Whalers drop winning run

Whalers vs South Hampstead; 21 May 2017; Kings’s House Sports Ground

 

Whalers lose by 23 runs

 

The Whalers winning start to the season came to an end against a very good South Hampstead team. Things didn’t start off too promisingly with only 10 Whalers and 3 opposition present, but it turned out the rest of the opposition were at the Fullers ground next door and so arrived fairly promptly. Less prompt was Luke, who had misread the email and was at South Hampstead wondering where the rest of the team was. That was muppet moment sorted before we even began.

 

Once things did get underway, Nick and Geoff kept things very tight initially with Geoff taking two wickets – both caught, one by Will and the second by the sub the oppo had lent to us to cover for Luke. Geoff was denied a third wicket when your author put down a fairly regulation chance off their opener, who was on about 30 at the time. We paid for this big time, as he then proceeded to hit anything full, short, or in between out of the park, quickly passing first 50 and then 100. The first three balls after drinks all disappeared for six, along with plenty of others, and by the time he finally played on he had scored 130 out of 170ish.

 

In the circumstances, the bowlers did well to keep plugging away and eventually we managed to peg them back a bit – getting them out in the last over for (only!) 247 felt like quite a good result. However, it must also be noted that we didn’t help ourselves by dropping a series of further chances,  including two in two balls off Ross, and one that ended Luke’s day with a possible dislocated finger. But eventually the bowlers worked out that relying on the fielders for help was overrated, with the last eight batsmen all bowled. Geoff (2-19) and Nick (3-31) finished with the pick of the bowling figures.

 

The mood at tea was that we’d given ourselves a chance, and Dean and Paul Clappison got us off to a steady start against some accurate bowling, before Dean was caught for 36 trying to force things. By drinks we were only a bit behind where they had been and still had eight wickets in hand. The downside was that we also needed to score at 10 an over for the rest of the game. Stu scored a speedy 49, but the rest of the middle order processed fairly quickly, and when Dan joined Geoff the task was a mere 105 in 8 overs. Some Whalers-style hoicking followed and, despite Geoff’s refusal of a surefire all-run 5, a bit of respectability was restored. Unsurprisingly, the 32 needed to win off the last over proved a bit too much, but at least we had the moral victory of the opposition bringing their first-teamer into the attack to bowl it, just to be on the safe side.

 

The post-game fining was exceptionally severe, particularly on the catching. Geoff took man of the match for his all-round contribution, and the champagne moment temporarily escapes me but I can remember it had been downgraded to cava by the time it was awarded. We were left to ponder what might have been if we’d got their topscorer earlier (their number four got a fifty, only one other batsman got double figures), but the general view was that we’d rather have games like that than an easy win every week.

 

South Hampstead: 247 all out (Nick 3-31, Geoff 2-19)

Whalers: 224-7 (Stu 49, Dan 41*, Dean 36, Paul C 33, Geoff 32*)

 

Whalers win third game in a row by 4 wickets

Whalers Vs. Clapham In; King’s House Sports Ground; Saturday 13th May 2017

Clapham In – 142-5 (35 overs); Whalers 144-6 (30 overs)

It was a cloudy, threatening day that greeted the Whalers at KHS (although this week we were, apparently, Acton CC according to the board) and we turned out for the first time this year with 11 players.  Nick graciously decided to play for us this week and it was a good thing too.

After Stu, debuting as captain after 16 years playing for the club, won the toss and decided to bowl, Nick and Pete opened the bowling with some tight, probing stuff. The opening batsmen (including one Rob Eberstein) got few chances to score and after a few overs, Pete struck getting their captain caught behind for 9.  Eberstein, having been given one life by Stu, followed shortly after, bowled by Pete who then promptly got a third. Pete ended up bowling straight through for impressive figures of 7-3-20-3.

At the other end, Special came on and first ball got a wicket. At this stage the oppo were in real trouble but a decent 5th wicket partnership that survived several chances through, over, round and under the slips and keeper off Special went on to take the score over 100. Dan and Will both came into the attack and bowled well but with no luck. Will did however produce the oddest ball of the day – bouncing 4 times and so wide that the umpire could not decide whether to give it as a no ball or a wide! The batsman didn’t seem to care – he had a go and missed (somewhat inevitably!)

