JCL Sharks vs Wombats, Sano 3, 22.4.12
By Kris Bayne & Anton Lloyd-Williams
Chiba Sharks took a fearful mauling at the paws of the Tokyo Wombats in our first game for the 2012 season at Sano 3, but not before a magnificent, last-man-out maiden Shark century from Dave Lollback. The match also had other moments of flashback, drama and intrigue, as one would expect from these encounters.
We escaped the expected showers but it was chilly throughout the day. The full team for this game was: Keiichi (c), Chris T (vc), Dave L, Prashant, Sushant, Charles, Nazrul, Anton, Murad, Kris B, Sumon, and Tommy (12th). There were a number of debuts also, with Sushant, Murad and Nazrul all playing their first full games for the Chiba Sharks, and it was also the debut of new Shark captain, Keiichi Warabi. Keiichi celebrated with a departure from previous captains by winning the toss – we batted.
Batting (Anton L-W)
With the gloom hanging low over the ground, Sushant and Dave padded up and sauntered off to the middle to open the Sharks account and bring a little sunshine into our lives. Sushant had looked a formidable presence in the nets during the Winter and early Spring and not just because he is a big chap – he plays with a measured swashbuckling style full of cuts and pulls. Hopes were high that he could bring this to bear on the Wombats opening bowlers; Beath and Hill. Not the fastest attack that we’ve ever seen but they more than made up for it with guile. Beath produced plenty of swing into Sushant who struggled to get out of his blocks. He had to fend a few off and play and miss at a few others for a maiden first over. At the other end, Dave looked to get his eye in blocking out Hill’s good line and length. Tense beginnings but safety first!
Sushant struck first blood from the bat with a neat cut through gully, Dave followed suit and some sensible early run building was underway. Sushant found the going a bit tough but patiently built up 1s and 2s while looking more and more comfortable against the danger balls. Dave quickly got his eye in though and feasted with relish on the medium pacers that were served up. He found the ropes with a booming drive through long on and then plundered Hill’s economy rate in the eighth over. Anything shortish or widish was spanked like a salariman in Gotanda and Dave took two 4s and a 6 off the over. With the scoreboard starting to wake up, so did the Sharks on the sidelines. Cheers turned to groans though as Sushant rode his luck once too often, poking one of Shackleford’s loopers through the air to mid off. One back in the hutch with the score on 40 after 9 overs – not bad going, as we’ve had matches when the tail is looking around for pads and gloves by then.
Enter into the fray Kris B! – back in the top order after a troublesome knee injury last season. Exit from the fray Kris B! misjudging a yorker that skittled his furniture eight balls later. He trudged off not best pleased as he’d done the hard bit getting himself more or less in. Better luck next time Kris. Lollback was content to punctuate the comings and goings with some more boundaries coming from pulls and cuts to the longest boundaries on the pitch as well as some easier looking punts down the pitch into the riverside foliage.Talk inevitably turned to what Dave was on. Viagra was one suggestion, 30 odd another.
Prashant was next up and here was a man looking to get runs. His last outing in the 2011 semi against Wyverns had not added to his yearly batting total so a more than usually pumped up punter marched to the middle and immediately set about the bowling with intent. He had a couple of sighters before dispatching Koolhof to the boundary with that air of contempt that Prashant watchers know and love. He and Dave milked a few more singles and boundaries and with the scoreboard rattling away furiously, the Sharks on the boundary settled in for a run-fest.
There was a bit of controversy when the Wombats thought they had Dave run out but the Square Leg umpire shook his head. It was probably a 50/50 said Dave afterwards. Sometimes you get ’em and sometimes you don’t. Regardless, Dave raised his bat to acknowledge his 50 coming off a glorious pull round leg. A catch went begging behind the bowler and all was well in Camp Shark. Oh no! Who invited Wombats spin maestro Rony to the party? Over the last couple of seasons he has developed a curious bowling style that results in dramtic leg-spin turn from balls delivered at a reasonable pace. Odd but brutally effective. The scoreboard required only minor attention as the batsmen found themselves adrift in a sea of leggies, wrong-uns, loopers and medium pacers all from the same arm. Prashant was the first to abandon ship with a mistimed cross bat jab at a teaser which Shearer pouched pretty neatly at first slip. Prashant’s wicket had been bought cheaply at just 12 runs and at 81/3 the wheels on the Sharks wagon were beginning to sound like they needed a drop of oil.
