Hard Fought Exiles Victory

Whalers CC vs Energy Exiles CC; King’s House Sports Ground; Sunday 8th May 2022

Regular opponents Energy Exiles made the trip to a recently developed King’s House as the Whalers’ looked to build upon their opening day victory at Highgate. There was a new hockey pitch, car park and even an impressive spread at tea. Some things never change; however, a combination of train problems and other factors meant the 1pm start time came and went without the toss being conducted. Eventually it was agreed by virtue us having more players on show, that we would field first and try and get the game underway.

After an impressive start to the season, Bilal was handed the new ball with Suhaib steaming in from the other end. We kept things tight, Suhaib taking a little while to find the right lines but he got the first wicket, getting the opener prodding and the edge of the bat was found (according to the umpire at least) and it was duly smartly caught behind by wicket keeper Kishan. A second wicket quickly followed, this time it was Bilal’s turn to receive the plaudits as he trapped the number 3 for what I think most of us considered to be a fairly generous LBW. We weren’t complaining though, or at least everyone but Nick- brought on to replace Bilal and try and dismiss their number 4 who was beginning to look dangerous with a couple of big hits down the ground. He was confident that he would soon mistime one and he did- however Josh couldn’t hold on to the relatively simple chance and Nick’s search for his first wicket of the season continued.

Thankfully it didn’t prove too costly- skipper Russell brough himself on at the other end and had him bowled. The next two batsmen in tried to play in a similar vein, attempting to whack every ball. Fortunately for us the next skied chance did not fall to Josh and Bilal took a good catch. The other opener was on a slightly different vibe- happy to stay in and try and protect his wicket as chaos developed all around him.  He wasn’t able to hang around too much longer though as Russell had him bowled for his third wicket of the match. The pressure was on but the Exiles were able to spark a bit of a comeback- helped by the bowling of Kamal and Josh (although they were able to combine for the champagne moment – please see below) and some good lower order batting. Nick and Suhaib were brought back on and were able to get the final four wickets in fairly quick succession to leave the oppo on 142 a/o.

The sun continued to beat down and we were all happy to have a break and sample the new food, generally considered to be an upgrade on previous offerings. Sandwiches were eaten, fluid was taken on board and we were treated to Suhaib’s review of Amit’s wedding. Again, no one seemed in a particular rush to get going but with the bar shutting at 7 we had to get on with it. Al and Ricky were once again the opening partnership, Ricky continued where he finished last week with some crunching drives through the off side, in fact one was so powerful that the bat broke and a new one had to be brought on. The fun didn’t last too long though, their opening bowler from the pavilion end was finding some nice areas and was able to get Ricky caught behind. Geoff was the next man in, fresh from his unbeaten 50 in the first game. He looked in good nick from the off, putting the bad balls away and even some of the good ones. Al was also looking solid and with the run rate being healthy, it was all beginning to look a bit too easy. We are the Whalers though, and a batting collapse is never too far away. Geoff skied one to mid-on for a well-played 31, Kishan and Suhaib then came and went without impacting the scoreboard dramatically. Al was continuing to tick along nicely and got his 50, despite the best efforts of debutant Ronish who almost had him run out on 49!

Al couldn’t quite see it through to the end and Josh strode out to the middle with 10 needed to win. When we talk about the best finishers in modern cricket it’s often the same names who get mentioned- Dhoni, Pollard, Morgan etc. men who are able to go out and immediately get going with a strike rate of 150. Maybe it’s time to add Curtis to that list- a couple of well placed fours before taking a single to allow Ronish to get on strike at hit the winning run.

Overall a good win- we bowled well, took some catches and looked comfortable enough in the chase despite us definitely having more of a bowling focused XI. That made it two wins from two and we were also able to get a couple of jugs in from the bar before it closed- what more could you ask for?

Whalers 143/6 beat Energy Exiles 142 by 4 wickets

Awards

Champagne moment: Josh’s athletic catch off Kamal’s bowling

Muppet: Josh’s not so athletic drop off Nick’s bowling

MOM: Al (54 runs, anchored the innings)

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