Monthly Archives: July 2014

Tour to Malta June 2014

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Whaler’s tour 2014 – Malta
Channa Karunaratne (with apologies for lateness) 

“On the other side of exhaustion is euphoria” – P. Luckett (Malta 2014)

We arrived on Friday to hot blistering sunshine and Mediterranean heat. With half the team arriving later that night, the advanced party (some of whom had a mid-afternoon nap) took to the streets of Malta. Pete (AKA Bunny) was in charge and we were soon sipping on our first cisk (local beer). We were joined by Steve (AKA Matt), one of Bunny’s mates, who is currently living in exile in Malta.

With the boys on top form we headed to Corks, which would be our regular for the next three nights. Steve was soon hitting on four quite annoyed looking Irish girls who gave him the cold shoulder. They finally had enough of his rubbish and told him to f-off. Naturally he did the honourable thing and stayed put until Kev stole his flip-flops and we escaped into the night. Somehow we managed to stay out till 3am (the rear-guard of the Whalers having gone straight to bed), which was perfect preparation for the Whaler’s 20th International fixture.

 Game 1: Marsa CC V Whalers CC – 7th June 2014

After a quick breakfast the reunited Whalers, including Pip (aka Pippo aka Pipapotomous) and Maddie, boarded the chariot and made our way to Marsa cricket club. This turned out to be an imposing building circa 1855 of British Raj architecture. Adjoining it was a swimming pool, tennis courts and cricket pitch with its own club house. Not too shabby.

It must be said that one or two of the Whalers, myself included, were in a bit of a state and the thought of fielding for 35 overs in the blistering heat was (I will be honest) horrific. Skipper of the day Kev opted to bat first on the artificial wicket. He went with the risky option of yours truly, Channa Karu and Pip English. Both of the opening bowlers were quick and accurate. One was Malta’s ex-international captain; the other was bowling 6 accurate balls of various permutations.

Batting was hard work. After five overs we were 7 for no loss when Mr English edged a sharp chance to slip. I followed soon after (LBW). With 7 for 2 on the board, Bunny Nicholls and Rob Eberstein arrived at the crease. Albery would have taken the number 4 slot but for a mysterious wrist injury sustained during his stag do. Unfortunately Eberstein didn’t make an impact and neither did his replacement Bhogal. The Whalers were struggling on ‘not-allot’ for 4 when Kev manned up and came into bat. Thus followed a period of rebuilding, mainly featuring Nicholls playing the same shot. This phenomenon even made the local papers (see extract from local paper at the end of the report). The opposition soon commented on Bunny’s one scoring shot but bizarrely were not able to stop him. Having batted for a while Kev decided that his limp wrist was too painful and retired hurt for 9. Together they had moved the score on to 85 of 4 from 20 overs.

Nicholls celebrated his 1st half century of the season with a nonchalant half nod while engaging in a battle of words with Hewitt (an ex international rugby referee who was very lively). Hewitt would provide the majority of the entertainment for the tour and his name should be noted for the rest of the report.  Finally Nicholls decided to charge Hewitt who watched delightedly as the keeper whipped the stumps off. Hewitt would later declare Nicholls his ’rabbit’ and refer to him affectionately as bunny. He then proceeded to tell Nicholls (aka Bunny) that getting him out was “as good as an orgasm”.

Next at the crease was the Dragon-slayer who was dropped after sky’ing his first ball. On a jubilant 1 he was then promptly dismissed.  That’s when Gilo (27*) and Dan (25) took to the crease and between them gave the Whalers some credibility. The runs started trickling in and the Whalers got to 153/6 of 34. With only a few balls left, Dan went for a suicide second which was then replicated by his replacement Lucas. Kamal finished off with a single, closing the innings at 159/8 of 35. M.Caruana and A.Naudi were the pick of the opposition bowlers with 5-3-10-2 and 5-2-13-2.

With the searing heat beating down the Whalers contemplated fielding for 35 overs. Fortunately Tea was very good. Some of the Whalers had a quick dip in the pool before sitting down to a plate of schnitzel and chips. Exactly what you need when faced by multiple overs in the field.

