Dean Leads Action-Packed Lambs Victory

Whalers CC vs Lambeth Lambs CC; Sunday 26th July 2020; King’s House Sports Ground

The Whalers will head into August still unbeaten for the season, after overcoming Lambeth Lambs at Kings House. One of the opponents commented pre match that it was nice to play in July as on previous occasions we have faced off in May and there has often been rain in the air. The match was not without spells of light precipitation, but we were able to start on time and get a full game in. Captain for the day Dean won the toss and duly elected to bat on a slightly spongey but reasonable enough wicket.

With helpful overhead conditions, Lambeth’s opening bowlers were hitting a good line and length and bar an edge or two, scoring opportunities were pretty thin on the ground. However, Dean and Al (the latter sporting the essential cricketing accessory of the summer) were resolute in defence and the breakthrough came in the end from a run out, Al coming back for a second but a good throw from the fielder on the boundary meaning he didn’t quite make it and headed back to the bench and accompanying kit bags for 12. This brought Pip to the crease who formed a very fruitful partnership with Dean. Pip was patient, content to hit ones and twos whilst Dean was beginning to get his eye in and land some pretty hefty blows including an array of sixes down the ground. He soon passed 50 and the 100 came not long after, Lambeth’s change bowlers often dropping short and allowing Dean the opportunity to really get the run rate going. Unfortunately, the fun did come to an end not long after the 3 figures were reached- with a noble self-declared retirement coming at the end of the over, he was caught at long mid-on.

This brought Fraser to the crease, but he departed without troubling the scorers. Geoff, playing as a wk/batsmen was next up and with a solid platform to build on, was able to let loose and play the big shots which he did early on with a big 6 down the ground. This was soon over though, as he was caught for 7. At the other end, Pip got his 50 but he was dismissed not long after LBW for a solid 53. This forced Matt and Josh to the middle and with little more than 2 overs to go, the message was clear- ideally get the ball over/across the little white flags, but if not, run, run, run. There was a lovely straight 4, however in the main there was a lot of running. Josh and Matt both departed respectively, yet some more speediness between the wickets from Suhaib and debutant Abhay got the Whalers up to a respectable looking 209/7.

After a very quick ‘Tea’ the Whalers were back out onto the field, looking to take early wickets and keep the run rate in check. With Russell and Matt opening the bowling, we were able to do both. Matt in particular was hitting some good areas, but it was Russell who struck first with a LBW. Matt then took the 2nd and 3rd wickets, getting their dangerous looking number 3 caught behind and then bowling the next batsmen in with a jaffa. Suhaib and Amit were the first change bowlers and whilst Suhaib was struggling to find his range, Amit was producing some nice deliveries. His hard work paid off soon after drinks as he bowled the remaining opener. It’s fair to say, things weren’t going so smoothly at the other end. Josh, fresh from his year long sabbatical spent mostly telling anyone who would listen about how he was nearly the leading wicket taker in 2018 was brought into the attack. His 3 over spell contained a lot; runs (35 of them), extras, various dropped/missed catches, an attempted run out which went for four overthrows, and eventually a wicket- their batsmen managing to pick out Russell who managed to hang on. The one fairly vital component that it didn’t include was control and he was given a break and sent to the deep square boundary.  Unfortunately, Fraser didn’t fare any better and the Lambs were beginning to believe. Thankfully Abhay was able to keep things tidy at his end and pick up wickets too- 3 of them in total to end with impressive figures of 3-24.

Dean had seen enough and brought himself into the attack, alongside running out their no 5 who was looking good on 43. His bowling created chances, chances that were dropped in what was agreed to be a fielding performance with room for improvement. Geoff made no mistake with a stumping chance and the Whalers walked off slightly relieved after looking very comfortable earlier in the innings. Overall, it was a good win for the Whalers with impressive performances from Dean, Pip, Abhay and Matt in particular.