Who better to apply a drop than Chris T? Renowned throughout Christendom for his ability to score only in multiples of 4 and 6 (saves on shoe wear and tear you see) he made his now customary entrance by defending a rare Rony pie that should have gone for miles. He also found the spinner tricky to deal with and blocked, jabbed and wore a few before unleashing a beefy drive over mid on for a 4. Then, in most peculiar fashion, he set about running singles, full of the joys of Spring and even ON HIS OWN CALL ran a 2. Extraordinary scenes at the scorers table. No one could recall such an event. Some questioned whether it was even allowed. But run he did like a startled gazelle with the wind in his hair and the woosh of eagles wings in ……..No. Sod That. Dot 4 Dot 6 Dot 4. Chris T. almost holed out by middling one right into Shearer’s hands at mid off but it popped out again, to the relief of one, the disgust of the other and the amusement of everyone else. Ray was brought into the attack and Hill’s hands were safe enough to hold a skied Chris T. hoick not long after and he departed for an entertaining 25. Lollback, by this time, had quietly blasted himself into the upper 70s and the score up to 149.
Sumon came in and looked full of energy. He played himself in well with a Tendulkaresque cut which got poor value for just 2 runs and he then had to soak up some more Rony dot balls. Taking his chances with Ray, he swatted a late riser out to Beath at mid on who made no mistake with the formalities. In the meantime Dave carted a widish one over his shoulder for a maximum which sealed his maiden Sharks century. A wave of the bat to the boundary Sharks in full cheer was sufficient for Dave to express his joy. He had his own little celebration next shot when he nearly sent the ball swimming with yet another 6 down the ground.
Charles next in. He had claimed, during his traditional boundary lecture that he had added a new shot to his repertoire (of Überswat) which he would call the “Drive”. Eager to see this exciting new development in the modern game, the boundary Sharks felt a little robbed as Charles Überswatted the first two that he faced for singles. Now, even Charles will admit that his footwork will probably exclude him from performing in any up and coming Riverdance tour likely to hit our shores. Therefore, it was with a certain amount of incredulity that he found himself stumped third ball. He could have taken the decision to a higher court of appeal because it clearly implied he had moved his feet which we all know would never stand up before any judge. He took it with customary good grace though and will doubtless cause merry mayhem with THAT shot during the season to come. The scoreboard had not moved much and stood at 170 with 6 players pondering would should have been.
Next up was Anton – another one of the Sharks “one shot specialists”, in this case; the half-arsed drive. It was this shot though that kept his woodwork intact from a first ball late inswinging yorker courtesy of the pacy looking Ahmed. A couple of agricultural swipes failed to connect with the the short pitched follow ups and Anton settled into his role of watching Dave blast more boundaries and running quick 1s and 2s to ensure that the centurion kept most of the strike. A couple of slightly fuller-arsed drives and a dropped catch produced singles but Dave ensured Anton didn’t injure himself or anyone else by thoughtfully running him out in the 36 over with the score on 183.
Captain Keiichi took up the reins and was equally content to watch Dave loft a couple of enormous 6’s out of the middle as he realised he was running out of partners and overs. A tasty looking cut got Itchy off the mark and he looked to score quickly too, coming down the wicket to Hill. His booming drive caught nothing but air however and the alert stumper had whipped off the bails before the stroke had reached its zenith.
Nazrul came in for his first at bat, and after fending a couple off, looked to make a late impact. The only impact though was well North of the sweet spot and out to Koolhof at widish mid off. Naz trudged away, just 100 short of his maiden ton. Last man in was Murad, who never faced a ball but was witness to Dave’s glorious downfall – caught on the long off boundary attempting another 6. And so came to an end the awesome spectacle of 121 off 107 balls. An innings of patience, craft and raw power which counted for the best part of our final score of 206.
