Sharks vs Wombats at Fuji 2. July 11, 2010
By Anton Lloyd-Williams
July is a month that sports fans have been awaiting eagerly. It features the culmination of the Football World Cup Finals, Wimbledon and the ODI series between England and Australia. However, the pinnacle of this sporting extravaganza is undoubtedly the contest that sees the ocean’s most fearsome fish do battle with the undergrowth’s most magnificent marsupial; The Sharks vs The Wombats.
The Sharks arrived, without incident for a change, at Fuji 2, on an overcast, thickly humid Sunday morning. After exchanging pleasantries with the opposition, they set about preparing for the game. Mt. Fuji was hidden behind a thick blanket of light grey wool as were the tops of the surrounding hills. Eyes looked to the South for signs of the inclement weather that was forecast for 15:00 but saw hope in the slightly brightening horizon. A full day’s play looked like it was on the cards.
Another tonic for bleary Shark eyes came with a glance at the Wombats squad list which was missing a few key players and included some fresh, possibly untried faces. The Sharks selectors had been given a wide pool of players from which to choose one of the strongest squads in recent memory. So eager were people to play in fact, that they sported two 12th men. Given the Wombats unfamiliar line up, there were high hopes among the Sharks that this could be the moment to record their first victory over the Tokyo based side.
Captain Thurgate won the toss and invited the Wombats to open proceedings with the bat. The umpire started the game at 11:00 with the weather still overcast and sticky while the outfield was somewhat damp from rain during the week. Both tensions and expectations were high as this eagerly awaited game began to unfold.
Wombats prolific openers, Shearer and Beath settled themselves at the crease before Giles-Jones opened the bowling from the Pavilion End with a few looseners. The 4th ball of the over brought a miscued pull shot from Beath with the ball looping over the keeper and slips. Aashiq made a valiant attempt to backtrack, keeping his eye on the descending ball and got a hand on it. Alas, the ball spilled and the batsman breathed again.
The Colonel delivered the second over from the River End and showed excellent early control, bowling ball after ball on a good length that the batsmen were happy to watch spit past the off stump. The opening bowlers continued in this good vein with aggressive, testing bowling that found the batsmen unable to play many genuine shots. An LBW appeal from Giles-Jones was turned down in the 3rd over as the pressure built up along with the cloud cover. Runs were hard to come by and those balls that did make it through the sharp fielding circle tended to be thickish edges. The batsmen remained composed though and saw out the first 6 overs without loss. This opening session confirmed to both sides that there was a real contest to be had here, on a wicket that was playing true. Victory for either side would clearly need to be well earned.
Sancheti replaced Giles-Jones in the 7th over and had a good LBW shout turned down before being swatted away for the first 6 of the day by Shearer. At the other end the Colonel continued probing away with a testing line and length with the batsmen unwilling to take it on, prompting Thurgate behind the stumps to note, “More leaves than a Christmas tree”. Sancheti and the Colonel continued to keep the pressure on the Wombats openers who played and missed at a few, but started to open their shoulders a little more to add runs to the board with the odd boundary and uncomfortably committed running between the stumps.
Coovre took over from the Colonel in the 12th over and the batsmen continued to apply themselves to keep the score edging forward. However with score at 57 off the first 15 overs, the Sharks felt as though they were gaining control of the game as the first specks of rain appeared.
Lollback replaced Sancheti at the Pavilion End in the 15th over and saw a catching chance drop short of Point. The legendary Lollback slower ball went sailing over the batsman’s head for a no ball, but he redeemed himself a ball later with some sharp fielding off a well hit drive. As the batsmen looked to play shots, so chances started to come. All that was needed was for the Sharks to cash in. Infuriatingly for him, Thurgate could not quite keep hold of a fine edge that stayed very low off the bowling of Coovre. He did well simply to stop it.
The 17th over saw a great piece of individual skill from Sancheti, unleashing a laser guided throw from mid off towards the keeper that hit the stumps but only after the batsman had made his ground. Runs were still difficult to come by though and nowhere was this better illustrated than when a beefy, uppish drive cleared the fielding circle only to come down 5 metres inside the boundary, landed with a damp whump and stayed where it was, partially enveloped in mud. The batsmen had to settle for two from it. The bowling continued along a testing line, with Coovre unlucky not to open his account as a miscued drive dropped short of mid on in the final over before drinks, which were taken at 12:15. The game was already developing into a good contest; the Sharks happy with their tight bowling and stifling fielding, the Wombats satisfied with keeping all of their wickets intact.
Play resumed, flecks of rain in the air, with Jinasena rumbling in from the Pavilion End. His tricky deliveries almost paid instant dividends with a thick edge falling agonizingly wide of a backtracking mid on. Following a tidy, aggressive over from Prashant at the River end, Jinasena was again unlucky as a miss-hit drive skipped off the ends of an airborne Lollback’s outstretched fingers at mid off.
Two big sixes off the bowling of Prashant in the 24th over gave the Wombats scorecard a slightly better sheen, standing at 121 at the end over the over. However it was Prashant who made the long awaited breakthrough in the 26th over. The ball flew high off Beath’s bat out to deep point. Shouts of “catch it!”. The ball reached its zenith then dipped. Bayne, silent, below. The ball swept down into his cupped hands. It popped out. It dropped back in, had another look and then settled. A lone swallow skimmed past and shouts of joy rang out from the middle. A long sigh of relief blew in from the ropes as Bayne accepted the plaudits from the team for a crucial catch well taken. The juggling, it later transpired, had been purely for effect. Beath out for a studiously crafted 52.
