- Match Report
WOMBATS TAKE 4TH SPOT WITH 7-WICKET WIN
by Ian Gason
All week, weather forecasts of 40-60% chance of rain threatened to interrupt The Wombats march to the finals. When the rain did eventually fall at Koiwa, it was too little, too late for the Pakistan Eaglets, as a great all round effort, and some savage batting from Chuckie, had already seen us home, victors by 7 wickets with 10 or so overs to spare.
Wombats, having been asked to field, got off to a great start. Knowing a final’s berth was at stake, and that an early breakthrough was crucial, (Curly flying his own flag here, sorry!) when 6th ball of the day, I rocked one into middle stump, I was fired up like a Chernobyl reactor, and unleashed truly Lleyton Hewitt-like display of fist-pumping. Eaglets 1/3.
Unfortunately, it was The Eaglets who did then did most of fist-pumping, as Wombats got re-acquainted with the words ‘chase leather’. The 2nd wicket saw some gutsy batting, as 2 fellas took their chances and batted themselves back into the game. It was frustrating work, and John was especially unlucky not to have a bagful of wickets, as balls popped up time and time again. It was the “I see ’em I hit ’em” school of cricket, and with a sharp eye these fellows were making it work, until Bird got the vital break, leg stump keeled over (2/45-ish). When the other half of that partnership retired hurt, the game turned Wombats’ way.
When Spacey was brought into the attack for the first time in months, I admit: I was nervous. It was make or break time here, and Spacey – as only The Spacey can do- made it, first ball pitched straight, kept low, into the woodwork, Thanks For Coming. Eaglets got an early drink, 70-odd on the board, 4 down.
Space wasn’t content with just 1, wrapping the fresh batsman on the pads, plum in front. Wickets then came thick and fast for the Wombats. Axeman Robb finished the day with 4. It’s worth noting here: 8 men out bowled or LBW. Old fashioned line and length bowling works!!
There was a flutter of resistance when the retiree returned to the crease. I questioned Chuckles for dragging Spacey (2 wickets from 3 overs) and giving me the ball, but he was on the money as usual. Sensing that he had run out of partners, The Eaglets’ danger man was swinging like a dunny door on a windy day, and soon holed out to that man, Spacey, at mid-off. (Rumour is a look of surprise graced young Jim’s face when he found the ball in his hand!!). A mix-up lead to a run-out, Eaglets all out 108 in 25 overs. A couple of mentions are needed here. First, Luke Ray was dynamite at mid-on, throwing his body at the ball, letting nothing through all day. Well-done Luke. The other, Johnnie, unlucky with the ball, not only did he not let his spirits drop, he kept all the boys keen with the best motivational talking I’ve heard on a cricket field. At one stage he was even going to give a lesson in manners to an errant Japanese cyclist passing the slips! We all raise our Tabasco salads to you, Johnnie.
Dinosaur and Bird opened the innings, and in style. Eaglets possess at least one particularly quick bowler, but, fortunately not an accurate one. Loose balls were cut away, lofted over, driven past, and all that extra pace on the ball just meant more runs for the Wombats. Dino propped while Bird carved up the openers, until a direct hit on a quick single saw Jarrad run out, an opening partnership of 45 in quick time.
The Eaglets probably wish that that throw had missed, because all it did was bring Chuck to the crease. Bird was soon caught, gone for an entertaining and match winning 32. Ax fell soon after, and then it was The Chucka-Zulu show again.
Dark clouds approaching, the calculators were out, some of Japan’s worst mathematicians trying to work out required run rates. The score on 3/60, at 18 overs drinks were taken, ahead on run-rate, but still 2 overs short of the 20 required for a result. The Eaglets didnft win any fans buy producing a stack of curry-bentos and sitting down and tucking away as the rain threatened to leave us stranded. Even calls from the umpires to get on the field were ignored.
When they did bring themselves back onto the field, there was curry and rice in the bellies, but not a lot of fire. I was again left to my bridesmaid role (all padded up, nowhere to go), as Chuck and Zulu made the calculators redundant. Loose bowling was flayed all around the ground, one Chuck shot cut flying over the keeper/slips region to within inches of the (unique Koiwa) hill boundary. Zulu pipped Jarrad for best supporting actress award, joining in the fun with some fine driving through the off. Chuck finished the day with 40 not out, Wombats victors by 7 wickets.
Chuck has now produced around 100 runs from his last 3 starts at Koiwa, and he’s only been out once. Garna had better hope the Wombats continue to bowl first, because Chuckie’s going to make him an ichi-man poorer otherwise!
It’ll be a nervous couple of weeks while we wait the results from Lalazars last 2 games. They need to get past the weather gods as well as The Indian Engineers to match us on 12 points. In that case, then those blasted calculators are out again, as its down to run-rate.