Japan Cup National Finals
Oct 11 -13, by Kris Bayne
A gigantic typhoon crawling its way up the Japanese Archipelago did not stop the 2014 Japan Cup. Though very confident and with a massive turnout of players we were not able to reach the final. A 3-3 record over the three-day weekend saw us finish in third place. Here are short reports for the some games.
Sharks vs Paddy Foley’s
We did not start well. Due to a variety of mix-ups and traffic delays we went into the game a little distracted, and you can’t do that against Paddy Foley’s. We were sent in and after only 6 overs three of our best batsmen were back in the hutch with only 31 on the board. (I might mention that this team boasted every player that had ever made a century in Shark colours – Nick, Dhugal, Prashant, Dave and Chris Thurgate. Not bad!) Dhugal (53 n.o) with Karthik and Chris righted us somewhat, but we were always struggling to set a big enough score against a big-hitting team like Paddy’s. A lot of wickets were self-inflicted and we had to make do with 122.
In the field Adit snapped up one opener before he had to leave the field unwell, and main danger man, Chula, was removed by a fine catch by Prashant on the deep long off boundary. But we just couldn’t make that next break that would see us pressure the lesser batsmen. In the end Paddy’s strolled to 3-126 with overs to spare.
Sharks vs Japan Development XI
We followed up this loss with a poor performance in a friendly against JDXI, spearheaded by our own ‘Too Bl@@dy Fast’ Takady. On the baked brown carpet of Sano 2 our ‘tinkered’ batting had ordered five Freaking Ducks, mainly due to TFF Takady. At one point, all 36 runs in our score of 5-36 had all been walloped by Prashant, who seemed to be battling on a different plane let alone a different wicket. Some late sanity returned when the real top order cavalry arrived and got us to 125.
We should have been able to defend this but didn’t in a solidly lethargic effort in the field. The only positive thing we could take out of it was that we were beaten by the future of Japan cricket. Oh, and that it was not for points! The restrained ‘bake’ from Dave made some feel that having a cold beer afterwards was a crime against humanity.
Sharks vs Izakaya
After making ourselves beautiful it was off to our first stop of last year near Sano Station. Alas, they too put in a lethargic effort despite Yuki giving them a ‘bake’ – they had bugger all to bake. Well, at least Chiba Sharks will be in business next weekend! We retired to our hotel and there further discussion of the evening’s events shall end – but Nick did find his keys.
Sharks vs Hawks
We had two Sunday games that had to be won for us to make the semis. First up, the Hawks. Some inroads had been made into the Hawk confidence by Dan Mee himself revealing his Lollback phobia. And who could blame him? No-one wants the Ginger Typhoon as a nemesis? Sharks won the game, details are still sketchy but memories are being jogged as you read.
Sharks vs Tokai
We were a different team on Sunday and with Dave taking a spell from captaining, Dhugal urged us to take our form into the Tokai game. They boast a couple of former Uenomiya young-guns and none other that our favourite Wombat, Jarrad Shearer.
We batted, but not that convincingly. It was like Paddy’s revisited as the top order returned far too regularly. Nick, however, found his groove, dispatching the ball to all points of the compass and hitting yet another JCT20 half-century (n.o. 56) and some change. Dave (29) freshened up somewhat to also do some damage. We finished on 9-153.
With the ball Dhugal (3 for 5) picked up wickets over the course. A big plus was our application to lines. We only gave up a handful or less each game. Spell of the tournament was perhaps Sankar’s on Sunday, which combined with a great set field choked Tokai to a standstill. Fielding was of a high standard. Nick was the usual ball-magnet, no matter how high or fast the bugger was travelling. Chris dragged in a ripper in front of the non-existent 2nd slip. A couple of run-outs were had, the best by Takuma who, late on Sunday, swooped on a ball hit deep to fine leg and rifled in a return to Chris. Numerous older folk put themselves about.
Sharks vs Tochigi
Up against the eventual champs here. Sharks posted 146 were denied by the awesome hitting power of Hanif among others. More details to come as they surface.
Sharks vs Hawks again
And Sharks beat Hawks again to finish third. Takuma Yamashita took a rather brilliant 4 for 27!Details pending.
A big “Thanks!” to Adit for taking care of all the hotel bookings. It is not many cricket teams in Japan that can almost book out most of one floor of a hotel! Also thank you to the Shark WAGS – Yukiko Thurgate, Meg Creece and Kyoko Lollback for their enthusiasm, scoring, for putting up with some terrible language & aromas, for food & beverage ordering, and for beratting of izakaya managers. They say, ‘behind every strong man is a stronger woman’. So true! But I wouldn’t stand too close behind your men… especially after a day in the field and an evening in the pub.
Thank you to future Sharks, Ashley, Cameron, Jack and Oliver for being kids and for the classic commentary. To Dave, spent or unspent, and Dhugal, who captained us over the weekend – we’ll get ‘em next time!! And to all the Chiba Sharks – many years ago Sister Sledge sang a song called “We Are Family”. Well, we are not sisters – more like brothers. We can give and enjoy a good sledge. And we are a family!! Next Shark assignment – we get back our Chiba Cup!!