Whale outfoxed by Quokka in Pitch D excursion

Whalers CC vs Quokkas CC; Sunday 16th July; King’s House Sports Ground

The rare sight of eleven Whalers was seen at King’s House on a cloudy Sunday full of expectations – a Wimbledon final, England to skittle South Africa and make the test an exciting one, and a Whalers mid-season game. When some of the Quokkas had made it to the ground, the toss was taken and the Whalers were sent out to bowl in what looked like favourable conditions.

Jack and Paul opened the bowling in great style, both starting with a wide. Movement was found early on which looked like it would trouble the batsmen, and Jack soon found the edge of the Quokkas’ opener Chas. Unfortunately Pete couldn’t quite hang on after diving to his right, but the Whalers were buoyed by the prospects of seam and swing. Paul produced a variety of deliveries – some on a good line, some giving Pete plenty to do behind the stumps. The breakthrough came after a few overs when Jack bowled the other opener for 8, and followed up with their number three, Tom, two balls later after he dragged on.

A tactical bowling change brought on Dan who started off excellently, bowling their left-handed Skip for a duck with his first ball. The rest of the over was tight, and he was backed up by Kamal at the other end who offered few chances. Quokkas’ number 5 and their opener began to build a partnership with some strong hitting and a couple of lofted drives that just evaded the Whalers in the field. The partnership was finally broken by Matt who enticed their opener into a loose shot that went high over long on. Calls from both Al and Dean went back and forwards until Dean recognised the authority of the president and the catch was safely taken, giving Matt a well-deserved wicket. Dan’s bowling had become somewhat wayward over time, so he swapped positions with Pete behind the stumps to bring in some fresh legs into the bowling attack. At the other end, Kamal was continuing his attack, luring their number 5 into a skip down the wicket, missing the ball and being sharply stumped by Dan. With their top-scoring batsmen back in the pavilion, the Whalers started to turn the screw. Jack and Paul returned to the attack in the hope of finishing things off quickly. Two wickets from Jack – a caught and bowled that Geoff was keen to be involved in, and an edge to the recently moved fielder – and two from Paul (both bowled, one off a full toss that was met with silence from the Whalers) ended their overs for the game. Matt was unlucky not to pick up another wicket after a few edges and near misses, but the game was finished off by Pete who drew their number 11 into a drive that sailed into the safe hands of Josh, leaving Quokkas all out for 118.

Expectations were high for a steady Whalers victory after tea as Dean and Geoff strode out to the middle to start things off. The Quokkas’ bowling attack wasn’t what you would call intimidating, but they were managing to find enough movement to cause some trouble and Geoff was soon given out LBW. This produced some prolonged chuntering about the Whalers’ understanding of the rules of the game, and brought Al into the crease to steady the ship. Unfortunately the ship kept wobbling as Al was soon out having guided a wide-ish delivery to point, leaving the Whalers struggling on 15 for 2. Mark marched in looking to continue his run of ever-increasing scores, but unfortunately missed a straight one and was back relatively soon, bringing in Pete. Hopes were high that shot selection would improve, and for a short while it looked like it might be the case, but Dean had other ideas and hit the ball high to mid-off, to much frustration all-round.

In came Dan, aware that he had to leave in about half an hour but keen not to follow his team-mates in their short-lived innings. He kept things going, supporting some good hitting (and very loud calling) by Pete, until his edge was found and their second slip took a sharp catch. Josh was unlucky to face, as his first ball, a very good delivery which seamed and swung to clip the top of off stump and the Whalers were left on a very precarious 54 for 7. Pete had made his way into the 20s and was looking set until he was caught, and hopes were rapidly diminishing of a Whalers victory. Paul succumbed to an LBW decision (one of many appeals throughout the innings), and Jack and Matt set about trying to keep the strike rotating. More poor shot selection saw Jack caught and bowled, bringing in Kamal for the last wicket stand. By this point Matt had begun to get his eye in, and there were a few good shots which brought 1s and 2s, but still the Whalers were yet to hit a boundary. Kamal kept their bowlers out, and brought out some strong pull shots which resulted in the first (and only) four of the innings, and took the Whalers to within 30 of the target. The final Whalers wicket was taken with another catch, meaning Matt fell for a valiant 22, and the Whalers lost by 24 runs.

All in all a good bowling and fielding performance, but some questionable decision making all round lead to a rare loss to the Quokkas and large fines all round.

Quokkas CC: 118ao (33.2)

Whalers CC: 94ao (30.3)

Man of the match went to Jack for his 4-14 off seven overs, and Kamal picked up the champagne moment for his (glorious) four – the only one of the innings. Muppet moment went to the whole team for a collective batting collapse.