Whalers lose by 3 wickets
27th June 2010 is a date that will long be remembered with some disappointment among hardcore sports fans the length and breadth of England and indeed, beyond. While England’s kickballers were losing in the World Cup to eventual semi-finalists Germany, Whalers were contriving to lose a game that they had within their grasp at the Civil Service Sports Ground Chiswick.
In truth it was an excellent effort from all the Whalers and Strollers present that a game was contested at all. Arriving at the Civil Service Ground for a match has provided a taste of abandoned, unloved facilities, reminiscent of a centrally planned regime in terminal decline all season. Add to that the fact that all the other games scheduled for the day had been cancelled, bowing before the all powerful, carefully branded and over hyped monolith that is modern kickball and the parched, brown landscape was not welcoming.
After winning the toss once again captain Giles decided to bat despite the great success we had enjoyed the previous week after electing to field first against West XI. The main reason behind the decision self preservation as the temperature topped 30 degrees. Al and Dario opened our innings and made it as far as 15 before both falling without further adding to the score. Hanmer and Bayne were now in partnership and the Whaling ship was righted. Ads hung around for a long time before eventually being bowled by Kay for 15 playing an injudicious shot across the line. He had been frustrated by a lack of scoring opportunities but with Bayne at the other end was part of an important partnership. Ollie has been in form this year and showed this again with some fluent driving and uncompromising pulling. Unfortunately he followed Hanmer back to the dressing room as a second collapse set in just when the Whalers needed to accelerate (has this ever happened before?) also bowled by Kay for 63. Nelson and Milanovic didn’t last long and Toby only waited long enough to score 5 and show off his dancing skills after over balancing and trying not to leave his crease (about 5 times). As so often happens in these situations it was left to the bowlers to provide some sensible batting and ensure we got close to seeing out the overs. Khalil and Dan did this admirably scoring 26 and 20 respectively. Matt was then last man out in the final over having scored 5 trying to up the rate. 167 all out
We took an extra long tea to allow time for watching the second half of the football, the kickballers helped us get on with things though as no one fancied watching anymore once the Germans 4th goal went in. 167 should have been defendable and indeed the Whalers started bowling well with wickets falling fairly regularly, Few Strollers were able to put up much resistance and only 2 of the top 6 made it into double figures. However their number 7 Kay played well. He was watchful outside off stump and quick to punish anything short, gaps started to appear in the Whalers field and in partnership with Strollers captain Illia he started to get them frustratingly close to the required rate. 6 overs of spin from Giles and 3 of slow bowling from Dickenson! were expensive and Milanovic may well have been under bowled after only conceding 9 from his 4 overs. Just when it was needed there was a moment of excellence in the field and Andy Nelson at point fired in a throw to run out Kay for 74. Strollers number 9 Paul came in under immense pressure and Osgood had the penultimate over to bowl. Paul was made of stern stuff though and made a rapid 8 to condemn Whalers to defeat in a game they really should have one. Not the first close game this season that they were unable to finish off either.
Although we lost on the day against a team I think we would hope to beat most weeks, neither side were really losers as surely participating in a close game of cricket beats watching other people play football thousands of miles away which is what most of the population were apparently absorbed in.
Whalers: 167 a.o. (34 overs) Ollie 63, Khalil 26
Strollers: 168 for 7(33.5overs) Matt 3/30, Dan 2/41
Man of the match: Ollie Bayne: Top score of 63
Champagne moment: Andy Nelson: Great run out with one stump to aim at
Muppet moment: Toby Emmerson: Dance of about 12 steps after missing a big heave