Jan, 2013 – Stylish Sharks Gobble Up Go!Go!Ken!

WL, Sharks vs Go!Go!Ken!, Kashiwa, 19.01.13
By Anton Lloyd-Williams

The Sharks Traveling Circus hit Kashiwa on Saturday afternoon for a keenly contested bout with with the free scoring, sorry, three-scoring ladies of Go!Go!Ken! Yet again, with players (both veteran and first timers), wives, girlfriends, My-Ys, Monstars and chaperons we had 20+ members of the Sharks extended family on show and what a show they gave – three games were played; An intra-Sharks match, a practice versus Wyverns and then the official match vs Go!Go!Ken.

First up was a Sharks Red vs Sharks Green match to ensure that everyone got a good number of games under their belt. Numerous highlights here: New Sharks Tun and Awal showed some pretty handy work, Kyoko (Dave L’s charming partner) took a neat wicket with a with a carefully disguised doosra and Sharks legend Nick Creece came out of retirement for a bit of swing, using sonar to “see” the ball in the dim light of the central batting track.

Taka then captained a makeshift side to take on the Wyverns in a friendly. As usual it was anything but friendly as the Wyverns snatched impossible catches out of the air and ran out anyone who went for a ramble down the wicket. Not much in the way of highlights except for Eiro and Tommy’s good partnership with the bat. Eiro poked while Tommy whacked to good effect. We had our backsides handed to us though, all done and dusted for a bit shy of 50. If memory serves me correctly, Wyverns more or less doubled that score.

Tonight’s main feature though would be a tricky looking tie against Winter League regulars Go!Go!Ken! Being composed mainly of the fairer sex, this team can run up immense scores as they are awarded triple runs for anything off the bat. In days gone past this was a fair deal, in order to balance out certain inequalities. However, the way the women’s game has improved over recent years means that this weighting is starting to look extraordinarily generous, as we were to find out.

Taking up the challenge for the Sharks were Dave L (c), Charles, Molloy, Chris T, Adit and Tommy. Go!Go!Ken to bat first and they opened up with a couple of  decent Sano Junior players, Yoshida and Goka, who being male would have to earn everything the hard way. Tommy and Charles made it hard for them too with tight lines and good length. Charles missed the edge on a couple of occasions and when he did find the edge, pouched by Chris T, it was missed by the umpire.

Charles actually got an out in unusual fashion. Yoshida played and missed at two and then couldn’t take a run off the next and was given out for not having scored off three consecutive deliveries. This is a rule that is common in regular indoor leagues around the world and we can now assume that it has come to ours. Despite some neat looking shots, the opening pair left the green baize with just 12 on the board.

Next up were two ladies, Yanagida and Kubota. They set about immediately cutting into the nets for good value triples until Chris T slowed them down a bit by bowling into the pads. Dot balls and frustration built up, leading to a run out from a straight drive up the pitch.

Lollback was then pluckily plundered for triples with extra runs on top. These were not gleaned from cheeky edges or lucky pokes. These were taken off straight bat drives through mid off which made the gift of triple runs seem almost condescending. This was highlighted clearly when Kubota blasted a textbook drive for 4.  Off the bat so 4 X 3 = 12. 12 runs for one shot! Molloy got a similar dose next over from a beauty off Kubota’s whirling bat. Another run-out brought the score back to 55 and some stunning Molloy outswingers made sure that’s where it stayed as the middle pair took their leave.

Last pair in, Kobayashi and Miyaji, had to settle for scratchy triples from Dave L’s good line. Miyaji gave herself a bit of room to swing at one but it looped into the hands of Tommy who took a tricky catch with some aplomb.

Looking to get the scoreboard moving again, the girls milked Adit like a Jersey cow taking 19 off well placed shots into the nets. Chris T looked to be tightening things up a bit until a Miyaji masterstroke hit the back wall for another 12. Chris made amends next ball though with a stunning one handed catch off  the roof. Great cricket all round. Adit bowled a canny last over into the pads but Go!Go!Ken! still managed to break the ton finishing with 101. We’ve seen this team post scores in the 130’s and 140’s with little trouble, so this was an excellent effort by the bowlers.

Sharks bowling – Tommy 0/12,  Charles 1/0, Molloy 2/14, Chris T 2/18, Dave L 1/29, Adit 0/28.

A two minute turnaround and Charles and Tommy shouldered arms to take the field and make a decent dent in the total required. Charles was his normal bullish self, blasting the very first ball straight back up the pitch for 5. With the wind in his sails Charles was keen to swing at everything and run maniacally on anything that looked like an overthrow. Inevitably this lead to the first of a couple of run outs but it would have been a fruitless exercise to demand a little caution. You wouldn’t have been heard.

Goka and Yoshida tightened things up pretty well in the middle overs as Tommy and Charles found it difficult to score in anything other than singles. They were just keeping their powder dry for the last over though. Charles launched a typical 7 and then a 5. Tommy wasn’t going to miss out and thundered a 7 himself  to see the first pairing close on a very healthy 45.

Adit and Molloy sauntered in to offer a totally different style of batting. Calm and composed, they seemed to have all the time in the world to drive and cut Yanagida and Kubota around the court with ease. A Molloy flourish here and touché! an Adit dab there. Not so much fireworks as firelighters and all the while the scoreboard rolled along effortlessly to the giddy heights of 101.

Our final pairing of Chris T and Dave L now just had to see the ship safely into port and played relatively conservatively, conservatively for them, that is. Chris T brought his bat with the 2 foot sweet spot and the ball made some sharp reports as it pinged off it on its multiple trips to the back wall. Dave L was having more fun textbook driving but with all the wides going Chris T’s way, didn’t see much of the strike. Penultimate ball, he had an ugly looking hoick at a fullish, Miyaji inswinger and was clean bowled to the delight horror of his teammates behind the stumps.

An assured 4 from the same bat finished off a comfortable win for the Sharks who ran up 145 on the board. Our best this season.

Sharks Batting  – Tommy 10 (2 outs), Charles 35 (0 outs), Adit 23 (0 outs), Molloy 33 (0 outs), Chris T 32 (0 outs), Dave L 12 (1 out).

An excellent all round performance with well chosen, well-balanced pairings – probably knows a thing or two does Dave L.

Many thanks to all the Sharks who came – Murad, Rajesh, Awal, Anton, Ryan, Dave L, Molloy, Tommy, Taka, Nick,  Chris T, Adit, Tun and Charles, not to mention all of the assorted wives, girlfriends, kids, My-Ys and Ishimoto san! With these kinds of numbers indoors, we can really start looking forward to a fruitful season outdoors.


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