2 August 2014
Kings House Sports Ground
Whalers win by 7 wickets
The Whalers were playing away this week so it was a rare Saturday fixture, albeit at our usual ground at Kings House. The familiar routine this season of scrapping around for players was no different this week so we welcomed Jack (Dan’s work colleague) and Jake (Kev’s mate), as well as Tony from Salix who is fast becoming a Whaler himself this year…and Whelan (aka “wheels”) made a return to the fold after a 10yr break.
Elthorne seemed to have similar problems but managed to get 10 adults and a couple of juniors to make it to the field in time, so we were ok to go. We were on pitch “D”, you know, the one that’s a 10min walk to the back and is often described as “variable”. A quick look at the pitch confirmed that it wasn’t going to be any different today. Nevertheless Kev strode confidently back from the toss with a smile, waving his arms to indicate that we’ll be bowling…b, b, but…he won it?…and didn’t want to bat first? a bold decision.
After the muttering was over we got ourselves out into the field and Jack was given the honour of starting the attack, joined enthusiastically by Paul Luckett. Jack was pacey and sharp, a welcome addition to the whalers attack. Paul was less sharp, less pacey, but also challenging the batsmen. But the pitch was behaving itself and Elthorne were playing sensibly and picking their shots carefully so it was tough going. Jack had a good spell, getting a nick back to Kev who got his gloves to it only to spoon it to Tony who couldn’t quite grasp it. There was also a very close LBW shout but at the first change we still hadn’t made the break-through, so it was down to Pip and Kamal to get something out of the wicket. Kamal immediately got his rhythm going and started to make the batsmen play with more caution.
After 18 overs it was drinks and Elthorne were 80 odd runs ahead with no wickets down. We needed to get a wicket soon or this could be a big score.
Finally Kamal got his just rewards as the batsman went for an off-drive only to scoop it up to Dan at mid-off. It was a relief but Elthorne were still in a good position. Paul came back into the attack and a couple of overs later the other opening batsman went for a big swing only to hit fresh-air and Kev took the leg-side stumping with ease. Now we were in business, two new batsmen at the crease and our tails were up. As we entered the last 10 overs Elthorne started to take a few more risks and more wickets came our way. Dario took a run out but Paul’s ball that kissed the top of off-stump was the highlight. With a new batsman at the crease the call from the skipper was to stop the singles to keep him on strike but Kamal had other ideas. As the ball was tapped towards him he swung his foot at it with a strike that Alexis Sanchez would have been proud of to send the ball passed Kev for over-throws. Despite that mishap, and with Dan and Jack finishing the overs off, we were hoping to keep Elthorne to less than 150 runs. Jack also took a classy wicket by knocking over the off-stump but one or two boundaries were leaked and Elthorne managed to get to 157 at the break.
Jack 6overs 24 for 1
Paul 7overs 31 for 2
Kamal 7overs 20 for 1
Dan 7overs 25 for 0
As we made the long walk back to the clubhouse for tea we thought that the score was probably a touch less than par for this pitch and we should definitely be able to get it, but with an unusual side and unknown batting line-up it wasn’t for certain.
Dario and Wheels started the reply to find the Elthorne bowling attack not giving much away (although Dario got the usual “Boycott batting” fine). Then came the first signs of the pitch misbehaving as Wheels stood back on his heels preparing to swipe a short one away to the off-side only for the ball to cut in and hit him on the ankle, out LBW. Not long after Dario hung his bat out to dry and nicked it to the keeper so the Whalers were 2 wickets down after 7 overs and only 8 runs on the board. The run-chase had stalled massively.
Pip added a few runs before being caught, which brought Gilo to the crease. At this point the score was 29 after 12 overs and there was still a lot to do. Kev was at the other end and he was just starting to get settled in. After a couple of overs the runs started to pick up and the score was ticking over, but only at 3 or 4 per over instead of what we needed which was 5 or 6. However it was a relief that wickets were no longer falling and Gilo and Kev were getting their eye-in. But as the urge for runs increased the guys started to take some chances and when Kev launched one over to mid-off we thought he was a goner…but the fielder couldn’t hold on to it and he was given a reprieve. Gilo also provided Elthorne with some catching practice but again they couldn’t hold on, maybe this was our day? As the overs started to run out the running between the wickets became more frantic, with Kev barking orders at Gilo who was turning a brighter shade of pink with every passing ball and sweating…and sweating…and sweating. To the point that Gilo almost didn’t make it in for a return run, only to be saved from a run-out by Pip’s dodgy umpire positioning so he couldn’t see what happened, much to Elthorne’s dismay. Kev continued to take chances and was dropped two more times as he swiftly passed his half century. Now the run-rate was turning into 9 or 10 an over and things were looking much better. Only a maiden over in the 27th caused some concern, after which the runs returned and concern for the run rate gave over to concern for Gilo’s health. But it wasn’t before too long that the winning runs were hit in the 33rd over and the Whalers were victorious after a 3rd wicket stand of 131.
It’s true to say that if Elthorne had held onto their catches this could have been a very different match but that takes nothing away from Kev and Gilo’s batting performance, a brilliant and brave run chase. The skippers decision to field first was justified.
Kev 97 not out
Gilo 39 not out
MOM Kev – 97 not out
Champagne Kev’s leg side stumping off Luckett’s heavy ball
Muppet Kamal’s “av it!” moment (kicking the ball away for over-throws)