The annual Whalers tour saw a famous victory and a proper hammering, as well as the usual mix of good food(?), confused attempts to play 21s, dingy nightclubs, and random mix of alcoholic beverages.
On Saturday against Ten CC, the 9-man Whalers racked up 207 for 9 from 40 overs (with the lowest-scorers batting twice). Lots of contributions throughout the order with most people getting in, 30s for Al and Dan, and Whalers personal bests for Ads (top scorer with 34) and Kamal (a cavalier 13).Whether it was the whole roast pig for lunch or the 2 beers that most of the team had had, when we bowled we helped them get off to a flyer, with wides galore (guilty), the ball regularly being flayed into the next-door cowfields, and heads (and catches) going down. After about 17 overs the opposition were 170 for 1, and the game looked over. Even when the opposition skipper was well caught by Ed on the boundary for 87, there still surely couldn’t be any way back? But some tight bowling from Si (who finished with 4 for 21 on his bowling debut), good fielding, an outstanding run-out from Ed, and the mounting pressure saw a succession of Ten CC batsmen out for low scores. With the last man in and the score at 205, Si produced another great ball to skittle their number 11, and spark wild celebrations – in fact tour-manager Pip was so overcome by his match-deciding 2 runs (from 2 innings) that he was later found slumped in the hotel corridor.
Sunday against Cropredy CC was another matter. The hangovers were fierce, and even the quality second breakfast rattled up by Pip’s mum with 10 minutes notice couldn’t keep the Whalers machine on track. Again we batted first and got 198 for 7from our 40 overs. Top scorer (by some distance) was Mr Extras, followed by Dario with 29 before retiring hurt, and lots of 20-something contributions. However, defending this with essentially 8 fielders was always going to be tough, and despite some early pressure, the Cropredy batsmen quickly took the game away from us, with their 16-year old opener scoring a ton before being caught by Ed going for the winning runs. Highlights were Si’s acrobatic diving on the boundary including a great catch, very tidy wicket-keeping from Stu, the ritual half-tracker from Al, a bowling debut from Nick, and the fact that we only needed to fish the ball out of the canal once, as we lost by 8 wickets with over 10 overs to spare.
Many thanks to Pip for organising the tour, to Pip’s mum for the quality bacon sarnies, to all the drivers, and to Oz, Kamal, Toby, Nick, Stu and Dario for making the trip just for one game. Where to next year?