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A Wonderful End to a Winless Season

Chiba Sharks 2nd XI vs British Embassy Friendly
YC&AC, Nov. 1 2020, By KB

An invite from the British Embassy gave the valiant 2s a final chance to get that elusive first win for 2020. And it also gave some new members a chance to play at iconic Yokohama Country and Athletic Club, which had hosted the first ever cricket game in Japan back in 1856.

KB had asked that the Sharks field as many of the 2s as we could, since British Embassy are quite the social team. We managed to get to nine 2s players, then to eleven with help and then back to ten, with Takady volunteering to take a lesser role on the day. Indeed, BE also had to look a bit wider for players and a few familiar faces were on deck as the report will show.

Sharks were:

Back: Santosh     Erika     Arthur     Mairaj     Takady
Front:  Deepak     Sunny     KB     Ajeet     Avnish

Little bit short of bowling but big on heart. Takady took the ‘keeper gloves for the day. KB duly lost the toss and we were asked to bowl. It had been agreed between the captains that the game would be:
17 overs
Maximum 9-ball overs
Bats retired at 25

Bowling
Anvish had a bit of a wayward start but on straightening up with a bit of bounce a top edge flew out to Mairaj who accepted the catch. Former Shark Kazi Murad under a BE lid was on his way for 2! KB took the 2nd over. His first ball to the opposite number, Kally, got a big shout for LBW. His second drew a leading edge and Avnish held it. New bat lasted two balls before being plumb and it was British Embassy 3-7 after two overs!! (With that over completed KB had nailed 7-22 in his last five overs for the Sharks – just thought I’d slip that in there…). What a start! But wait! There’s more! Next over Avnish whizzed a couple past the edge before going right through the stumps and we were feeling quite please with ourselves to have Embassy 4-7. Some were not amused, however!

KB leaked a bit in the next couple but that comes with age. Vikram and Rising Star, Kabir, steadied the British ship. Arthur was greeting with due respect by the bats (helmets were called for) and Takady was enjoying a different perspective and teammates from behind the stumps! But at the other end it was Ajeet, released from his gloves and pads, who got our next breakthrough, trapping Kabir in front to make it 5-29.

It was not a position we are used to this season with ball in hand!! Vikram reined in his early aggression and with the new bat, Shizuka Miyaji, we faced two experienced campaigners. Friendlies are for trying different things so Mairaj and Sunny were given a chance with the ball. They showed some good signs. We were, though, giving up a lot of extras and more balls and the experienced batting pair found gaps and exploit to odd-shaped YCAC boundaries.


Vikram retired but Shizuka knows how to find runs and stick around. The return of Arthur and Avnish was a chance to get some pace on the deft touches and the score climbed into an uncomfortable zone for us. Anvish sneaked one though the batsman’s defence with a classic YCAC shooter to make it 6-86. A similar shooter from Arthur somehow missed the pads, stumps and Takady but took out the enormous helmet behind him for 5 penalty runs.
It wasn’t the first or last object, inanimate or animate, that Arthur managed to nail with less than favourable results despite his honourable intentions on Sunday…
The British Embassy 100 was rightly greeted with hoots of delight from the Embassy lads and the innings ended on 108, Ms. Miyaji on 23 n.o.

Batting

KB decided to go with our regular openers, Ajeet and Erika, to get us going, followed by our power hitters, Santosh and Arthur, then a shake up to give everyone in the 2s a crack at contributing to a win. KB and Takady would bring up the rear. 

Well, our openers had their best opening stand of the year. Ajeet started watchfully but cracked some beauties through point. Erika had had a torrid introduction to Div. 2 but had never flinched. She stuck at it today and while she collected some dots she absolutely hit the eyes out a sweep off Shizuka for one of her two boundaries. Ajeet retired on 26 and Erika was out hit wicket trying to force the pace. 1-50

This paired Santosh and Arthur and although overs were running out these two knew how to hit. They had been warned about Shizuka Miyaji, but Santosh’s wanting to get runs saw his downfall. At the other end the equally accurate spin of Kenji frustrated the promoted Mairaj and Sunny. 

Arthur was having none of it, peppering the onside field with lusty blows. His score card shows five singles. Every single single was smacked at great velocity straight to a fielder. (Picture: Arthur McNally Zhou accidently bumps into Great White Shark on his way to YCAC) It was not his day…

… nor the Sharks. After Arthur’s departure, Deepak and Avnish did not have the shots to break through tight bowling and well-set field. Sharks 6-74.

Well, we certainly had our raucous moments with the ball in our last two games, and at 5-29 we thought it might be our day. But well-batted by BE to recover and set a total – I think the three figures spooked us. Even so it was great to see the openers lay a solid foundation. Good bowling in the middle overs put an end to our chase. KB could have pushed Takady up the order with almost a guarantee of runs, but we wanted a win on the back of the 2nds players. We could have gone the whack and got him and Ajeet back in, but… nah.

A big thanks to the British Embassy for the invitation. We might even be able to make it a yearly fixture for the lower division players. Thanks to Vinay and Anton of YCAC who came to watch, but were quickly pressed into umpiring.

Mairaj had to rush off but all the other Sharks stayed and shared a beer/drink and a few French fries that Erika let us get near. And, wow, did we laugh. At how WE had a team 4-7 after it usually was US! How Arthur had a weekend from hell, figuratively and literally bumping into the wrong people at the wrong time. How our last over with the ball was like a Swan Lake ballet of dancing rhinoceros, culminating with Ajeet missing the stumps from one metre after the Flicx pitch tried to eat his feet. How we had such a good time!

And, we have to say ‘Sayonara’ to Deepak who is off to Australia.

Thanks, everyone, for your support and understanding. We did not win a game but we won a lot of friendship.