By Anton Lloyd-Williams
‘Twas a dampish, coldish afternoon that saw a gaggle Sharks and wives assemble at Kaihin Makuhari for our annual extravaganza of merriment, back slapping and head shaking. Representing the Chiba Sharks were Mssrs. Chris T, Vicky, Dave L, Koji, Anton, Pat, Keiichi and new Shark Chris M. (Rasib, Naz, The Colonel and Nick turned up a bit later). Representing beauty and charm were Keiichi’s wife Maiko, Vicky’s wife Shweta and Nick’s wife Meg.
Chris T had decided to try something different this year and we made our way through the rain to Pizza Express, a swanky, modernist establishment owned by Murad who will hopefully be playing with us next year. After settling in, Chris opened proceedings with a warm welcome and a run down of the day’s events as far as he could predict them.
First up was Pat to deliver his Captains address which was like a decent miniskirt – short enough to keep everyone interested but long enough to cover the main subject matter (Pat’s joke). It had been a season of ups and downs. Awesome one week then awful the next. However, we had battled our way right into the Grand Final where, true to our seasons form, we had blown it. Not to worry, next year would bring more challenges, more great games and hopefully another Final. Pat wished the club the best of luck as he will only be able to follow our progress from Down Under where he takes up a new posting in March. Many thanks for all you’ve done for the club Pat, particularly for your Captaincy this year. Good Luck come March!
As the beers, vodka apples (don’t ask – it’s a Sardinian speciality apparently) and tempting Italian amuse-bouches began to circulate, next on the oche was Anton to run through our season, match by match, and also to give out the Man of the Match Awards. It had been one of our busiest seasons on record with a total of 13 matches played. For all but one match we had turned out a full XI and on most occasions had the luxury of 12th Man. Here is the full match rundown as delivered on the day;
Our first 2 JCL Games against the Wyverns on Apr 2nd and Wombats on Apr 10th were cancelled in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Match 1 – May 7th, Japan Cup vs Paddy Foleys at Sano
We lost in a match shortened to 17 overs due to rain.
Paddys – 184 / 1 after 17 overs
Sharks – we tried pretty hard but came up short at 144 / 7 after 17 overs
Best Fielder – Anton for the only catch of the innings c&b
3rd – Dave Lollback – 27 runs
2nd – Chris T – an entertaining 25 runs (3x4s & 2x6s)
MOM – Navin – a dogged 35 runs (5 x4s & 1×6)
Match 2 – May 7th, Japan Cup vs Max at Sano
We Lost again.
Sharks – 134/8 after 20 overs which we thought might be enough
Max – had other ideas and blasted 135 for 8 in the 20th over
Best Fielder – Dave Rear – 3 catches
3rd – Keiichi – opening stand of 22 runs
2nd – Chris T – 21 runs off 10 (3 x 6s)
MOM – Dave Rear (2 wkts & 3 catches)
Match 3 – May 14th, JCL vs Adore at Fuji
Our 1st JCL Match and we lost with 10 men.
Sharks – a pretty abject display – just 85 for 9 (ao) after 20 overs
Adore – reached their target in the 21st over for the loss of 2 wickets
Best Fielder – Vicky – stunning 1 handed catch in in the gully
3rd – Sayeed – punchy 14 runs
2nd – Vicky – luckless bowling but great catch
MOM – Keiichi – top scored with 18 runs & 2 wkts
Match 4 – June 4th, Japan Cup vs Sano at Sano
StatNav played as 12th man. We lost quite badly – Insane in Sano was the headline here
Sano – 175 for 8 after 20 overs
Sharks – a revolving door of batsmen produced 63 all out after 16 overs
BF – Rasib – wicket keeping
3rd – Dave Rear – 2 wkts
2nd – Rasib – 8 runs & boundless enthusiasm
MOM – Sumon – 28 runs & 2 wkts
Our JCL match against Paddy Foleys on June 12th was canceled due to flooded pitch
Match 5 – June 25th, JCL vs Sano at Sano
Anton played 12th Man in our first win of the season. This game was
the one where Sagar knackered his hand and was taken to hospital by
Sharks – 253 for 8 after 40 overs
Sano – looked good for a while but could only muster 210 all out in the 34th over.
Best Fielder – Rasib – fine stumping
3rd – StatNav – 28 runs as opener
2nd – Prashant – 65 runs – filled his boots after overcoming the spinners
MOM – Dave Lollback – 66 runs & 3 wkts – a typically stoical Lollback innings
Our Japan Cup match against Paddy Foleys on July 2nd was canceled as Paddy’s couldn’t get a team together and forfeited to us.
