Cricketers (202-8) beat Whalers (149) by 53 runs
Under the stewardship of Pip English on Whalers captaincy debut, the Whalers faced the Cricketers for the first time this season at the CSSG. Before the game had started Ed had already managed to get his car written off at the top of the road. Fortunately he was uninjured although obviously his consequent lateness was duly noted. The Cricketers only had 8 players at the start so Pip was unable to put his extensive tossing practice into effect as he agreed to let the opposition bat first.
The final three late arriving players were flying in from Ireland that morning we were told. An impressive effort you may think. All the more so as said players had been playing in a pre-season friendly for London Irish against Munster the previous evening and included amongst their number England internationals Delon and Steffon Armitage. Remarkably this was the second time this season the Whalers had come up against London Irish players – would we be any more successful this time after we had come off second best against Peter Hewatt of Lemmings?
Initial exchanges suggested not as Cricketers got off to a solid start against Matt and Si, happy to have a swing occasionally, and taking full toll on any loose deliveries. It took some sharp work from Al and Toby to make the first breakthrough removing Sohail run out for 31. Change bowlers Ed and Kamal bowled well in between a few proper Sherratt balls from Ed but wickets remained hard to come by, and at drinks Cricketers were 93-1 off 20 overs.
It took the introduction of Rob to the bowling attack to finally get some numbers in the wicket’s column as he bowled a spell of 6-0-35-3 finding good value in softening the batsmen up with four balls before taking a wicket. As the Cricketers looked to force the pace the Whalers outfielding remained excellent and two superb throws from James and Si resulted in two more run outs with Toby doing the necessary with the gloves. Si’s reintroduction to the attack brought two wickets in two balls including a sharp stumping from Toby (that he didn’t mention at all after the game) but we couldn’t finish the tail off and the Cricketers set an imposing 202-8 off their 35.
Dario and Al opened the Whalers response against the bowling of Summers. It was to prove a pivotal spell in the context of the game as Summers extracted lively bounce from accurate deliveries. Dario was out hit wicket as he got into a mess trying to hook one from his face. Ads went next ball getting tucked up and looping one to slip; Al followed a few overs later fending at another short delivery and the Whalers were 10-3 chasing 203 on a wearing Pitch D and it wasn’t looking pretty. Pip and Toby set about rebuilding seeing offSummers (7-4-10-3) and taking some runs off the change bowlers including a big 6 from Toby. 58-3 at halfway represented a good recovery but the required rate was already over 8 and acceleration was needed.
The Whalers did manage some big overs after drinks, but wickets began to fall as well as Toby was caught for 22 and Pip soon after for 27. James and Simon then added a lively 34 but after Simon was bowled the rest of the order followed fairly quickly with theArmitage brothers involved in most of the wickets (including a fine boundary catch from Delon to dismiss Ed) leading to many ‘dismissed by rugby player fines’ later on. Amongst the general clatter of wickets James stood firm proving especially strong on the leg side and scored his second Whalers fifty. He was last out for 57 leaving Kamal not out 0 off 0 balls and the Whalers were all out for 149 losing by 53 runs. The match was played in excellent spirit against sociable opposition but ultimately the Whalers couldn’t recover from 10-3 after conceding over 200.
Man of the Match: James M (57), catch and run out.
Champagne Moment: Toby’s stumping
Muppet Moment: Toby’s very wide ‘throw’ attempting a run out