Whalers CC vs F.C.O
Thursday 18 June 2015: Millfields Cricket Pitch
Whalers win by 37 Runs
A warm and sunny evening eventually brought 91% of a Whalers team to a pitch in Hackney, interestingly located for two sides based in south London. Having won the toss, the Whalers batting was put to the test first in this Twenty20. Channa and Dario confidently strode out to the middle to start things off, but it was soon clear that only the England Cricket team have revised their approach to the shorter forms of the game. Some varied bowling slowed the scoring rate, and Channa was eventually undone by a surprise straight one which followed the theme of pitching somewhere between the stumps and the keeper. Frustration was demonstrated by a trip to the local corner shop for early-innings beers.
Kev’s claims of picking up the scoring rate were looking dubious after a quiet first over, but he and Dario were able to move things on a bit. Channa had agreed with the oppo captain that there would be no LBWs unless they were 100%, which worked in Kev’s favour as he survived an appeal for a 99.5% certain LBW. However, nothing could save him a few balls later when he was bowled for 9. Jiff entered the fray for a quickfire, moonwalking 5 (although claimed he actually scored 6), which brought in JT. His run of 3 ducks was extended to a fourth, being bowled first ball and setting the scene for later batting against an average attack, leaving the Whalers on 91 for 5. Luckily Dario was anchoring the innings with some solid hitting and good placement, although a lack of spikes was reflected by the absence of 2s and 3s.
Dan and Dario managed to steady the ship with some good hitting and made the most of the questionable fielding. Having reached 50, Dario gracefully retired to bring in debutant Pete who demonstrated some solid strokes before being impressively caught and bowled for 7, but had supported Dan’s quick march on well enough to put the Whalers up around the 160 mark. Special, who had arrived from Sydney that morning, walked out to the encouragement of those on the sidelines who suggested he go for it. 30 seconds later he was walking back after a brave swipe across the line missed and he was bowled. Jack was able to give the bowler a reward of a hat-trick after playing a poorly lined up defensive which let the ball take the top of off stump, and left the Whalers on 166-6. Nick did slightly better – his duck wasn’t golden, but the Whalers could only add three more before being caught, and left Dan on 51 not out. Dario decided not to go back in to face the last two balls, and the Whalers finished on 166-7. The bowling had been varied to say the least (one ball taking a grenade-trajectory straight from bowler to keeper), and the fielding helped us in our cause.
A quick team talk (and chance to finish some of the cans that had been brought onto the pitch) and the Whalers were ready to bowl. Nick opened things with a generous first over, not quite reflecting the comments of “I always bowl better when I’ve had a beer” which their batsmen seized upon with some confident shots and a few boundaries. Jack was at the other end with similar results, although he wasn’t helped by some dubious fielding (more to follow in details of the Muppet Moment). The pace bowlers tightened things up a bit, but the opening batsmen were able to use their pace to keep the scoring high. An early change brought on a jet-lagged Kamal who immediately restored order, teasing the batsmen with some good flight, and JT found a good rhythm from the other end. Special’s second over put the Whalers back in it, drawing the two opening batsmen into wild missing slashes which Kev seized upon to stump them both in three balls.
The fielding was a bit sluggish and may have been impacted by the choice of refreshment, but the bowling was improving as Peter’s drift and grip brought bowled batsmen number 3 and 4, and Jiff was able to pick up batsmen number 5. Dan bowled some tight overs off a short run up, and bowled number 6. Kev ran number 7 out by collecting the ball and shuffling back on his backside to take the bails off, and the effect was repeated (although not in the same style) to remove number 9. The oppo captain seemed miffed by some decisions that had been made and chose to take these up with Jiff. Despite his assurances that he would let it go, he repeatedly sought Jiff out to continue their debate, but some careful Kiwi sarcasm made sure the game didn’t descend any lower. JT offered some distraction by drawing number 8 into a loose shot which Dario snapped up, and then finished off the innings to bowl number 11 and finish with 3-11 off four overs, some very good bowling. There had also been a cameo over two from Channa, greatly encouraged by many of the team. It was less than tight, but kept the batsmen guessing with varied lengths and changes in pace (all of which I’m sure were intentional).
It certainly wasn’t a showcase of the Whalers abilities, but it was a solid performance that bowled the oppo out for 132 and left enough time for some post-game beers to accompany the fines, as well as extending our unbeaten run to 9 games. Man of the match went to Dario for his solid and calm 50*, although special mention should also go to JT for his 3 wickets, and Dan for his 51* and contribution with the ball.
There were a few contenders for Muppet Moment – Jiff’s attempt to bring the game into disrepute, and Special’s practice on the sideline of trying to defend a ball which had gone for four but missing it and letting it right through his legs. However the award has to go to Nick for his fielding efforts at fine leg: drinking on the field, the ball comes towards him so he puts the can down, goes to field the ball, misfields it and lets it go for four and manages to knock over the beer at the same time. Luckily the oppo saved the beer. The Champagne moment goes to Kamal for his game-changing over and two wickets, but not to Kev for the stumpings themselves.