Energy Exiles CC vs Whalers CC, Morden, Sunday August 12th
As England hurtled towards victory in the second test, the Whalers begrudgingly gathered in a grey and drizzly Wimbledon for a rematch with the Energy Exiles.
Captain Jack lost the toss and the Whalers were put in to bowl. Still awaiting the arrival of their 10th player, Dan got things going with some looseners, interspersed with the occasional testing delivery. Russel joined in from the other end, with some tighter bowling, and both openers offered just enough to give the Exiles’ opening batsmen the opportunity to get the score moving. Dan continued to improve, but both he and Russell struggled to make the breakthrough in the first 8 overs. Amit came on for the first change and immediately found his line and length, which Jack quickly copied from the other end. The change proved fruitful as Jack removed Wingfield for 15 and his replacement for a duck, before Amit lured the Exiles’ number 3 into a lofted drive which was caught at mid-off. The Whalers kept things tight – Amit took two more quick wickets (but failing to get a wicket with the hat-trick ball) – and went into drinks feeling like they had the slight advantage.
Another bowling change brought the Whalers’ leading wicket taker of the season into play, and Josh was joined at the other end by Matt. A few looser deliveries were seized upon by the Exiles’ number 5, interspersed with some mighty swings at fresh air, and he and Ahmed began to find the boundary. They were helped by no less than five dropped catches by Amit and Luke, including some attempted goalkeeping by Luke. Fortunately Josh is leading the wickets for a reason, and he soon had their number 5 caught by Dan before bowling his replacement. Matt had kept things under control from the other end, and his chuntering about the dropped catches was rewarded by a caught and bowled. The Exiles had managed to up the run rate a bit, and when Geoff took the last wicket of Gundry (this time Luke managed to take the catch) the Exiles had finished on 140 – probably 15 or 20 runs more than should have been allowed.
Dean and Luke strode out to the middle full of sandwiches and confidence, ready to begin the assault on the run chase. Some good opening bowling from Wingfield and Ahmed (who was producing a lot of swing) kept the Whalers run rate in check for the first few overs. Dean managed to find the boundary a couple of times and, having taken a liking to Ling at the change of bowlers with a hefty six over cow corner, then gave his wicket away with a soft caught and bowled to leave for an uncharacteristically low 39. Luke was following him to the pavilion the next over, missing a straight one from Gundry. Geoff, unsurprisingly, looked to attack from the beginning as he and Matt looked to rebuild. Ling struck again to remove Matt, and Geoff followed not long afterwards as the Whalers looked to push the run rate up. Russell announced his arrival with a couple of boundaries down the ground before copying Luke in missing a straight full toss. Dan and Josh tried to improve with some sharp running, but Dan was caught on the leg side for 8. Amit arrived and tried to keep things going, but by this point the run rate was looking ominous and the Whalers were running out of batsmen. When Amit was caught, it was left to Jack and Josh to try and get the Whale over the finish line. Despite picking the inswinging slower ball, Josh somehow managed to miss it and was bowled, leaving the Whalers all out for 122, and still awaiting the arrival of their 10th player.
Champagne moment went to Jack for his awayswinging yorker to bowl their number 4 for a duck. Amit and Luke shared the Muppet moment for their countless drops (though honorable mentions are made for those batsmen bowled by a full toss), and Jack picked up man of the match for his 2 wickets for 5 runs off 4 overs (though big questions were asked as to why he didn’t bowl himself more).