Aug, 2013 – Big Game For Sharks As Tigers Tamed At Sano

Japan Cup South Kanto Final, Sano3, 17.08.13
By Anton Lloyd-Williams

There are several routes to any final and the path taken by the Sharks to the South Kanto Japan Cup Final had been a highly varied one. We’d scrambled over the line against the Keio Knights, beaten YCAC from the comfort of our own beds (by forfeit) and given the resurgent British Embassy a stylish thumping. The final though would see us face the same side who had blotted our scorebook with a fearsome mauling in July – the Indian Tigers.

Dave Lollback skippered the side and began his campaign by emailing all of the players a couple of days before the match to lay out our plan of attack and specify the role that each player would be expected to perform. This pre-emptive strike meant that the Sharks arrived at the ground focused on the task in hand and in confident mood. The Tigers were equally confident having knocked us out the park in several recent meetings and so the battle lines were drawn.

For the winner there would be a place in the October National Finals. For the loser; the pleasure of playing another game straight after, in the furnace of the afternoon, against a fresh and feisty Sano. The ground had been freshly mowed but this work was largely negated by the decision to leave the clippings in large rings around the square which did a great job of slowing down anything belted along the deck.

The Sharks turned out with Dave As skipper, Molloy, Anton, Chris T, Rui, Kris B, Sumon, Adit, Vicky, Mairaj and StatNav 2.0. Rui’s fellow My-Ys, Kentaro and Takuma also turned out as Twelfth Men.

Batting – Sharks: 8132 from 20 overs

Luckily, Dave won the toss and elected to bat. After a few swigs of Pocari, it was Anton and Molloy who walked out into the 37C heat to set about the Tigers attack. It was a stuttering start though. Tigers ace Ragesh found a taunting line and length from the get go and the only thing that Anton could get on the ball was his box. After a brief hiatus, with his dander now thoroughly riled, Anton decided to have a swing at his tormentor. He connected, but only as far as the hands of point. Gone for nought but at least he soaked up an over and a bit from the Tigers standout bowler who would finish the day on a tidy 3/8.

This brought the big hitting Chris T to the crease. He took a few sighters and then started unleashing some heavy blows that had the scoreboard rattling over busily. There was a lot of running though as the ball seldom travelled further than where it dropped. Molloy provided cultured and calm support from the other end with his now standard array of textbook drives. Everything seemed to be going well in Camp Shark. The Tigers were struggling with wides, their fielders were beginning to sag in the heat and the banter was clipped. Chris T, even sent a trademark gay dab down to the ropes to the delight of the scorers tent.

Such ordered contentment never lasts long though. With the outfield clogged by clippings, the best value was to be had over the top of the circle. Molloy took the aerial route once too often though and was caught just as he looked to be in.

Lollback strutted out to join his fellow veteran campaigner and soon found the middle of the bat. The tent was treated to a glorious display of cuts, heavy drives, a whopping pull and a sumptuous flick off the pads. These two took the Sharks to drinks at 10 overs with the score at a respectable 50 odd. It was a good platform to build from but its creation, in what was now getting up to 39C had sapped Chris T of most of his energy and all of his bodily fluids. He didn’t last much longer after drinks. Not wanting to run much more, he was looking for boundaries only. He got one more but then came up short and was caught deep for a crucial 31.


Next up was the Sharks leading bat, Sancheti. Vicky is always the man for these moments. He normally needs one ball to see which direction they are coming from and then opens his shoulders to send the ball back over the bowler and the ropes. Not this time though. He managed a trademark booming drive over long off but the heat had melted his mojo so he reigned himself in a bit, working the ball through the on side and running singles.

Dave still bet on himself to reach the boundary but discovered the man at long off could catch a ball and had to make way for Sumon. The Sharks in the hutch were eager to see how Sumon would fare. He is a ground stroke player and this was no place for ground strokes. Sumon showed his canny side though, soaked up the wides and carefully pushed the ball between fielders to sneak singles and doubles off almost every ball he faced. This infuriated the bowlers, exhausted the fielders and kept the Sharks wagon rolling on relentlessly.

The 100 came up in the 15th over and, with batsmen left in the wings, it was time to go for broke. Vicky puffed up his shoulders but was caught swinging at one too many. This brought Nav out, but only briefly, as he was undone trying to clip a ball that moved off the seam. His mangled leg stump pointed the way back. Adit went in, full of energy and was beaten by a few beauties before finding the bat and scrambling a single.

In the final over, Sumon’s excellent knock ended as his off stump perished to a quality ball and KB was run out going for a kamikaze single off the last ball. Good to see the Sharks hustling and fighting to the very end. The score of 8/132 was no more than a competitive total. A good par you might say. However, it was a total posted and a total that the Tigers would need to reach in order to progress. The Sharks were confident that if they applied pressure early then that total would look bigger and bigger to the chasing Tigers.

