Strollers CC won by 77 runs
Not many games at the Civil Service Sports Club ground in Chiswick are won fielding first on a scorching Summer’s day, and this was no different. Stand in skipper Clippy lost the toss (his first of several poor pieces of captaincy on the day) and the Whalers were duly stuck in the field to swelter for several hours.
The Strollers made a steady start, although they should not have been allowed to. The Whalers opening attack was uncharacteristically errant with James and Khalil conceding wides and boundaries, while some of the fielding was woeful. The breakthrough was eventually made via Simon’s “Michael Vaughan” moment – dropping the simplest of catches, only to run out the bemused batsman.
The score raced along until the introduction of Ed into the attack, and he duly proceeded to wrest the game back into the Whalers’ favour. Despite the heat, Ed (with an admiring Beth looking on from the boundary) bowled a career-best spell of 5-26, bowling two batsmen, leaving one plum LBW, and with two catches from Rich and Will VDP (the latter a stunner take). This saw the Strollers in a spot of bother on 76-6. All it needed was for one more Whaler to bowl well and the Strollers would be in real trouble!
That was as good as it got for Whalers though. The 7th wicket partnership for Strollers was huge, thanks largely to several drops, missed run-outs and comical fielding. When James eventually bowled their number 5 batsman for 96 we learnt that it was the first time said individual had been out for over two months. It was little consolation for the Whalers though, as some end of innings slogging left Strollers on 227-8.
It was always going to be a tough chase after such a long day in the field, and the loss of Oz for 0, and Will R for one made the chase even harder. Simon, Pip and Khalil all managed to score runs, but in the need to keep up with the run-rate, rash shots were rewarded with wickets. The Strollers then gave us more trouble by unleashing the fastest bowler we have faced this season who in their words, sent “the remaining Whalers batsmen scrambling around for their helmets after nearly (and quite deliberately) decapitating a batsman [James] with his first delivery”. The bowler (French) eventually took 4-13. Only Ed really got the measure of him, with a quick fire 28. 150 wasn’t a dreadful score, but it wasn’t nearly enough.
Whalers need to take a good long look at themselves for some very poor fielding, and questionable judgement both at the crease and whilst umpiring (the umpires firing our own players with two questionable decisions). We didn’t help ourselves by playing some stupid shots, but the reality of the day was we were simply beaten by the better side. The fines session was a long one, with many Whalers continuing to be fined long after the £5 limit had been reached – but special mention should go to Mr English – who was dismissed by Mr French…
Strollers CC 227-8 – Ed 5-26
Whalers CC 150 – Khalil 38, Ed 28
Man of the match: Ed – 5 wickets, 28 runs and solid fielding
Champagne moment: VDP’s diving catch
Muppet moment: Simon’s drop – despite the Vaughan-esque recovery!