Aug, 2014 – Rain But With Bright Patches

JCL2: Sharks 2nd XI vs Wyverns 2nd XI at Sano3
16 Aug 2014, by Anton Lloyd-Williams

Mid-August temperatures at Tatebayashi are normally the stuff of nightmares. The mercury often gets over 40 before evaporating into the malarial vapors that seep up from the Sano riverside pitches.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREHowever, the Sharks 2nd XI arrived on a heavily overcast Saturday morning to find things positively parky – mid 20s at the most. Early morning rain had cooled the surroundings even more. In fact, the conditions were so pleasant that Captain Thurgate hardly broke sweat as he comfortably lost the toss and agreed to bat first. However, Tatebayashi is all about the weather as we would find out soon enough.

The 2nd XI was a good mix of youth and experience;

Chris T, Atharva, Marcus, South, Takuma, Rui, Zain, Shakriya, StatNav, Murad and Anton.

Openers Murad and StatNav found the early going a bit heavy as a lack of pace on the ball, a dampish pitch and a soggy unkempt outfield meant that the ball made only short journeys along the deck. Exif_JPEG_PICTUREBoth played cannily and within themselves, determined not to throw their wickets away.

The sluggish scoreboard was showing the effects of this approach but Murad soon found some fluency and began to punish anything wayward with 2’s. Nav looked good, offering a straight bat followed with a Joe Root style shuffle up the baize. His cross batted shots looked assured too but often picked out a darting Wyvern in the well placed field. The scorers had to wait until the 12th over to register the first 4 in the book as the batsmen looked to push the issue a little more.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREAs the run rate started to increase, so did the risk factor, and Murad was caught well in the deep just as he was looking set. New man in, Shakriya was new man out Shakriya a ball or two later following the fine tradition of batting debuts with a carefully crafted golden duck.

Exif_JPEG_PICTUREThe middle order came and went with good intentions but poor shots. A daydreaming Atharva was run out while who knows what Anton was thinking about as he scooped one out to Mid On. U19 Champs Rui, Takuma and Zain took their chances and ran well between the wickets. Some good looking strokes flew out of the meat of their bats but they got a little ambitious at times and paid the price.

It looked as though the Sharks would fall short of their target to bat out their 40 overs and even skipper Thurgate couldn’t stop the rot as he struggled to get comfortable with the lack of pace and lashed one out to the hands of the man at Cover.

The openers had laid down a good grounding but the tail that basically started at 3 couldn’t get anything to stick on it. Sharks all out the 35th over for 124 (82 runs & 42 extras)

B 4 6 R
N. Jinasena c. Keeper b. Ito 71 1 0 33
K. Murad c. Okoshi b. Kobayashi 41 2 0 25
S. Rajbhandari nnn b. Kobayashi 1 0 0 0
A. Kulkarni run out Okoshi nnn 11 0 0 1
A. Lloyd-Williams c. Uehara b. Ota 5 0 0 1
T. Yamashita run out Uehara nnn 8 0 0 2
R. Matsumura c. Sano b. Ito 14 0 0 5
S. Abaden run out Okoshi nnn 33 0 0 10
M. Thurgate not out b. Suzuki 10 0 0 1
C. Thurgate c. Onishi b. Suzuki 5 1 0 4
K. Minami Not out DNB 3 0 0 0
Extras W37 N4 B1 L0 31
Total 124 For 10 wkts 35 0vers


About 160 would have been a par score in the prevailing conditions according to sages of the game but 124 could be defended if the bowling were consistently neat and the fielding sharp. Unfortunately, neither was really the case for long enough periods.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURETrue to the 2nds spirit, Captain Thurgate wanted to make sure that everyone got a bit of bowl, part-timers included. Wyverns belted the openers around a bit and were quick between the wickets so the scoreboard rattled along. This is not to say that there were no chances; South and Zain sent a few past the bat, the latter cleaning up the opener Sano with a cracker through the gate.

Takuma got some great flight and Anton had the ball hopping around off the seam and on another day both could have taken a hatful of wickets, however the rain that started as a few dabs soon became a refreshing shower and as it washed the shine off the ball it seemed to wash away some the luck too.
Exif_JPEG_PICTUREMurad and Rui required no luck though as they bowled the soapy cherry on just the right length to cause all manner of problems. Rui’s dramatic late swing was complemented by Murad’s perfect lines and the batsmen really had to work, surviving innumerable edges and lbw shouts.

Both were rewarded with wickets bowled and lbw while Yamashita finally got some pay back for his hard work in the form of a great StatNav catch that flew at him in the covers. The rain was now so heavy that if a result had not been within quick reach then the game would have been abandoned (as in fact was the fate of the game next door on Sano 4)
Exif_JPEG_PICTUREWyverns got over the line in the 22nd over for the loss of 5 wickets


K. Minami 1 0 6/0 0 11
S. Abaden 2 0 6/0 1 8
T. Yamashita 4 1 2/1 1 33
A. Lloyd-Williams 3 0 3/0 0 22
R. Matsumura 7 0 8/0 1 31
K. Murad 5 0 0/0 2 22


A defeat then but the 2nd XI can put this one down as another stepping stone on the path to regular victories. There were many, many great moments; some fantastic shots, some intelligent running, some committed fielding and some top drawer bowling, particularly from Rui who is well on his way to being a real asset for Japanese cricket. Once the 2nd XI start stringing these moments together, into overs and then into sessions then they will evolve into the formidable force that they so clearly have the capability to become.

Many thanks to Haruo Matsumura and Bebe Miyaji for their excellent umpiring, to Mrs. Thurgate for her flawless scoring and effortless charm and to the Wyverns for a thoroughly enjoyable, if wet, game which was played in the right spirit from ball 1.