After this Nick came back into the attack and bowled some perfect final overs, taking a wicket to break the partnership in the process and finishing with excellent figures of 7-2-13-1.  After 35 overs, Clapham In had reached a battling 142 for 5.

After tea, Al and Dean opened up and started the innings in a similar way to how they had done versus Wenlock Arms.  Dean played some sumptuous straight drives with the opposition (and his own team) suggesting he might be too good for us! His unfussy and balanced batting led him to score an excellent 60 in only his second game for the Whalers, after scoring 76 two weeks before on debut.  Al batted well in support but was the first to fall for 24 with the score on 83 after 14 overs. Pip then continued the supporting role and he and Dean added another 39 runs before Dean was caught. Then came the inevitable ‘Whalers’ Wobble’. Pip was out for 20, then Josh, Sandy and Stu followed in relatively quick succession until the final runs were flicked through square leg by Will.  So from 122 for 1 we ended winning by 4 wickets, losing 5 for just 16 runs in the process.

Overall a good win to avenge last season’s tight loss, with some really excellent bowling being backed up by some genuine top-order flair and typical middle-order mediocrity.  Man of the Match went to Pete for his heroic bowling, Muppet to Will for ‘that delivery’ and Champagne moment could have gone to any one of the half dozen textbook drives past the bowler exhibited by Dean.

Ross pings a classy ton in Salix victory

Whalers CC vs Salix CC; Sunday 7th May 2017; King’s House Sports Ground

Whalers CC 270 – 5 (35)

Salix CC 127 (23)

Whalers win by 143 runs

A cloudy day greeted whalers as they gathered for their first home game of the season. With So many talking points and laughs I will try and keep the match report concise. With Whalers at 10 and Salix at 8 players. Nick Howes was so keen to play for the opposition it was decided that we would play for them and make it a 9 vs 10 a side. However we would donate them a fielder to make it a more even 10 a side. With plenty of gaps in the field the match would determine which of the batsmen’s would get it stay in and take advantage of any loose bowling.

Out walked Will and Andrew to opening the batting. Whalers for once got to a flyer with Andrew Punishing Short or wide with some nice pulls and drives. One drive in the third over was nicely timed but caused maximum damage as ping went Dennis’s Hamstring and off he hobbled.

 Now the game was pure 9 a side. Soon Andrew was causing more mayhem and was hitting 4’s quite nicely especially off his hip and driving back down the field. Salix Solution was to bring Mr Howes into the attack to slow the run rate down. His showed now mercy and had Will LBW for a handy 18 runs. Nick was soon causing all kind of trouble and had Al scratching around poking and prodding at the ball. Al prodded forward and got an inside edge into his stumps and Whalers 72for 2. Next it was Andrew turn to edge the other opening bowling but looked to have bumped the ball into the ground before the keeper took the catch. Not waiting for any Umpires decision he walked off for a rapid 48 and fines committee licking their lips at an incidence of pure jug avoidance. The partnership of Ross and Sandy were pushing at most balls and keeping the run rate high. Their Second opening bowler Bala was pitching it up and Sandy was going for it but he induced a high drive and was unlucky to not only to pick out a fielder but who leaped took an athletic catch.

This bought Roland to the wicket and he got the mark with a sweep 4 off his first ball. The match at this stage 92 for 4 wickets off approx. 18 overs and the match definitely in the balance.  However Salix’s left hand spinner was bought in and Ross went attacking his many loose delivers with some classic timed drives, even losing the toe end of his bat with one not so sweetly timed.. Roland was also attacking the open spaces as well with some whipped off side drives as well and the scoring rate kept creeping up. I went into my shell a little bit and decided to give Ross the strike and just hold an end and 10 overs or so went by before Bala still plugging away fired a straight one into my pads and I was gone for 24 but a Partnership of 72 runs.

