Barnes Common Cricket Ground
Whalers lose by 2 wickets
After the Whalers 20/20 win last Thursday we returned to the same pitch for today’s match hoping for the same result. The team started to rock up for a 12 O’clock start under a cover of light drizzle with little expectation of actually having to play a match….but, despite being uncovered, the pitch looked playable, so game on.
The oppo are Wall CC who we played last year in a tight game with the Whalers winning in a last ditch hoick by the tail-end to get the runs. Today they arrived a little late after drinking their way down from the midlands in their mini bus. Rich won the toss, elected to bat, and then politely asked Oz to open. Oz politely declined and Rich politely accepted, a terribly English affair. So Stu and Dario set off to the middle to start the runs flowing.
The opening attack was a tale of two ends. The opening bowler was lively and sharp, although Stu did manage to get bat to ball…but only to parry to second slip, and he was duly out in the first over. I’m sure this hadn’t turned out the way Oz had hoped, but he donned his stiff upper lip and came out to bat anyway.
The other bowler wasn’t quite firing and both Dario and Oz had no problem in hitting him out of the attack early on as he bowled 0-21 off 2 overs. So things continued with Dario dodging, blocking and swiping at one end and Oz scoring well at the other until he nudged one to slip to bring in Toby. Toby lasted only a few balls until being found LBW and the next two wickets went quickly to leave the Whalers at 55-5 after only 21 overs and on shakey ground.
The rain was still persisting and the saw dust was out to dust the bowler’s run ups, but the pitch was holding up remarkably well when Ed came in to bat. But before any hope of a partnership appeared Dario walked after being caught behind, and Gilo didn’t last long after him. The Whalers were now 93-7 and if the truth be told, spirits were a little low.
It was up to James and Ed to turn our fortunes, and that they did, as they both took on the bowlers for the biggest stand of the Whalers innings and they upped the score rate well. Ed was in fine form and hitting plenty of boundaries, but a huge six was his last contribution before getting out. Now the score was looking healthier but we still had to see out another 10 overs and we only had 2 wickets in hand. James and Dan persisted for a while but couldn’t see us through to the end and the Whalers were all bowled out for 165 runs off 36 overs.
We could blame the bad weather for a below-par score but Wall CC had a good attack, a sharp keeper (only 2 byes) and took their chances well. We felt we needed another 20 runs on the board to feel more comfortable. So we all trudged across the railway line under a grey sky to the pavilion where Sybil and Leone had prepared hot tea and a good spread.
Well fed and watered we grouped on the square for a rallying cry from the skipper to be sharp in the field and focused.
Khalil and Dan opened the attack and made a good start. Khalil did everything right except managing to poach a wicket. Dan did better and got the early break we were hoping for with a well taken catch by Rob. Wall CC weren’t afraid to hit out early on but another couple of wickets went with Oz taking a catch off Dan and Stu getting a shout for LBW. Our tails were up but the batsman at the other end was looking comfortable and when the next strode up to the crease, Edwards, and duly thumped a four off his first ball, the edge was taken off our glee.
Clippy took the brunt of Edwards’ good eye and brute power and as such his figures do not reflect his bowling performance. Edwards was looking to take the game away from us…and when he was dropped, things were looking ominous.
But Stu made the break through as Edwards scooped one up into the air and Clippy held on for dear life…he wasn’t going to let go of that one. Wall CC were on 106 at this point and still plenty of time to get the runs, so now the game for the Whalers was about taking wickets.
James joined the attack and soon both he and Stu got the Whalers back in the game by taking a couple of quick wickets. On 110-7 it was down to James and Ed to keep the bowling tight and force three more. Kept it tight they did but Wall CC were now batting sensibly, not giving too much away and punishing the bad ball. The run rate slowed drastically and the overs passed by one at a time, and going into the 37th over there was still all to play for. But try as they might the Whalers couldn’t stop the runs ticking over and eventually Wall CC triumphed with two overs to spare.
Shortly after the match there was banter in the Coach and Horses with the continual cry of “looosers” from the oppo’s Ali who was lapping it up. It wasn’t long before we left them to continue their tour by drinking and dancing the night away in Windsor. It was another tight and enjoyable game with Wall CC but this time the Whalers fell short. We didn’t get enough runs, so despite a big effort in the field, Wall CC always had time to play their game.
MOM – Ed – keeping the Whalers in it with plenty of runs and tight bowling
Champagne – Dan’s wicket – text book attack bowling
Muppet – James’ strip on boundary
Whalers: 161 a.o. (36 overs)
Wall: 162 for 8 (39 overs)
Man of the match: