The Whalers convened in deepest darkest Surrey/South West London for their now traditional last match of the season, a timed game against the Believers. Nearly everyone struggled to make the early meet time but we still managed to get underway at 12.20 which gave plenty of time for a full match with the condition of a minimum of 20 overs to be bowled after 5pm.
Matt won the toss and chose to bat. The pitch looked a little uneven but we wanted to try and take control of the match. The decision didn’t look great when Geoff went first ball for a diamond duck as he tried to pull out of a pull as the ball got very big on him only to top edge through to the keeper. Pete then joined Stu at the crease and the unpredictable bounce continued with some rising very sharply from a length and some grubbing through along the ground. Pete had the mind set to try and punish anything loose but after one boundary skied one to the mid on fielder who took a good catch. Al was the next cab off the rank and him and Stu started to play very well and find the boundary on multiple occasions. The Believers first change bowler was very lively however and manged to get one through Al’s defences for 17. Pip also got a good delivery rising off a length to take the outside edge. Ross didn’t trouble the scorers and when Stu was out for 27 we were 64-6. The pitch was still playing unevenly so we thought if we could get to 120-130 that would be a competitive score.
Seth joined Roland at the crease and this pair steadied the ship with Seth scoring particularly well of their slow left armer. They took the score to 98 before Roland
was bowled. Khalil soon followed without scoring and Matt came out at number 10 with the Whalers still shy of 100. After a couple of close scares Matt found his timing and along with Seth kept the scoreboard ticking along nicely. At the second drinks break at 40 overs it was decided we almost had enough and wanted to give ourselves plenty of time to bowl out the opposition so we had a two over thrash which added another 20 runs and we declared on 164-8 (Seth with 56 not out and Matt 21 not out). This would leave us around 38-40 overs to bowl but also give a good chance to the opposition if they batted well.
Nick and Ross opened the bowling and the unpredictable bounce that had been present for all of our batting innings seemed to have vanished. Nick was getting the ball through at a very good pace though and soon had one of the openers backing away regularly. Once Nick got one a bit fuller it took out his off stump and the Whalers were off and running. The other opener had played some lovely cover drives but was also playing and missing against Ross’s out swingers. He eventually fell to a beautiful delivery that left him and took the off stump. After a very close lbw appeal their number 4 also had his off stump knocked back to another fantastic away swinger from Ross. Their number 3 was looking very dangerous however dispatching anything slightly loose to the boundary. After one drive through the covers for 4 off Nick he tried the same again the next ball only to pick out Al who held onto an excellent catch as it was really travelling.
That left the Believers 28-4 after 14 very good overs from the opening bowlers. Batsmen 5 and 6 seemed determined not to hang around and took the attack to Matt and Geoff. There were quite a few chances created with the ball just falling short or over fielders but there were also quite a few boundaries struck. After a big 6 Geoff got his man with a lovely Yorker and a few overs later removed the dangerous number 6 who went for one big shot too many and hit one straight up in the air which wicketkeeper Stu ran to catch. Geoff also bowled their number 7 with another good delivery.
The Believers were still playing shots and although a few made the boundary again there were chances in the field. Pip had replaced Matt and bowled well eventually tempting their number 9 into lofting a drive which Matt took running in from deep mid-off. Pip also removed the next batsmen as he whipped one off his legs firmly but straight to Geoff at square leg. Geoff seemed very surprised but still clung on and also hurt his thumb in the process.
That left the Believers on 105-9 and the Whalers had one wicket to take to finish the match. Eager to have one of Rowlands beers Matt bought Ross and Nick back into the attack and it was Nick who took the final wicket, finding the edge and Stu taking an excellent one handed catch.
All in all it was an excellent all round team performance, posting a very competitive total on a difficult pitch, bowling well and taking all of our catches (that certainly doesn’t happen very often). Stu also cemented his position as leading run scorer for the season and Nick did the same in the bowling department.
Whalers 164-8 declared (42 overs)
Believers 105 all out
M-O-M – Seth, excellent 56 not out
Champagne – Al’s catch in the covers off a fierce drive from their best batsman
Muppet – Geoff, Diamond Duck (special mention for him injuring himself taking a catch)