Whalers CC v Clapham Inn CC 18th June; King’s House Sports Ground
Rain affected the end of the days play against Clapham Inn, bringing a somewhat unsatisfactory end to what had to that point proved a close contest. Shaking hands on a draw under the eaves of the clubhouse as the rain tipped down, the swings and roundabouts of the game hitherto hadn’t quite got the finale they had probably deserved.
The Whalers batted first, having been put in by the opposition after skipper Suhaib lost the toss and agreed on a 40 over contest. Some side glances at the weather forecast hinted at trouble to come but with the sun shining well enough in the early afternoon, all hoped for the best. Partnering Amit, Nick was elevated ‘a place or two’ up the order to open the batting, who soon settled into a rhythm of some watchful defence combined with the more familiar, natural-game, golf-swing defence. The first opportunity for Clapham Inn came early doors but Whalers had had the good sense to have their own captain fielding in the covers, having lent the opposition 3 players to help field for the start of the game while latecomers trickled into the King’s House ground. Suhaib’s good sportsmanship won out though, evening this drop with another one later in the game for his own side. The oppo bowling was more than accurate enough to keep our batting honest, with careful run accumulation the order of the day. Well, that and wickets falling to edges behind, apart from Nick who kept things fresh being bowled for 2.
Geoff was the first to climb into double figures but just when it was looking like 40 overs and rain would be the least of anyone’s concerns, Josh came to the crease and provided some stability to the Whalers innings. Through a combination of watchful defence and the occasional meaty boundary, Josh put on a partnership with the captain, making 36 himself before also succumbing to an edge to the keeper (vain attempt to hold his ground notwithstanding). Saurabh came in at no9 and held fort for a while before unsettling the close fielders with a drive to the boundary. It was not much longer before he was joined by last man Russell with the score on 119. Hope was not high among the Whalers but the final partnership proved its worth, save for some notably odd and amusing running between the wickets, not least with Russell shouting for ‘ONE’ when the ball had actually already been edged to the rope for four, or his cry of ‘WHAT’ when Surabh had the temerity to ask for a second run. Russell was 15no by the time Saurabh had lofted a drive to mid-on for 12 in the 38th over. The final score was 143, almost certainly shy of par but with a veneer of respectability. Tea-time entertainment consisted of Suhaib regaling anyone who hadn’t yet been told (not many) about his match-winning 50 the previous day for a different club.
Post-tea, Russell opened the bowling and found that the left-hander facing him took an unfortunate liking to knocking him for 4s. Dan at the other end was bowling much more tightly (ending the day on 0-18 from 7). Nonetheless it was Russell that struck first, finally getting a few balls at the oppo Captain and finding a thin edge through to Geoff, keeping wicket. So thin in fact the umpire didn’t give it but thanks to some earnest pleading from Geoff in particular, the batsman was persuaded of his need to leave the field. Vishal was first change and found his radar wayward, offering up a varied diet of wides for Geoff to go fetch. That target of 144 was looking very much in sight for Clapham Inn. However, at the other end Suhaib had brought himself on and duly went about the pick of the days bowling, accurately probing around off stump and ending with figures of 3-12 off 8. Having broken through the first couple of wickets of Clapham Inn, the softer underbelly of the batting line up was there to be had. Raman replaced Vishal and found his leg-spin almost unplayable by the oppo middle order, accruing 3-22 from 6, the highlight being a sharp caught and bowled. Suddenly victory seemed very much in sight for the Whale. Such was the pressure on the oppo, that Josh was asked to come in for a second slip while the leggy was bowling, a move that seemed surprising enough for him to emit an excited little ‘ooooh’. Imagine Winnie the Pooh had just discovered a jar of honey when he thought the larder was empty and you can recreate the moment in your mind well enough.
Lamentably the weather had taken that turn for the worse that had been feared. Having battled through to the end of Dan’s over, the decision was taken to run from the field and take cover from the rain. Dan had decided he had seen plenty and hit the showers almost immediately, which Suhaib took as a hint that the game was up. Hands shaken on a draw, the oppo later declared over a beer they thought they had crept ahead off the last ball on the Duckworth Lewis method. Inconclusive all round perhaps, but an opportunity to get a win remains for both sides when the T20 is played in a few weeks.
Nick Howes remains undefeated in 2022.
MOM: Suhaib for 3-12
Champagne: Raman’s C&B
Muppet: Russell’s calling for ONE, when the ball had been hit (edged) for 4