New batsman Turner joined the fray and Giles-Jones renewed his acquaintance with the Pavilion End for a couple of tightly delivered overs while the Captain turned to spin from the River End. Nikhil settled into an excellent length and flight almost immediately, testing the batsmen perhaps more than they expected and drawing them into some hesitant looking shots.
In the 29th over Coovre took up the reins from Giles-Jones. It is often said that things will happen when Coovre steps up , sometimes good things, and recalling this he duly accounted for the stubborn Shearer’s middle and leg stumps with a peach of a Yorker. The Coovre roar rang across the middle while Shearer was left to ponder the end of a fine, composed knock of 73. New batsman Farmer came to the crease with the score at 147 from 29 overs. Another testing over from Nikhil raised hopes of cleaning up the middle order and tail, a hope punctuated only briefly by a couple of crashing sixes off Coovre, courtesy of Turner, before Nikhil got the wicket he deserved, having Farmer caught at Leg Slip by Gurjinder. Gurjinder was on for Jinasena who had pulled a muscle by moving and was having his formidable ham taped up by the medical staff at the time. Nikhil had another strong appeal for a catch a few balls later but the Umpire judged that it had not made contact with the bat, much to the bowler’s annoyance (for which he cordially apologized afterwards). Wombats moved on to 175 off 33 overs.
As the drizzle stopped, Lollback, Nikhil and Giles-Jones shared the next 3 overs which saw only a single boundary and some scurried ones and twos thanks in part to deft fielding from Aashiq and Lollback. The Colonel returned in the 36th over for a display of true menace and control. The unlucky recipient was Turner. The first ball rapped him on the pads playing back, the second was a testing Yorker, well dug out. Third, a play and miss and the fourth a hefty pull shot to the safest pair of hands in the team, Giles-Jones waiting gratefully at deep square leg. Turner out for 26. Andrews senior came to the crease and was roundly praised for his stylish head gear, before busying himself with some blocks, shaky at first but then more assured.
Giles-Jones kept the pressure on with some great pace bowling, the ball searing past the edge of the bat on a number of occasions before finally taking a nick on its way into Thurgate’s gloves. Gould out for 17 and replaced by Andrews junior. The Colonel took the last over and Andrews junior displayed good technique, showing the bowler the maker’s mark and running a quick single until Giles-Jones, keen to show everyone how he had done it before, took another catch at deep square leg. Andrews senior gone for 6. With one ball left to go the innings had seen everything except a moment of controversy. New batsman Walker promptly supplied this final piece of the jigsaw by being given out LBW first ball, a decision which he did not appear to agree with. In his favour he had got quite far forward but counting against him was the lack of a genuine shot and the fact that he was plum. Wombats out for 201 for the loss of 7 wickets.
The innings came to an end at 13:50 p.m., to recommence at 14:05, which gave time for a quick sandwich and for the drizzle to return.
|Beath||c. Bayne||b. Kale||52||79||4||1|
|Turner||c. Giles-Jones||b. Kamal||26||28||1||2|
|Farmer||c. Sub||b. Nikhil||4||8||0||0|
|Gould||c. Thurgate||b. Giles-Jones||17||21||1||0|
|R. Andrews||c. Giles-Jones||b. Kamal||6||14||0||0|
|B. Andrews||not out||1||3||0||0|
|Extras||1nb 17w 1b 3lb||22|
|Total||For 7||201||(40 overs)|
Bayne and Aashiq marched out to face the Wombats attack as the drizzle intensified and the cloud cover started showing smudges of a more ominous hue. The foothills were now completely ensconced in a fluffy mass and it appeared as if the game were being played on a perfectly flat, endless plain. Walker and Gould shared the first 5 overs with some tidy bowling. Bayne was content to work the ball round to leg on a few occasions while Aashiq looked to get forward more and played a couple of tasty looking drives.
During these overs, talk in the scorers tent turned to the meaning of names. “Aashiq” it was revealed, means “lover”. “Varun” (Sancheti) , as was soon to be proved, is the god of rain. Hearing his name called, the aforementioned deity decided to turn up, in a generous mood and began showering favours on all and sundry.
In the 6th over Gould trapped Bayne LBW. After returning to the tent, Bayne claimed a thin inside edge but admitted that it would have been impossible to hear above the din of the rain. Giles-Jones took the field as the downpour increased but was undone in the 9th by an expert catch by Beath in the slips, diving down low to his left. Koolhof claimed this valuable scalp for a bargain 2.
Prashant set to work troubling the scorers, quite literally, as he crashed a four straight into the sodden scoreboard. The scorers were having further trouble keeping the books dry and abandoned the table which was in danger of floating off.
The 10th over was the last of the day. Aashiq was caught behind with the bat flying out of his hands at the same time. Gone for an entertaining 18. At 14:47 the Umpires felt enough was enough and the drenched players left the field as the rain continued to pour. During the 10 minute hiatus, Jinasena’s spirits could not be dampened and he took up a broom to show off his range of attacking shots. He succeeded only in leaving your reporter’s dripping whites spattered with polka dots of mud.
The rain eased off giving both Wombat and Shark the chance to clear some of the standing water off the pitch. No sooner had some progress been made than the next deluge began. Everyone agreed that the elements had won the day and the game was announced halted due to rain.
It was a shame as the match was a close contest between two sides that both had the whiff of victory in their noses. Many thanks to the Wombats for the game and to Graeme Gardiner for his excellent umpiring. Let us hope we meet again soon in brighter times.topodпродвижениеразработка оптимизация продвижение сайтасниффер сети androidчехлы для iphone 5схочу взять деньги в кредит срочноmaquinas de casino gratis las mas nuevasescort womencasino oyunlar? indirSex and the city free onlinealtezza турполотенцесушители итальянские