Whalers v Judd St Tigers
23 August 2015
Winchmore Hill CC
In the days leading up to the game the weather forecast was not looking good and premature emails questioning whether it was a good idea to play were already circulating. So as the Whalers started to gather in north London for the match, the first spots of rain initiated the pessimistic comments and general air of foreboding…was this a waste of a Sunday afternoon or will we actually get a game?
As the grey clouds piled over and the spots turned into steady rain, there was a sense of inevitability about the whole situation. But the Tigers were relaxed and happy to sit it out for a couple of hours and Dan was the one Whaler trying to put a positive spin on it. The pitch was covered so if the rain stopped we had a chance, and we decided to give it until 3pm before making a decision.
At about 2.45pm two solid hours of rain gave way to some blue sky and suddenly the atmosphere lifted. The covers came off and it all looked good, so we agreed that we could get going with a game of 20/20.
We only had eight players this week due to some last minute drop-outs (see muppet moment) and we had a strong bowling line-up, so we hoped to start in the field…but Geoff lost the toss and we were put into bat.
Dario and Jack started things off. Conscious that we were short on numbers the aim was to get through the first overs unscathed, and that’s exactly what they did. The bowling attack was varied so the bad balls were hit hard, but likewise the good balls were respected and there were plenty dot balls by the time we got to 10 overs. But with the score at 58 we were happy with our lot and in a position to start taking some chances. Unfortunately the signal to pull the trigger on the run rate caused Jack to do a lot of swinging and missing before being caught behind off the back of his bat to a ball going well down the leg side…and Dario left the pitch in similar fashion when he had a “head-in-clouds” moment to a slow, straight, double-bouncer. Nevertheless a platform had been made and the space in the field was the perfect setting for Dan’s hit-and-run style as he pushed things along with Nick swishing at the other end. Dan’s urge to keep the runs flowing got the better of him when he was stumped, but Matt took over where he left off and we were swiftly getting to a total that we knew we could defend.
By the end of the innings we had reached 140 for 4 with good contributions from all who batted.
After a quick tea we started the defence with lots of talk about being sharp in the field and by trying to fill the gaps as best we can with eight players. Nick and Jack opened the bowling and a quick wicket from Nick in his first over to dismiss their number 2 really got everybody’s tails up. Jack and Nick made way for Matt and Kamal but the outfield was drying out well and with 3 short in the field the gaps seemed large and the boundaries started to flow for the Tigers. After a few overs of this doubts started to creep into our minds as to whether the 140 run target was enough. They too were short of a couple of players but seemed to be in no mood to be patient and were playing their shots. Even though the runs were flowing at least one or two chances were appearing and our hope was that one of them would come our way.
Finally a frustrated Matt got his victim as their number 1 hit a thick top edge that was easily caught by Dan behind the stumps. It got us back on track but their number 3, Dane, was looking comfortable and we were not on top of this game yet. Nevertheless we were working hard in the field and the bowling was tight so the Tigers had to earn their runs. All of the Whalers were putting in a shift as they were diving for balls and chasing around the boundary and this was epitomised by the skipper in one ball. Dane struck one towards Geoff at deep mid-wicket and started off on what should have been an easy two runs, but Geoff attacked the ball at pace, scooped it up and sent it back to the keeper in one flowing action. Dane meanwhile was trotting back for his second run but as the ball left Geoff’s hand you could see panic suddenly appear in his eyes as he knew it was a good throw. He quickened his stride but it was too late as the ball appeared at the top of the stumps and Dan whipped them off in equally smooth style. It was a wonderfully seamless and brilliant piece of fielding.
That was probably the moment that rocked the Tigers because after that the run rate dropped and the pressure built up. Paul Soppitt took his debut wicket for the Whalers with his first ball, which was caught behind by Jack who was debuting as keeper. As we got through the overs it was slowly becoming clear that the total was going to be too much for the Tigers and the excellent Whalers fielding performance continued with a couple more run outs and Matt picking up his second wicket.
After 20 overs we had restricted them to 110 and it was another victory to the Whalers. This one was all the more satisfying because we doubted whether we would get a game at all and that all Whalers performed and contributed well…no fines for “anonymity” today.
Man of the match – Joint award
Nick – 22 not out – 2 overs 8 for 1
Matt – 20 runs – 4 overs 22 for 2
JTs “I need to go shopping” (or something like that) excuse in response to Geoff’s call for more players
Geoff’s swooping run out from deep mid-wicket
Opposition report: HERE