Whale pressure topples Crane
Off the back of their first win of the season a week ago and with the captaincy reins passed to Dan, Whalers met for their first home game of the season against Crane CC with memories still fresh of last year’s agonising one wicket loss in the inaugural game against this opposition. On arrival it was clear captain Dan was in a serious frame of mind as a well organised kit audit was well underway. It was good to note there were plenty of spare boxes should anyone be in need of a spare later in the day. After schlepping across to pitch D, a quick pitch inspection indicated a decent track, the toss was made and promptly lost and Whalers would be fielding (and a full 40 overs beckoned at that). Dan immediately instigated some emergency fielding practice with a vigorous routine that resembled a cross between a headless chicken race and dodgeball with cricket balls. The opposition looked on concerned….or confused, one or the other.
The game got underway with Nick bowling tightly from one end (and creating a tough chance at slip – duly spilled) and Geoff struggling to find his length and being duly punished by the openers at the other. The first breakthrough came in bizarre fashion – a failed LBW appeal eventually resulted in a rare hit wicket dismissal. Only Tariq at slip saw the incident and continued the appeal vociferously while standing right at the stumps pointing at the bail on the ground – job done, the umpire at square confirmed and the first wicket had fallen. Kamal and Matt then replaced the openers and bowled tightly and well, Kamal, after having one chance dropped at long on, then enticed another ambitious in to the wind shot from the other opener and this time Nick made no mistake. As the Whalers put the screws on the run rate with some good bowling and fielding their efforts were rewarded with a bit of magic, taking off for a quick single, Stu pounced and threw down the stumps to run out their dangerous looking number 3. An argument could just about be made that possibly the fielding drill at the start of the match had paid off.
With the top three gone wickets started to fall at regular intervals as Tariq and Ross took over and maintained the high standard of bowling, debutante Ross found a little bit of movement and was rewarded with three wickets. JT was next up and was also rewarded for a good economic spell with a wicket while the returning Nick nearly grabbed a hat-trick at the other end. At 9 down and 8 or so overs remaining the opposition then “Kamaled” us for a while, their No11 showed a dogged defence as the last pair pushed the final score up to 149 before JT claimed the last wicket in the 40th over. Whalers went to Tea feeling quietly confident it was a gettable total.
The Whalers innings started well (not a misprint) as Gilo mixed strong drives with fully committed slashes and Stu defended stoutly while picking up runs from the few loose balls that arrived. After seeing off the openers a spinner came on bowling donkey drops. After Gilo dispatched his first ball for 4, an entertaining moment followed for the small crowd as Gilos eyes lit up on the second delivery and he proceeded to swing himself off his feet before seeing the ball cannon rattle tap into his stumps, and with that ended a good knock of 27. Further entertainment came shortly after as Stu decided to test out the strength of his box, it was up to the challenge but looked like a painful experiment. Once recovered Stu and Kev started to consolidate on the good start with a steady partnership until Stu tried to cut one off his stumps and missed. The skipper joined Kev and they continued to pick up runs. The opposition, while not making many inroads had bowled tightly and kept a check on the run rate so with 10 overs to go the Whalers needed 49 for the win with 8 wickets in hand, a push to the scoring rate was required – which started to see a few wickets fall.
Kev went LBW for 36 and Dan followed shortly thereafter. Ross had been joined by Tariq and a few lusty blows got the Whalers close. With 13 needed off 3 the oppo made what seemed to be a brave decision by keeping on their 4th change bowler for a third over, Tariq took the opportunity by pulling a 6 over square leg and the Whalers were then within 2. The following ball Tariq tried to finish the game in style with a good old fashioned hoick only to loop the ball off the edge to slip, but all was well as Matt (0*) seemed very excited to get a chance to bat and JT who had padded up and then de padded, once again took off his ironman sunglasses and re-padded just in case, as it turns out, he was not required. For a game with a number of bizarre moments it was perhaps apt that the game finished with another, Ross flogged the ball somewhere (deep mid wicket maybe?) and the oppo didn’t seem that intent on fielding it but after deciding it probably hadn’t gone for 4, Ross and Matt decided they had better run them up as the game finished in slightly confused circumstances – but there was no doubt that the victory was the Whalers on the back of a very good all round performance. Thanks to Crane who were an excellent oppo, friendly and competitive and I’m sure there will be some more good battles in the future.
Champagne – Stu’s direct hit run out
Muppet – Gilo for his comedy dismissal, honourable mention to Stu for defending a delivery with his box
MOM – Ross on debut for his 3 for 21 and winning runs at the end.