Marsa cricket club took no prisoners. With J.Grima and A.Naudi at the crease they were soon blasting the ball all over the place. Skipper Kev swapped out Osgood and Lucas in the ninth over for the combined spin of Special K and Pippo. The breakthrough finally arrived in the 10th over with A. Naudi, trying to lift Pippo to cow-corner where I was fielding.

To the crease stepped F. Spiteri, who we were later told was their best batsman. Eberstein and Giles came on but still no joy. The game was in its 17th over when F. Spiteri got his half century and promptly retired. Even though their number 1 batsman was still at the crease with 40 odd there was a renewed effort by the Whalers. There was some interesting fielding at this point, most notable of which was Dragon-slayer fielded the ball will his leg and accidently kicking it away. He timed it so well that the ball rocked away and almost reached the boundary. It probably would have been stopped earlier but for the fact that we were all laughing so hard that Luckett had to field it himself.

The score was 145 for 1 after 20 overs when Luckett and his heavy balls were brought in. This attempt to scare the batsman worked rather well. The opening bat was dismissed clean bowled by Luckett for 49. Unfortunately it was a little too late and the remaining runs were chipped away (slowly) by Bunny’s friend Steve.

A disappointed group of Whalers retreated to the pool and after a quick dip headed to the bar. Marsa CC was well represented and soon we were relaxed and sipping on yet another chewy cisk larger. Hewitt from the opposition wasted no time in congratulating all of us on playing a good game and  summarised the game by saying that Luckett’s style was “rudimentary” and that Bunny’s 50 was “better than what you will get tonight”.

Man of match – Bunny (Pete) for his 69

  • Champagne – Channa’s catch
  • Muppet – Luckett kicking ball further than he has ever hit it

That night’s antics are slightly hazy. After a quick meal comprising a huge steak and some rank wine the team headed out for some cocktails. We found out that the tour report from last year was stuck in a dinosaur nexus (no idea!), which was why it was so late. Pippo was wearing his stag and engagement party shirt which we had gifted him. Bunny’s friend Steve tried his luck with some miserable Irish girls, completely forgetting that he had tried to hit on them the night before. To be fair to them they saw the funny side to it all. Don’t get me wrong, they still told him to f-off.

The night was just pure fun and apart from one very nasty little brush with a steroid fuelled bouncer (probably suffering from small d1ck disease) the night was a roaring success. It ended in a rather (and predictably) messy fashion with a comatose Pip being carried back to the hotel room. Unfortunately for him he woke in the middle of the night and mistook his kit bag for the toilet. Suffice to say no one borrowed his kit the next day.

Game 2: Marsa CC V Whalers CC – 8th June 2014

“The Whale has many appendages” – P.Luckett (Malta 2014)

“Does that make you the penis” – K.Albery in response to the above (Malta 2014)

The next day was scorching. We were naturally quite hung-over though some were worse than others. Pippo was in the dog house for pissing in the corner of his hotel room (on his kit) and Bunny and Kev were sub-human.

Dan tried to perk us up by playing the piano, which he did remarkably well. A CD with hits such as ‘Wide-wide-wide Dan Osgood’, ‘You are Gould’, ‘We…are the Whalers’ and many others will be available for general release soon. Please contact D.Osgood for your own autographed copy.

When we arrived at Marsa, we were told that we would be facing a diminished team from the day before. Captain Pete led the charge and after winning the toss elected to field. The day was hot but it would only get hotter and no one fancied fielding in the afternoon.

Lucas and Eberstein opened the bowling and immediately had the batsmen thinking. Fuelled by alcohol and rage it wasn’t long till the Whalers had their first wicket when Lucas trapped the opening batsman (LBW for 1). Eberstein, from the other end removed the number two bat (LBW for 5). It got even better when the number three batsman was run out for 0 and the number five was bowled by Eberstein for 0. What a start!

Luckett, at first change, got his second scalp of the tour when the number four batsman looped one up to Dan. Marsa were 28 for 5 and in deep trouble. Sandy came on and added to Marsa’s woes by bowling the number 6 batsman. The score was 35 for 6.

