May, 2009 – Fuji Duck Season Opens Early for Chiba Sharks

JCL – Sharks Vs Wyverns, 10/5/2009

Both the Sharks and the Wyverns fielded ‘new-look’ sides for their Fuji 1 clash. The Sharks were minus a number of key players and the Wyverns had had to find replacements for big off-season transfers. Brilliant day weather-wise, but that’s just about where it ended for the Chiba Sharks, however. We again fielded ten players for this game, excluding our captain/’keeper Chris, lain low with what was rumoured to be swine ‘flu, aka ‘Porky Pig’s revenge’. As a result, our ‘middle’ order became our top order and our ‘tail’ the middle. More on our ‘top’ order later. We still had to deal with bowling.

Team Vs Wyverns 2009.5.10

We felt like we were in with a chance here despite the absences – the ten blokes we fielded were keen to go and the bowling went deep. Nick captained for the day with Levi as his faithful deputy. In Chris’ absence Kris was ‘keeper. Some symmetry there, and this may have set some kind of world record for longest gap between deliveries received – around 30 years (last seen wearing the rubber oven mitts for the Sandringham 3rds in, oh, 1978 maybe?). Putting that in perspective, Tendulkar was five years old and only had three first class centuries to his credit, WSC had just started, and Dennis Lillee had three years to waiting before kicking Javed Miandad up the arse (pity). Back to sad reality… We won the toss and sent Wyverns in. The outfield was lush and given the rain over the week we felt it might be to our advantage. It would be hard to fault our bowling and fielding efforts. The first twenty overs saw Wyverns crawl to about 70-odd, the circumspect openers barely clearing the long grass and having trouble dealing with a very accurate bowling and fielding effort. No wickets fell, however, and a miss behind the stumps (hey, first in three decades!) suggested Kris might be drawing a pension the next time the gloves come around. The second half of the Wyvern innings got moving a bit with some boundary clearing shots but wickets also started to fall to the spin of Graphic (3) and new daddy (congrats) Dean (2). The fielding was as tight as we had seen this season and although the batsmen had to work for the runs, the Wyverns motored along at about 5 an over. By innings end the score was Wyverns Cricket Club 8 for 172 after 40 overs.

WyvernsCC innings
*+T Chino c & b b D Mossop 31
R Mason b D Mossop 33
H Sano c P Giles-Jones b M Adams 16
N Iqbal b L Thurlow 34
J Hanada b V Sancheti 14
S Nakamura c N Creece b M Adams 1
K Yanai lbw b M Adams 0
M Mori c V Sancheti b P Giles-Jones 11
H Matsuchika not out 6
S Nakano not out 2
Extras (b 5, lb 6, w 11, nb 2) 24
Total (8 wickets, 40 overs) 172

Bowling O M R Wkt
P Giles-Jones 8 0 28 1
L Thurlow 4 1 6 1
A Coovre 6 1 26 0
V Sancheti 5 0 13 1
M Adams 7 1 31 3
B Walters 3 0 20 0
D Mossop 4 0 21 2
N Jinasena 3 0 16 0

We felt this was a very good effort by us and a gettable target. Shark fact file #65: Things found inside shark stomachs include handbags, rolls of linoleum, cannon balls, whole live sea turtles, polar bear bits, and chip butties. Just like real sharks, Chiba Sharks are forever positive!

One relative ‘unknown’ for the Wyverns was a new Pakistani player, Norman Iqbal. He had impressed with the bat for a quick 30-odd. Seems that was his minor suite. In his 1651 classic, ‘Leviathan’, social commentator Thomas Hobbes (no relation to Jack) describes 17th Century British life as “nasty, brutish and short”. He could well have been predicting Norman’s bowling. Graphic was the first victim, out hooking. At the other end, the fickle finger of fate then did for Cap’n Nick. A big inside edge onto a well-forward pad echoed like gunfire off the lower slopes of Fuji-san. But the umpire deemed otherwise. A ‘surprised’ Nick fairly vibrated with indignation. He gave the umpire a stare like a rockful of iguanas. It was not dissent so much as a non-verbal assault on the walls of officialdom. Nonetheless, off he waddled. The seemingly innocuous Hanada also fixed up Varun to see us 3 for 0. A brief flurry of survival saw us go to 4-9 (Kris) and then 5-13 (a very nervous Navin), both to ‘Stormin’ Norman. We weren’t just in trouble: we were totally plucked.

As has been the case all year, Pat reminded defiant, here in the face of Norman’s conquest. Joined by Brett, they set about restoring some Shark pride, at least. Runs were more or less secondary to bloody-mindedness. The ever-lengthening outfield limited certain fours to one or two, but Pat and Brett were still there, placing a very high value on their wickets. Many Sharks should take note of that. Their 36-run partnership was finally broken when Brett went for a very gritty 4 – no disgrace there. With Pat going for 23, the rest of the innings of Dean (n.o.) Levi and Alexis mirrored the start. Diabolical bookends. Chiba Sharks, all out for 61 in 25 overs.

Chiba Sharks CC innings (target: 173 runs)
M Adams c T Chino b N Iqbal 0
*N Creece lbw b J Hanada 0
P Giles-Jones b M Mori 23
V Sancheti b J Hanada 0
+K Bayne c M Mori b N Iqbal 0
N Jinasena c M Mori b N Iqbal 2
B Walters c T Chino b M Mori 4
D Mossop not out 1
A Coovre lbw b M Mori 0
L Thurlow b M Mori 0
Extras (b 0, lb 6, w 23, nb 2) 31
Total (9 wickets, 25 overs) 61

FoW: 1-0 (M Adams), 2-0 (N Creece), 3-0 (V Sancheti), 4-9 (K Bayne), 5-13 (N Jinasena), 6-49 (B Walters), 7-56 (P Giles-Jones), 8-61 (A Coovre), 9-61 (L Thurlow).

Bowling O M R Wkt
N Iqbal 5 2 8 3
J Hanada 4 1 6 2
R Mason 6 0 17 0
S Nakano 5 0 10 0
M Mori 3 0 12 4
O Fujita 2 0 2 0

Our bowling and fielding still continues to be fairly tight. The spinners put their hands up today with 5 of the 8 wickets. Our field catching was good with Varun and Alexis judging hard chances well. Dean cut off many runs at backward point. But we have had two very forgettable batting performances in the last two games (‘friendly’ collapse was pretty horrid, too). It is hard to imagine repeating one as bad as today, though (six ducks – maybe we can get our photo taken crossing the road at the Imperial Palace). While someone has always stood up and made a score we need to support them as a batting team. Nick’s summary of our batting effort, while unprintable here as this report may be read by minors and nursing mothers, was fair. It was also physiologically and anatomically impossible, probably illegal, too, in certain American states.