Whalers CC won by 2 wickets
On Saturday 18th July the Whalers took on the might of Her Majesty’s Government (in the shape of the FCO), and thankfully there were no international diplomatic incidents to report. However, there were several strange happenings during the Whalers’ innings that could have caused deep political rifts within the club!
The FCO batted first on what a pitch where the general consensus was ‘it’s a good toss to lose’. The surface was hard but there was certainly some moisture underneath. As it turned out, Dan did lose the toss and we strode out to field. The FCO openers rode their luck for several overs, with theWalers putting down a couple of difficult chances and the ball often being hit in the air, only to find a gap. Khalil bowled exceptionally well (8-1-18-0) for no reward, being far too good for the batsmen to get anywhere near. Steve, opening at the other end took a little time to find his line and length, but when he did he bowled some absolutely unplayable deliveries (7-1-23-1). In fact, he got the breakthrough that allowed in their top-scoring number 3, who batted for about 34 overs for 55 not out. This slow batting showed that it was not easy on a pitch that was showing variable bounce at both ends, with the ball not coming onto the bat well. By 20 overs, the FCO had only scored about 60 runs, but for the loss of only one wicket. However, many of the runs they had scored were contributed by some very generous Whalers bowlers in the form of wides – a total of 32 for the whole innings!
When Dan (8-2-24-2) removed the second opener soon after the drinks break, the FCO captain came to the crease and immediately showed his intent with some flowing (and indeed genuine) cricket shots. Thankfully though, before he really got going he pulled a longhop from Pip (4-0-10-2) towards deep midwicket and Steve took a fine sliding catch. After this, their progress was slow and steady, and by the time their 40 overs were up, the FCO had scored 145 for 5 – a score we felt was easily within reach, and had they tried to push the run rate at any stage, one which should have been a lot greater.
The Whalers innings was opened by Al and James M, and the runs started flowing immediately. However, this was where the internal politics began to play a part. As the FCO only had 10 players, we leant them a fielder for their innings. Unfortunately, our batsmen seemed to pick their own player out with depressing regularity, giving catching practice on 4 occasions, all of which were held! James was the first to go, skying a catch to Stu for 16. Nelson then strode to the crease and in uncharacteristic mode, after scoring 4, played a defensive stroke. This strategy did not pay off for him, as his stumps were flattened by the ball passing through the open gate he had left.
This brought Will to the crease, but he very soon became the 2nd Whaler caught by his own team mate (Dan, this time), out for 2. Stu came in next and after a few lusty blows was caught for 17, once again, by his team mate – who was, once again, Dan. Meanwhile, Al had been assuredly accumulating runs at the other end, batting confidently and sensibly, but on 46 he chased a wide one and gave a very sharp chance to…yes… Dan in the slips! This is really where internal relations began to be put to the test, as a very annoyed President made his way to the boundary muttering something about sanctions and embargos.
After this, Andy Hinton on his debut, and Pip steadied the ship with some sensible batting. The Whalers were well ahead of the run rate but wickets were falling a little too regularly. After a few overs of resistance, Both Andy and Pip were out for 6 and 14 respectively, bringing Duncs and Steve to the crease. Duncs only added 1 to the score, but was then caught (not by Dan, for a change) bringing Khalil to the crease. He and Steve saw the ship home with 2 wickets to spare.
In the end, we made harder work of it than perhaps we should have – 32 wides in their innings, and actually catching our own players out when we couldn’t catch them (with the odd exception), but the Whalers continued their winning ways. Dan dutifully bought his jug (perhaps he should have bought two – one for his 3 catches (for the oppo!) and one for Al’s ‘Jug Avoidance by Proxy’) and was awarded Muppet moment for catching Al, Steve got Champagne moment for his catch and Al was awarded Man of the Match.
Whalers: 146 for 8 (Al 46)
FCO: 145 for 6 (Dan 2/24, Pip 2/10)
Man of the match: Al Dickenson
Champagne moment: Steve’s catch
Muppet moment: Dan fine slip effort to remove Al