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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

Whale Resists Gardeners

Whalers CC vs Gardeners CC; Sunday 18th August 2019; King’s House Sports Ground

After a late start due to rain and a wet outfield the Whalers took to the pitch to take on the Gardeners, a team we hadn’t faced in a few years. In the interests of expediency Will conceded the toss and the Gardeners batted first. This proved a masterstroke from Will as Jack and Dan opened up with some very tight and testing bowling on a damp pitch, runs were proving very hard to find, the pressure told and Jack picked up the first wicket getting through the defences of their opener. Dan changed ends and immediately had a double strike, Channa taking a good catch and the other opener edging behind. Russell had taken the ball into the wind and was also bowling some testing lines. After 15 overs the score was in check but the batters were looking settled and when Kamal and Geoff came on the batters looked to accelerate. Kamal bowled well against the aggression and while Geoff took a caught and bowled in his first over, the Gardeners were starting to play some lovely shots, aided by several dropped catches. Jack came on to finish the last over and after some discussion with the skipper eventually sort of agreed on a field, a 4 straight through the gap that was being discussed ‘ruined’ Jacks figures as he finished with 1 for 7 off 5 overs. The Gardeners finished on 145 from their 25 overs.

In reply Dean and Kamal opened the batting, Kamal was the initial aggressor with a couple of lovely square cuts. Dean was playing himself in but soon found his rhythm hitting several huge sixes when the bowlers dropped short. The 50 partnership was bought up in the 6th over before Kamal was bowled. Fraser came in and was aggressive straight away with a couple of sweetly struck fours before missing a straight one. Channa was next in and after playing himself in supported Dean in moving the score along in a partnership of 56 before getting a top edge for 24, These was a late flurry of wickets as the Whalers closed in, including Dean (after being dropped three times previously)  spectacularly caught one handed at mid on for 87. Will settled everyone’s nerves with a classy lofted off drive for the win with a couple of overs to spare.

M.O.M – Jack 7.3.5.1, mention for Deans 87

Champagne – Wills classy lofted off drive for the win

Muppet – The Captains (Jack and Will) fielding calamity which ‘allowed’ the 4 that ‘ruined’ Jacks bowling figures, mention for Kamal who was trying to catch geese in the field.

Whalers Fall Short in Last Ball Thriller

Whalers CC vs Stallions CC; King’s House Sports Ground; Sunday 4th August 2019 

 

Following a washout the previous week, the Whalers returned to action on Sunday vs the Stallions at Kings House. 

 
Buoyed by the return of Geoff after 5 months travelling and his pre-match advice regarding how to respond to a bear attack, skipper Will confidently took the decision to toss up without inspecting wicket choosing to bat first. 
 
The early progress of openers Dean and Tom indicated this was a wise decision, until the latter was caught at cover leaving the Whalers 33/1 in the 8th over. Enter Fraser who quickly injected some momentum into the innings with a number of sweetly struck boundaries (and an all-run 5). More than ably supported by an in-form Dean, the Whalers reached 98/1 by drinks. 
 
Soon after Fraser was out LBW for a well-made 46 to Riaz to bring Will to crease. Dean brought up his fifty shortly after with a six. The pair put on 50 before Will was also out LBW with the score 176/3 with 6 overs left. 
 
This brought Geoff to the crease brandishing a new logo-less bat brought from an unknown maker in rural Essex. Early indications of the bat’s quality were inconclusive as a noticeably rusty batsman preceded to edge all early deliveries faced, including a comical double drop. At the other end a less troubled Dean serenely moved to another excellent 100, although he was caught behind soon after for 106. 
 
Viren joined Geoff and together they upped the rate with some cracking shots taking the Whalers to what seemed like an imposing 257/4 from their 35 overs, a less rusty Geoff finishing 34*. 
 
The Stallions response was dented early when Dan bowled the opener in only the 3rd over, but thereafter the batsmen found their feet and started finding the boundary with regularity, in particular opener Rameez. 
 
Russell eventually dismissed the No.3 to leave the Stallions 45/2, but Rameez continued his assault taking a particular liking to anything straight or slightly legside, moving quickly to 50. 
 
After some juggling of bowlers to stem the flow of runs, Dean snared the No.4 to bring Stallions skipper Ejaz to the crease. Despite the wicket the runs continued to flow with Rameez reaching a superb hundred soon after. With the prospect of defeat growing ever greater, Will turned to Tom to stop the rot and was repaid a few overs later when he winkled out Rameez caught behind and quickly removed the No.6 LBW. 
 
With 2 overs left the Stallions required 11 runs to win with skipper Ejaz an imposing presence at the crease. Step forward Dan who bowled a fantastic over conceding two runs and taking the vital wicket of Ejaz. 
 
So it all came down to the final over with 9 runs required and a New Zealander selected to bowl it. One briefly wondered how many would be watching were the game made available on free-to-air. 
 
A first ball dot, was followed by a quickly run bye and a third ball boundary. Then it got interesting. Next ball a steepling chance was put down allowing the batsman two runs, but Geoff followed up with ANOTHER dot ball. Two to win off the final ball. The final delivery was bunted down to long on and the batsman desperately tried to come back from a second run which was never there…but a very unfortunate bounce from a bullet throw from Tom saw the ball evade Geoff’s grasp allowing the Stallions to complete the run and secure the win.  
 
Freshly consigned to the dustbin of history, the dejected Whalers dragged themselves from the field to shake the hands of their opponent. There would be no super over, no champagne reception at No.10, no Queen’s birthday honours. Not now. Probably not in 4 years. Maybe never.
 
Some disappointed Whalers regrouped in the clubhouse for a hefty fines session. Thanks to the Stallions for a very enjoyable game.  
 
MoM: Dean for his hundred