Sharks vs Keio Uni Knights, Sano 3 19/05/12
By Anton Lloyd-Williams
Having received a D- at Sano University for Term 1, we had about half an hour to hightail it upstream to Sano 3 for Term 2 and a clash against Keio Uni Knights, a pretty raw but ready bunch of young Japanese players with a few well known names on their roster. The sunshine was starting to take effect and the heady stench of sweat, sun block, stale fags and roast skin in Kris car reminded one of a flight from Majorca back to Heathrow in the late summer.
Kris B’s subsequent departure meant that Dave L came back into the fold and took up the Captaincy. He won the toss and elected to bat. Hopefully we had learned our lessons from the earlier match and could get the scoreboard moving from the get go. Dave was also keen to make sure that those players who hadn’t yet had a chance to bat should get first nod and so the honour fell to Ruman to partner Dave out to the middle to open the innings.
It was an odd sight to see them walking out together, almost as if the diminutive Bangladeshi spinner was walking 20 paces ahead. They had a plan though; leave the finesse to Ruman and let Dave do the muscle work.
The Keio opening bowlers interpretation of legal bowling actions was new and exciting and given the number of illegal deliveries we half expected the DEA to turn up with a warrant. However, it only took Dave a few balls to get the measure of them before thumping the first of many 4s across the carpet to long off. Ruman then settled in to series of dabs and jabs calling Dave through for singles to the danger end, requiring the latter to run with a gusto that didn’t look altogether comfortable. Ruman’s running would be better described as a fast walk but he was not aided by his pads which were digging into his ribs.
So the pattern continued – Dave hoisted out a couple of booming hooks to the deep square leg boundary obliging the Keio skipper to place a man there. It only served to give this fellow a better view of the next ball describing a perfect arc into the flora and fauna that populates the river’s edge at long on. Ruman, meanwhile, soaked up the wides, jabbed and kept his partner on his toes with alert calls for byes. Ruman’s plucky innings came to an end in the 5th over when he was smartly caught behind by Suzuki, sweeping over his shoulder. He returned to the hutch with 3 to his name but many more in wides and byes diligently earned. Five overs gone and 46 on the non-existent scoreboard.
Prashant strutted in and he could smell blood. A dormant pitch. A demoralized attack. A piece of wood in his hand. A flat track bully if ever there was one. Given his first innings of the day at Sano1, he required just a couple of sighters before flat batting a widish Watanabe loosener straight down the ground for 4. Dave offered the bowlers no respite either with a succession of withering shots that left Keio shell shocked. Three more 4s and two 6s interspersed with some comfortable singles left the opposition wondering if they should have stuck with baseball instead. Nakano, the pick of the Keio bowlers, was belatedly called into the attack and with a long, languid run up delivered ball after ball on a good length which forced both batsmen to rein themselves in. He managed to keep them both honest for an over more before Dave and Prashant picked him and smashed him out of the park. Prashant was first with the biggest 6 of the day, back over the bowler’s head, reaching the middle of the car park. Tommy pondered how generous his car insurance was as it was parked within Prashant’s range.
Dave reached his half ton soon after, belting a 4 down to the now ragged looking long off foliage. The 100 came up in the 10th over. This fruitful partnership almost came to a typically Sharky end when poor calling lead to both batsmen running full pelt towards the river end stumps. Luckily, some miscued throwing and general panic enabled Dave to get back North. Now, if there’s one thing Dave can’t stomach it is poor calling (and tardiness and lack of effort and poor posture and weak handshakes and raw fish and heat and cold and tea etc etc ) Dave showed his displeasure by clouting a 6 that had the riverside rodents racing for cover.
The Sharks battering ram continued its monotonous carnage. The only thing blunter than the bowling was the sunburned scorer’s pencil and it was left up to the batsmen to engineer their own downfalls. Dave was first back. Having just blasted a screamer through the raised hands of mid off, the same fielder exacted revenge shortly after, snaffling a Lollback looper on the run to the wild delight of his teammates. He marched back having troubled the scorers for 63 in just 38 balls and setting a solid foundation of 140 for those padded up and waiting to bat out the remaining 6 overs.
Rockey in next for his Sharks debut. It lasted, as most Sharks debuts do, about 1 ball. Pakistani legends Tausif Ahmed, Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed will now tell their kids “Hey, even Rockey made a Golden on debut too you know!” – now, the back wall at Kashiwa will tell you that Rockey can bat. It was a dinked up drive to the covers that denied him the chance to show it this time though. Plenty more chances to come Rockey. Just be patient. Vicky took up the reins but his first job was to watch Prashant walk back just 2 shy of his second half century of the day. Looking to complete the formalities he miscued a drive to mid on and was not the happiest camper on return to a sizzling camp Shark.
