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HIBA C.C. vs. SAKHALIN C.C.
May 12th 2002
 
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12/05/2002 
Sakhalin Cricket Club plays match in Hokkaido
Pictures of the weekend here 

With their suit and tie for official meetings in one hand and the cricket outfit in the other, the Sakhalin Cricket Club left for Sapporo on the northernmost island of Hokkaido on May 10. They had high hopes for victory over the international cricket team of Hokkaido, as they had won the first cricket match ever on Sakhalin against the Hokkaido team in September 2001. This year, the composition of the teams was very different with many new players in both teams, making it difficult to predict the outcome.
On arrival in Sapporo, the Sakhalin visitors were welcomed by the Hokkaido International Business Association (HIBA), the organiser on the Japanese side. HIBA had arranged an official reception for which Japanese companies and officials had been invited. HIBA chairman Simon Jackson noted that organising the event had been a "great exercise", resulting in 200 e-mails forth and back. "My wife thought I had started an online relationship," Jackson smiled.
Organiser on the Sakhalin side Prabhjot Singh - better know as PJ - said the team was very happy to be in Hokkaido. Addressing the Japanese businessmen at the reception he said: "It is a great opportunity. The excuse is the cricket, but we also like to meet with you." Dozens of business cards were exchanged after the official speeches.
On the morning of May 11, it was time for the match. Before reaching the playing ground in Ishikari at 15 kilometres from Sapporo, the bus made a tour around the port, which Ishikari mayor Katsusuke Taoka hoped to promote with the Sakhalin team. At the playing ground, television crews were awaiting the teams to report on this historical first international cricket match on Hokkaido.
Ishikari mayor Katsusuke Taoka tossed the coin to decide what team could choose to 'bat' or 'field' first. The Sakhalin team won the toss and chose for batting.
The mayor hit a respectable first ball: the first in his life. "When I hit the ball I thought it [cricket] might become popular in Japan. Baseball is already popular. They might like cricket too," Taoka said. "Today is a big event and good advertising. Many people from all over the world now get to know Ishikari."
An overcast sky and chilly conditions left the supporters shivering at the side, while the Sakhalin team was scoring runs. Luckily tea and Samosas were served to keep the spouses of the teams and other supporters warm. The Sakhalin team scored 147 runs in 26 overs - all were out. The most successful innings were by Sandeep Joshi (55) and Prabhjot Singh (45).
The teams broke for an excellent Indian lunch served by Taj Mahal. This company runs five restaurants in Sapporo and is considering opening a branch in Yuzhno-Sakhalinsk. Many of the Sakhalin players promised to become regular customers when the restaurant opens in Yuzhno.
Then it was time for the Hokkaido team - mainly comprising of HIBA members - to bat. Although the Sakhalin Cricket Club did its best to prevent the opponents from scoring runs, the Hokkaido team won by a narrow margin. After four hours of playing the score was 148 over 5 in 27 overs with a bit of a disappointing 'wide' that ended the game. Rod Kelly and Gamini Jayawardane were most successful with 51 and 49 innings respectively.
New teams were formed - mixing home and visiting teams - and a second game of a few more overs was played. By then, the supporters were frozen to the bone and withdrew inside for more tea and Indian snacks.
The inviting team had arranged to warm-up in a Japanese hot spring, 'on-sen' in Japanese, which has some similarities to the Russian banya tradition. The Japanese take off all their clothes before entering the bathing area. A small towel is provided for those who wish to ?hide? their private parts. Then they wash and rinse before they enjoy the bathes of different temperatures. The team was urged in a HIBA note not to use the bath for rinsing off soap, because contrary to popular opinion, the Second World War started when Harry Truman dove into a bath covered in soap while visiting a Japanese on-sen in China located next to a bridge.. The day was concluded with a dinner at the bathing house and the hand-over of the trophy.
The aim is to make the Hokkaido/Sakhalin cricket match a yearly event. Plans for visiting other locations are already being made: PJ leaves Sakhalin for Delhi, a great excuse for the Sakhalin Cricket Club to go to India for a match. The Sakhalin team is also playing with the thought to invite the cricket team from Singapore over to Sakhalin.
The idea for the first international cricket match played on Sakhalin first popped up in March 2001, when Jackson was visiting Sakhalin and met PJ, who said he was getting a cricket ball over soon. Jackson said that it would be nice to get the Hokkaido team to Sakhalin for a game. PJ then started putting a team together on Sakhalin and in September 2001 the Hokkaido team came to Sakhalin for the first cricket match in Sakhalin history. The Hokkaido team lost and challenged Sakhalin for a return match in May 2002. 

Cricket Match Summary

Sakhalin batted first:
Final score was 147 all out (in 26 overs)

Batting highlights:
Sandeep 55 runs
PJ 45 runs
Geoff 23 runs

Bowling highlights:
Rodney Kelly 4 wickets for 8 runs
Sunil 3 wickets for 9 runs

HIBA batted second:
Final score was 148 for 5 wickets (in the 26th over)

Batting highlights:
Rodney Kelly: 51 not out
Gamini Jayawardane 49 not out
Bradley Roberts 35 runs

Bowling highlights:
PJ: 2 wickets for 23 runs
Lee: 1 wicket for 12 runs
Sandeep: 1 wicket for 11 runs

Final result: Hiba won by 5 wickets 
 

  

 
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