- Match Report
WOUNDED WOMBATS DIG DEEP FOR BIG WIN
by Ian Gason
The sad and sorry rabble of Wombats that gathered at Harajuku on Sunday cast aside their pain and suffering at Fuji, and produced a never-say-die performance to take out the Grand Final Replay. Facing the possibility of a massive target at one stage, the game turned upon the introduction of Paul Shax to the attack
Big Cat Tim Whiskas work-enforced withdrawl for the big game was the first of several complications. Another Big man, Chunky, made an 11th hour withdrawl for family reasons, leaving the selectors clutching their keitais. 5 atsukan and a bottle of plonk proved no obstacle to the new look Chris Walsh, who hesitated not a moment when asked if he’d don the yellow cap. When reminded again in the morning, his reaction was a bit more slower: “oh, shit, I’m playing….”
Spacey (footy) and Curly (Roppongi) both sporting shiners, stitches, a bit of concussion and a broken nose gave the skip some “die on me belly” inspiration for his pre-match gee-up, and the Wombats went out to bowl. Lalazar’s roll-over at Koiwa was soon a distant memory as the Men In Green came out swinging, much like that little punk in the ‘pong Friday. It took some divine inspiration, cheers Duncan, to bring down the first wicket, as a strong gust of wind helped my slower ball sit up nicely to beat the opener, bowled middle stump. 5 overs in, but a wee bit short of 50.
Lala continued to help themselves to the runs, riding their luck, but also playing a lot of late cut/dabs past the slips. That these arsey little shots didn’t collect any edges was as frustrating for us as losing his broadband connection would be to Chuck. Killer Kelly, Whiskas’ replacement for the day, grabbed M.I.G. #2, a mistimed drive held nicely be Cap’n Chuck at mid on. Luck evaded Reggie most of the day, one chance going down at slip. The number of schwing and misses can’t be counted. Lala had raced into triple figures at around 10 an over by the time Reggie got his just desserts. A street cricket slog-drive of middle flew to third man C. Jones, who offered this assessment of the choice of shot: Crayfish, CRAYFISH, CRAYYYFISH!!!!
Unfortunately, we were not quite amongst the crustations’ tails yet, as Bollywood and Iqbal were still around. 3/130-odd, 15 overs in, and this pair were set on Grand Final Revenge. No pitch-assisteds to get Bollywood out this week. They grabbed the ugly stick and took to our figures. Debutant Walshie had Iqbal sky one into the covers off his 2nd ball, but the difficult chance went to ground. It was downhill for the rest of the 20+ run over, with one pull finishing up on the cow corner boundary of ground #1!The man who had already put his body on the line for the Goannas, Spacey also failed to dislodge the recalcitrants, who continued to terrorize the Wombats. Another skied chance went down at cow-corner, Zulu running about 3.5 kms as he tried to get under the swirling pill. The Man in Shades would also later be in the wrong place at the wrong time, as a running dive at long-off saw him and the ball end up in the Fuji jungle.
However any who knows their marsupials knows that Wombats are excellent diggers. A week ago, Paul Shax had suffered 5 consecutive 6s, and I dare say finding the confidence would have required some truly wombat-like digging. He didn’t bat an eye-lid when Chuck tossed him the ball, and first ball it was Bollywood c Axe b Shax 45. Never has a turning point in a game been so clearly identifiable. Having gone to drinks 3/190 odd, looking at a 350+ total, Lalazar would now commence their descent into The Chef inspired Spirit Breaking Zone.
Urged on by Robbie Axe Man, Chuckles had his first trundle for the year, and let’s hope not the last. Denied pace at both ends, the M.I.G. lower order collapsed. Chuck snared his first in his first, as a revolving door was hastily erected in the Lala pavilion. The Whyalla Warrior added a second and third ‘x’ to his name, including the top scorer Iqbal (92). The danger man hit a Shaxxx full toss straight to Reggie Dawson on the square leg boundary, who seemed to leap in from the hill and catch the ball millimetres inside the rope before landing sure footed on the ground. As there occasionally is in these games, there was some controversy, but Reggie, who hadn’t enjoyed such close attention since Bubbles was Adam Ant about it.
The skip would finish the day with 2fa, after a well judged c & b taken in the mid on area. Not content with a pedestrian “mine” call, the skip let it be known, “I’ve got it”. (His 3 catches may be a KCL record.) The innings would close on 255 when Shaxxxxie got number 4 (for 28) when Killer Kelly made no mistakes down at cow corner. Having stared down the prospect of 350+, this was a fightback not seen since Tobruk. The few chances we put down were all tough, and it should be noted that only one dismissal was not caught. (Robert, a record?)