Cometh the hour, cometh the Tommy!!! Mineyuki Tomiyama, who until two years ago had never even played cricket, walked out to the middle, a jumble of nerves, pads and unblemished willow. The Knights bowlers clearly sensed this and threw (literally) everything they had at him. Tommy started off with the odd nervous prod. The fielders circled like vultures. The ball on off peg. Tommy blocked. Blocked again. Then an edge! 4 runs down to the fine leg boundary. Tommy’s first runs for the Sharks!! As his teammates unfurled the bunting and the brass band burst into the Marseillaise, Tommy discovered where the middle of his bat was. The tenor boom of a freshly awakened sweet spot echoed across the ground as the field spread out again. Drives and hooks sent them scurrying on a damage limitation exercise.
Vicky valiantly took a back seat and didn’t hog the strike, instead showing the apprentice a series of textbook drives (most of which went to fielders unfortunately). Vicky, normally the cavalier of the Sharks’ tail, found himself caught in two minds between belting one or playing safe to stick around and support Tommy. His mind was made up for him by the death rattle of broken furniture behind him and he trudged back frustrated.
Another debutant in next, in the ever expanding shape of Chris Molloy, stylishly electing to bat in a dashing white sun hat. He was content to watch the Tommy swingathon at the other end for a bit but then calmly, nervelessly, Goweresquely scored off both balls that he faced, closing the Sharks innings at 174. Both walked back to their sun-baked compadres and lapped up the plaudits for a job well done.
|D. Lollback||c. Nagata||b. Nakano||63||38||7||4|
|R. Chaudhury||c. Suzuki||b. Tomita||3||15||0||0|
|P. Kale||c. Nakano||b. Matsunaga||48||29||4||3|
|S. Mehmood||c. Watanabe||b. Nakano||0||1||0||0|
|V. Sancheti||….||b. Matsunaga||5||13||1||0|
|M. Tomiyama||not out||…||10||21||1||0|
|C. Malloy||not out||….||3||2||0||0|
|Extras||…||nb1 w25 b11 lb5||…||…||…||…|
|Total||174||for 5||…||…||Overs 20|
A quick glug of warm water later and we found ourselves in the field looking to defend our pretty decent total. Skipper Dave reminded us all we had made a good start to the game but now we had to actually win it. Everyone would need to get themselves in the game. Charles would take the keeper’s gloves while Malloy and Vicky would lead the attack.
Keio openers Tomita and Matsushika gamely weathered the opening barrage showing that they wouldn’t be a pushover. Malloy couldn’t find the swing he was looking for but found plenty of thick edges which squirmed between fielders time and time again. The occasional jaffer outfoxed everyone apart from Charles behind the stumps but somehow the batsmen’s wickets stayed intact.
Vicky, quick and tight as usual, missed the nervously offered edge but kept the scoreboard in a coma. They were helped by good support from the field, particularly from Ruman, who must have run a marathon by the end of the match and by Rockey who was devilishly quick to snap up anything that came towards him. Only 16 on the board after 5 overs.
Prashant took over from Malloy and bowled with his usual menace, not allowing either batsman to settle in. More alert stopping from Charles and Tommy ruling the fine leg boundary rope meant that runs had to be earned hard and the score fitfully edged to 52 after 10 overs.
Still no breakthrough though so Dave brought Sumon into the attack. Not fancying Prashant’s pace much, the batsmen stuck into Sumon, swinging away with abandon as they tried to revive the scoreboard, so Murad was brought in to tighten things up. He also got clocked for 4 first ball but held his nerve to keep the batsmen playing shots they would have done better leaving. His patience paid off when Keio dangerman Tomita had a wild swing out to Sumon’s safe hands at widish mid wicket. It was an important wicket as Tomita was set and scoring off most balls he faced. His departure unlocked a revolving door for Keio Knights batsmen who came and went in the bowling storm that followed. New bat Shimogama didn’t hang around long. A ball dabbed back a yard or two up the pitch offered a cheeky run but Matsushika was in two minds, sending his partner back, but not before Charles had bolted up the pitch, like a greyhound pup, collected the ball and thrown down the stumps.
