Whalers Return: Post Corona Tie

Sunday 19th July 2020 – Whalers vs Richmond Legbreakers; King’s House Sports Ground

The Whalers reconvened at Kings House for the delayed start to the 2020 season. After some late replacements we had the requisite 11 players and all were instructed in the new covid-19 secure guidelines which were ‘generally’ followed during the day.

Captain for the day Will lost the toss and we were put in to bat on a pitch that looked good despite overnight and morning rain. Dean & Fraser were the opening partnership and Dean had everyone’s heart in their mouth when almost hooking the first delivery straight to fine leg. Unfortunately Dean didn’t last too long failing to keep out a full inswinging delivery from opening bowler Kremer. After initially struggling with his run up and length Kremer was starting to bowl some very useful deliveries and soon had Tom caught behind in the first over after the new 6 over ‘hand sanitising and ball cleaning protocol’. This highlighted the lack of social distancing on the boundary as Nick, Geoff & Harry crammed themselves onto a small bench. At the other end Fraser was dispatching anything loose from the other bowler Te but he also fell to Kremer, caught in the slips driving at an away swinging delivery. Despite the clear edge Fraser seemed to want to wait for an official decision from umpire Dan in what would be called a ‘Stuart Broad’ moment in the fines session.

That bought Matt to the crease with the score on 42-3. Cue a very scratchy 35 run partnership with Will. Matt in particular struggled getting away the mainly accurate slow-medium bowling and eventually went for 16 chasing a wide one and being caught by a fantastic diving catch in the gully. The fielder looked as shocked as his team mates! This started a traditional Whalers mid-order collapse with Will & Viren following soon after with definite chuntering from Will following an LBW decision.

It was then up to the experienced duo of Geoff & Dan to get the Whalers back on track. Geoff making his 100th Whalers appearance was keen to dispatch anything loose and hit a couple of big sixes. Dan on the other hand was very keen not to get out and proceeded to either block or nurdle to the gully fielder every ball faced. Clearly he had trying to saving the country on his mind. Geoff eventually fell to an excellent catch right on the mid-wicket boundary just failing to clear the fielder for 35. Cue another mini-collapse with Amit falling quickly for 3 and Nick a comedy innings of 5. After having a big let off when skying his first ball he then swung himself off his feet and was stumped.

This bought the last man Harry to the crease with the Whalers on a very below par score of 129. To everyone’s surprise Dan suddenly moved from blocking to some beautiful lofted straight drives and pulls, in fact scoring four 4’s in a row off the 33rd over. More boundaries followed in the 34th and a kamikaze single of the last ball actually ended in a 3 when the throw missed the stumps. Dan couldn’t keep the strike for the last few balls and ended up with 48 not out. A great effort that gave the Whalers a much more defendable total of 173-9 from their 35 overs.

Realising there were no post match beers due to the clubhouse being closed, Matt used the tea break to race into Barnes to pick up some cans which were definitely needed. Nick opened the bowling for the Richmond Legbreakers innings despite claiming he couldn’t bowl and if he did definitely not off a proper run up. Anyway he did bowl and bowled very well without getting a break through. He also didn’t seem to get to grips with the covid-19 protocol of passing the ball straight back from wicketkeeper to bowler. At the other end Amit also couldn’t make a break through so after the 6 over cleaning protocol Will threw the ball to a surprised looking Geoff. Geoff provided a very entertaining and erratic 3 overs mixing in some very long hops (one double bouncer) with a beamer but took a wicket with his final ball when opener Casling slapped a wide one straight to Will in the covers. The ball was really travelling so it was a fantastic catch by Will above his head.

Tom was the next bowler used and passed the bat with some fast and well directed deliveries. Using Geoff’s approach of wicket with dross he had Kremer caught of a wide long hop with the batsmen picking out Nick at deep mid-off. Falling backwards Nick took an excellent one handed catch. This was after completing a 7 over spell conceding just 9 runs. Meanwhile Dan was bowling well from the other end initially without success and Matt replaced Tom. Neither could dismiss opener Williams who had now passed 50. Harry replaced Dan and bowled number 4 Pearson for 10 and Matt got rid of number 5 Raj for 2 as the game started to become tighter and tighter. The Legbreakers needed 47 off the last 7 overs with 6 wickets in hand. This became 24 needed off 3, still with 6 wickets left. Number 6 Turley who had been very watchful then took Dan for three 4’s in the 33rd over before being bowled. This left the Legbreakers needing 11 off 2 overs. Matt kept them to two off the first three balls and then had their opener Williams caught for 73 getting a top edge to Amit at square leg (apparently Amit’s first ever Whalers catch). A quiet end to the over left 7 needed off the last over with 4 wickets in hand. The Legbreakers dealt in singles initially with a smart stumping/run out from Dean also meaning a valuable dot ball. A nice shot over the infield from ball 5 gave them a 2 meaning they needed 2 off the final ball for a win or a single for a tie. Number 7 batsmen Chapman hit the last ball to long-off and both batsmen hared off for the two runs required. Will had other ideas however with a swift pick up before throwing down the stumps with a direct hit leaving Number 10 Brenham short of his ground.

A breath-taking end to a fantastic and keenly fought game of cricket. An excellent effort from the Whalers to stay in the game when all the time being behind in the game situation. Also a fantastic array of catches, with a rare stat of all catches being taken.

Some very tired bodies keenly opened beers (Brewdog rather than the standard Carling!) and an enthusiastic fines session was tempered by fines secretary Geoff who seemed reluctant to take full advantage of the valid points raised.

Match Result – Tie

Whalers 173-9       Dan 48 not out, Geoff 35

Richmond Legbreakers 173-7     Matt 2-26, Dan 2-29

M-O-M – Dan, excellent all-round performance

Champagne Moment – Will’s last ball run out to tie the game

Muppet Moment – Nick, stumped swinging himself off his feet and falling over