Salix trying to rotate the Bowlers Tony was bought on for 1 over but after 14 runs to Ross nicely bought up his 50. Mr Howes was bought back on but now Ross was in the grove and was hitting at any speed deliveries that Nick could produce, and a six that sailed and pitched halfway near the opposite pitch bought up much smirking but was deliciously followed up by another driven 4!! Dan was also now in and was demonstrating that his classic late cut and nurdles that were not too rusty. Dan soon drove 1 out into the Outfield   and with much hesitation sent Ross back who promptly slid over on his backside and barely made his ground thanks to a rotten throw. With such a fright with Ross on 97 he promptly smashed another 2 drives for 2 runs apiece and retired with a gusto. This bought our second captain Matt to the crease and with 5 overs left and already well over the 200 mark on board. Three further incidences of note to mention Nick’s drop of a dolly an absolute skier/ miss drive from Dan.! Matt’s cricket shoe having an absolutely wardrobe malfunction before the penultimate match ball which induced a shambles in delay of game!!! and then Matt proceeded to be bowled off the last ball.   However 270 Runs accrued for 6 wickets after 35 overs was a mighty achievement. And Nicks 7 overs had gone for 42 runs but with 2 talked about wickets especially Al’s

Whalers bowling reply started off with accuracy from Dan and Matt.  However their opening had other ideas and was late cutting anything short and after 2 Overs Matt had conceded 19 runs. Dan induced the first wicket in his second over with an in swinger beauty Bowled the aforementioned opener who had 20 runs after 4 overs. Dan soon got his second wicket with will taking a smart catch. From will?  Matt took himself off to introduce Kamal to the game. Kamals first 2 overs or so were a bit wayward, and Salix’s number 3 was attacking and not intent of hanging around with the required run rate creeping up all the time. A doughty Stand of 41 was bought to a close when their number 4 batsmen tried to cross bat Kamal too many times missed and was bowled out with the ball hitting the top of Middle Stump.

Ross seeking more glory had taken over from Dan, who’s 4 overs had cost only 10 runs for 2 wickets.  Ross fast deliveries soon induced an inside edge which was caught by Roland behind the stumps. However it wasn’t given and further misfortune befell Ross when he bowled a full toss at the batmen who was smartly caught only for the Square Leg umpire to call a no ball. Ross wasn’t too happy and even more so when the umpire on reflection thought he might off made a mistake 2 overs or so later. Will replaced Ross and was very accurate deceiving batsmen with loop and pace, Number 6 was soon bowled neck and crock.

It was Kamal variation that was adding in wickets by now and he nabbed another with a lobed up catch, Salix were 94 for 6. This bought Nick to the wicket with accompanying plenty of sledging. Notwithstanding Nick was given a Life when Matt dropped a sitter with more increased chat and verbal’s. With a run rate of about 12 Nick soon gave his wicket away to Kamal with another high lofted drive. With their Batsmen number 3 still in and just passed 50 Salix always had an outside chance of seeing out the overs. New change Bowler Andrew soon saw off that threat with an in swinger of a delivery that he cut onto his stumps for a feisty knock of 56. Will soon bowled their 10 Batsmen Grant who uniquely was out bowled twice in a match for 2 ducks.  

The victorious Weasels CC won by 142 runs retired to the Bar for a lengthy fines session.

Man of the Match : Ross First Fierce Whalers Ton

Muppet Moment : Matt Split cricket Shoe Shambles

Champagne moment; Ross’s 6 off Nick

East End Boys West End Girls….

Whalers beat Wenlock Arms by 15 runs in a close encounter to kick start the season in London’s East (the new home of cricket)
Sunday 30/4/17
Author skipper N. Howes