Whalers 209/7 beat Lambeth Lambs 151 all out by 58 runs

Awards

Champagne moment: Matt’s wicket, inswinger hitting the top of off.

Muppet: Dean’s 3rd drop and then petulant overthrows

MOM: Dean (101)

Whalers Return: Post Corona Tie

Sunday 19th July 2020 – Whalers vs Richmond Legbreakers; King’s House Sports Ground

The Whalers reconvened at Kings House for the delayed start to the 2020 season. After some late replacements we had the requisite 11 players and all were instructed in the new covid-19 secure guidelines which were ‘generally’ followed during the day.

Captain for the day Will lost the toss and we were put in to bat on a pitch that looked good despite overnight and morning rain. Dean & Fraser were the opening partnership and Dean had everyone’s heart in their mouth when almost hooking the first delivery straight to fine leg. Unfortunately Dean didn’t last too long failing to keep out a full inswinging delivery from opening bowler Kremer. After initially struggling with his run up and length Kremer was starting to bowl some very useful deliveries and soon had Tom caught behind in the first over after the new 6 over ‘hand sanitising and ball cleaning protocol’. This highlighted the lack of social distancing on the boundary as Nick, Geoff & Harry crammed themselves onto a small bench. At the other end Fraser was dispatching anything loose from the other bowler Te but he also fell to Kremer, caught in the slips driving at an away swinging delivery. Despite the clear edge Fraser seemed to want to wait for an official decision from umpire Dan in what would be called a ‘Stuart Broad’ moment in the fines session.

That bought Matt to the crease with the score on 42-3. Cue a very scratchy 35 run partnership with Will. Matt in particular struggled getting away the mainly accurate slow-medium bowling and eventually went for 16 chasing a wide one and being caught by a fantastic diving catch in the gully. The fielder looked as shocked as his team mates! This started a traditional Whalers mid-order collapse with Will & Viren following soon after with definite chuntering from Will following an LBW decision.

It was then up to the experienced duo of Geoff & Dan to get the Whalers back on track. Geoff making his 100th Whalers appearance was keen to dispatch anything loose and hit a couple of big sixes. Dan on the other hand was very keen not to get out and proceeded to either block or nurdle to the gully fielder every ball faced. Clearly he had trying to saving the country on his mind. Geoff eventually fell to an excellent catch right on the mid-wicket boundary just failing to clear the fielder for 35. Cue another mini-collapse with Amit falling quickly for 3 and Nick a comedy innings of 5. After having a big let off when skying his first ball he then swung himself off his feet and was stumped.

This bought the last man Harry to the crease with the Whalers on a very below par score of 129. To everyone’s surprise Dan suddenly moved from blocking to some beautiful lofted straight drives and pulls, in fact scoring four 4’s in a row off the 33rd over. More boundaries followed in the 34th and a kamikaze single of the last ball actually ended in a 3 when the throw missed the stumps. Dan couldn’t keep the strike for the last few balls and ended up with 48 not out. A great effort that gave the Whalers a much more defendable total of 173-9 from their 35 overs.

Realising there were no post match beers due to the clubhouse being closed, Matt used the tea break to race into Barnes to pick up some cans which were definitely needed. Nick opened the bowling for the Richmond Legbreakers innings despite claiming he couldn’t bowl and if he did definitely not off a proper run up. Anyway he did bowl and bowled very well without getting a break through. He also didn’t seem to get to grips with the covid-19 protocol of passing the ball straight back from wicketkeeper to bowler. At the other end Amit also couldn’t make a break through so after the 6 over cleaning protocol Will threw the ball to a surprised looking Geoff. Geoff provided a very entertaining and erratic 3 overs mixing in some very long hops (one double bouncer) with a beamer but took a wicket with his final ball when opener Casling slapped a wide one straight to Will in the covers. The ball was really travelling so it was a fantastic catch by Will above his head.

