Whalers win by 46 runs
Whalers all over London left their workplaces early for the day to converge on the now familiar North Middlesex Cricket Club ground in Crouch End – not without a few grumbles here and there, particularly from some Whalers based South of the river – to take to the field against Beamers in an evening Twenty20 game. There was bad news at the start of the match when Whalers’ leading run-scorer for the season Channa Karu failed a late fitness test, having been hit in the groin by a Frisbee whilst walking the dog in a freak accident.
Captain Richard Giles was soon in action at the toss of the coin which he won with aplomb, electing to bat (i) so we would be able to bat in maximum daylight and (ii) for the more practical reason that some Whalers were still South of the river.
Giles made the controversial decision to ask Ben Manzi to open the batting alongside regular opener Al Dickenson and while the run rate was not spectacular after a couple of overs, Al was keen to push on and on knocking a ball to a leg-side fielder, called “yes”, but alas his partner was run out for 2 at the other end, allegedly not backing-up enough although the author of this report maintains the run was never on.
This brought Si Whistler to the crease, who was playing in his second game of the day, having earlier been dismissed by famous cricketer U.S. Embassy. Si and Al began to put on the runs, notching up a few boundaries between them, including a 6 from Si but it was Al who became the first victim of Pittman Jr – a young lad, apparently not even in his teens – who bowled Dickenson for 19. Vice-captain Matt Lucas was next in, although he did not hang around and departed run-out for 1.
Following a nifty piece of haberdashery in the crotch area after it was pointed out that Rich was exposing himself, Giles took to the field with the intention to stop the flow of wickets, Whalers already 3 down after 5 overs. However, it was not long before Pittman Jr struck again bowling Whistler for 17. The partnership between Giles and Osgood got off to a shaky start with some comedy calling and running but after two in-depth conversations the present and former captains got their act together and started despatching the ball to all parts of the ground, both scoring maximums. Giles was eventually out bowled James for 15 off the last ball of the over, by a quick ball following some more erratic stuff in the previous deliveries.
Adam Hanmer (1) came in at 7, but didn’t really have time to get his eye in as he too fell to Pittman Jr who was making quite a name for himself (and racking up some future fines for the Whalers kitty).
As a result, Ed Kirkness came in with the score somewhere in the region of 80-6 off 11 overs and Whalers needing someone to step up and take a hold of the innings. On this occasion, two Whalers stepped up in the guise of Osgood and Kirkness and some huge overs followed, particularly when Ed was at the striker’s end, hitting a flurry of fours and sixes when up against Beamers’ spinner and to the dismay of many (but the relief of the author of this report), narrowly missing Ben Manzi’s car. Dan was not to be outshone though and followed Ed’s lead from the other end, eventually ending up with 7 fours, and 2 sixes in a quickfire unbeaten 53*. Ed fell just short of his half-century indulging in some jug avoidance and his total of 47* included 5 fours and 3 sixes. All of which meant Whalers had recovered from their earlier slightly precarious position to finish on 171-6 from 20.0 overs.
A quick turnaround saw Dan and Ben Blane open the bowling. Beamers got off to a good start in the first over, with a mixture of some fine cover drives and a few wides from Dan contributing to the score. However, at the other end, Ben Blane was keeping things very tight and was rewarded with a succession of wickets, the first of which was caught by Si out on the boundary but the next two just being too good for the batsmen that followed (one of whom, Joseph, had looked particularly dangerous). Ben finished with figures of 4-0-12-3, a very tidy return to Whalers cricket on his season debut.
Throughout the performance, the general standard of fielding was high, none more so when on one delivery, Matt slid to his right at mid-off, picked the ball up and threw it back to the bowler’s stumps in one fluid motion – an excellent piece of fielding that really geed the team up following an earlier good stop on the boundary by Dan. Rob Lothian replaced Dan and he too bowled economically, picking up a wicket (caught by replacement wicket keeper Osgood) in the process. Rich was soon to get in on the act, casually plucking a ball out of the sky with his right boot, before back-heeling it back to the bowler and Dickenson and Manzi joined in with the football fielding late on, buoyed by Giles’ earlier example of Messi-esque technique.
Not everything was going so well though as a simple request to move the sidescreen caused havoc in the Whalers ranks – Rich and Matt crashing the screen into the wall and then getting it wedged. Ads saw that they were making fools of themselves and immediately wanted in on the action.
After that particular side-show (geddit?), another direct hit by Ed helped wrap the game up near the end and this was sandwiched between wickets for Si Whistler (who had deserved a wicket throughout after a drop off his own bowling and a more straightforward chance for Matt) and Matt himself with Dan taking to the gloves well. Beamers ended up on 125-9 off their 20.0 overs and with the sun just beginning to set, Whalers had won by 46 runs.
Whalers: 171 for 6 (20 overs)
Beamers: 125 for 9 (20 overs)
Man of the match: Ed Kirkness (honourable mentions to Ben Blaine and Dan)
Champagne moment: Matt’s sliding stop and throw to hit a single stump and effect a run out
Muppet moment: Sightscreen faff, Rich, Matt and Ads