Whalers Off and Running (ish) with Another Narrow Victory over Salix

Whalers CC Beat Salix CC by 26 Runs, 10th May 2015

A sunny day at Harlington Sports Ground, the car park crammed with the youngest generation of QPR hopefuls hoping to one day lead them to better days than another impending Premiership relegation, the smell of aviation fuel in the air, CK1 and Dan Osgood again to the fore with bat and ball: it can only be the latest instalment of the Whalers v Salix edge-of-the-seat box-set.

Having fought some torturously tight encounters with Salix in recent years, the Whalers knew that this was always going to be a close call again. Geoff won the toss for the Whale and we had the first use of what looked like a decent batting surface. Never afraid to ring the changes and sample his talent pool, Geoff promoted Luckett to open the batting with Pip. However, disaster (and comedy) struck in the second over, when Luckett hit the ball straight to square-leg, where he was narrowly dropped by the fielder, and took off for a run without an audible call. Pip, guilty of ball-watching, only realised Luckett was mid-pitch too late and sent him back, but all in vain. Committing Hara-Kiri in the second over is never a good thing and Kev strode out to try and calm us all down. Unfortunately, in the following over, Pip was bowled off his pad for 9 to leave the Whalers at 12-2 after only 16 balls of the innings.

The Whalers principle problem was not bedding down and building partnerships, with batsmen getting in and then getting out just as they were feeling more comfortable. Kev tried to sweep their opening bowler, Spurr, and was trapped plum in front, leaving umpire Khalil no choice but to raise the finger. Al had played a few nice shots and was looking like he might go on when he played too early on a springy delivery and popped an easy catch up to cover. At this point, Whalers were 44-4, which soon became 44-5 when JT was LBW to Padmore without scoring.

At this point, Matt and Dan came together and stabilised the Whalers’ listing ship with some sharp running between the wickets and some fine drives. They put on 33 for the 6th wicket before Matt lofted a catch to Dillon for a solid 23. Unfortunately, Khalil picked out the same fielder 3 balls later and 79-7 was not looking defendable again. Again, there was a mini-Whalers fight-back with Nick picking up where Matt left off and scampering some vital runs with the obdurate Dan, who was showing the sort of application the top order should have been taking vigorous note of. By the time Nick had pirouetted around a straight ball to Padmore, there were still 6 overs left to bat with the score on 104-8. Kamal soon departed LBW to the same bowler, bringing selfless captain Geoff to the crease to help Dan accelerate yet also bat out the 35 overs. In the event, these last 5 overs proved to be critical to the Whalers cause. Geoff, in his solo quest to win the “most sixes” competition (which no other Whaler appears to have any appetite for), promptly dispatched Stuart over the cow-corner fence in a trademark blow. With 16 runs coming off the final over, Whalers survived the full 35 overs to reach 145/9, with Geoff 17* and Dan with a crucial knock of 33*.

The deceptively uneven bounce of the pitch meant that 145 was perhaps not as bad as would otherwise have seemed. However, it was still not a strong score by any means and Whalers knew they would have to bowl and field well to defend it.

Thankfully, still smarting from his soft dismissal, Khalil obliged the skipper’s call to arms straight away by striking Spillane’s stumps first ball of the innings. The sight of CK1 walking to the crease brought some jokes about needing extra padding as an errant CK1 throw during the Whalers innings had caught Luckett on the shoulder. However , the more sensible among the team were more concerned about getting CK1 away from the strike and preferably back in the hutch. At the other end, Winston, who had not really looked comfortable against Nick in particular contrived to cause confusion with CK1 and was run out for 5 by the Luckett/Alberry combination. The younger Shaw also did not last long before shouldering arms to a Khalil jaffer that kissed the edge of his off stump, and it seemed as though Whalers had at least achieved parity in the early stages with Salix 3 down for under 20. The opening pair of Khalil and Nick had bowled excellently for the first ten, at which point Geoff turned to himself and Kamal . Kamal struggled to find line and length somewhat and a partnership soon developed between CK1 and Shaw senior, with CK1 starting to look dangerously like he could take the game away from the Whale. Behind the stumps, Kev had missed a couple of caught behind chances, one of which a regulation catch off Khalil. Geoff had also missed a sharp chance at slip, and frustration was creeping in. However, the Whalers never gave up and got their slice of luck when Shaw senior, having played himself in, went back to swipe a rank long-hop from Geoff and missed to be bowled for 15.

At 4-down, the game soon became a cat-and-mouse effort at trying to keep CK1 away from the strike as much as possible as he seemed to be the only player on either side to make batting on that pitch look comfortable. The other Salix batsmen got in and got out in similar fashion to the Whalers but without another really significant partnership developing and the regular tumble of wickets kept the Whalers just on the right side of controlling the game. Geoff induced Lumsden to pop up a super-slow-mo tumbling return catch. Dan had replaced Kamal at the other end to tighten things up and trapped the sometimes-dangerous Padmore LBW for 8 and subsequently bowled Spurr for a single. CK1 was still causing trouble at the other end with some fine shots and passed 50. Whalers knew that as long as he was at the crease, Salix always had a chance.

Golden-arm Luckett was introduced to the attack and was soon causing problems with his heavy ball for the tail-enders, although CK1 seemed to take more of a liking to his bowling and with Salix passing 100, it was starting to look close once more. In the event though, no one could stay with CK1. Collins spooned Luckett to Khalil who took a good catch, while another running mix-up resulted in Lamont being run out by Al and Kev; Kev having to take the ball above his head before removing the bails one-handed, going some way to erase the memory of the dropped catches.

Specialist death bowler JT was brought on to try and pile further pressure on the final pair and eventually, in the knowledge that he would have to carry Salix to the target quickly before he ran out of partners, CK1 took a swipe across the line and was bowled for a very impressive 65, to leave Salix 26 runs shy of the Whale.

This was another very close encounter, perhaps without the complete edge-of-the seat nailbiting of a couple of years ago, but proves that the Whalers v Salix fixture continues to be a highlight of the season.

Whalers retired to the White Hart for a drink with the opposition and to fine Luckett for his running and Nick for his Shoreditch attire.

 

Whalers 145/9 (Osgood 33*, Lucas 23)

Salix 119 a.o. (Khalil 2-12, Osgood 2-15, Judd 2-29)

Champagne: Geoff’s 6 to take the lead in the club 6s competition

Muppet: Luckett/Pip for run-out confusion

MoM: Dan – vital 33* with the bat and 2-15 with the ball

Salix report including Whalers pictures from the archives: HERE