Shortly after, another Murad teaser had the ball pinging out to mid off. More confusion between the stumps gave Dave ample time to toss the ball back to Charles who delivered the final rites to the useful looking Matsushika. 3 wickets down in the 14th over with 98 on the board. With both openers now gone, a big soft Keio underbelly laid itself open for a rout. Dave reminded everyone that we’d have to be sharp and focused if we wanted to press home our advantage and everyone took heed, particularly Prashant who, minutes later, steamrolled Katori’s woodwork with a screamer through the gate.
Sumon’s trickery proved too much for Ito and he holed out to Murad in the covers. 5 back in the hutch with four overs to go. Dave was insistent we push all the way and look to bowl out the opposition and win the game on our own terms. Malloy returned to bowl up the hill and got some beauties to move away from a hypnotized Matsunaga. When he did get bat on ball it was straight down the pitch, sailing lazily a couple of feet off the deck. Anton moved swiftly from mid on to pouch a low catch on the fall and it was 6 down.
The intensity in the Sharks play was now palpable. “Smiling Death” Sancheti tore down the hill and bowled a beauty into Ouchi who could do little more than fend the ball back to its deliverer’s grasping hands. A fine caught and bowled, testament to the balance and stability of Vicky’s follow through.
We were closing in on victory but such things come at a cost and it was poor old Murad who paid the bill in full. Stretching to pluck a ball out of the sun, he got his hands on it but it shot through and hit him in the eye, opening up an inch long gash on his brow. Scarlet everywhere. Play was stopped as Murad was helped from the field and patched up by Ruman. A trip to the hospital would be needed though and the Sharks wish to express their appreciation to an unknown Keio chap (a true Knight in shining armour) and Alex Miyagi from Sano for their superb efforts in sorting it all out. Although shocked and in some pain, Murad waved off the attention and pointed the Sharks back to the field with orders to win the game. OK. 3 more wickets to get in 2 overs.
Something special would be needed here so why, oh why, did Dave throw the ball to Anton? Because he knows. He just knows. That’s why. Anton’s first ball would have had Harmison nodding his head in approval. It missed the pitch, on the off side though, and Charles did well to leap to his right to keep it in the ground. The second was judged wide, a bit harsh actually as the batsmen could have hit it if he’d moved across a few feet more and had a longer bat. He somehow reached the third though swatting it just short of an increasingly despairing Dave at mid on. However, the masterplan soon became apparent. Anton was just drawing the batsman out of his comfort zone into a land of confusion. So it was that Nagata was surprised by one that landed on the pitch, fluffed his lines and knocked the ball straight up. Charles made no mistake and the batsmen left shaking his head, clearly not used to this depth of skullduggery. The over was extended with enough wides to keep Charles busy and raise the possibility of poor light causing the end of play. In fact, some of the infield were quietly asking what time the last train left. Anton eventually bowled himself in and finished the over without much further incident (apart from a whopping 4) and the ball passed on to Rockey. 2 wickets to get in the final over.
In he came, a shuffling sort of run that disguised the skiddy pace of the deliveries. Singles were squirmed off the first two before he got one to lift slightly. The batsman swung and the ball flew straight to Vicky in the covers who made a difficult catch above his head look horribly easy. Shouts all round. Even Rockey smiled! One more to go, 3 balls left. Rockey in again, the ball pitched on middle, the batsman swiped, edged and Charles took a brilliant catch low down behind the stumps and it was good Knight! 123 all gone. This wrapped up an excellent personal display by Charles as stumper, proving that not only can he bat left or right handed, not only can he bowl left or right handed, he can now keep left or right handed too. And surely it was written in the stars that the knockout blow should be delivered by ….Rockey!!
What a great feeling! We’d set ourselves a tough target and pulled it off ruthlessly. Everyone had played a full part in this memorable victory. The Sharks dragged themselves off the field at 6 o’ clock, with the sun beginning to falter and the dusk song of flycatchers in the still warm air. This is why we get up at dawn on Saturdays. This is why we trudge off to far flung corners of the land. This is why we try (in vain) to beat Dave to the station toilets. This is why we play cricket.
Many thanks to Keio, who played a great game and never knew they were beaten, and also to Prashant for acting as Match Organizer for the day. Next up are current champions Sano CC at Sano. If we can take this determination, teamwork and skill into that game then we should do ourselves proud.раскруткараскруткапродвижениенакрутка лайков ask fm бесплатночехлы для айфон 6оформить кредитную карту в приватбанке онлайнonline casino real moneybusty independent escorts dubaibedava casino oyunlar? oynaOnline casino 700африка сафари турэлитные радиаторы отопления