   Run  Ball  4  6
A. Lloyd-Williams caught b R Nair  0  8  0  0
C. Molloy caught b J James  12  20  1  0
C. Thurgate caught b R Nair  31  26  2  1
D. Lollback caught b P Pauly  23  14  3  1
V. Sancheti caught b P Pauly  23  28  1  0
M. Haque   b R Balasubramania  10  12  0  0
N. Jinasena   b R Balasubramania  0  1  0  0
A. Tallapragada not out    2  5  0  0
K. Bayne run out    1  1  0  0
R. Matsumura DNB          
Q. Mairaj DNB          
Extras (b 0, lb 0, w 30, nb 0) 30      
Total (8 wickets, 20 overs) 132      


Bowling – Tigers: 8103 from 20 over

Adit and Molloy were picked to lead the attack. Adit started from the river end and got plundered for a couple of Dharan doubles as his radar found its focus. Molloy was tighter from the other end and beat the edge of the experienced Abraham and sent some unplayable deliveries to the bemused looking batsmen.

Vicky switched with Adit and caused trouble from ball one. A thick outside edge went through point for 2 but the next one found a thinner piece of willow and was caught smartly behind the stumps. With the scoreboard lifeless, the Tigers veteran campaigner tried to liven things up by looking for a single that was never there. He was sent back and in his desperation to reach safety seemed to tear a muscle in his leg. He went down like a sack of spuds and had to be helped from the field, retired hurt. Get well soon Abraham!

The first real signs of concern began to show themselves on the Tigers faces. The bat began to swing and miss balls that should have been left alone. While Vicky and Dave kept the pressure on with the ball, the field was exemplary in getting to anything sharply and backing up the stumps. Mairaj had half the leg side covered and his door was firmly closed. Kentaro (on for an injured Nav) showed his pace and fearsome throwing skills by cutting off balls gone deep for no more than a two.

Dave followed Vicky’s cue, sending balls past the edge until one found enough of Sujith’s bat to deviate softly into Chris T’s gloves. With almost no wides given up and the dot balls spattering the scorebook the pressure was now really on the Tigers to start performing. With only 40 or so on the board after 10 overs they were in danger of being left behind. The pressure was on.

Pressure leads to wickets and the next one was Jimmi’s. Looking to smash his way out of the hole he teed off against Rui’s first ball. The ball arced out lazily to Molloy on the long off boundary. He steadied himself, half crouched and pouched the ball beautifully. A great catch and great wicket to take.

The wickets then fell in procession as the Tigers looked desperately to find a boundary that was protected by 10 hungry Sharks who could smell blood. Kris B and Kentaro got in each other’s way to pluck Balu’s edged hoick out of the sky at point but Kris held onto it well. Anilkumar came marching down the wicket looking to take the fight to the Sharks. Chris T stumped him pretty smartly but to his chagrin the Square Leg Umpire had other ideas. His extra life didn’t last him long though. Again, sauntering down the wicket he swung powerfully against Rui. The ball looked to be sailing over the bowler’s head but a hand went up. The ball stopped. Silence. Then a roar. Disbelief all round at one of the sharpest caught and bowled dismissals we are ever likely to see. That really knocked the stuffing out of the Tigers middle order.

Kris B took another good catch at shortish point while Vicky terrorized the tail with pace and venom that brought another wicket courtesy of a Rui catch. Adit then got Chetak in a nasty mess sending him home LBW. Raju had a valiant swing at the end but ran out of balls and luck as the Sharks fielders chased down everything calmly and efficiently. As the last ball was entered into the books with a single dot the celebrations rang out from the Sharks on the field. It had been a great all round effort and everyone had played their part in what was really a model performance. With only 7 wides given up and a couple of half chances dropped the team played the way they’ve been talking about doing so since early in the season.








A. Tallapragada






 (w 1)

C. Molloy






 (w 3)

V. Sancheti






 (w 1, nb 1)

D. Lollback







R. Matsumura






 (w 2)


11 exhausted Sharks left the field, thankful that their task was done for the day. Well, not everyone. Chris T had time for a drink, a change of trousers and he was back out under the blazing sun to umpire the next match. Quite unbelievable.

Many thanks to the Tigers for a great game, to the Umpires H.Matsuchika and H.Yamamori who were generally excellent and to the Sharks 12th men Kentaro and Takuma.

Most of all though to Chris T. who played a blinder with the bat and the gloves, encouraged the MY-Ys to play as well as they did and then had the gall, the gall!! to go and umpire another match straight after. They certainly don’t make them like that anymore. No Sir!



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