JCL1 – Sharks vs MAX at Sano 3
Sat 14th June 2015 by Scott Musgrave (& a bit of Kris Bayne)
The June sun was beating down on Sano 3 as a determined Sharks team looked to keep a decent start to the season going with a win over Max. A balanced team was selected for the outing with Dhugal captaining the side and Vicky acting as side-kick. Unfortunately for the former, he lost the toss but was able to go ahead with what he had planned originally by sending the Sharks out to bat.
Karthik and the long-missed Prashant opened the innings for the Sharks with the instructions to stay out there as long as possible. However these instructions didn’t quite get processed properly as Prashant fell to a corker of a delivery by Hagihara not long after he had dispatched a very attractive pull-shot. With his early dismissal, the captain walked to the crease where he and the steady Karthik were able to steady the ship somewhat.
All this hard work was undone however as Karthik became the first victim to “I can’t believe my luck” Obata, who went on to nab Dhugal, Asala and Hassan in fairly quick succession. Battling to save the innings, Paul strode to the crease and put on a handy 16 off 35 with not too much support from the tail. Spin-king, Taniyama cleaned up 4 dismissals for 5 runs as the Sharks simply couldn’t deal with the spin and bounce of the diminutive prodigy.
It was the plucky spinner that ended the innings when Paul, going for a cover drive, edged it to the slips to be the last man out. Scott had hung around in support and had a few more done so the result may have been different. Only two batsmen in double run figures is not going to get us far. Dhugal shared equal top-scorer honours with extras on 21 which accounted for roughly half of the Sharks measly total of 81.
Determined not to go down without a fight, the spirited Victorian captain rallied his troops and went on the attack, eager to show Max what a determined Sharks team showed against the Wombats earlier this season. Paul and Vicky were handed the new ball for the first assault. Runs were hard to come by for the Max openers early on and the pressure told as Paul picked up the first wicket with an edge to Dhugal at slips. Credit goes to newly instated keeper, Asala for his diving effort, but the ball was destined to fly into the gallant skipper’s open mitts.
The Sharks, now smelling the proverbial, went in for the kill. Paul picked up another three wickets, at one point being on a hat-trick. A bowled, LBW attest to his great line and length this season. Sankar was again in the game with a catch off Paul. Japan cricket ‘journeyman’ Hanif is always a barrier whoever he plays for. It took a good plan and well-executed one from Vicky and a clutch catch in the deep by Scott to get his vital wicket just before drinks. At 5-24 and with many bowling options to come the team was upbeat.
Well knocking on the door of a possible upset, Dhugal refreshed the attack and Viv gave a powerful spell of bowling where he was very unlucky to not pick up a wicket. With chances drying up and momentum falling away from the Sharks, Scott, Dhugal and Hassan all picked up the leather and it was Mr. Cricket who made the break through. “The Wall” Kobayashi, was dismissed after a very straightforward catch fell to a fatigued Scott who was more than a little surprised the red sphere stayed caught. By that time, however, the damage had been done mainly by the ‘inventive’ No. 7, Singh. Word has it that he mowed and dodged his way through several lives of luck against the short ball in his match-winning innings. But Max were Singh-ing to victory as a boundary finished off the innings, ending any hope of another remarkable Shark come back.
The Sharks performed admirably in the field with special mentions going to Sumon, Hassan and Sankar for their energy. There was great chatter and a great competitive spirit on display from a side that needs to expect better in the future. Our batting let us down this game, but we went someway to redemption with a very good performance in the field and with the ball. Scott also put in another solid but understated all-round effort with bending ball, stoic bat and safe hands. Paul, yet again, with another set of top order JCL scalps on his belt and some gutsy runs in a bit of a lost cause had another great game. Betting house Ladbroke’s have him at short odds for some silverware.
But, hold you heads up high, Sharkies, we’ll get them next time!