Match 6 – July 25th, JCL vs Paddy Foleys at Fuji
We contrived to lose this match which was restricted to 33 overs after oppostion arrived late.
Paddy Foley’s – 124 all out after 25 overs
Sharks – 106 all out after 26 overs
BF – Keiichi – Sharp catch at mid on
3rd- StatNav – 3 wkts – was on a hat-trick
2nd – Dave Lollback – 4wkts
MOM – Prashant – 2nd consecutive half century – 50 n.o.
Our JCL match against Wombats on July 31st was canceled due to rain
Match 7 – Aug 6th, Japan Cup vs Max at Sano
Dave Lollback played 12th Man and we won a match notable for
it being our first match in our new kit & Chris T’s trousers falling down.
Sharks – 122 for 9 after 20 overs
Max – 117 for 7 after 20 overs after Pat caught the last ball on the boundary.
Best Fielder – Shared by Pat, Charles and … Navin (not a typo)
3rd – Pa t- 3wkts and vital catch
2nd – Sumon – 22 runs
MOM- Vicky – 24 runs & 1 wkt
Match 8 – Aug 6th, Japan Cup vs Sano at Sano
Pat played 12th man and we won again.
Sano – 111/8 after 20 overs
Sharks – 122/3 after 15 overs
Best Fielder – Koji – all round fielding
3rd – Sumon – 2wkts & 2 catches
2nd – Charles – incendiary 29 runs
MOM – Dave Lollback – 62 n.o. (3 x 4s & 5 x 6s)
Our JCL match against Wyverns on August 21st was canceled due to rain
Match 9 – Aug 28th, JCL vs Adore at Adore
We won this one, avenging our sloppy defeat earlier on.
Adore – 92 all out after 32 overs – Vicky in awesome form
Sharks – 93 for 5 after 25 overs
Best Fielder – Chris T – reflex catch at very silly mid off
3rd – Navin – 2 wkts
2nd – Dave Lollback – 43 n.o.
MOM – Vicky – 5 for 18
The Chiba Cup match against Uni XI on Sept 23rd was postponed so that it could be played on an even worse day.
Match 10 – Sep 10th, JCL vs Sano at Sano
Koji played 12th man but we lost on a roasting hot day.
Sano – 258 all out off 39 overs
Sharks – 139 all out off 27 overs
Best Fielder – Shared by Sagar & Sayeed
3rd – Vicky – 2 wkts & 2 r.o.s
2nd – Dave Lollback – 2 wkts
MOM – Pat – 53 runs out retired (overcooked)
Match 11 – Oct 1st, JCL Semi vs Wyverns at Fuji
Anton played 12th man in our match of the season.
We won somehow.
Wyverns 85 all out after 28 overs – Vicky on fire!!
Sharks – 86 for 8 after 26 overs – Vicky still on fire!!
Best Fielder – Vicky – 2 catches
3rd – Pat – 3 for 3
2nd – Sagar – Chino’s wkt & 8 n.o.
MOM – Vicky – Hat-trick & winning 6er
Vicky was presented with his mounted hat-trick ball in honour of his feat.
Match 12 – Oct 15th, Chiba Cup vs Uni XI at Hasunuma Oval
We won although it was a miracle the game was played at all.
Sharks – 161 for 8 after 20 overs
Uni XI – 105 for 9 after 20 overs
Best Fielder – Rockey – stunning catch low down at extra cover
3rd – Vicky – 35 runs off 16
2nd – Kris – 23 runs & 2 wkts – rolling back the years eh Kris?!
MOM – Anton – 20 runs & 1 wkt
Match 13 – Oct 30th, JCL Grand Final vs Sano at Sano
Both Kris and Tommy came as 12th man. We lost. Annoyingly too.
Sharks – 108 all out after 35 overs
Sano – 112 for 2 after 25 overs
Best Fielder – Keiichi – expert run out
3rd – Pat – bowled well for no reward
2nd – Vicky – 14 runs & 1 wkt
MOM – Dave Lollback – 50 n.o. – carried his bat
And thus ended our topsy turvy season. Congratulations to all the winners, who did their club and themselves proud. The highlights were without doubt Vicky’s stunning hat-trick (the first ever in Sharks history) and Dave L’s gritty half ton n.o. in the final but everyone had their moment of greatness at some point or another.
At this juncture we took a little sojourn for pasta, pizza and a few glasses of uron cassis (a Venetian delicacy no doubt) before Chris T launched into the highlight of the Ceremony – The Individual Awards for 2011. Just a quick rundown of the Awards on offer and how they are chosen:
Best Fielder – decided by Best Fielder points given by Sharks players during the season.
