Whalers v Energy Exiles; Sunday 28th May 2017; Nursery Ground, Morden
The Whalers convened on an extremely hot (and at that stage sunny) Bank Holiday Sunday down in South Wimbledon to the news that due to a very late withdrawal we were again playing with 10 men. Various players remarked that they hadn’t played in a team of 11 yet this season so that wouldn’t be an issue. We also welcomed Jack back from his travels to bolster the Whalers attack against a normally strong Energy Exiles side.
Geoff, making his captaincy debut for the season won the toss and batted. The inform Dean along with Marcos (borrowed from Cairns Fudge) strode to the crease and after a circumspect start against some fairly disciplined bowling start to hit their straps after 7-8 overs. Boundaries began to flow on the large and fast outfield and when the change bowlers came on Dean launched an enormous 6 over the train tracks and the scoring rate accelerated further. Unfortunately after exactly a 100 run partnership Dean misjudged a short ball and lofted a catch to mid-on for 46. Marcos followed next over nicking one behind when he flashed at a wide one, initially thought to be for 47 but soon revised to 51 when it was realised that a 4 was missing from the batsmen’s total. That meant a new batting partnership of Dario and Matt (promoted to the dizzy heights of number 4) who steadied the ship against some much tighter bowling. Just as Matt started to get going however he missed a looping outswinger and lost his off stump for 14. Mark didn’t trouble the scorers and the next cab off the rank was Dan who got things moving with a some big shots and plenty of hard run 2’s. Dario was strangled down the leg-side for 15, sportingly walking as no one else had noticed a nick let alone appeal. It was now raining fairly steadily as Nick walked out and Dan’s quick running was causing Nick some problems with Nick initially refusing an easy run to then sprint to the other end before almost tripping himself up and slipping on the wet grass. Both were now teeing off (Nick literally with his golf style swing) to get us up to a defendable total on a fast scoring ground. Unfortunately the rain got too heavy so with the Whalers on 166-5 after 30.2 overs we took an early tea.
The rain lasted over an hour so Geoff and the Energy Exiles captain Shane agreed that the Whalers would declare and that Energy Exiles would have 28 overs to chase the 167 needed for victory. Jack and Nick opened the bowling however the very wet field and ball certainly didn’t make their life easy. A spongy ball and slippery foot holes meant there were quite a few full tosses bowled and the Exiles batsmen were also quick to punish anything loose. The wet outfield was also proving to be quite unpredictable for the fielders with one ball leaping up after pitching from a firmly hit drive to catch Geoff square on the side of his head. A valiant fielding effort that saved 4 runs but also left him with a swollen ear/jaw and he retired to put the only cold thing he could find on it (a can of Coke Zero). After only 5 overs the rain returned this time much heavier so we again took shelter in the shed. Cue a big debate between those who wanted to go the pub and those who wanted to wait and see if we could get a game in. With a variety of weather apps, meteorological knowledge (Dean), chat about all pitches being laid North-South all going on, plus safety discussions it wasn’t an easy decision. The weather sites and apps did seem to indicate that clearer weather was on its way so once the rain had stopped we decided to give the game one more go.
The runs kept flowing after the resumption including some big hits from their opener Taylor and they raced to 48 off the first 6 overs. Geoff had now rid himself of the Coke Zero and bought himself on to bowl and removed Taylor for 25 with a ball that nipped back off the seem to take the off stump. He then removed the other opener Patel in his next over with an excellent catch from Dario diving forward from cover. Kamal was now on at the other end and was causing them problems inducing their number 4 batsman Ng to loft one to Geoff at Mid-On for a simple catch and bowling their number 3 Krueger. The runs were still coming at the same time however and number 5 batsman Leuvenink played some lovely drives off Kamal and one big 6 onto the train tracks off Geoff. This actually turned out to be a masterstroke from the skipper however as it meant they could have a new (and much more importantly dry) ball to bowl with. A couple of overs later and Kamal had Leuvenink stumped by Dan with a lovely piece if bowling for 23 (Kamal finishing with 3-37). Matt was now on at the other end and with a short run to negate the wet foot holes he was enjoying bowling with the dry ball on a now tacky wicket. With some accurate bowling and pitch assistance he stemmed the runs and took the wickets of the number 7 and 8 batsmen and ended with figures of 2-6 from his 5 overs. Jack was also enjoying the drying conditions having been brought back into the attack and was also bowling much more accurately getting an outside edge to dismiss their number 6 Wingfield and then with the help of Mark on his Whalers debut removing their number 9 batsmen Krueger for a duck. Facing his second ball Krueger swiped across the line hitting a fizzer just to Mark’s left at Square Leg which he plucked out of the air with great reactions. It was all over for the Energy Exiles now needing 51 from the last 5 overs and only 1 wicket left. Jack finished things off in his 6th over by bowling their number 11 Ling (finishing with 3-20) and the Whalers had remarkably won the game. This was a triumph for persistence in the face of some pretty average weather and when we were well behind the game for the first 8 overs of their innings. Due to the bank holiday weekend we stayed on for quite a few beers and to digest the days play and more importantly everyone’s meteorological knowledge.
Whalers – 166-5 from 30.2 overs
Energy Exiles – 117 all out 23.3 overs
Whalers win by 49 runs
M-O-M – Matt – Bowling spell of 2-6 from 5 overs started to turn the game
Champagne – Mark’s catch (special mention to Dario and Dan also for excellent catches)
Muppett – Nick’s running between the wickets, especially the moment where he almost tripped himself up