The Whale Triumphs as Exiles Short-Circuit

Sunday 21st August – Whalers vs. Energy Exiles – KHS

RESULT – Energy Exiles 105 all out, Whalers 106 for 1 – WHALERS WIN BY 9 WICKETS

On a warm, blustery day at Kings House, with Barnes Bridge Station once again shut and the Whalers match the only game of cricket occurring, 10 Whalers took to the field against the 8 Energy Exiles that had made it on time (both teams eventually made it up to 11).  Dan, having won the toss, charitably allowed the opposition to bat on what looked a good pitch but as it turned out it was an inspired decision.

The Exiles started slowly and, to be honest, carried on slowly. Towards the end, their rate was, well, also pretty slow. That is not to say they didn’t frustrate. The opening partnership saw off the tight bowling of Pete and Jack, who were then replaced by the equally miserly Khalil (who had spent a good 10 minutes, after arriving 15 minutes after the game had started, warming up on the boundary) and the chuntering Matt who seemed a little frustrated by the strong headwind that had suddenly appeared.

After 10 overs Khalil finally had the breakthrough, with Luke taking a sharp catch to dismiss the dangerous opener Akhtar who was starting to hit some boundaries. The Exiles continued to grind out runs and by drinks had reached 46. The Whalers bowling and fielding was excellent and on a slow, stopping pitch it was difficult to get the ball away.

After drinks things began to change. Kamal fed a few leg side long hops to keep the batsmen interested whilst at the other end Dan began to make inroads into the top order. He bowled the other opener Kent for 13 and then played a part in the run out of their number 3 before clean bowling the number 4. By this stage it was ‘death or glory’ for the Exiles as the run rate, at below 3 an over, was forcing them to play some extravagant and ultimately doomed shots. Khalil and Jack both came back into the attack and took 2 and 3 wickets apiece, with Pete taking the final wicket in the last over of the innings, with the Exiles finishing on 105. Khalil (7-1-12-3), Jack (6-2-12-3) and Dan (6-2-10-2) all bowled exceptionally well in the conditions.

After a tea nominated as the Champagne Moment of the game (ultimately turned down, as it was par for the course and it was felt it would be a sad inditement of the game), Pip and Will went out to quickly knock off the 106 required for victory. However, it was clear that either the pitch was still very difficult, the bowlers were particularly tight or the openers were determined to get their £10 match fees worth of cricket!  Pip in particular scored slowly, at one point it being noted he had scored 3 off 30 balls out of a team total of 37! However, he ended up with a gritty, determined and pretty much faultless 48 not out, meaning he was fined heavily for Boycott batting, batting for average and jug avoidance, despite being told that with 4 runs to win he need a six to get to his fifty!

Will’s was the only wicket to fall in the 27 overs it took to score the runs which is a shame as he batted well for his 26. Luke assisted Pip with 24 not out and the scorecard had a surprising level of pseudo-professionalism about it. The expected collapse did not occur and so the Whalers were victors by 9 wickets.

Due to the somewhat turgid nature of the game it seemed hard to find Muppet and Champagne moments during the fines session. Eventually Will was nominated as Muppet for being the only wicket to fall, and after a long, awkward silence Champagne Moment went to the fact that we managed to finish the game before it rained – something of a sad end really. Khalil was awarded Man of the Match for his superb bowling but Dan, Jack and Pip were all given honourable mentions. Overall a good win but not the nerve-crunching feast of runs and wickets that the Whalers have become used to.