Whalers CC vs Village CC; Sunday 15th May 2022; Kings’s House Sports Ground
The day dawned wet and broadly continued in the same vein as the optimistic forecast of earlier in the week continued to deteriorate. Still there was much to look forward to for the eager crowd (rising to 2 at some points) with an unbeaten season record to maintain, and Suhaib’s captaincy debut to look forward to.
With the threat of rain a 30 over game was agreed on. The toss was lost, but it wasn’t a bad one to lose as the Whalers found themselves getting first use of seemingly favourable bowling conditions. There was plenty of early movement for Ross and Suhaib who were very economical early on but it took the introduction of Barney to make the breakthrough with an excellent delivery to bowl one of the Village openers. Nick started well at the other end, but the scoring rate was good in the conditions and without wickets it was starting to look like hard work for the Whalers.
Drinks were taken after 15 overs and after a long faff involving rain radar, bowler landing spot analysis, and a fruitless search for sawdust it was agreed to carry on with the rain easing slightly. Things started to go downhill fast thereafter for the Whalers as anything short was ruthlessly despatched by Village number 3 Tom and an increasing number of mis-fields and dropped catches (including 2 drops off 2 balls from Fraser) not helping the general mood. Whalers weren’t without success at this time with a wicket for Nick and Kamal and a direct hit run-out courtesy of Dean making up for his initial fumble. Village number 3 Tom carried on regardless though including attempting to reverse sweep Nick’s medium pacers, and despite wearing a Fraser ripper on his face off the penultimate ball eventually finished on 98 not out as Village set an imposing 198-5 off their 30.
If the Whalers were to get close they needed a good start and with positive intent Dean despatched the first ball on the innings for a one bounce four over the longest boundary off Bilal. Thompson bowling from the other end bowled very well and Al offered an early chance behind, but thereafter a mixture of big boundaries (Dean) and scampered runs (Al) we were up with the rate early and asking questions of Village. The change bowlers took some punishment as Dean got going, but he missed a straight one and was bowled for a quickfire 58. Pip joined Al and the run a ball rate was maintained and Whalers reached drinks at a healthy 110-1 needing 89 off the last 15.
A solid start after drinks came to an end with Al bowled for 61 with the score on 145. Scoring slowed thereafter as the new batsmen struggled to settle with Fraser out for 1 and the returning Thompson despatching Pip for 33 and Amit for 5 in his final 2 overs (figures were pick on the day 6-0-10-2). Village sensed victory as Whalers needed 25 off the final 2. Ross had other ideas though as he hit 2 massive sixes off the penultimate over to leave 8 required off the last to win
First ball was a scrambled single by Barney bringing Ross back on strike, but his attempt at another big hit skied one calmly taken under pressure by the bowler and he was on his way back for 20. Whalers ‘finisher’ Josh made his way to the crease keen to further establish his credentials but initially from the non-strikers end as Barney negotiated a dot ball, but then a 3 to return Josh to strike. He managed a single to make it 3 off the last for Barney to win it. A short ball was hooked to the deep but to a fielder and while it was a comfortable two a third was never really on so the game ended in a tie in the best weather of the day.
The dry theme continued as we retired to the bar only to find it had closed sometime earlier. Instead Whalers were left to reflect on initially how fortunate we were to get a game in, let alone a topsy turvy tie with nearly 400 runs in 60 overs in mostly dubious conditions. Credit to Village for their part in a very competitive game. As we sat around sans drinks for fines and awards, with Nick reading chosen extracts from last week’s report the final analysis of the day was around a game that had no finishers at all and also no beer, a combination that was a certain Whalers first.
Village CC 198-5 (30)
Whalers CC 198-6 (30) – Al 61, Dean 58, Pip 33
MOM – Ross for his all-round contribution (4-0-12-0 and 20)
Champagne – Ross for his second 6 in the penultimate over
Muppet – plenty of candidates amongst the fielding but in the end Dean’s drop