It might have come late Friday, but as is his forte, the man in the kitchen, Cheffie made the call. Last time you broke their hearts, this time you break their spirits. The Lalazar lads must be scratching their heads now. Having once recovered from 7/11 to defeat us, they now must be wondering what it takes to stop us. The task they set us, 256 at 6.25 runs/over should have seen an even battle. Anyone’s game. Instead it was someone’s game, and that someone was S. Burke.
Fellas, get your 2004 Wombats Almanac and burn it. It’s obsolete, out of date, history. Burkey and Jarrad went out to haul in the mammoth total, the highest ever conceded by the Club. In the second over, Burkey pushed into the cover area, and when Dinosaur declined the single, “C’mon mate!” was the call from a certain scorer, who would soon eat his words. Burkey then pushed the next 4 balls into the gaps to the boundary. The next over also produced a flurry, included the first of Burkey’s 6s for the day
Jarrad, mate, learn the harmonica. You could probably become a famous blues singer singing about your luck. Having sped to 49 in just 5 overs, it happened. Jarrad again triggered, this time Bat Before Wicket. And yes, the gloves did come off. This would however (finally!) exhaust the M.I.G.’s supply of luck. And mark Phase II of the Spirit Breaking. Chuck as always began cautiously, but taking the gifts with grace. Burkey was just Burkey. Anything resembling a bad ball was punished. Not thrashed, or belted or whipped, just simply put away.
Lala searched for answers, tried numerous bowling changes, but had nothing. Papa did give 2 chances. One drilled at the fieldsman so hard it deflected for four before he knew anything about it. The other went between keeper and slip. At the halfway mark, 1/140, and the scorers clutched the books tight to their chests. Burkey had already moved to 99!
The hundred came up with a glide down to third man, a shot which he used effectively all day. Mind you there weren’t a lot of shots he didn’t use effectively throughout the day. Driving along the ground, piercing the field on the midwicket fence, turning it down to fine leg, late cuts, cuts, hooks, pulls. Amongst a plethora of boundaries few stood out. One drive over the bowlers head for 6 into wind typified the control and command which took him to a new club record of 152*.
In his substantial shadow, the skipper soldiered on. His cover drives were crisp and clean. He teased the field with pushes into the gaps, stealing singles and twos. Once he pulled out The Calypso Pull and sent the ball to the shithouse. He eased his way to his top score for the Club (82), flicked a 6 off his toes, before falling LB with victory in sight. The remarkable thing about this new record partnership was the amount of dot-balls. 195 runs they added, and a quick glance at the scorer’s book would show the care and planning that went into the knock.
Appropriately, Paul Shaxxxx went out to complete the job. The Whyalla Warrior and Papa Burke the two outstanding Wombats for the day finished off the last dozen runs, snaring the 4 points with 5 overs up their sleeves.
Hard to ignore a man who makes 150 in 35 overs (3rd highest in KCL history) but the Man Of The Match went to Shaxxxxie for turning the match with his 4fa. Iqbal’s damaging 92 earned him a bottle of Hardys, and the Burke wine collection grew by one bottle too. Top marks too must go to ol’ Spacey, coming out for a full day of cricket, head smashed and stitched, less than half a day after being concussed on the footy field. G & D at its best. Pure Wombat.
(Webmaster’s note: the same could be said for our match reporter, Curly, who bowled his usual luckless spell and then ferried the Wombats back to Tokyo whilst nursing his broken nose and swollen left eye)
As for the records….shit. Record catches by a non-keeper (Chuck 3). Best innings, S. Burke 152*. Highest partnership, 195 (Chuck, Steve). Highest Club run chase. Apologies if I missed any others.
Highlights were hogged equally by Burkey and Chuckles on the van back. A good flow of traffic probably ensured damage was kept to a minimum, but we still managed a roadside rendition of Glorious Victorious, despite the interruption of a cop car. Zulu tried his best to inflict bodily damage on himself at the tollgates. In the absence of a dolphin he had to do a Wookie, and jump on to a truck. Jumping on was the easy part, but jumping off mid-brown eye as the truck moved off almost did his ankles in. Still, as is with the Wombats, it was all good, no harm done. After 4 games we sit atop the Div One ladder, still undefeated. Finals berth booked. Bring on September.