Whalers continue winning run with classy victory over Cricketers

Whalers CC vs Cricketers CC; Kings House Sports Ground; Sunday 31 August 2014

Whalers CC (197-2) beat Cricketers CC (193-7) by 8 wickets

The Whalers gathered for their final home fixture of the year undefeated in domestic matches since June. With Cricketers having won all encounters in the last three years between the teams something had to give.

After biking out to do a preliminary pitch inspection on Pitch B (presumably a helicopter would have been chartered for Pitch D) Dan won the toss and decided despite a flat looking track to make use of a strong bowling line-up and invite the Cricketers to have first use. Bowling first seems to have become the new batting first.

Newcomer Jack and Ed K opened the bowling with Cricketers making a cautious start but once in comfortably dismissed bad balls to the boundary and it took the introduction of Nick Howes to establish the first breakthrough with a fine delivery nipped back to peg the top of off with the batsman not playing a shot. There followed a similar passage of play as the new batsman settled and then became more expansive before Kamal at the other end took the wicket of the opener confidently caught by James Gould once he realised no-one else could catch it for him and Cricketers were 72-2.

There was no let-up from the Cricketers though as their number 3 Tom looked increasingly impressive and with the pitch true Whalers did well to keep a semblance of control under increasing pressure and some tight wide calls. With wickets in hand Cricketers looked well on course for a daunting 220 plus total.

However the Whalers finally broke through after the third wicket had put on 97 with Channa pocketing a skier to give Dan a deserved wicket. Thereafter the Whalers fought back strongly – Jack’s return to the attack finally accounted for Tom as he was bowled for 70, amidst Ed and Nick also joining the action as the Cricketers lost 5 wickets for 11 runs. A brief rally at the end lifted the final total to 193-7 off 35 overs. The Whalers never let heads go down and it was a sterling performance in terms of ground fielding (taking all decent catching chances) and bowling with Nick the pick with 2-25 from his 7 overs. Overall the score looked about par, but chases of nearly 200 are rarely simple affairs with the Whalers.

Dan entrusted opening to Stu and Al, and after Al forgetting whether he was batting 1 or 2 they made a calm start to the chase with some sharp running and rotating the strike. Patience proved key and aside from some confusions regarding dead balls and no balls Whalers progress was untroubled until Stu managed to injure himself with an overly aggressive hook shot. Otherwise there were no real alarms before drinks where the Whalers sat at a serene 106 without loss after 17 overs.

However at some point during the tea break Paul Luckett moved from his lucky sitting position causing Al to be out to possibly the plumbest LBW in history for 36 in the first over after drinks, getting himself a go at number 3. It was a brief visit though after a few swings and misses he was bowled for a duck and James Gould number 4 (correction required? – Ed) ventured to the crease. By now Stu had passed 50 and James looked composed and the Whalers closed in on an ultimately comfortable victory that represented a fantastic comeback after the Cricketers early dominance with the bat. There was still plenty of time for Stu to get to his ton and he finished on 104* (using his second choice bat) clattering the winning runs for 4 with 5 overs remaining and James completed a solid all round performance with an unbeaten 27.

A very satisfying victory for the Whalers ensuring a ‘winning season’ with two games to spare, sticking to their task brilliantly when up against it in the field and a solid chase always keeping on top of the rate.

Man of the Match: Stuart Terrell 104*

Champagne moment: Nick third ball to take first Cricketer’s wicket

Muppet moment: Dan’s umpiring fiasco – ultimately proved to be correct after reference to the laws, but once it’s in the book….