and ultimately, it was a runout that saw the end of Ethugala’s innings as the pair attempted to sneak an ambitious single. Ethugala’s departure at 48/2 sparked the beginning of an unfortunate and luckless collapse for the Wombats.
The Wombats lost a total of 5 wickets for just 8 runs during the Sano spin deluge (Evan Hitchman, 1, Luke Eyes, 2, Aamir Syed, 1, and Jamie Payne, 1, all falling victim to the Spin combo of R. Pardan and P. Khumbare). This also included the loss of Patmore (14 (40)), adjudged out by a questionable LBW decision. Nigel McKay and Yusry Mohideen dug in at the tail and demonstrated some classy strokes and promising signs of solidarity with the bat (the aforementioned class was forsaken after Mohideen went all Tim MacInroe with his bat after getting bowled out). The Wombats posted 82 all out at end of the 31st over. Top scorer came in the form of Extras (31), which really summed up the state of the Wombats’ day with the bat. Hats off to Sano who took most of their opportunities in the field and used spin to excellent effect against the rusty Wombats batting line-up.
Seeking to redeem themselves, the Wombats were resolved not to go down without taking a few Sano scalps with them. Nigel McKay was immediately rewarded with a wicket after a tight opening barrage. A small highlight was the deafening Wombats appeal to get the umpire to raise the finger. McKay would have been awarded a second scalp but misfortune struck again, as Mckay had over-stepped the mark, giving the Sano batsman a lifeline (and a free hit). Despite McKay’s performance with the ball, the Sano batsmen continued aggressively and scoring in boundaries.
The introduction of Alex ‘J-NOB’ Koolhof to the bowling attack swung the momentum briefly back to the Wombats, clean bowling two of Sano’s top-order in his opening over. Koolhof should have also had the key wicket of opening batsman CR Aravinda (27*) in the following over, had a catch stuck in the hands of Ethugala at short cover. A further chance went begging when a catch sliced between Patmore and Eyes at first slip (Eyes reportedly questioned why he was still being kept at slip the ball before the chance…).
Sadly, the fortunes had decided to call it a day. The Wombats unable to claim any more wickets before Sano reached their target of 82 (83/3 from 12.3 overs). The game ending rather anticlimactically with a wide delivery that found its way to the fence. A disappointing start for the lads who will no doubt be determined to turn things around for the next JCL match in Fuji against the Wyverns (Apr 22).
There was one shining light in the midst of everything. That was Nigel McKay’s opening spell with the ball (he didn’t look half bad with the willow either), earning him the Wombats’ Man of the Match award. A delight to see the young Quick hitting the right spots at a good pace in game one.
The boys were thrilled at the opportunity to play cricket with Virgin Corporation Founder Richard Branson who was going by the alter ego Evan Hitchman. The van crew were also treated to some life advice gems by Koolhof, teaching the boys that ensuring longevity in the matrimonial bedroom is as easy as asking one simple question (sashite ii?). Great stuff.
- Rasika’s big sitter at short cover – straight in, but plops out. Front-runner for the Herschelle!
- Nigel put down a tough one at deep square leg – great effort in getting to it.
- Ev – “and some old guy in the corner stole my porn”
- J-NOB – Alex’s new nickame as “Japan’s number one bowler”
- Richie B – “Hey guys, have you ever wondered where the world ‘leeway’ comes from? It’s pretty interesting eh.”
- Patmore to Koolhof: “Can you do cow?”; Evan: “I’ve done a few in my time.”
- Alex P – kicked gloves about 10 metres after being given out lbw
- Jamie – politely telling the umpire how disappointed he was with “that decision is incorrect, I disagree” – and then also humbly apologising later – “upon reflection I believe you made the right call”!
- Yus – smashing Rasi’s bat on the ground
- Luke and Ev – Being rather annoyed at the traffic in Sano saying there better be a dead body at the end of this traffic jam
- Alex K – Guys, can you please stop calling me Kooly? No problems J-NOB!
Golden Thong Nominations
- The entire wombats team for having Wides score more than double the highest batting score!
- Nige batting with his phone in the pocket.