Tom was the next bowler used and passed the bat with some fast and well directed deliveries. Using Geoff’s approach of wicket with dross he had Kremer caught of a wide long hop with the batsmen picking out Nick at deep mid-off. Falling backwards Nick took an excellent one handed catch. This was after completing a 7 over spell conceding just 9 runs. Meanwhile Dan was bowling well from the other end initially without success and Matt replaced Tom. Neither could dismiss opener Williams who had now passed 50. Harry replaced Dan and bowled number 4 Pearson for 10 and Matt got rid of number 5 Raj for 2 as the game started to become tighter and tighter. The Legbreakers needed 47 off the last 7 overs with 6 wickets in hand. This became 24 needed off 3, still with 6 wickets left. Number 6 Turley who had been very watchful then took Dan for three 4’s in the 33rd over before being bowled. This left the Legbreakers needing 11 off 2 overs. Matt kept them to two off the first three balls and then had their opener Williams caught for 73 getting a top edge to Amit at square leg (apparently Amit’s first ever Whalers catch). A quiet end to the over left 7 needed off the last over with 4 wickets in hand. The Legbreakers dealt in singles initially with a smart stumping/run out from Dean also meaning a valuable dot ball. A nice shot over the infield from ball 5 gave them a 2 meaning they needed 2 off the final ball for a win or a single for a tie. Number 7 batsmen Chapman hit the last ball to long-off and both batsmen hared off for the two runs required. Will had other ideas however with a swift pick up before throwing down the stumps with a direct hit leaving Number 10 Brenham short of his ground.

A breath-taking end to a fantastic and keenly fought game of cricket. An excellent effort from the Whalers to stay in the game when all the time being behind in the game situation. Also a fantastic array of catches, with a rare stat of all catches being taken.

Some very tired bodies keenly opened beers (Brewdog rather than the standard Carling!) and an enthusiastic fines session was tempered by fines secretary Geoff who seemed reluctant to take full advantage of the valid points raised.

Match Result – Tie

Whalers 173-9       Dan 48 not out, Geoff 35

Richmond Legbreakers 173-7     Matt 2-26, Dan 2-29

M-O-M – Dan, excellent all-round performance

Champagne Moment – Will’s last ball run out to tie the game

Muppet Moment – Nick, stumped swinging himself off his feet and falling over

Whalers Last Over Defeat in Season Closer

Octopus CC vs Whalers CC; Alexandra Park; Sunday 8th September 2019

The last game of the cricketing season brought a wave of enthusiastic part timers out from behind the sofa, leaving The Whalers with an unprecedented 17 man squad at the midweek stage.  By midday on Sunday this had been reduced to 8 present players & and SOS call from an errant Kamal.

 

Having won his final toss as Whalers skipper Jack opted to bat first, with openers Will and Fraser putting on 27 for the opening partnership before Fraser was out LBW, with Suhab coming in and falling for 1 shortly after.  This brought Geoff to the crease, who set about solidly rebuilding the Whalers innings alongside Will.  By the time Will had departed for 41, including some lofty cover drives that looked suspiciously like good cricket shots, Geoff had already blasted his way to 50. 

 

Partnered with Aseem (2) Geoff continued to dispatch all bowlers to the nearest boundary on his way to a swashbuckling 95, before running himself out – in what he called a “sacrifice for the team” and what everyone else called “jug avoidance”. This brought Amit’s friend Amit to the crease who had a brief cameo of 16 – including bludgeoning 14 off one over of the returning opening bowler.

 

The Whalers innings somewhat fizzled out with Jack making 3 before being bowled, and Nick being run out for 0 after meeting Kamal at the crease for an impromptu team meeting, while Octopus delightedly ran him out at the other end.

 

Set 208 to win Octopus immediately lost one of their openers clean bowled by Nick, but promptly set about rebuilding their innings with a big partnership between two batsmen I don’t know the name of because I forgot to take a picture of that part of the scorebook.  

