Whalers won by 39 runs
The Whalers returned to form with an impressive and hard fought victory over A Few Good Men. With their first excursion of the year to pitch C the Whalers found comfortably the best track of the season after being careful not to get blown off course by the force 6 gale that wasn’t to relent at any point during either innings. With Dan winning the toss and choosing to bat, the new right / left opening combo of Oz and Channa strode to the middle looking to create a solid platform. The two did well to deal with the lively opening bowler, and began to accumulate runs from the other end. The ‘running’ left the crowd somewhat bemused as comfortable singles were declined and at one point a certain all run five (when the ball held up before the fence with none of the fielders moving) became a slightly scrambled two.
With the score on 46 Channa had one heave too many and was bowled for 14 and Oz fell shortly after in similar fashion for 29. The double breakthrough bought new batting only specialist Ed K and Al together and they added 36 in just 5 overs as the Whalers looked to push on aided by Ed’s long-handle. When Ed perished for 19, Toby joined Al and the pair added over 50 in good time, including a massive six from Toby. At 146-3 with just more than 10 overs left the Whalers were looking in good shape, but Toby fell as the ball turned into him and managed to find it’s way onto the stumps in via bat and pad. By this stage Al had passed his 50, but the visits to the crease of Stu, Pip, Ads and Jim were all of the short and sweet variety. It was left to Matt with 12 (perhaps aided by unmatching pads and gloves) and Dan (1*) to keep Al company for the final overs as he bludgeoned his way to 83* to conclude the Whalers innings on 230-9 off the full allocation of 40 overs.
With the pitch still playing true, it was going to be tough work to defend the total. Jimmy and Matt opened the bowling well, putting early pressure on the batsmen with accurate bowling and Jimmy gained an early breakthrough. The arrival of Knight to join Healey heralded a difficult period for the Whalers as A Few Good Men pushed the scoring rate on aggressively despite some good bowling from Dan and Ads. The curse of the drinks break struck in an unusual way this time – as Knight fell on the last ball before drinks to a fine (albeit juggled) caught behind by Toby off Dan – a much needed boost for the Whalers. After drinks Dan introduced Stu from one end while Pip continued with the breeze behind him. Pip bowled a good spell (5-1-37-2) taking some punishment including several huge sixes, but stuck to the task and picked up two crucial wickets in a double wicket maiden.
This brought the opposition captain Beckhardt to the crease who also proved to be a very powerful hitter of the ball. With A Few Good Men needing 100 off the last 13 overs with six wickets in hand it was looking like a tense finish was on the cards. However a crucial moment came when Al plucked a square cut out the sky at gully off Stu’s bowling and the dangerous Knight was dismissed for 68. Shortly after an over of Whalers magic turned the game as Matt bowled Beckhardt, followed up next ball with a caught behind, and with fielders crowding the bat, struck the hatrick-ball batsmen on the pad plum in front. The umpire did the rest and cue huge celebrations for the first ever Whalers hatrick Matt finished with 8-0-24-3. A Few Good Men batted out the rest of their overs, with Jim picking up another wicket lbw while everyone was worried about what seemed to be a dropped catch, and there was still time for Pip to have a few strops about missed catches and run out chances, but from the hatrick onwards the total never looked like being chased down and the Whalers ran out winners by 39 runs.
This was one of the more complete Whalers performances of recent years, beating a side that hadn’t lost for over a year. All the top order batsmen contributed and the bowlers all performed well especially when under pressure. Only 8 extras were conceded, the outfielding was top-draw and no catches were dropped when it mattered. Happy days.
Whalers 230-9 off 40 overs – Al 83*, Oz 29
A Few Good Men 191 – Matt 3-24
Man of the Match: Al 83* and a catch
Champagne Moment: Matt’s hat-trick – the first ever for the Whalers
Muppet Moment: Difficult one this on a successful day, but in the end shared between Pip for his run-out strop and Ads for bleeding on the fines book.