|S. Lumb||c. Koolhof||b. Shackleford||11||30||0||0|
|D. Lollback||c. Hitchman||b. Hill||121||107||13||4|
|K. Bayne||…||b. Koolhof||1||7||0||0|
|P. Kale||c. Shearer||b. Parvej||12||16||2||0|
|C. Thurgate||c. Hill||b. Ray||25||39||2||1|
|M. Haque||c. Beath||b. Ray||5||9||0||0|
|C. Steinhardt||st.||b. Ahmed||2||2||0||0|
|A. Lloyd-Williams||r.o. Beath||…||3||8||0||0|
|K. Warabi||st.||b. Hill||1||6||0||0|
|N. Shakh||c. Koolhof||b. Beath||0||2||0||0|
|M. Kazi||not out||…||0||0||0||0|
|Extras||…||nb5 w20 b1 lb1||…||…||…||…|
|Total||206||All Out||…||…||Overs 40|
Bowling and Fielding (Kris B)
Obviously we have Dave to thank for getting us anywhere near a defendable total, but even with 206 on the board we would have to work to get past the Wombat top three. If we didn’t, they might make us pay… Our bowling attack was a bit of an unknown quantity. We were without no less than five front-line quick bowlers from last year, with Pat now back in Australia, StatNav chasing skirts in the U.K., and Vicky, Sagar, and Dave Rear unavailable today. Though yet to debut, big Chris Molloy was also unavailable. A variety of bowlers of lesser kph would have to share the load.
Murad and Keiichi took the opening spell and with a few wides here and there and bowling a little short we probably gave up the psychological advantage to them as well as runs. As a fielding unit we went into our shells a bit, it being too quiet and some grass gazing. The experienced Wombat batsmen were also keen to identify the areas in the field where the arms were a tad under-done.
The brakes were applied somewhat when Dave L and Prashant took the first change. Dave continued his stellar form for the day by sending down a maiden first up. Unfortunately, two high full tosses in Prashant’s second over had him banished by Umpire Miyaji and we were one main bowler down. By the 10th over 72 had been wiped off and we needed a wicket desperately. Sumon joined Dave in the attack and after a bit of stick should have had a wicket but Kris at slip could not hold onto a shoulder high catch to his left. Slips was a bit of a frustrating zone all innings as a series of edges went either wide or over by all batsmen off numerous bowlers.
The Wombats were 119 and very settled before our first breakthrough, but what an eventful one. Sushant was given the cherry and his first ball was shortish and headed down leg when the lefty Patmore had a swish, catching a wee bit of it. Chris, behind the stumps, launched himself both wide and low to his right. The terra-firma-bound ball found itself lodged firmly in the fluoro-green webbing of Chris’ new techno-coloured gloves. A magnificent reprise of his Grand Final catch against the Wombats! Wicket to Sushant with his first ball as a Shark!
The new pair, Shearer and Beath, were probably the most experienced in Japan and showed it by them continuing to accumulate runs, even though Sushant troubled both of them at times – a good and pleasing bowling debut.
Our second breakthrough came just on drinks when Keiichi encouraged Beath to loft one into the deep to find the safe hands of Sushant. At the twenty over drinks break Wombats were 2-152 and to say we needed wickets was an understatement, but there was a sense that two would put us into the soft Wombat underbelly… But it wasn’t to be as withsome luck and solid hitting the batsman continue to motor with some ease toward our total.
Keiichi was unlucky and relatively stingy in his second spell and Kris sent down a nice, tight penultimate over, however the Wombat advance into the 200s and match’s conclusion came quickly withsome boundaries and then rather anti-climatically with four wides down leg.
It was a bit of pasting. We missed the absent quicks but, in truth, both bowling attacks were quite similar. We at least had the chance to look at some new bowlers. Dave varied his pace extremely well and against lesser batsmen would have probably had a few scalps. Wides were a problem again and we should put time into line, length and crease use in the nets. In the field we were at times very lethargic and we need to work as a unit more, backing up and encouraging each other.
Some of us also need to work on our arms, with a bit more power and definitely technique – experienced batsmen like the Wombat top three notice and exploit such things. Mention must be made though, of Anton who put his body behind the ball all day and probably saved 12-13 runs. We must do more as individuals in this respect, especially on the small grounds we play on. And of course, appreciation to Tommy who turned out as 12th man and did a good job in the field. We’ll be seeing him swing his bat soon enough in the T20s.
So, our first outing of season 2012 was both memorable – for Dave’s glorious innings, some good individual efforts and a large number of debuts – and very forgettable in the overall result. It will be a tough season if we don’t sharpen up. We are probably well-placed for bowlers, but we need multiple batsmen to make an impact consistently AND for the tail to contribute and support. We also need to field with much more urgency, understanding especially that runs saved are as good as runs made.
But, season 2012 is here so let’s enjoy it with some solid wins!
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