Whalers vs South Hampstead; 21 May 2017; Kings’s House Sports Ground
Whalers lose by 23 runs
The Whalers winning start to the season came to an end against a very good South Hampstead team. Things didn’t start off too promisingly with only 10 Whalers and 3 opposition present, but it turned out the rest of the opposition were at the Fullers ground next door and so arrived fairly promptly. Less prompt was Luke, who had misread the email and was at South Hampstead wondering where the rest of the team was. That was muppet moment sorted before we even began.
Once things did get underway, Nick and Geoff kept things very tight initially with Geoff taking two wickets – both caught, one by Will and the second by the sub the oppo had lent to us to cover for Luke. Geoff was denied a third wicket when your author put down a fairly regulation chance off their opener, who was on about 30 at the time. We paid for this big time, as he then proceeded to hit anything full, short, or in between out of the park, quickly passing first 50 and then 100. The first three balls after drinks all disappeared for six, along with plenty of others, and by the time he finally played on he had scored 130 out of 170ish.
In the circumstances, the bowlers did well to keep plugging away and eventually we managed to peg them back a bit – getting them out in the last over for (only!) 247 felt like quite a good result. However, it must also be noted that we didn’t help ourselves by dropping a series of further chances, including two in two balls off Ross, and one that ended Luke’s day with a possible dislocated finger. But eventually the bowlers worked out that relying on the fielders for help was overrated, with the last eight batsmen all bowled. Geoff (2-19) and Nick (3-31) finished with the pick of the bowling figures.
The mood at tea was that we’d given ourselves a chance, and Dean and Paul Clappison got us off to a steady start against some accurate bowling, before Dean was caught for 36 trying to force things. By drinks we were only a bit behind where they had been and still had eight wickets in hand. The downside was that we also needed to score at 10 an over for the rest of the game. Stu scored a speedy 49, but the rest of the middle order processed fairly quickly, and when Dan joined Geoff the task was a mere 105 in 8 overs. Some Whalers-style hoicking followed and, despite Geoff’s refusal of a surefire all-run 5, a bit of respectability was restored. Unsurprisingly, the 32 needed to win off the last over proved a bit too much, but at least we had the moral victory of the opposition bringing their first-teamer into the attack to bowl it, just to be on the safe side.
The post-game fining was exceptionally severe, particularly on the catching. Geoff took man of the match for his all-round contribution, and the champagne moment temporarily escapes me but I can remember it had been downgraded to cava by the time it was awarded. We were left to ponder what might have been if we’d got their topscorer earlier (their number four got a fifty, only one other batsman got double figures), but the general view was that we’d rather have games like that than an easy win every week.
South Hampstead: 247 all out (Nick 3-31, Geoff 2-19)
Whalers: 224-7 (Stu 49, Dan 41*, Dean 36, Paul C 33, Geoff 32*)