Hello Sharks and supporters,
The 2017 Season is underway and is already shaping up to be a classic. The well-oiled Sharks machine has already shown its power and vigour and also reminded everyone on board that the wheels can fall off at any point. Here’s how things shaped up in the off-season and April.
On the Pitch…
The 1st XI made a swaggering start with a tidy demolition of Alpha Quashers before squeezing by MAX in a last wicket thriller that had batsmen asleep and barefoot Captains leaping around the outfield like spring hares.
The 2nd XI made a more modest start with a hard fought win over the perennially tricky Fuji Far East for surrendering their wickets a little too naively to a revamped and pumped up Paddy Foleys.
The Japan Cup side, under new T20 captain Navin, Looked to have done enough against MIB on the Flicx pitch at Sammu, getting over the magical 100 mark but got beaten by a couple of decent shots at the end. Not to worry. At least we are now become genuinely competitive in that competition.
Many thanks to our April umpires: KB and Terry for made their way up to Sano for the JCL2 washout between Paddys and Tigers. It’s a shame no one in Sano could have passed on some info about the sodden pitch before everyone arrived though. KB (again) and Sumon took care of FFE and Sano 2s at Sano 3 while Nav and Vicky oversaw the Falcons vs Rising Stars T20 at Sammu. Thanks again guys.
KB and CT also had the honour of umpiring the Japan Women’s match against a Hong Kong touring side on the 15th April. They’ll also be involved in some up and coming Women’s World Cup matches.
Off the pitch…
We are extremely pleased to announce that Dr. Wheatgrass will be joining us again this year as our Major Sponsor. Their support has already provided significant benefits to the club in the form of reduced fees, particularly for our younger players, bits and pieces of kit, 12th man support and improved training sessions. We look forward to continuing this progress together.
We had one of our most productive off-seasons in the nets at Akai Farm this year. Several well attended sessions saw batting generally improve under the watchful eye of CT, while the bowlers could get a full run up in and fielders could get a thorough workout. Dare I say, I’ve already noticed a few genuine improvements carried out of the Akai Farm nets onto the pitches of Sano and elsewhere.
Many thanks to Dhugal, Rui, Neel and KB for joining me in getting our early season report writing underway. Some great accounts of some equally great matches so far leave us looking forward to a literary feast again this year. Terry will be assigning reporters this year so please be ready to help out.
Ins and Outs…
The Sharks welcome new players Sanjeewa, Jayantha (“Jay”), Rubal’s brother Md Mohiuddin (“Rakib”) and Anand. Neel has made the step up from the My-Ys and we are pleased to have back prodigal Sharks Koji, Minami and Gaurav returning from a mixture of life abroad, university cramming and broken fingers.
Koji’s already back into the swing of things doing a great job as Personnel Officer, Minami is back in action with the Super 2s and Gaurav looks in impressive form with both leather and willow.
Over the off season we have had our regular turnover of players moving on to greater things. It’s au revoir to: Prashant who reports he has become a bit too busy with work, PG who has returned down under, as has Scott, while Ryo, Yu and Kurumi have also hung up their green caps. Many thanks for your service ladies and gents.
A warm welcome to JCL newbies Alpha Quashers Yokohama. You may know them as Alpha Q but they were asked to rename themselves for some reason… Although they took a pounding against our own 1st XI they added to Wombat worries by beating them in their reduced overs Japan Cup match. Despite the addition of a healthy number of new players the Wommies got knocked over for not much against Sano in their opener too.
Another new team is the Tokyo Falcons who will be playing in the East Kanto Japan Cup. I’ve heard that they were formed out of a schism within the Men In Blue set up but that’s probably just rumour. Anyway Falcons vs MIB will be a nice one to umpire…
Another East Kanto side, Tsukuba, were on the verge of folding after main man / captain / organizer Silva packed up and went back to Sri Lanka all of a sudden. Their Flicx pitch went with him by all accounts. They appear to have ridden the storm though and are under new management.
Under new captaincy are the Rising Stars. Sayeed bhai takes over there so expect a much more reserved, considered batting style from him now …maybe…
Paddy Foleys 2nd XI has undergone a bit of an overhaul. Main man Uddika has packed up and joined Sano 1st XI. He has been replaced at the helm by all round decent bloke and ex-Tigers 2nds man Chetak. He was a little miffed at playing so well for the T2s through the season but then being left out of the JCL2 Semis and Finals as the Tigers moved their 1st XI heavyweights into the side. I think we are all glad that the new rule changes no longer allow that. Meanwhile Paddy Foleys 1st XI registered their first win since 2015!!! with a demolition job of the Wyverns. The damage was done by their new hotshot player, Prashant Kale. Now, I’ve heard that name somewhere before…
The Women’s national team, featuring the Sharks own Madoka Shiraishi and ex-Sharks allrounder Kurumi Ota, will be in action over the Golden Week period in a T20 World Cup Qualifying competition up in Sano. Another ex-Shark, Regina Lilii will be captaining the Samoa side there.
CT reports that the Chiba Juniors are looking strong again this year. The My-Ys have teams in the national U-15 and U-19 competitions with first round matches in both to be played soon. They are always looking for volunteers to help at Akai Farm trainings (travel costs + small fee covered) or on match days.
4 Chiba Juniors were selected for Japan U-15 to play the Japan Women in a warm up match on the 23rd; Rihito Ishii, Yughanda Retharekar, Ashley Thurgate and Hamdan Siddique.
The Sharks ongoing campaign to reverse the low birthrate in Japan continues to bear fruit; Congratulations to Vicky, Sayeed (FSIJ), Higapon and Rubal who all welcomed new babies into the world in the off season.
The new Laws of Cricket book is to be released in October in the biggest rewrite since 2000. Chris T is frantically picking out some of the more relevant changes for us. Here’s a taster…
“Law 2.3. A substitute fielder is not allowed to bowl, wicketkeep or act as captain. The new rule says that they will be able to wicketkeep.”
I’m privy to some strange communications between the various teams and the various committees that run the game in Japan. So far this season, Men In Blue deserve the award for the most bizarre for requesting a Japan Cup match be rescheduled “due to an event celebration where we are calling movie actors to Tokyo for performances”.
The game was rescheduled. Work that one out!
That’s all for now Sharks. Best of luck in May.
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