Whalers CC vs Believers CC – 6th September 2020
A warm early autumn day in South Wimbledon, a slightly delayed start, some somewhat unusual rules and the marching on of the great unbeaten run of the Whalers in this shortened season. And perhaps most notably of all, one of the most memorable spells of Whalers bowling to help extend that run.
A hastily drawn up whatsapp group alerted the day’s players to idle slightly on their way to the ground on account of the Believers renting the pitch from 1.15. The majority of Whalers accordingly idled, and a little too dutifully so for the skipper for the day, Will. Nevertheless, most of the team were there in time to half heartedly warm up a bit while the opposition suggested some novel rules for the day intended to encourage a little haste to the occasion. So it was that it was agrede to play 30 over innings, batsmen would retire at 50 and only one extra per over would be played again (any wide after the first one bowled in an over would accrue 3 runs for the other side – therefore even the widest of overs would only be 7 balls in length). Believers had 12 players and would roll substitutions while in the field. In the end only a single 3-run wide was bowled in the match.
Whalers batted first, Dean and Fraser striding out to the middle and settling into the day’s work. Fraser sparked with some meaty boundaries and Dean provided the usual solidity at the top of the innings, putting on 42 together until the former was caught for 21. With one end pried open, Dean was to see a few partners come and go in the next few overs. Channa was run out for 0 having dropped his bat with the line of the crease agonisingly in sight, while Will fell lbw to a ball swinging but full having added 3 runs. Geoff clubbed a catch for 0 and Suhaib popped up a caught and bowled to the same bowler (Spencer) for 2, continuing the habit for collapse. When Matt joined Dean at the crease things settled down for a bit until the latter was forced to retire for his well earned and untroubled 50*. Matt steadily paved his path to a useful total, while Amit (2) looked solid right up to the point he wasn’t, deciding on a strong leave to a ball straight at his stumps, via the pads, lbw the result. Josh soon gave way to Amit (1), who bedded in till the end, with Russell joining once Matt had departed bowled for 29. The total kept creeping up, though the team could be forgiven for hoping that one of Russell’s heaved misses might ultimately result in Dean returning to the crease to end on a rush. As it was Amit J ended on 18* and Russell 6* and the total set was 156 from the 30 overs.
Defending what seemed a modest total with one boundary invitingly short, Russell and Amit (1) opened the bowling. Though neither managed to take a wicket, the bowling was effectively frugal, with only 29 runs taken from those opening 9 overs, and not without chances created. The pressure on the Believers was only maintained when Matt took over from Amit (1) and Amit (2) took over from Russell. It was Amit (2) that took the first wicket, aligning good pace with line and length to force the batsman into error. Indeed, once the first had fallen, Amit found himself on an incredible roll of wicket taking at regular intervals, including one caught, one lbw and three bowled. This series of sucker blows to the opposition meant Believers found it hard to get going and resulted in figures of 5-2-10-5 for Amit. Matt also bowled well, chipping in with an lbw to claim 1 for 16 across his five overs. With the change of bowlers to Josh and Suhaib, the wickets just kept on coming. Suhaib in particular must have had somewhere he needed to be, taking a wicket with his first ball and hoovering up figures of 3 for 10 across his two overs. One of those wickets saw the ball lob up in direction of Josh standing at mid-on, who had to skip back several metres in order to secure the catch over his head and reclaim his ‘specialist mid/long-on’ status. The delight (and maybe surprise?) on his face outweighed his reaction to making the tricky catch that followed off his own bowling and saw the fall of the 10th Believers wicket for 91 runs from 24 overs. After a brief moment of surprise that a 12th batsmen wasn’t making his way in, it dawned on the Whalers that they had won at a canter by 65 runs.
Man of the Match: Amit (2) for his five wickets
Muppet: Amit (2) for his confident leave to a straight lbw
Champagne moment: Josh for his athletic catch