Over the weekend of May 19-21, the Tokyo Wombats hosted the Brisbane, Australia-based Qantas Koalas Cricket Club. And what a cracker of a weekend it was!
Both teams got on like a house on fire, and while cricketing abilities were fairly even, each team drank just as much beer as the other when no cricket was being played (i.e., all the time). Strong friendships were formed, silly pranks played, profanities uttered (in good jest), but overall, a wonderful sense of cricket-team comaraderie emerged by the end of the weekend.
It was a little under one year ago that TWCC was contacted by Anthony from the Qantas Koalas, who put forward the idea of visiting Japan on the club’s annual overseas tour. The Wombats were keen to welcome their marsupial brethren to Japan, promising glorious views of Mt. Fuji and speeding shinkansen trains as a backdrop to cricket in Japan. The idea gained further traction once Anthony realised the Wombats would be a perfect fit for the Koalas given both teams penchant for beer-swilling and a focus on club social activities. Meanwhile in Tokyo, as the date of the arrival of the Koalas drew near, speculation was rife among the Wombats: who were the Koalas? How old are they? How good are they? We knew they all worked for Qantas – so what if they were all gay cabin attendants!?
Friday May 19: welcome dinner
With the Koalas based at the Dai-Ichi Hotel in Shimbashi, an izakaya close-by was chosen as location for the inital welcome dinner. Patmore, Koolhof, and Oiwa dragged themselves away from the summer dress-wearing hotty-infested beer garden in Hibiya on Friday evening and made way towards the Dai-Ichi. Social Secretary and club racist Kenny-O was in fine form right from the outset, buying a traveller each for his Wombat senpais to knock back in a few minutes flat before reaching the hotel. In hindsight, we should’ve had at least a few more to catch up with the Koalas, because it was soon made clear that the tourists had been clamped down in the hotel bar with complimentary drinks for a couple of hours! Clearly the Wombats had some ground to make up.
It was obvious straight away that the (already half-cut) Koalas were a great bunch of blokes – down-to-earth and friendly. And not a cabin attendant in sight! Anthony, the club treasurer, was a bloke who you could call one of your mates as soon as you met him – and over the course of the weekend, we came to realise he was the true heartbeat of the Koalas team.
The dinner was enjoyed by all, and many bottles of Kirin emptied. The Koalas even got their first taste of lemon sour – or, Solo with alcohol! The food was enjoyed, gaping holes in the floor fallen into by the Japan-uninitiated, and a few speeches were made to mark the start of the tour – especially with regard to the fact that the Koalas are the first overseas team the Wombats have hosted. The night continued for a few more pints at the beer hall across the road. Did you know the closest living relative of the Koala is the Wombat!?
Saturday May 20: Fuji
A 35-over match between TWCC and the Qantas Koalas was played at the Fuji #1 ground. Tokyo Wombats 192/5 defeated Qantas Koalas 186/9.
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Sunday May 21: YCAC
Two twenty20 matches were played at YCAC.
Tokyo Wombats 110/6 lost to Qantas Koalas 111/3.
YCAC 113/7 lost to Qantas Koalas 114/1.
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The Koalas were introduced to the Wombats’ post-game tradition of highlights at YCAC and after many jugs of beers and a few crafties at the Belgian beer festival in Yamashita Park, there was only one more thing to do: the Wombats were proud to link arms with the entire Koala contingent and belt out the team song at the edge of the harbour. Off the boys (and girls) stumbled into the bowels of Chinatown, chasing stuffed emus, pork buns, shots of Canadian Club, and Karaoke.
Many people in both clubs did a lot of organising to make the tour a success – a big thank you to those individuals.