Best Bowler – decided by number of wickets taken during the season.
Best Batsman – decided by number of runs made during the season.
Best 1st Year Player – awarded to the 1st Year player with the most Best Player points.
Most Improved Player – decided by the Selectors and the Skills Advisor.
Spirit of the Shark – decided by the Captain.
Cricketer of the Year – decided by Best Player points given by Sharks players during the season.
We’ve seen a lot of quality fielding this year. Pat and Vicky’s catching, Charles’ and Koji’s endless energy, Tommy’s deftness and Rasib’s noisy enthusiasm. One player picked up Best Fielder points in almost every game he played for catches, run outs and generally being in the right place at the right time. The 2011 Best Fielder award goes to Keiichi Warabi.
The Sharks pride themselves on the quality of their bowling which came up with the goods this term too, sometimes in spectacular fashion. New Shark Dave Rear started off in great form before injury cut short his season, StatNav had some great spells but it was up to our regular top 3 to lead the attack. Pat looked good throughout the season and took 12 wickets with best figures of 3 / 3. Dave L often struck at vital times and turned in 14 wickets with best figures of 20 / 4. However, the red ball belonged to one player this season who bowled with menace, cunning and genuine pace. With 16 wickets to his name, including a devastating hat-trick and best figures of 18 / 5 the 2011 Best Bowler is Varun Sancheti.
It’s fair to say that we’ve struggled with the bat this season and it is an area we need to strengthen. That said, we saw a fair few solid performances and several players managed to score regularly. Prashant blasted 115 runs including back to back 50’s. Vicky applied himself well with an improving range of drives to end up with 141 runs. However, whenever we looked for runs we looked for a Ginger Typhoon who more often than not obliged. With 289 runs including 3 50’s, the 2011 Best Batsman is Dave Lollback.
Best First Year Player
This year we have welcomed Charles, Nazrul, Sagar, Rasib, Tommy, Richie and Dave R to the Sharks ranks and they’ve done a great job improving their skills and adding to the strength and spirit of the squad. We were also lucky enough to pick up a player of proven quality who has added to all facets of the team, not least, the wardrobe. Chosen by his team mates, the 2011 Best First Year Player is Keiichi Warabi.
Most Improved Player
A new award to acknowledge the efforts of our up and coming players who build their skills in practice sessions as well as in matches. Tommy improves every time we see him, Koji can now unleash a cracking drive and even Anton has learned to bat a bit. Mention must also go to Vicky; from being one of the Sharks best bowlers he has become one of the best bowlers in the whole League. There’s one player though who joined this year, full of potential and wides, and has grown over the season into an effective frontline bowler. The 2011 Most Improved Player is Sagar Waghunde.
Spirit of the Shark
So much time and effort goes on behind the scenes to keep our club healthy and moving forward that to fully document these activities would require a separate report. Koji has worked wonders as Treasurer, Kris has been busy as Secretary, Taka and Chris put in weeks of work to get the Chiba Cup on and Dave Lollback has pulled everything together as Manager. The results of these efforts often find themselves on the website and it is for the running of this and his efforts in the Management Committee that the 2011 Spirit of the Shark award is gratefully accepted by Anton Lloyd-Williams.
Cricketer of the Year
An exciting race for the top award this year as our two stand out players were neck and neck on points throughout the season. Indeed, going into the Final, there was just one point separating them. In 3rd place though, was Navin who has matured as both a bowler and a batsman this season and scored points in every match he played. In second place, by a whisker, was bowling ace Vicky whose exploits this season are well documented above. This means that the 2011 Cricketer of the Year is Dave Lollback. Congratulations Dave on a cracking season with both bat and ball and here’s hoping that you can repeat the feat next year.
As the nomihodai started to run out of time so the beers were ordered by the cartload and Dave L. gave his Managers address, thanking those who work behind the scenes for the club and reminding the team that we have a Winter League campaign to look forward to beginning in December. Chris T wrapped up proceedings and Murad was given a rousing cheer for his hospitality.
We packed up and moved out into the chilly late afternoon dusk where it was blowing an absolute gale. This necessitated a swift dive into a local Spanish eatery for a few more beers, nibbles and ludicrously coloured cocktails. Some of the team then carried on to the izakaya upstairs where….all hell broke loose! It was mid morning Sunday before everyone was accounted for but it is pleasing to report that everyone got home safely, both bodily and morally intact and will never drink again.
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