- Match Report
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WOMBATS SWITCH ON FOR PREMIERSHIP WIN
by Ian Gason
WOMBATS have claimed the inaugrual J1C Trophy with a powerful 174 run victory over the Ichihara Sharks Sunday at Fuji. A polished all round performance rode on the strength of another 100+ opening stand, and was backed up by a clinical bowling display.
The first casualty fell right in front of Harajuku station when Tim Whiskas put his big Kiwi jandal through the chilly bin. Next victim of the Wombats one-track destiny was a recalcitrant crow who took 120kph of Hi-ace right between the eyes and was last seen bouncing off the windscreen, bound for a sad and squishy end. And to make it 3/0 before the first ball, a brand new second-hand chair was no match for one of Killer’s Chernobyl farts and ended up a stinking pile of kindling.
Weather Gods had tried their darnedest to ruin the big day. A big band of rain drifted along the Honshu coast Saturday arvo and dumped a decent amount of rain in the Fuji vicinity. The wicket area around Fuji II wasn’t going to pass muster and the captains, the umpires, and the J-girls reached a deal with the Japan Ladies’ Final. In return for keeping Zulu on the leash, they gracefully allowed the Men’s Final to be played on Fuji I.
Chuck does his best tossing when the pressure is on, and today he called true, and chose to bat first. With the outfield still wet and the sun shining, it was a big toss to win. Sharks’ opener Dhugal Beddingfield stuggled with a slippery run up and slippery ball. The Born Again opening combo of Shearer-Burke set about building the partnership on which the Grand Final would be won. An early Dino edge evaded the slips and a chance from Papa Burke was later put down, too. Critical misses for The Sharks, who on the whole had an off-day in the field.
With runs coming at a reasonable clip, Shark’s skip Chris Thurgate took a gamble. One good thing about being a Wombat is you don’t have to bowl to Steve Burke. Poor Richard Cosway. 5 years a Wombat, now playing a Grand Final for the Sharks, was given the un-enviable task of breaking the partnership. It didn’t work, and Burkey took 10 from the over.
Zippy young Bangladeshi Apu reined in the runs with a good spell of pace from the Fuji II end. Still, our two lads had the momentum, and were placing the ball superbly. They picked off singles like one of them tall, white birds you see on Discovery Channel picking bugs off a hippo’s back. As they settled and their confidence grew, their timing got better and better. Boundaries were stroked, nudged and pushed along the turf, oblivious to the damp turf. More known for his deadly pull shot, Burke was particularly effective with the sweep.
At the first break, Wombats were away to great start, none down after 20, 120 runs on the board. It was the setting for a big premiership total. Like the runs on the ground, on the ‘hill’ the beers was flowing freely in the 11-strong Wombat Supporter Contingent. Chief culprits Zulu and The Freak put in a performance as polished as Mr Sheen’s noggin’.
All good things must come to end, and after a bit of a poor call from scorers Doc and Killer (calling Dino’s 50 1 run too early) the Big Sandgroper was bowled. Despite a 120 partnership, the animated president used his large feet to be doubly sure that the bails had indeed been removed.
With Whiskas, Pup and Doc still to come, Cap’n Chuckie was going to go from the word go. He blessed the WSC with one of his calypso 6s, and went at bettter than a run a ball. Turning for a third though, he was beaten by a top throw from the boundary by Dhugal.
Out came Tim Whiskas, who had the night before let one go through to the keeper. Today though, he was on the board immediately as his put away the first one he was offered. He should have been prematurely ejected, after a pull into the deep, but it turns out Miss Roppongi wasn’t the only one who failed to seal the deal with Whiskas’ big balls. It was coming straight down the fielder’s throat, but an absolute sitter went down. The cheeky Kiwi even manage to double it up. Let’s hope he can repeat that in the ‘pong soon.
By now Wombats were heading for a big 200+ score, putting pressure on a capable Sharks batting line-up. The final 10 overs would be crucial in determining just how much pressure that would be. An uncharacteristically ugly head lifted hoik undid Burkey, 10 runs short of his tonne. Whiskas was playing a typical Whiskas innings, effortlessly MRF-ing the ball to all parts of the ground.
That young punk from Adelaide, Pup Ainslie joined in the merriment. With his quick wrists and his meaty Kahuna, he maintained the quick clip that had been set. A couple of huge 6s helped things along. When 3-McHappy Meals Levi was brought back, Pup was brutal, lashing 14 from his first three balls. Pup did enjoy a couple of lives, one at cow corner and another top edge where keeper Thurgate slipped as he turned.
