JCL Div. 1 – Chiba Sharks vs Sano
Sano 3, 13 April 2013 – By Kris Bayne
Chiba Sharks have seen a lot of changes in the club in the off-season: we realised our goal of a 2nd XI, strengthened our ties with junior teams and welcomed a large number of new and exciting members. Our JCL season finally got underway after the 2nd XI washout with our 1st XI taking on Sano at Sano 3. We celebrated with a big win – a great way to get going.
Snow-capped mountains could still be seen from Sano 3 before the hazy set in, and the stiff, persistent wind had a chill to it through the day. But skies were cloudless and considering what a hell-hole Tatebayashi can be, it was a great day to open the season. A new-look Sharks took the field, led out by our new captain, Varun ‘Vicky’ Sancheti, and with a number of JCL debutants. Joining Vicky were established members:
Dave L, Prashant, Sayeed, Sagar, Sumon, Charles and Chris M
and we welcomed three debutants:
Adit, Scott & Awal
The team was a veritable human bowling machine!
Our opponent, Sano, are the reigning JCL Div. 1 Champion. Today, however, they were without a couple of veterans, fielded only ten (4 of whom were named Miyaji) including some plucky novices. Still, we don’t select their team and we can only play who shows up. They got a hiding. Vicky start off positively by winning the toss and we batted.
Chiba Sharks 6 for 238 in 40 overs
Having seen some of our worst, today was one of the best batting performances for some time, not only in terms of runs, which was solid, but in how they were compiled and by whom. The Sano attack, despite missing some depth, often brings out the lemming in us. Though a couple of players fell cheaply and will be better for the experience, the overall approach to batting was very good. Among the usual hard-hitting on the small grounds a lot of singles were worked and good twos taken.
Individual innings were built and we looked better for it. Some more notable performances were Dave opening with flexible Chris M (promoted 10 slots). Dave eased into it as usual and unfortunately got out after a solid start. Prashant was in ominous form already and unfortunately fell in sight of very well-deserved century. Charles showed clear signs of batting maturity, leaving when necessary but still piercing the on-side field for 4s to finish unbeaten. Adit made a good fist of his only batting over. And speaking of maturity, we saw a great captain’s debut knock from Vicky. He and Prashant combined for a terrific partnership of 132, with both playing themselves in, seeing off the tricky Mr & Mrs Miyaji combo, and devastating the lesser bowlers. Not so many 4s considering those two players, but some big 6s including back-to-back from Vicky, the second going well beyond its requirements. He was probably a bit stiff to be out LBW. Overall a very well-paced innings as can be seen by balls faced and if we can share the scoring more and get some mileage out of the tail then we will be in for a good season.
|Dave L||Caught & Bowled||1/-||25||21|
Sano 9 (all out) for 63 in 19 overs
A solid base of runs was a good start, but the ace up our sleeve was our bowling attack – basically everyone without oven gloves on. The fact that Dave L, Prash and Chris M did not get a bowl says something. Granted Sano were light on but no batter, experienced or otherwise, was comfortable. They were either probing unsuccessfully on the front foot, on the back foot or on their way back. While the rout was started by a wonderful piece of fielding (more later) and supported well during the innings, the bowlers ended up with a combined five wickets LBW or bowled. Wides, our Achilles Heel, were fewer, and if they did come, they did not arrive in tour groups as is usual. The fact that each new bowler made an almost immediate impact was the key. Everyone start right on the spot and the batters had to basically survive, only to then face a new menace. Everyone was good. Scott was unlucky to see genuine nicks go wide or over slips. Awal had batters dancing with his length and yorkers. Adit continually put it past the edge. Sagar tip-toed his way to both maidens and wickets. Sumon got his wicket almost immediately and remained almost unhittable. And to finish off a good day, Captain Vicky ended up with one for none. I think a full-strength Sano side would only ensured we waited a bit longer to celebrate a good win. Some teams are going to have a hard time of it this year.
While we were not tested so much with a long hot day it the field (unlike last year) one reason was because we were good in what we did today. It started third ball when a shot cut off by Adit was gathered and directly introduced to the stumps, sending the stunned opener Naeem on his way. Brilliant individual stuff from Adit! With the bowlers all giving the batters no time to settle the field was quickly onto anything. Dave L was on the end of Awal’s first wicket, taking a nice sharp catch at his customary mid-off. Scott’s early run squeeze paid off when Sumon swooped and delivered back to Dave L for a second run-out. And Awal at point took an easy catch off a very stringy Sagar to remove the stubborn Sugiura. We were unlucky with edges behind the wicket and there were a few of them. With the other five wickets going directly to bowlers it was a relatively easy day in the field, but there was also good pressure and very supportive talk.
All-round, a great day of cricket. Big thank you to Alex Koolhoff of the Wombats for his umpiring. Vicky opened his captaincy by winning the toss, compiling 68 and taking 1 for zip. The opposition could have been stronger but we have nevertheless smashed the reigning JCL Champions and did so to get a bonus point. Some key players have started today and in our friendly with strong performances and some new players have announced themselves to cricket in Japan. Hard to pick MOM!
Stick to basics, play sensibly and support each other and we will have a great season. Let’s have a wonderful 2013 for BOTH Sharks teams.
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