- Match Report
WOMBATS VICTORIOUS AS VICTORIANS DOMINATE YOKOHAMA
by Ian Gason
After 4 years of trying, the Tokyo Wombats finally tasted victory at Yokohama, running over the silver spoons in a 9 wicket victory, more than making up for last year’s Pup Match debacle. With the season properly upon us, there were pleasing signs for the Wombats, but disappointingly for the 4th warm-up game of the year, we still failed to get eleven Wombats on the track.
Rob Mann’s extensive networking lured us Damo and Allan, and Mark from YCAC was a last minute replacement for last minute withdrawal Rhino. On any other day, Damo’s boardies’d have won him a worst dressed, but who’d have expected Mark’s helicopter hat?
Captain Perfect Steven Burke lost the toss and YCAC opted to bat, and with a wee drizzle confirming suspicions that Japan’s weather folks couldn’t predict sand in a desert, me and Morty got things under way.
If only I was Pup. Then I could wax lyrical about my devastating spell of pace bowling that had the YCAC top order in tatters. If only I was Pup, I could tell you how I had the ball swinging late, inswing, outswing, Irish, the slower ball, the kitchen sink. I could ignore the marvelous support from the Lawn Bowls End from Morty. I wouldn’t bother to mention how he toiled for 7 blistering overs without getting the rewards he deserved.
Gifted with Pup’s self-publicity skills, I’d talk you through ball by ball the stump to stump line which grabbed me my first LB, and gloss over the tonking that Kamran embarked upon. The attempted outswinger that swung in and Kamran played on, I’d be telling you all about that.
Morty at short-cover took an amazing knacker-crunching catch, but I’d claim that as my hard work, too. And with the YCAC innings at 4-40 odd, you know who’d be front and centre of this match report.
But I’m not Pup. And it was more of a trundle, with all the zip of a Zimmer Frame Derby, and less swing than a North Korean election. And instead of picking on our portly Crow-eater, I will praise him for an excellent effort behind the stumps, free of tea-pots, dummy-spits or byes.
Big Alexander and Reggie were the first change bowlers. Reggie can thank the YCAC umpire for Mark Ferris’s wicket, LB despite being a good 3 metres down the pitch. No doubts about his other wicket, well caught by a nervous Allen in short cow-corner.
Alexander should have had a big wicket when a big hitting YCAC bat hit big down the ground, where I made a meal of the catch. A few overs later Al was amongst the wickets when Kamran’s hospitality got in the way of his judgement, ruling a man out caught behind with the bat and ball in different postcodes. The aforementioned South Australian charged in from the Bowls End to clean up the tail. YCAC’s 98 on paper not much of a target, but anyone who was at last year’s game said little about our prospects.
Captain Burke opened with Grant, and the bowlers served up a mixed bag, wide of the crease one ball, attacking the stumps the next. The G-spot looked cool, middling the ball, but not getting the penetration desired. Mr Burke crunched one cut for four, but this was against the flow of the early play. Runs were hard to come by, and our fearless skip was struck repeatedly on the pads. Several good shouts came at the Tin Shed End, one in particular given due consideration by this umpire, who felt there was just enough doubt about its leg-side trajectory. Hawk-eye may have disagreed.
At the bowls End, G-spot was dismissed, tickling a faint edge to the keeper. Out strode the boy from Ballarat, Ross, MRF and mea culpa in hand. The tight bowling continued, but Ross was awake to the task at hand. He batted with determined poise and concentration, like a man who had recently slept through a chance to make a big score against a tough opposition. His batting was all timing and placement, unlike his pre-game routines, and the bowlers had no chances. Warming to the task, Ross ignored his tweaked calf and pushed hard for 2s and 3s. Mr Burke was also hitting his straps.
Mark Ferris came and went. Kamran came, first with pace, then with spin, and then he too went. YCAC ground fielding deprived Ross of several boundaries, but it was not enough to stop the two Victorians from cantering towards victory. With the score in the 90s and the spinners on, Ross digressed to the ungainly with a IPL-esque slog. “Can’t have an innings without one cowie,” was his logic.
Mr Burke was having none of it, and timed a graceful straight drive to the long boundary to take us over the line in the 24th over.
With the quick finish, a Ten-10 SlogFest (copyright pending) was convened. Stumps smashed, balls bashed, wickets fell, crowds cheered. The very future of cricket. Ignore the ugliness of the shots, Wombats inability to find the middle and hence the boundary. The crowd was not shouting, “Please may we see an elegant cover drive?” NO, they all shouted MAXIMUM!! And were disappointed. Not half as disappointed as Pup though, after he dispatched a pie up, up and away over the fence again for a six-and-out, hold the 6 runs.
We set YCAC 52 from their allotted Ten-10 overs. Allen stunned the cricket world with a two-hop bowled first ball. Balls were SMASHED. Wickets were WICKETED. Maximums were MAXED. With 46 on the board, G-spot took two in TWO balls, more wickets FELL, Morty took a stunning parry and dive two grabs at the CHERRY catch of the MILLENIUM. It was all happening, the crowd was electric, the cheer-leaders indecent, media frenzy, hyperbole overdrive……but then YCAC got the last runs with 2 wickets in HAND.
With the J1C season just days away, fielding still shows signs of rustiness. Several fellas could’ve done with a hit today, but then again, some fellas could have turned up to training more often. We will welcome back the Swan River Colony gents next week, but come up against old foes Millenium, many of whom will be peaking as the World Cricket League tournament is just 2 weeks away. We will need to be switched on.
Thanks to the hosts YCAC, and Damo, Allen and Mark for having a run.