In recent years there has been a push to play more Whalers games out east to benefit those who now call East London home. Some members of the East Whalers splinter lobby group enjoyed the opportunity for Hackneys Springfield Park to host the curtain raiser to the start of this years season…others bemoaned the distance travelled and interruptions from the Hackney Half marathon…but most were ready at 12.30 (the skipper arrive late due to a flat tyre) for the games start of 1pm.
On introduction to the skipper Jason and president Dave of the opposition, it was soon discovered that Wenlock Arms, like the Whalers, enjoyed a competitive yet friendly social game. The stage was set and the Whalers went out to bat fielding a 9 strong team. The skipper selected Dean and Al to open the batting and his wise choice was justified as both got our score off to a cracking start. Dean started his account with some fine cover drives as the runs smoothly flowed. The president after cautiously getting his eye also proceeded to play some nice shots. The left hand, right hand combination and decent calling between the wickets gave the Whalers a lot of confidence. Dean hit 3 huge sixes openly challenging Geoff to the now officially coveted “most sixes in the season competition” sure to be awarded at the seasons end. He tried one shot too many being caught for 76 in the deep…but set a standard of 50 minimum for debutants this season. Al scored 53 before being bowled by Sandeep. Pip and debutant Dennis continued the scoring where it left off. Both did not take long to get their eye in as the score rate ticked over. Pip tried an ambitious hook shot off a full toss, missed the ball slipped, pirouetted and was hit in the helmet as a result. This was not to be the only time that Pip stopped the momentum of the game, both whilst batting (hit in the head) and later on whilst bowling (hit in the shin). Despite delaysbut both played some nice shots, hitting a number of fours and the Whalers finished on 197 (Pip 29, Dennis 28 respectively).
Tea ensued…the clouds loomed ominously as Howes opened the bowling from tennis court end. Unbeknown to the Whalers the opposition had sent out their least experienced batsmen out first luring us into a false sense of security. The skipper took the first wicket bowling a nice length ball careening into middle stump. Lucas soon followed bowling the number 3. Howes took another wicket caught by Stu behind the stumps as Matt took 2 more wickets with some fine pace, line and length. He bowled the dangerous Seb for 30 who had taken a liking to a see ball hit ball approach. Luke replaced Matt and bowled 3 overs deceiving the opposition with his flighty balls. Kamal replaced Howes and bowled very economically as well as very deceptively. He managed to lure the opposition into some poor stroke play taking 3 wickets (bowled, LBW and a good catch by Pip). He finished on 5 overs, 1 maiden, 3 wickets for 17. Lucas finished on 3 for 26 off 7 and Aldred 0 for 23 off 3. We had a quick break before debutants Dean and Dennis chanced their arms. Both bowled well but the opposition had left their best til last. With the score at 69 for 8, Jason and Marlon from the opposition refused to allow a quick finish and dug their heels running well between the wickets as well playing nice shots. Dennis eventually bowled Jason but final bat Dave did a good job off refusing to allow the game to finish. Marlon was the real hero hitting numerous 4s and 6s off Howes in particluar, some shots damaging nearby parked cars, as the game looked to reach a huge upset. Al and Matt thought it would now be a good time to give advice on field placements and bowling techniques. However in over 33, Marlon attempted another shot off a Howes full toss and was miraculously caught by Lucas in the deep to win the game.
All ventured through Springfield park to have a beer the nearby Hope and Anchor on the canal. Can we say thank you to Dave, Jason, Marlon and the rest of the Wenlock Arms team for the great competitive start to the season.

Whalers CC 197-2 (35)

Wenlock Arms CC 182 all out (31.4)

Full scorecard courtesy of Wenlock Arms here: http://wenlockarms.play-cricket.com/website/results/3161637 

Man of the match – Dean for his debutant 76
Champagne – Matts catch in the deep
Muppet – Pip English – breaking the momentum of the game whilst batting (hit in the head) and bowling (hit in the shin)

The Post-Brexit Apocalypse: Whalers Tour of the Midlands 2016

June 24th 2016 was always going to be a pivotal day in the UK calendar, marking the start of the first Whalers domestic tour in 5 years.

Challenging for space in the news headlines was the unexpected Leave referendum result. Key questions arose – What would Whalers tours look like in a Farage / Johnson ruled Britain, would we need a visa to get to Derby, and perhaps most importantly which Lucas brother was better at cricket?

Al, Rich and Geoff drove up on Friday night to begin acclimatisation, they were relieved that pre-match preparation could include a visit to a sea creature named drinking establishment, and a curry. Gilo injured himself going to the toilet at the curry house but recovered sufficiently for a few late night bar visits.

On Saturday morning the rest of the team arrived by train with the exception of Luckett, who having moved to Birmingham just the week before to make it easier to attend the tour, and was obviously the last to arrive.

Match Day 1: Wall CC vs Whalers CC; The Friary School, Lichfield

Whalers had hosted Wall CC twice on their tours of London, both times very close games with one win apiece. It was a relief as the rain clouds stayed away – Nick lost the toss and we were bowling with a half hour delay to let the pitch dry further, and Luckett to go to the supermarket to buy beer.

Wall started solidly putting on 25 for the first wicket and hitting Seth for several boundaries, but the introduction of Matt made the difference as he picked up 2 – 7 in his 5 over spell – both of them caught and bowled. Thereafter the Wall progress was slow as the Whalers chipped away and Nick shuffled the bowlers. There was a wicket each for Kamal, Al, Nick and Gilo (with his first ball).

Whalers looked well placed to bowl Wall out cheaply, but some stubborn, if slow-scoring resistance saw Wall reach three figures. A last-over run-out saw Wall finish their 35 overs on 103-7.

