Whalers CC won by 7 wickets
Fresh from their indoor triumph the first outdoor game of the 2009 Whalers season started, as was perhaps inevitable, with some high quality faffing. The usual dramas of locating where all the various kit bags had got to over the winter, the scorebook, and maybe even trying to find 11 players seemed to have been resolved early in the preceding week. However the withdrawl of London Rams from the fixture midweek led to a change of opposition and venue and the Whalers were playing the previously unknown Gubbays in Eastcote.
Fortunately the weather gods were kind and delivered a beautiful April day as the Whalers assembled in West London. The team welcomed two debutants; James Milanovic and Adam Strang in captain Dan’s 100th game for the Whalers for which he was presented with a commemorative shirt. Sadly Dan had already lost the toss and we were bowling with just 10 men as Paul was still enjoying the delights of bus replacement services, a recurring theme in his afternoon.
And so the action started with a prompt 1pm start with Dan bowling down the hill with the wind generally quite wide, and Ed from the other end generally quite well. Gubbays commenced slowly but the Whalers were guilty of some early season rustiness as several catches went down of varying degrees of difficulty. Just as it was beginning to look like these missed chances would be costly the introduction of Si led to the first breakthrough as Adam Strang, whose fielding was outstanding at square leg held onto to a sharp chance, and shortly after James took a good catch above his head to claim the Whalers second. Si soon claimed a third, his six overs yielding 3-27 and the Whalers were in business.
Dan opted for spin at both ends mid-innings as Adam made a tidy start with his off breaks and Kamal bewitched all the batsmen with his variations but somehow failed to pick up the wickets that his spell deserved. Adam managed to pick up a couple of wickets in his eight overs finishing with 8-2-28-2. Paul replaced Kamal but his bowling proved a mixed bag, picking up a wicket clean bowled, but also being hit for a huge lost ball six into neighbouring gardens.
Throughout the Gubbays innings Whalers stuck to their task well, and wickets falling at regular intervals kept the scoring rate down. Dan brought Ed and himself back to bowl the death overs and the wickets continued to fall as Gubbays looked to hit out. Ed missed out in the wickets column but Dan grabbed three late wickets including two off his last two deliveries to set up a hatrick opportunity next game. Gubbays finished on 170 all out from 39.4 overs, a respectable but certainly not unassailable score.
After a tea that was notable for the cheese and cucumber sandwiches and pizza Al and Duncs set out to open the reply for the Whalers. With Hassan opening from one end bowling a probing line outside off, Duncs’ eyes lit up at the prospect of an 11 year old at the other end but only narrowly avoided a first ball dismissal with a Chinese cut off the mark. Thereafter the youngster was singled out for some punishment from Duncs in particular as five boundaries came from his first three overs and the Whalers looked set at 29-0 off the first six overs.
However Al fell to a slower ball from Hassan, and Duncs was bowled just two balls later as a shooter just feathered his off stump removing just one of the bails. The dismissal of both openers brought Ads and James to the crease. The run rate dried up as both players struggled to score and when James was out plumb in front for a duck, the Whalers were in some trouble at 32-3.
Stu joined Ads at the crease, with mobile in pocket so that in case Mrs Terrell went into labour she could at least be kept informed of his innings’ progress. Stu started slowly having difficulty finding the middle of his bat, and both batsmen offered some early sharp chances, but thereafter progress became remarkably serene. Adam, using his unique style to full effect, recorded his first ever Whaler’s fifty and celebrated with due bat waving and badge kissing. Stu followed with his 50 soon after and unleashed some big hits late on taking one bowler for 18 in one over to finish on 67*. It was left to Ads to hit with winning runs with a 3 down the ground to finish unbeaten on 63, and the Whalers had won at a canter by seven wickets and with 7 overs to spare. And no-one ever needed to know Paul had deserted his post at number 6 to get back home to make sure his kids hadn’t eaten all theJammie Dodgers.
A mighty effort from Stu and Ads then, as an unbeaten stand of 139 ( a record for the fourth wicket, and I think the second highest ever) got the Whalers’ season off to a fantastic start, and was celebrated with a pint at what can only be described as a curry pub just down the road.
Whalers: 171-3 (32.2 overs Terrell 67*, Hanmer 63*)
London Rams: 170ao (39.4 overs Osgood 3-27, Whistler 3-28)
Man of the match: Adam Hanmer – debut Whalers 50
Champagne moment: Stu’s direct hit for a run out
Muppet moment: Stu’s fumble of a second run out chance after some great work by Duncs