The Marsa skipper dug in and thus followed some gritty cricket. The Marsa skipper put up a valiant effort and kept the score board ticking along with some very explosive sixes. Aided by more than a few byes, Marsa were on 102 for 6 when Lucas got a breakthrough. Three runs later Osgood took the key wicket of the Marsa skipper, who had made a well fought 54.

There were a few dropped in the field; Gilo, who having called it (classic M.I.N.E moment) dropped it and in the process really damaged his knee. The knee would later swell up leaving him unable to bat. Irrespective he was forced to drop down and do ten push-ups (the fine for saying M.I.N.E) there and then. The best one though was Sandy’s refusal to catch a straight forward dolly. Perhaps it was the heat/booze but potentially it was in protest against the fascist dictator who was setting the field.

Marsa were on 105 for 8. Kamal had time to take one last wicket before a flurry of runs (and some ginormous sixes), by the late arriving number ten (23 not out), took Marsa to 133/9 of 35.

All of the Whalers (apart from me) bowled well. Lucas took 2 wickets for 7 of his 4 overs. Luckett, Kamal and Dan were also in and amongst the wickets. However it was Eberstein and Bhogal that bowled the tightest, with figures of 3-2-3-1 and 4-3-1-1 respectively.

With a target of 134 Bunny decided to open with Eberstein and Channa. Fortunately for us, Marsa seemed to have left behind their quicker bowlers. Eberstein and I plundered quick runs and soon the Whalers were racing away with the game. The first wicket fell in the 14th over when Rob, who was on 21, saw the ball clatter into his wicket. With the score on 74 for 1 Kamal joined me at the crease. He was also gone too soon and Matt Lucas took his place.

The Marsa skipper had been bowling at a decent pace, but with a line outside off stump he was dispatched more than a few times to the boundary. I soon reached my 50 and decided to retire (an easy decision considering how hot it was). Sandy joined Lucas and soon the score was racing along yet again. Bhogal was particularly brutal and raced to his 31 not out by the time the winning run was scored.

Champagne moment – Sandy cleaning up

  • MoM – Channa for his 50. Sandy and Rob for their all-round performance.
  • Muppet –Sandy’s refusal to catch a straight forward one.
  • Honourable mentions: Gilo’s ‘M.I.N.E’ moment in the field, Luckett jumping in pool with his phone in his pocket and Sandy making Amanda cry.

That night there was one last session of drinking and cavorting, but soon enough it was time to leave Malta. Many thanks to Marsa for being such incredible hosts and to Bunny Nicholls for organising it all.

All in all it was one of the best tours in recent history and it is clear that the spirit of the Whale lives on.

….until next year then Maestro.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

‘The Times of Malta’ – excerpt 10/6/14

 

Meanwhile, over the weekend Marsa CC took on new rivals from England, Whalers CC, at the oval.

On Saturday the visitors elected to bat first after winning the toss. A great innings from P. Nicholls of 63 runs provided some delight to the Whalers. He thoroughly enjoyed playing the sweep shot where he achieved 95 per cent of his runs. R. Giles, 27, and D. Osgood, 25, were the main scorers in the visitors’ total of 159 runs. For the home side, Mike Caruana and Andrew Naudi took two wickets each.

 

The Marsa reply came from two different sources. Frank Spiteri blasted 52 runs as John Grima opened the innings and fell just short of a half century by a run. Naudi chipped in with 29 and the home team were easy victors.

 

On Sunday, the Whalers opted to bowl first and managed to keep the home side to 133 runs.

Derek Ali played a good innings, making 54 runs, and Sid Anand added 23. For the visitors, R. Eberstein and M. Lucas took two wickets each.

 

The Whalers were not relishing returning home empty-handed and C. Karunaratne had plenty to say when hitting 50 runs. Bhogal added 31, Eberstein 21 and Lucas 17 in a convincing win to tie the series.