Not long after cantering past 50 Whiskas was bowled, and Dr B’ went out for some running practise. “Tickets” Ainlsie kept his fellow crow-eater at the non-strikers end. Despite a couple of fresh air shots and a dubious not out call for a stumping, Pup’s big blade bumped the Wombats’ total up to 4/268.Just like the mountain of beer on WSC hill, the job was but half-done. The bats had set us up, now the bowlers had to bring us home. If we ever needed any more motivation, we got it now. Smoker was on the phone. His horse Arbitration had bolted home at Sale, winning by 3 lengths.
Pup’s opening over went for 10, but that was the extent of Ichihara’s joy. From the F1 end, I opened with a 1-run over, and Pup was in no mood to play second fiddle to an ageing Victorian. He answered in kind, and we were quickly on top of the Sharks’ openers. One was taking swings not seen since the Crows and Port met in a Henley Beach car-park. Have to say though, I think George Michael’s had more hits in the Kandahar Top Ten than this fellow had yesterday.
WSC hill got right behind us, and fired us on. I was dragged by that ruthless skip, for a return of 4 overs for 4 runs. Pup got the first wicket by distressing their more circumspect opener’s woodwork. He too got no thanks from the skip, dragged.
Chuckie’s hunches can’t be beaten. Dougal Beds’ was the Sharks key. Leading run-scorer in the comp’, 3-figure average. The skip’s gut feeling was Killer. And he was right. Killer started with some good “L and L” bowling, and then showed why it’s better to be a big-hearted Pea-brain than a Pea-heart. To a highly respected bat, he has ripped in the short ball, and collected to top edge. In one of those premiership moments, Tim Whiskas ran from square leg, dived low to his right and came up holding the J1C trophy catch. Wombats had a couple of dangerous sub-continental lads to deal with next. Apu’s helmet-less head fired on Gez Brady, who was soon dispensing the perfume. Apu’s glove saved him from a broken nose, and Gez’s follow through was classic. No need for words, he finished a few feet from Apu and tapped his head with two fingers to say “get the lid, kid.”
Luckily he did, cos it wasn’t long before our Bich had smacked him on the grill, necessitating some field medicine. Apu is no peaheart. He batted on bravely and continued to take the fight to the Wombats. Routinely he gave Gez the charge. He plundered a number of boundaries on the way to being Sharks top scorer and Hardys Best on Ground winner.
At the car-park end, Reggie Dawson had a “see you in November” moment. At mid on he dropped a dead-set, 99 times out of 100, catch ’em in your sleep kinda catch, off the 2nd ball of Killer’s hat-trick-to-be.Meanwhile, the WSC had The Wave going and when Bubbles Dawson was asked to make amends, the hill rocked to a Zulu-esque version of the conga, The Shinjuku Express Boogie.
The veteran, Paul Shax was brought on and weaved a magical web of wickets. Apu did loft him into the car-park, the dull thud off leather-on-metal a first for the Wombats. It wasn’t enough to piss in Shaxxie’s milk-shake though. Shax removed the Sharks captain Chris. He picked up another when Killer made a McHappy Meal of a rather simple catch. Three grabs at the cherry and finally held it when he landed flat on his back.
The prize scalp was Apu. Out in cow-corner lurked one C Jones. When the gutsy lad from Dhaka tried to deposit Shaxxxie in the Hi-ace again, jeers from the Sharks tent were music to the skip’s ears. No mistakes, safe as houses, Chuckie held the ball aloft for all to see.
Another Chuckie hunch-and-drag trick at the FII end. He brought on the midas-man, Whiskas, for one over. 1-1-2-0, as he clean bowled Chunky Cosway and Levi.
Nine wickets down, Pup was brought on, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only Wombat hoping the Premiership catch was coming their way. Pup wasn’t having a bar of it. A couple of 2-pronged Lillee-style appealls were declined. As we know too well, Pup’s not shy about doing it himself, and before long he had knocked the top off, middle and off, and wrapped up the match.
Whiskas, Killer and Shaxxxie were all contenders for Hardys Man Of The Match, but the match winning innings of Mr Equipoise, Steve Burke was the winner. Whiskas and his catch got the Best Moment award. But we were all winners this great day.
The celebrations started soon and lingered long. Chuck bukkake-ed the team with champagne. The WSC joined in for some highlights before we loaded the cars, hit the booze-stop before frightening those incompetent souls at McDonalds.
The return journey was largely free of on-board violence this time, as we just sank piss and mulled over a wonderful win and a wonderful season. The contribution of our new lads, Pup, Doc and Gez was singled out. The only let down was the traffic held us up and we weren’t able to catch up with Smoker.Thanks to Neil for another great umpiring job. Chris and all the Sharks, thanks for taking the time to join us for a drink after the game. Best of luck for next season.
To the sponsors, Craig and everyone at Hardys, to all the World-Wide-Wombats, to the supporters, mates, wives, girls, to Nippon Rentacar, our appreciation is hard to express truely. Thanks.