Sunday June 23rd 2013
Whalers 200-6 beat Uxbridge Casuals 62 ao by 138 runs
Possibly the furthest pilgrimage most Whalers will have to make to get their cricketing fix within the M25 this season, the Uxbridge ground of Middlesex CC has, as you would expect, a high quality batting surface and an immaculate outfield. Even the secondary pitch, which the Whalers were relegated to, had covers and looked very true and even. Skipper for the day Dan was keen to get the Whalers back to winning ways after a midweek game which saw another skipper join Mr Giles in the losing captains club. Agreeing to a timed game in blustery but mild conditions, he then won the toss and elected to bowl. At this point, he was swiftly advised by the opposing captain that it was really in our interest to bat first in order to make a game of it.
So decision made; Whalers were going to set a score and be faced with the prospect of having to make a strategic declaration in order to secure victory. With Pip English running late after allegedly spending another night in an abandoned petrol station, Dan was forced to open the batting with Pete. This unusual opening pairing seemed to affect Pete and after 4 balls of the first over he was back in the pavilion (wooden shed) bowled by Richard for 4. Pip then emerged (staggered out) to join Dan and they duly set about the bowling until Dan edged the same opening bowler to the keeper for 8. With the score at 16-2, the skipper must have feared another infamous Whalers collapse and with it, his unblemished record for the season! JT then joined the fray and assumed his usual off stump guard indicating his intent to get after the bowling. That he did with a quick fire 27 in 7 overs with some crushing boundaries a la Dragon Slayer (Mr. P. Luckett for the uninitiated). He was then bowled by Abag, one of several colts on the opposition’s team, and was quickly followed two balls later by Tom who was also bowled but for no runs (73-4). Rich Giles then came to the crease and he and Pip started to steer the Whalers towards a respectable score – Gilo not appreciating some of the running between the wicket that Pip was pushing for. At one point Gilo hit a full toss to midwicket, who duly caught it, but he was saved by the ball being judged to be over waist height. The alcohol from the night before obviously wore off and after reaching his half century Pip was eventually caught for 66 – again off the opening bowler – with the score now at 135-5. Rich was then joined by Vish who provided a cameo before being stumped for 13 followed by Rob (caught behind for 9). As tea approached, Rich reached his half century with some lovely shots to the boundary and the Whalers eventually made it to 200 with Rich achieving an exhausting 55 not out and Khalil scoring 1.
Sadly, there was no Cook style waving the batsmen off of the field from the boundary. With the skipper having complete faith in the opposing captain’s statement regarding their batting at the toss, Dan decided that 200 was a sufficient total to defend and promptly declared during tea. This was met with some disdain by a now slightly less sweaty Giles who had expected to be allowed to go on and complete his century after the break.
The 2nd innings started at 4.30 and with 20 overs to be bowled after 5.30 and only 10 men in the field, the game appeared in the balance and required a good start by the Whalers bowling attack. Khalil and Rob opened the bowling and Rob duly delivered by bowling their number 2 in his first over for a duck. Khalil followed this up with some tight bowling from the other end and eventually had their number 3 caught behind by Dan (standing in as wicketkeeper). A small partnership then formed although the run rate remained low and it appeared as if Uxbridge were aiming for the draw by taking their time and not looking to hit out. Bowling changes ensued with Kamal and Vish coming on for some spin action and eventually their opening batsman powerfully hit to short extra cover off of Vish and Khalil held on for a very good catch. At this stage, although there were many wickets remaining, the Whalers were definitely in the driving seat. The Uxbridge innings never really took off from there with wickets falling quickly punctuated by a rare catch for Kamal at backward square who also took 2 wickets. One batsman of note did take a liking to some of the bowling on offer and hit a couple of sixes but eventually succumbed to a sublime piece of fielding by Rob Lothian. Pip, who had come on to bowl now, set the trap by bowling a tempting full toss towards leg and the batsman swept to the square leg boundary with the ball travelling at some pace. Rob aware that he was on the ropes parried the ball forwards with his hands above his head and then, as the team looked on thinking he was going to let the ball fall to the ground or fall backwards over the rope for six, he managed to pluck it out of the air and remain on the good side of the boundary for a well taken catch.
Ignoring the already recalcitrant Giles, Dan then turned to the unknown quantity that was Tom to see if he could wipe out the tail. After bowling some looseners, a couple of which shot over not only the batsman’s head but also the wicket keeper’s, he managed to find his length and took wickets much to his surprise. He ended up taking 3 wickets for 9 runs off 2 eventful overs and took the last wicket with Uxbridge on a miserly 62.
So the Whalers form seems to have returned after the T20 no show. Let’s hope it continues this week!
Man of the Match: Pip English 66 ct (Honourable mention to Rich Giles 55 not out)
Champagne Moment: Rob Lothian’s catch on the boundary (Trott could learn something from him)
Muppet Moment: Tom Brownrigg for his Sreesanth style beamer that almost went for 6 byes