Whalers V Judd Street Tigers; Winchmore Hill; 15th September 2013
After a week of bad weather most Whalers were pretty certain that rain would call of the last game of the season. Undaunted, Skipper Giles bullied and chivvied and led us all to the dark north (Winchmore Hill). An hour on the north circular, looking at the bright red twinkling brake-lights of a thousand cars did little to encourage us, but eventually we got to the ground.
The Whalers only had 8 players but the Tigers loaned us one of their players for the day (thanks for playing Steve Rennie). Despite predictions of rain (surprise surprise) the toss was tossed and the Whalers were put into bat. It would be a reduced overs game (24 overs) but already the pitch looked muddy.
Rich and Al started the innings and continued their fine form. It took the Tigers 12 overs to secure a wicket (Giles – bowled for 27). The Whalers were 65 for 1. Next in was Patrick Joyce, who I don’t believe has played since Amsterdam last year.
Al and Pat poked and prodded for the next 7 overs, which yielded a well fought 50 for the President. There was a moment of hilarity for all and sundry when the Tigers conceded 6 overthrows (1 run, 1 over-throw, 4 over-over-throws). When the rain finally hit the ground the players decided to stay on and play. It would take something harder than a light drizzle to call this game of. Fortunately the rain was short lived and 15 minutes later it was, once again, just overcast.
With the soggy conditions and poor visibility the batsmen were never given the opportunity to get stuck in, Patrick was dismissed for 7 and Steve Rennie, who replaced him, was run out for 2 in the next over. The Whalers were 113 for 3 of 20 overs. The run rate was between 5 and 6 per over with Channa joining Al at the crease. Runs were difficult to come by, boundaries even more so and after a mighty heave and miss Al was dismissed in the next over for 67 well-crafted runs. Matt Lucas came in, brimming with energy and looking to score some quick runs. The score was 116 for 4 of 21 overs.
The Tigers brought back their two most experienced bowlers, who restricted the batsmen to 1s and 2s. However with Matt verbally abusing Channa (“run Channa run“) the runs did start to flow. There were a few large swings and misses (mainly from Channa), and a lovely straight-as-you-like boundary, back over the bowler’s head by Matt. By this point the pitch was like the Somme and neither batsman could really get the bowlers away (apart from a afore mentioned boundary). Whalers trickled to 139 for 4 of 24 overs (Channa *12 and Matt *10). Judd St Tigers needed a run rate of 5.8, but with a soggy pitch and slow outfield would it be a gettable target?
The rain was still on hold and unanimously it was decided that we would battle on and have tea at the end. With no keeper in the team roster Patrick took the gloves (via Channa) and the Whalers took to the field.
From the outset it became clear that the opposition batsmen were up for the challenge. While they treated Khalil with a large degree of respect they took out their aggression at Adris on the other end (5-0-31-0). It wasn’t long until Khalil (6-0-14-1) had a wicket after dislodging the off-stump of batsman number 2. Skipper Rich then brought on Special K and Lucas to make a dent. Given their recent performances we were hoping to see a flurry of wickets. Kamal is the leading wicket taker this season with 28 scalps. Matt is hot on his heels, after a lucrative September, with a total of 24. Would we see Kamal hang on to the top spot, or would Matt come back strong?
We were cold, the ball was wet and the opposition batsmen were in form. Lucas got spanked around in uncharacteristic fashion. The wet ball didn’t help as he was tonked for 26 of his three overs. He did have one caught and bowled opportunity, which would later win him Muppet moment. The batsman hit one straight up in the air. Matt screamed for it. We stayed well away. Easy does we thought. Wicket number 25 Matt thought. Dropped!
Kamal (6-0-38-1) on the other end didn’t do much better but at least got a wicket after Batsman 3 was caught by a diving Al at square leg. Batsman 3 had scored 40 and with the opener still going strong, things didn’t look promising. Giles (3-0-22-2) brought himself on to bowl and while he did take two wickets the Tigers were well above the curve and the damage was done.
It didn’t help that the Whalers kept missing easy run out opportunities, but with only 9 players on the field there were just too many holes for the Whalers to close. The fielding was as tight as it could have been under the circumstances but irrespective Judd St Tigers reached the target of 140 in the 22nd over, with their opening batsman top scoring with *42.
Despite the loss the Whalers were still in a good mood. It had been an exciting season full of ups and downs and frankly no one had expected to play on the day. The tea was awesome and the Judd St Tigers were thoughtful hosts.
Excellent season everyone! Looking forward the end of season dinner! The Whalers record for the year – 15 won. 7 lost.