Whalers put the Mockers on Quokkas

Whalers CC 104/4 bt Quokkas CC 101 by 6 wickets

Kings House Sports Ground Sunday 13th July 2014

A familiar theme to games this season has been a lack of players so it was not a surprise when despite having two extra available for most of the week only 10 Whalers made it to the ground for the game. The Quokkas had fared no better and mustered only 9. Another recent theme has been worryingly brittle batting so it was a relief when a potentially wobbly 22/3 led to a comfortable victory with only one more wicket going down and plenty of overs to spare after the bowling and fielding had been tight to restrict Quokkas.

Losing the toss and fielding captain Pip entrusted Dan and Khalil with the new ball, much to Dan’s surprise Khalil chose to bowl downhill and with the wind. He did so with his usual distinction and bowled through to finish with 2 wickets for next to nothing, the highlight a catch at mid-wicket by Sandy the ball after moving him closer. Dan was unable to improve his seasons wicket tally and was replaced after 4 overs by Kamal who bowled very well and completely flummoxed the poor Quokkas. He took another three wickets to add to an already impressive season tally. Gilo found the “knack” of hitting the opposition in the “knackers” when he came into the attack achieving 3 direct hits and also picking up two wickets. Former bowler James Gould took 1/5 from 4 overs. The Quokkas had a batsman come back in and he did do a little better than first time round but really they never got on top of the bowling and 100 was no fewer than they deserved.

Pete had been stuck in traffic for hours on the way to the game and started like he was in a hurry to beat Sunday congestion on the way home again crashing his first ball for 4 square of the wicket. Unfortunately he left after making 15 with a very well hit pull finding square leg and the catch being taken. The next ball Sandy was caught in front of middle and only a couple of balls after that was in his car on the way home to have a physio look at his ankle. Dario had looked set but after waiting a minute to decide where to hit a loopy leg break full toss will be disappointed at his decision to return it waist high whence it came. So we were 3 down nearly 80 short and memories of record low scores a fortnight ago on the same pitch were being told and retold. We needed a captains innings and thankfully two were now operating in partnership. Kev and Pip were solid and ruthless when bad balls came. Appropriate then that their stand was ended when the third Whalers captain on the field Dan took a straightforward catch at mid-off after Kev (18) lost patience. If only Pete could have somehow bowled it. We were sailing in much calmer waters now though and Pip (39*) saw the chase through to the end with Gilo finishing unbeaten on 17.

An enjoyable match that lacked the spark created by ebb and flow and individual brilliance but played in pleasant summer sunshine against friendly types.

MOM:                 Pip         39* a wicket and a catch
MUPPET:           Pete      astonishingly late
CHAMPAGNE:   Khalil    moved Sandy in at midwicket and next ball had catch taken there

Whalers back from losing exile

Whalers vs Energy Exiles, Sunday 6 July 2014

June hasn’t been a good month for the mighty Whale. Chronic availability problems have contributed to no wins since the Malta tour, and we hit the depths of being 6 for 7 against Lemmings. The omens for Sunday’s rematch against Energy Exiles (one of the June defeats) therefore weren’t great, as a lack of players meant that the only reasons the game could go ahead in the first place were the continued generosity of both Exiles and Salix (who lent us two players each) and the prospect of the club being charged £240 for a no-show. Still, we won the toss and were batting, so some things don’t change…

Pip and Sandy opened cautiously against very tight bowling, and by drinks we were 56 for 3, with Jasper (one of the Exiles players) scoring 29. The biggest partnership of the game then followed, as Paul Clappison and Kev put on 96, with some fine off-side drives from Paul and a range of one-armed shots from a still-injured Kev. But when Paul was out for 41, we couldn’t quite kick on and ended up on 180 which was felt to be about par, with Kev bringing up his fifty with a six over square leg and finishing on 63 not out.

