Japan - First official primary schools cricket match
Finally, we have managed to stage the first official cricket game between two Primary Schools Cricket Clubs recognized by their own Board of Education in Shizuoka City, once more making history in Japan!
The weather forecast was far from ideal and it was raining over the nearby mountains at 08:00 a.m. but both schools club teachers, Kazuko Nishida, Kumiko Jitsuishi and Saori Mochizuki decided to take a chance and were rewarded with a glorious sunshine in the early afternoon.
Robert-Gilles Martineau was early at the ground to prepare the pitch right in the middle of the Shizuoka Kytes C.C. ground, allowing the kids to make full use of a real Cricket facility for the first time. The ground is presently being expanded by adult members' sheer work and by May 2007, the Kytes will have the use of a full turf ground larger than Fuji's.
The people in charge decided to hold the official game first. It was agreed to play an 11-over innings with 12 batsmen for each team, the overs being all bowled by different players with one designated wicket-keeper.
Shizuhata Naka Primary won the toss and elected to field.
Miwa Primary amassed 63 runs for the loss of 3 wickets, with Captain Hanako Maruyama topscoring with 12 and Fumika Maekawa taking 2 wickets.
In spite of Shoota Unno scoring 14 not out, Shizuhata Naka managed only 54 runs due to tighter bowling by Primary who gave away far less wides. All wickets were taken by girls. The game was conducted making use of a Kwik Cricket kit. As for the rules, outs were limited to bowled, hit wicket, caught, run out and stumped. Only wides were penalized as other illegal balls had to be replayed without a penalty. Shoota Unno was the first-ever kid to score a real boundary 4.
After the game, players, teachers and the umpire (Robert-Gilles Martineau) took a well-earned respite. Patrick Harrington, who happened to visit the ground with his kids and wife, confessed he was impressed by the level attained by all the kids.
After lunch, both schools agreed to play a friendly game with new teams, mixing kids of both shools. The format having being changed to an all-out innings instead of a limited-over game, the kids had plenty of practice. The Kytes beat the Crows 84/47, thanks to some very fast running between the wickets.
The event which had been scheduled from 10:00 to14:00 actually finished just before 15:00, leaving exhausted teachers asking for an end. The kids know there will be more matches in the future and we are sure that a healthy rivalry was born on this fateful day. What with Tachibana joining the fun next year, we shall have to devise a Championship very soon!