In reply Whalers started with some flashy strokeplay which saw the demise of Gilo for a duck and Channa for 9 leaving them at a potentially tricky 12-2 in the fourth over. Al and Dan nursed the score to 49 before Al missed a straight one. Seth joined Dan and with accurate bowling the runs dried up – just 4 off 4 overs.

With Seth out and Luckett at the crease the rate was upped slightly with Al no-balling an 8 year old for overstepping (it’s the laws innit) and Luckett clattering him for 4 over midwicket.

Overall with Dan anchoring the innings with a fine 37 and contributions from Seth (7) and Luckett (10) there was no Whalers collapse and although Dan perished with 9 still required, Matt and Geoff finished the job with 5 overs to spare winning by 4 wickets.

Whalers retired to a local pub with Wall to plan return fixtures in London and then returned to the bright lights of Derby.

At the first drink of the evening session (lager with sambuca chaser) the awards for the match were as follows:

Man of match – Matt Lucas, 2 wickets (Honourable mention Dan 37 and 1 bye)

Champagne – Matt’s caught and bowled (Honourable mentions Al’s cover drive and Gilo’s first ball wicket)

Muppet : Al no balling an 8 year old (Honourable mentions: Lucky and Matt catch confusion, and Nick’s slow ball beamer to an 8 year old)

After the awards there was some concern as to how Dan hadn’t got man of the match with the highest score of the game by some distance. Did people understand what they were voting for? Could there be a second vote? Had democracy once again failed the people?

The Whalers went for an excellent dinner and afterwards diverged to various after hours activities including some poor standard pool and competitive arcade shooting games. With the club scene not to all tastes Luckett and Al toured late bars keeping the Whalers flag flying until the early hours with their superior chat and drinking abilities.

Match Day 2: Allestree CC vs Whalers CC; Allestree Cricket Club

With Matt’s old club kindly hosting us for the Battle of the Brothers, the Whalers relocated their hangovers across town. This time a prompt start to try and avoid the later forecast heavy rain, the Whalers named an unchanged side and we were once again bowling.

Whaler’s Sunday matches on previous tours tended to be characterised by wayward bowling and punishing hours in the field – this one was to prove a surprising exception. Nick and Dan both bowled tidy lines with Dan only conceding through the third man cordon (despite various slips and third men). It was Nick who solved the edges conundrum removing both opening batsmen (including Lucas) clean bowled.

Excellent support bowling from the change bowlers Geoff and Matt, and some excellent dilligent fielding continued to restrict Alestree despite a short boundary on one side. A third wicket for Nick who finished with 3-24 and one wicket from Gilo kept Allestree in check. While further wickets didn’t materialise Allestree couldn’t pick up the rate even in the death overs and finished on 147-4 off their allotted 35 overs.

After an excellent tea Seth and Gilo opened for the Whalers pursuit. Seth was especially aggressive and scored a quickfire 33 before being stumped. Dan was batting at first drop again and kept the pace going with some enthusiastic running before Gilo was out lbw for 17. As Paul Luckett strode to the crease there was some scrambling amongst the middle order to get padded up, which remarkably turned out to be un-necessary. Suddenly the short boundary seemed very short as both Paul and Dan despatched maximums over the fence. Paul continued to a career best 36 before holing out to a fine catch. That left Dan time to get to to 59 not out and Al time to have a few overs in the middle without facing a ball as the Whalers cruised home with 6 overs to spare.

Overall a dominant performance in all disciplines and Whalers are now unbeaten on tour since 2014. Thanks very much to both Wall and Allestree for hosting. Looking forward to Porto in 2017 – can Nick Howes keep his 100% touring record. Will Luckett’s rich vein of form continue? Will Dan win a man of the match on tour? All this and more as the Whalers brave the post Brexit European landscape.

Man of the match – Paul Luckett career best 36 (Honourable mention for Dan for bowling and 59 and Nick for 3-24)

Champagne – Nick cleaning bowling opening batsman

Muppet – Nick’s dropped catch

Tour summary:

Wall CC 103-7 (35), Whalers 104 – 6 (30), Whalers win by 4 wickets

Allestree CC 147-4 (35), Whalers 148 –3 (29), Whalers win by 7 wickets

Photos courtesy of Kamal (mostly) and Al