Whalers CC won by 76runs
For the second consecutive weekend, the Whalers were in for the long walk out to the fabled Pitch D at CSSG, and once again emerged with an impressive victory. It was the first proper day of summer, the kind of a day where a towelling headband would be both practically useful and a desirable fashion accessory. A good day to win the toss as well which Dan duly did and asked West XI to run off their hangovers from their skippers 40th birthday party with a 40 over stint in the field.
With strict instructions from the captain to avoid the recent 30-5 debacles Al and Oz commenced steadily against the West XI attack, defying recent form to pass 30, and then 50 without loss. The West change bowlers proved very difficult to get away and the pressure built on the Whalers a little as the runs dried up. Despite the limited amount of runs, including some usual comedy ‘calling’, trouble struck with Oz cramping up in the heat and Ben was called from sunbathing duties to act as a runner.
With West bringing on spin bowlers from both ends, Oz decided to take the attack to the opposition while he could still stand up and was rewarded with a run of boundaries, including 15 off one over. Going for one shot too many he was smartly stumped by West’s excellent keeper for 51 having helped add 95 for the first wicket. There followed a flurry of wickets as Simon was bowled for 8, Ben was stumped for a quacker and Ollie edged one behind for 5. Dario marked his return to the team after the conclusion of his student days (although still sporting a beard) with a duck and West’s slow bowlers had taken 5 wickets between them leaving the Whalers on 126-5 at 30 overs.
With Al having passed 50 by this point, Stu entered the fray and managed to carry on where he had left off on the previous week. Al finally fell for 69, also stumped and it was left to cameos from Matt (6) and a one ball nought not out from Gilo to support Stu in the Whalers quest for 200. They fell just two short finishing on 198-7 off 40 overs with Stu getting 51*, not even noticed by the scorers until the innings was completed. With the pitch playing some tricks and a big outfield it looked a competitive score.
A major crisis was averted at tea when it looked like the caterers had forgotten cakes, but fortunately this was averted after a swift intervention from the captain to provide the usual array of walnut and fruit cake. And so the Whalers set out to defend their total with Dan and Clippy opening the bowling. Dan was successful in his first over as he trapped one opener leg before. Clippy determined not to miss out duly bowled a rank long-hop with his first ball that was duly despatched down Dan’s throat at mid-off and West XI were 2-2.
Gilo and Matt were both introduced to the attack early and were rewarded with a wicket apiece following some very tight bowling. Gilo might have had another were it not for an especially slow motion drop by Dan that was to pick him up the muppet moment award. West’s skipper Wright showed a more aggressive intent on his arrival at the crease and was ably supported by youngster Allerton who started slowly, but began to show some expansive strokes. He had not reckoned on the wily Bayne though, who dismissed him with his first ball of the season clean bowled. Dario chipped in with another wicket, and it looked like the game might be heading to a rapid conclusion.
However Wright showed less respect to Ol’s bowling launching a massive lost ball six into nearby gardens, and found a staunch ally in Bignall. Thereafter the Whalers awaited an assault on their total, but this never really materialised as excellent field settings and tight bowling eased the required rate close to double figures. The return of Clippy (3-23) finally broke the deadlock. First up top scorer Wright fell to a brilliant caught behind by Stu and then Bignall well caught in an over the shoulder effort by Al. It was left to Matt (3-22) to finish the job clean bowling West’s number 11 to leave the Whalers triumphant by 76 runs.
An excellent all-round performance by the Whalers played in good spirit against sociable opposition. Onwards to the following weekend, and the search for a maiden victory against Morden Corinthians.
Whalers CC 198 – Al 69, Oz 51, Stu 51*
West XI CC 122 – Matt 3-22, Clippy 3-23
Man of the match: Al, for his fine innings of 69 (although most agreed that he was long enough at the crease to have made a ton…)
Champagne moment: Stu’s superb one handed catch off Clippy, leaping away to his right behind the stumps to remove the West XI captain and top scorer
Muppet moment: Dan’s drop off Gilo at mid-off. We’ve had some ridiculous drops this season, but really…