Salix CC won by 5 wickets
On what Michael Fish declared was the “hottest day on record,” Whalers took to their cars or alternatively put faith in London Transport and headed to the familiar Glaxo Smith Kline Leisure Club at Greenford for the match against old sparring partners Salix.
The early arrival of the majority of the team showed the requisite hunger for a match of this magnitude with several Whalers bowlers using the opportunity for a net session, continually lodging some old balls on the top of the net in an attempt to confuse the watching opposition.
Before long, a casual looking Osgood wandered out into the middle and proceeded to return having won the toss and elected to bat – obviously hoping that the searing heat would affect Salix’s fielding skills during the 35-over showdown.
A tight opening few overs from Davidson and Kulasinghan meant the score was 2-0 off 5 overs with Oz using the opportunity to practise the defensive side of his game. However, Paul M soon felt he had spent enough time playing himself in and hit three fours in an over. Oz was less cavalier taking twenty deliveries to register his first run, but a succession of quick singles interspersed by the odd boundary saw Whalers to 45-0 off 11.
Paul M (26) was the first wicket to fall, bowled by a good delivery by Lumsden and after a quick drinks break, Ben joined Oz at the crease. After seeing out the remaining 5 balls of the over however (and then Oz running a quick single off the first ball of the next), Manzi decided it was time to play that all too familiar shot of his from this season, looping a poor ball straight up into the air on the off-side where it was taken with ease for a duck.
Si was the next batsman in, and together with Oz proceeded to put on 24 for the next wicket before Oz (35) tried his luck one too many times with a lofted shot to long-on off the bowling of Harvey who had grown wise to Oz’s wagon wheel and had placed a fielder accordingly.
Channa came and went, hitting a great shot for 4 before going for the big heave-ho and being undone by Dutta’s looping full-toss and unluckily playing on. Ed was the next to be dismissed, also trying to hit Dutta but getting a top-edge and giving an easy catch to the wicket-keeper for none. Will didn’t hang around either, hitting a quick single before a swing-and-a-miss facing Lumsden proved his downfall.
At this stage, Whalers were reeling on 85-6 off 20 overs and after Gould decided to give the umpires practice in ajudging tight lbw decisions, he too fell for just two off the bowling of Kulasinghan who had come back on to complete his quotient of overs. Playing at Glaxo, a wag in the capacity crowd suggested that some of the Whalers’ middle-order must have raided the drugs cabinet before going out to bat.
Dan managed to steady the ship somewhat with Si, nudging the ball around for some ones and twos and keeping us in the game. However, when Si was bowled for Dutta’s third wicket for 33, his replacement Khalil soon pulled Harvey to square leg where a grateful fielder was waiting and he was walking back to the pavilion for three.
Matt and Dan almost managed to see out the final five overs with Dan hitting some much-needed boundaries and Matt not doing anything extravagant, well aware that we needed to see out the 35 overs. However, it was arguably Salix’s best bowler, Davidson who was to account for Matt, bowling him for 5 to end up with figures of 6.1-2-9-1. Dan remained the not-out batsman on 23. Whalers thus finished on 146 in the knowledge that there was a lot of work to do after the tea-break.
Refreshed and raring to go it was the tried and tested Gould-Ahmed partnership that opened the bowling for Whalers. However, neither Khalil nor Jim was able to make the breakthrough, Khalil unlucky on occasion as balls dropped just out of the reach of fielders. Matt and Dan took up the baton afterwards and it was Dan who finally made inroads into the Salix innings with a ball that beat Dyson’s defences. Rickman soon followed when Ed got one to keep low after a variety of deliveries beforehand had confounded the batsman. When Paul trapped an irate Davidson lbw, wickets were beginning to fall although due to a particularly generous amount of Extras, Whalers were facing an uphill battle with 44 needed off 11 for Salix. Wickets for Si (trapping the dogged Spillane for 20) and then Khalil followed but soon Salix had got the required run rate down to 3 an over and were looking favourites.
With one run needed off the final two overs, it looked a foregone conclusion but the return of a fired-up and miserly James Gould who was determined to avoid a twenty-five pence fine for losing the game off his bowling, saw six fast and accurate deliveries which the batsman found tough to get away and some smart alert fielding allied to Gould’s line and length resulted in a maiden over at a crucial time.
With pressure building on the batsmen, Dan, as captain, took responsibility for the final over and after another two excellent deliveries ended in dots, belief amongst the Whalers that a tie could be snatched from the jaws of defeat grew. However, a good shot through the leg side which Si was unfortunate not to stop meant Shaw (40*) running the single they required and wrapping up a 5 wicket victory.
All in all, it was a close game with several “what ifs” and “if onlys” being discussed in the changing room afterwards. However, with a few exceptions Whalers’ batsmen did not fire and despite the Salix batting line-up being tied-down a lot of the time through good bowling and fine fielding, pressure was continually released with the addition of 47 runs to their total, thanks to Extras – a far too high quantity when only defending 146.
Smiles were soon put back on faces though as Will and Channa jovially frolicked around in the shower pretending to look for the shower gel and ensured that it was not all doom and gloom following the defeat.
Man of the Match was awarded to Si for a resolute and classy batting performance, holding the innings together for a large amount of time when men fell around him and his tight left-arm over spin bowling which Salix struggled to contend with.
Muppet went to Will for his antics post-shower when he proceeded to don a towel the size of a cocktail napkin and the Champagne moment was ruminated on until 0450 BST this morning at which point it had been downgraded several times and was eventually awarded to Paul M for his trapping of Davidson leg-before.
Whalers are better than this and will hope to up their performance next week against Roehampton.
Whalers CC 146 – Oz 35, Si 33, Paul 26, Dan 23*
Salix CC 147-5
Man of the match: Si for a resolute and classy batting performance
Champagne moment: Paul M for his trapping of Davidson leg-before
Muppet moment: Will for his antics post-shower when he proceeded to don a towel the size of a cocktail napkin