 

Having been gifted several second chances by the ever generous Whalers fielding unit, the breakthrough wicket came from Aseem who was rewarded for a dangerous spell of bowling. Another wicket for Aseem, along with 2 for Amit & 1 from Geoff restricted Alexandra’s scoring, however a few lucky 4’s near the end of their innings left them needing only 1 for victory off the final over.  3 dot balls in a row from Amit briefly offered hope before a scrambled single sealed the win for the home team.

 

M.O.M – Geoff’s 95

Champagne – Amit’s friend Amit’s big hitting

Muppet – Kamal and Nick running out Nick

Whaling Disbelief

Believers CC vs Whalers CC; Wimbledon; Sunday 1st September 2019

After being informed by the Believers that the match would be an old-fashioned timed game, the Whalers were inserted to bat first after losing the toss. With the conditions stipulating a minimum of 20 overs to be bowled after 6 p.m. there was much to ponder. Many a whaler mused over declaration related timing scenarios reflecting a sense of cautious optimism in the camp. Optimism gave way to nerves as Fraser and Roland were dismissed lbw and bowled respectively to some good deliveries, reducing the score to 28-2 after 7 overs.

Channa then played a perfect foil for Dean as they put on a terrific 102 run partnership, putting any fears of a collapse to bed. Making use of the lightning fast outfield and a couple of dropped chances, Dean dispatched any bad deliveries collecting 70 of his 84 runs in boundaries. He was even courteous enough to place his sixes over square leg just wide of the cars in the car park, as Whalers strategically stationed beyond the boundary failed to intercept the lusty blows. Dean was then out to a contentious lbw by Jack in what seems to be the preferred mode of dismissal this season for the Whalers. Debutant Suhaib was then out bowled for a well compiled 2, while Aseem and Russell were both out for ducks, bowled and lbw off 3 and 2 balls respectively. However Russell’s stay was lengthy enough to prompt Channa to remark that he went about his innings with poise.

With the Whale teetering at 154-7, Geoff came out and made a rollicking 28, bludgeoning the ball to all parts before holing out. Amit and Channa then finished the innings with a 34 run partnership leaving the Whalers on 221-7 which Dean decided was enough to make a declaration. Channa finished on 77 not out, with the bulk of his runs coming from languid aerial drives, provoking sighs of admiration and jangling nerves in equal measure as he was dropped on at least 5 occasions. His huge six into the adjacent motorcycling training school stood out as a highlight.

In keeping with the old-fashioned theme, Believers’ openers made a passing impersonation of Hobbs and Sutcliffe at their zenith with a majestic 141 run opening partnership. It became quickly apparent that the Whalers’ total might have been inadequate, with several vociferous lbw appeals being turned down and a few chances going begging. Jack bowled a particularly good opening spell testing both edges of the bat with no luck. As many as 6 different bowlers were rotated before Russell finally made the breakthrough in a strong second spell, with Fraser holding onto a good catch.

The Believers continued unfazed until 180-1, Russell finishing with 1-42 off his 7 overs. At this point Dean brought himself on. When the second wicket fell caught off Dean’s bowling with less than 25 runs needed, the Whalers suddenly ratcheted up the intensity several notches, fielding with great intent. This was no doubt in part inspired by Kamal’s elegant pirouette while celebrating his catch, for which he duly earned the Champagne moment of the match. A neutral observer wouldn’t have known which team was on top from body language alone, as a combination of Dean’s tight right arm round the wicket off spin and Jack breathing fire at the other end sparked a dramatic collapse from 200-1 to 215-5. Dean finished with 21-3 off his 6 overs, and Jack 44-1 off his 11. It was eventually to no avail as Believers’ opener Tom, capped off the win and his own century as he finished the match off in style.

Dean and Channa won a joint man of the match award in a first for this correspondent for their sparkling batting performances. Roland won the Muppet moment for his enthusiastic stumping attempts throughout the innings to pace bowler and spinner alike, much to the bemusement of the batsmen who rarely departed their crease.

Whalers 221-7

Believers 222-5

Believers win by 5 wickets