Dec, 2009 – Indoor Opens – With Success

We had a mixed year in the 2009 Winter League. We finished second on the ladder behind the ladies of Mach and had some very exciting games, with three wins by one run no less! Our only loss was to the damaging damsels. Our fins fell off and our luck fell away in the finals, however, and we finished 6th overall. We are looking to make amends in 2010. We will look to get a good, aggressive start in batting to put the pressure on, and especially sharpen up our running, to be alert and vocal in the field to support each other, and generally be sensible and coolheaded in all areas – we want the opposition to know the CHIBA SHARKS MEAN BUSINESS!
The 2010 Indoor Cricket Winter Season saw us off to a great start with two solid wins. Some old hands, new faces and a young Shark pup swam up to the Kashiwa nets in the driving rain for Week One of the comp. The very internationally-flavoured Chiba Sharks squad tonight was, in alphabetical order: Alexis, Anshul (debut), Anton, Dave (capt.), Kazu (welcome back!), Kris, Prashant and Gurjinger (debut). Nick also came along to support and add ‘colour comments’, along with little Jack Creece, who kept a wary eye on his Dad’s dubious team-mates. (Shark Fact File #391: In most shark species pups are born alive. When juvenile, their greatest threat is being eaten by a larger shark.)

Game One: Sharks vs YFK
The toss had us bowling, and with a last-minute team roster shuffle we fielded a team long in cricket experience but short of indoor cricket experience. One wouldn’t have guessed. YFK started off steadily but some good bowling and fielding were limiting them to runs ‘run’. A burst of wickets from bowlers and fielders cut them back appreciably, and then we kept them on the back foot with a steady loss of wickets. Everybody contributed something valuable when it counted. Some great fielding in close and I don’t think they score a 4 or 6, in fact. At the end of their 12 overs they managed 54. Kris took the ‘keeper gloves with Alexis doing some fine work also.
Our solid performance in the field left us with 55 to get. Kris opened with Dave at a rollicking but clinically calculated pace. Very few balls got past and both opened their shoulders to find the back net for maximum. Even more importantly they did not lose a wicket despite their sensible-aggressive ‘method in madness’ running. 4 overs for 48 runs. Alexis and Kazu followed up and kept the boot on the YFK throat with smart nudges and some lovely shots through the V from Alexis. They had their ‘moments’ but also gave YFK no heart. Indoor debutants Anton and Anshul were obviously nervous but sensibly erred on the side of caution, staying put when required and maintaining the winning score. An all-round good start to the season with everyone doing their bit. Chiba Sharks just too good for YFK: 79 – 54. Kris (25 runs 1/9) MVP.

‘Students of the game’ (a.k.a IIJS captain, Navin) had talked up Yamada Punchu as a team to watch out for. They are a combination of the 2009 MAX and Yellow Magic teams, fielding two Japanese National Team members as well a well-credentialed female player. But the Sharks LOVE a challenge! The eventual arrival of Chiba Sharks 2009 Cricketer of the Year, Prashant, obviously strengthen our line-up.

Game Two: Sharks vs Yamada Punchu
Dave won the toss and bowled, preferring to chase our prey. The two Yamada openers were players familiar to the Sharks from outdoor clashes, but that counted for little. We had them deep in the negative in the first over with some great fielding and bowling. They never really recovered from the stunning Shark attack. The pressure was superb and the Yamada pair, although like lightning over the carpet, had to work for every run. With good bowling, sharp fielding and a cat-like Prashant behind the stumps, no Yamada bat could feel comfortable. A few heavy hits to the back net to the middle pair saw Yamada drag themselves up onto the beach to a reasonable score. Female players are also a bit of a ‘wildcard’ under the rules we have and can do some major damage – not this brave lady as some smart captaincy saw her having to face Dave and Prashant in the last two overs. At the end of their 12 overs they managed 40. Excellent effort by the Sharks.
Kris again opened but with Prashant. De ja vu as both played smart to keep the scoreboard ticking and in this case the fielders ducking. Yamada opted to bowl their female player early and if they had not heard of Prashant, they have now. Wickets again were as rare as Halley’s Comet, and that also describes Prash’s last crashing drive, setting up two gymnastic efforts, one by Kris, to avoid decapitation, and another by a fielder, to ensure the continuation of his lineage. The team was well-set up at 36 after 4 overs. Dave and Gurjinder, another debuting for the Sharks, made sure Yamada did not get back into the game by continue our theme of ‘hard and smart’ cricket by nudging away good balls for ones or punishing the scoring balls. Last pair Alexis and Anshul went in with the Sharks having a handy lead in runs and eyeing a bonus point. They played well to maintain a steady scoring rate but would be the first to admit that their final over was one to forget. We missed our bonus point and the score actually flattered Yamada. Chiba Sharks overpowering Yamada: 58 – 40. Prashant (25 runs, 3/-5, and some slick glove work) MVP.

Great start to the competition. Two out of two, three Sharks got their first taste of indoor cricket, Kazu played his first cricket in ages and we sounded a warning to the competition.

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