Elthorne CC vs Whalers CC, 31st May 2008

 Whalers won by 19 runs

In the hallowed annals of Whalers history, this has to go down as one of the greatest ever victories.

In anticipation of a great day ahead, captain Dan duly turned up about two hours early and was already changed and raring to go by the time the next Whalers arrived – still almost an hour ahead of play. Whalers purists out there don’t fret – there were still some late, and very late arrivals.

The match was to be played on the furthest pitch away from the CSSCG pavilion, and after the lengthy hike to the wicket, a rather sticky strip revealed itself. It looked slow and soft, but the weather was bright and sunny – conditions leaving Dan with absolutely no idea of whether it would be better to bat or bowl first. His consternation was in vain however, as Elthorne won the toss, and despite having one player stuck in traffic, elected to field – presumably believing that the pitch would dry out and become easier to bat on in the second innings.

And so out marched Paul Osbourn and Will VDP to meet the Elthorne attack. From the boundary the bowling didn’t look as though it would trouble us – certainly nothing quick. But from the middle the story was quite different. Pretty much everything was of good line and length, and some variable bounce meant that runs were extremely difficult to come by. Oz fell LBW to one that kept low, Will was brilliant caught at gully, Channa skied one to mid-off, but not before running out debutant Pete Jarvis before Pete had been able to trouble the scorers (no Channa, there really wasn’t a second run there…). Clippy, elevated to no. 5 in the batting, didn’t last long before falling victim to another LBW, and Ad was bowled shortly before drinks.

After 20 overs Elthorne’s eleventh man had arrived, but the game already looked lost for the Whalers. There was stoney silence as we contemplated our score of 49-7, with no batsman yet in double figures. Yet… What happened next was probably the finest ever innings by a Whalers batsmen. Stu Terrell commanded an extremely difficult wicket, taking his time to get in and make his way to 50, then accelerating away to reach his second Whalers ton (and second vs Elthorne) in the final over of the game. Special mention should be made of possibly the biggest six seen on that wicket, straight back over the bowlers head, the boundary, the 7ft wall, and the 6ft netting above that wall into the houses beyond. Able support was offered by Gouldy, Matt Lucas (on debut) and Dan at the death (contributing to a whalers record 10th wicket partnership of 56), but the innings really belonged to Stu – caught for 103 on the penultimate ball of the innings. Whalers ended up on 157 – the next highest score of 13 showing just what an innings Stu had had.

Although the score wasn’t a monster, the Elthorne body language showed that they knew they were back in a game when it had looked for all the world that instead of trudging off for tea, they would by this time be marching off towards their cars.

And so for the run chase. Elthorne’s openers batted solidly, defending the good balls and dispatching the loose ones for four over an outfield which had by now dried up somewhat. The Whalers bowling was tight, and as a result Elthorne never really got above the desired run rate, but crucially they had wickets in hand. Finally Gouldy managed to dispatch with one of the openers, and new man Matt accounted for the other (thanks to a cracking catch by Will at cover).

Still the game was probably slightly in the favour of the Elthorne batsmen – 105-2 in the 29th over – runs required, but plenty of batsmen left (thanks in part to a couple of dropped catches), including Elthorne number 4 Nick, at the crease and looking extremely dangerous. Time for the next set of Whalers heroes to step up to the plate. Dan brought himself on at one end, with Matt bowling his second spell from the other. Wickets started to fall. The Elthorne captain was run out, the number 5 caught, and then danger-man Nick tried to heave one of Matt’s deliveries to cow corner. It was a big shot, but went high rather than long, and Ad took a great and crucial catch in the descending gloom, racing in from the boundary.

Oh the descending gloom! Elthorne batted deep, but the ball was now becoming difficult to see. What’s more another curiosity was coming to the fore. While the outfield had improved during the day, the wicket itself had deteriorated – bounce now becoming extremely varied and unpredictable. Elthorne were beginning to rue their decision to bat first. The Whalers bowling kept coming – Dan and Matt bowling straight and quick, and letting the wicket do the rest. Wickets fell in a flurry, Dan taking 3-19, and Matt taking 4-4 in his second spell, giving him a 5 wicket haul on Whalers debut.

And then it was over. Elthorne had lost their last 8 wickets for 33 runs, and with it their 100% record for the season.

It was an incredible Whalers victory.

Match stats:

Whalers 157 all out – Stu 103

Elthorne 138 all out – Matt 5-15, Dan 3-19

Man of the match:              Stu for his outstanding innings of 103. Honourable mention to Matt Lucas for 5-15 on debut.

Champagne moment:       Ad for his superb, and crucial catch to dismiss the Elthorne danger-man. Honourable mention for Stu’s massive 6.

Muppet moment:                Matt for dropping a dolly from the Elthorne opener. Channa is also a muppet for running out Pete before Pete had been able to trouble the scorers.

 

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