- Match Report
Wombats slay “Dragons” in Sano
by Richard Bracefield
The Wommies headed up to Sano 3 this Sunday to take on the Wyverns on what looked to be a sunny, albeit sticky day, in the Sano plains. Many an early eyebrow was raised at the discovery of a new fault line appearing 2/3 of the way down the wicket. This gave the quicks something to bowl at and the opening batsmen a good reason to keep a lid on despite the morning heat.
Wombats skipper Alex Patmore won the toss and elected to throw the Wyverns into the hot fielding conditions despite a slow looking outfield. Patmore, joined by Richie Bracefield, was subjected to a barrage of gems from Wyverns’ opening fast man Buddhika who drew and beat Patmore’s bat regularly at the outset. Bracefield was able to free the arms early at the other end thanks to some loose early deliveries, found the rope at midwicket and extra cover. However, Bracefield fell victim to the slow conditions and cut a short one straight to the man at cover, gone for 18 (17).
Patmore continued to battle on and was able to find great support in Rasika Ethugala. While starting cautiously, the pair eventually began to accumulate runs around the park with growing ease as silence began to fall over the Wyverns camp. Rasi even ran the odd single. Rasi and Patmore stuck it out to construct a valuable partnership of 103 before Rasi fell victim to the drinks break curse, finding the top edge first ball back at the crease to be out for a well fought 41 (64). Patmore’s wicket fell not long after for a patient 51 (99), a solid knock from the Skipper which featured some glorious stroke play including a memorable reverse sweep boundary.
Patmore’s departure heralded a small flurry of Wombat wickets before middle/tail order utility Luke Eyes steadied the ship. Eyes licked his lips at anything short and dispatched the trash to the on-side fence with authority, hitting two sixes in the penultimate over. Eyes saw the Wombats home unbeaten on 30 (25) to bring the team total to a respectable 186/7.
The weather suddenly turned at the innings break despite Koolhof’s early assurances of a delayed rain forecast. Instead it was clouds and blustery spot showers that greeted the Wombats onto the field. This however did not dull the resolve of the Wombats’ strike bowlers, Yusri Mohideen (arguable 3rd fastest bowler in Japan*) and veteran Alex Koolhof (105th fastest in Japan). Koolhof blunting the Wyvern’s talons (or paws?) with a wicket in his opening over (only the seasoned veteran would’ve known to throw a full banger at the Wyverns’ openers to open his wickets tally). A tidy catch well taken down low by Nigel McKay at his favourite fielding position at mid-off.
Yusri struck next with a short burst of brilliant outswingers before removing the middle stump of the next opener. Koolhof chimed in too by crashing the party at middle stump again in the following over. The Wyverns now reeling at the loss of their top order before the first change of bowling. However, the Wyverns continued to play their strokes and, with the help of a few missed chances going down in the field, started finding the boundary to keep their noses ahead of the required run rate. After Skipper Patmore told Koolhof to “have a blow” (in hetero-speech, this means take a breather), the Wombats looked to Nigel McKay and spinner Vikram Ragunathan to attack the Wyverns’ middle order.
Vik immediately delivered, knocking back the woodwork after successive dots. Vik wowed the Wommies again in his second over by putting down a well struck catching chance and directing it perfectly at the non-striker’s poles. It was so well directed it almost looked deliberate from the cunning spinner and budding Biryani chef from India. Nige was also swiftly rewarded for his hard work with a wicket – rattling the batsman’s stumps and exposing the long Wyverns tail. With run rate and wicket pressure mounting on the Wyverns, Rasi Ethugala and Naren Madhavan continued the assault with a good display of disciplined spin bowling at both ends. Both quickly drew impatient shots from the Wyverns’ batsmen leading to a good snare behind the stumps by Luke Eyes, Patmore in close, and another to Richie Bracefield stretching for one at deep mid-on. Rasi who looked particularly menacing with ball in hand was well fittingly rewarded the final wicket to end on figures of 3/14 off 3 overs.
The Wyverns eventually all out in the 22nd over for 100 runs, giving the Wombats an 86-run bonus point victory.
Wombat of the match went to Rasi today for his keen knock of 41 followed by his efforts with the ball to put the final nail in the coffin of the Wyverns. A top day in the not-so-baggy yellow for him. Nods also to Patmore for his contribution with the bat (five 50+ scores from 7 starts); and to Lukey for pouring gravy on the roast in the last 5 overs. Great figures for virtually all of the bowlers who all chimed in with at least a wicket a piece, Koolhof (5ov. 2/30); Yusri (4ov. 1/9); Vikram (4ov. 16/1); Nigel (4ov. 1/22); and Naren (2ov. 1/6).
The day was capped off with a well-received bottle of our sponsor’s wine by stand out Wyverns’ bowler Yamada-san (8ov. 2/23) followed by a few too many Game of Thrones references by Kooly as he led the Wombats chant outside the train station after a few Tekitoni drinks.
All in all a good day’s sport for the Wombats.
*Yusri is probably not the 3rd fastest bowler in Japan.
- Yusry at mid-wicket.
- Richie uses his height and stretches/leaps to take a great catch at long-on
- A neat low one straight to Nigel to start off the proceedings
- A couple of tough skiers that both went to Zeesh
Great Moments in Sport
- Solid spells by all bowlers.
- Wonderful partnership between Rasi & Patmore
- Yet another 50 by Patmore despite stiff neck and sore shoulders
- Viks dropped catch/rebounded run out….batter hits ball straight back to Vik, who spills the catch but the ball crashes into the stumps to run out the non-striker!
- Rasika’s 40 runs and 3 wickets (and subsequent MoM)
- Luke’s towering sixes in the end that pushed the score up to a competitive one!
- Rasi’s walking between the wickets.
- Kooly leading the club song for the first time since Jamie joined the Wommies and doing a bloody good job: “Do you know what a wyvern is?” “It’s a dragon!”
- “It was great to see our tail wag today” – Richie B, referring to Luke Eyes’ knock, who was down to bat 4…
- “I was sweating like a paedophile in a bouncy castle” – says Richie about his flu last week…
- “Let’s keep him on zero for the rest of his innings fellas” – says Rich just before the batsman smashes a boundary
- “Do you know what a Wyvern is? It’s a dragon…and do you know how many claws a dragon has on each of its…..paws!? (paws?)” – Rambles Koolhof in his club song preamble…
- Yus: “we all love boobies”
- Patmore’s a very loud “Faaaaaaaaaarrrk” when he got out.
- Zeesh trying to drop kick his helmet after getting run out, and failing.
- Koolhof urging people to respect the email highlight rules!