When the Exiles started their reply, Amar (the other Exile in exile) kept things tight from one end and Khalil was bowling beautifully from the other. His second wicket in particular deservedly got champagne moment of the day, moving away to feather the edge and then clip the top of off-stump, with Tony pouching the catch in the slips just to make sure. Khalil finished his 7 overs with 2-14, and was replaced with Kamal who – rather than bother with the traditional Whalers loosener of slow long-hop / leg-side wide – immediately produced another jaffa to bowl the Exiles captain, and bowled another excellent spell of 2-19. By now the Whalers were on top, the bowling stayed accurate throughout (is only 2 wides all innings some kind of record?), and the run-rate continued to climb, with wickets for Dillan (borrowed from Salix) and Dan. Some late acceleration from the Exiles looked like it might make for an interesting finish, but when it came to the last over 23 was still needed. The first ball was hit a long way up in the sky but safely caught by Pip on the boundary, and Paul then cleaned up the tail to end up with 3-33 and leave the Exiles 20 runs short.

Right on cue the heavens then opened and we got soaked on the way back to the bar, which was already closed – but even the lack of beer couldn’t take the edge off the first Whalers victory for a month. All in all, a good team bowling performance (and having 11 players) was probably the difference, together with Kev and Paul’s partnership with the bat which gave us something to defend. Man of the match was Paul for his all-round performance (41 and 3-33), with an honourable mention for Khalil who also got champagne moment, and Kev got muppet moment for hurling the ball for 4 overthrows.

 

Whalers: 180 for 7 from 35 overs (Kev 63*, Paul Clappison 41, Jasper 29)

Energy Exiles: 160 for 9 from 35 overs (Paul 3-33, Khalil 2-14, Kamal 2-19)

Crane Hoists Whale

Whalers vs Crane CC 29th June 2014

Whalers 118 all out (30) lost to Crane 119 for 9 (35) – by 1 wicket

After the debacle of the previous week, the Whale was keen to get back on the horse to deal with the Crane – a team from West London found by Dario to replace Balham Rovers, who could not raise a team.  The weather was blustery but dry, and the pitch very green.

Whalers were put in and opening pair of Stu and Dario played well for the first 4 overs, until Stu tried to cut too close to his body and was well caught in the slips off the opening bowler. Matt Boucher then came to the wicket and quickly succumbed to their other opener and the score was only 22. Kev came in but was clearly in some discomfort from his ‘broken’ wrist, and was the next to fall, caught behind with the score on 40.  Dario was then LBW 2 overs later and Whalers were 42 for 4 after 15 overs.  Not exactly vintage stuff.  What made things worse were the opposition had no fiery quicks, and no demon spin – just a selection of slow bowlers that we continually played daft shots to and gave their team catching practice! Channa, JT, Ed and debutants Graeme and Ryan all gave catches off these bowlers, with Edd the only one showing any real resistance with a knock of 25.  Khalil steadied things a little at the end with 15 not out, but Kamal was finally stumped at the end of the 30th over and the score was a below par 118.  However, as has happened several times this season, the Whalers did not roll over and give up.

After tea, Khalil opened with a miserly and difficult spell of seven overs (7 3-9-2), and crucially he and Ryan (7-0-22-1) took 3 wickets between them for only 21 runs – perhaps a game was on?  Crane then had a couple of big hitters in and once Khalil and Ryan had been taken off, they seemed to prefer the bowling of Graeme (3-0-26-0) and Kamal (7-0-29-1) a bit more.  That said, we never gave up and some great fielding and excellent catching (from Matt Boucher in particular, who took 3) meant we always kept them pegged back.  When their opener, Butt, fell to a slow full toss from JT (2-0-7-2) that he smashed straight at Matt for 57, we really felt that there was a chance.  Tight bowling from Stu (3-0-8-3) and Edd (6-1-16-0) brought the game right into the final over – 6 runs required, one wicket remaining. It was a big ask of debutant Ryan and he came steaming in about as quick as any Whaler in recent years, but it wasn’t to be.  A controversial wide, a 4 squirted through point and then the final run was scored off the last ball of the game.

So from what appeared to be a poor performance, the Whale emerged with dignity and pride very much intact.  It was a great fight and a very enjoyable game for both sides. Awards: Champagne moment went to Matt for his self-preservation catch to dismiss their big-hitting opener, Muppet went to Graeme for his average inability to pick up a stationary ball which allowed the batsmen to run 2, and MoM was awarded to Khalil for his all-round excellence, especially as it was done on an empty stomach!