Whalers vs Pretenders  08/06/03

Pretenders 127ao (39 overs. Williams 4-25, Dickenson 4-12); Whalers 131ao (35 overs. Terrell 48)
Whalers win by 4 runs.

After last week’s thriller at Elthorne, the Whalers regathered sporting varying degrees of sunburn on more familiar turf at Dulwich. The weather was a mix of sun and cloud with a crosswind that might have had Ellen MacArthur concerned. After winning the toss Mildon chose to bat, giving the Whalers first hit for the first time this season. With a true pitch and on paper the best batting line-up in a long while the crowd got comfortable in expectation of a score of 200 plus.

Sadly it was not to be as the tone was set when the trusty Vanderpump’s middle stump was removed by the second ball of the innings. An excellent spell of bowling by Heel (8-2-18-1) put the Whaler’s under pressure, and D.Osborne was run out after a mid-pitch about turn. The other Osbourne (P) followed shortly afterwards with an inelegant shot carting a skier to mid-off, and it was left to Stuart Terrell on season debut to restore some sensibility to proceedings. He batted very well for his 48, including 3 fours off one over to push the score through three figures. The latter middle order failed to give it’s usual support; Williams out to a brilliant caught and bowled and Bayne looked in the groove but was distracted by Nelson using his mobile in front of the sightscreen. Two whale-like body rolls later he found himself beached fully 5 yards out of the way, and that was as far as he got. Bayne failed to recover, shortly afterwards standing on his own stumps for the unwanted record of being the first Whaler out hit-wicket. Failing to use the last 5 of their allotted overs the Whalers were all out for 131 – at the time it looked a good 40 short of a competitive total. All was quiet at tea, but Williams, Osbourn and Gibbins prepared themselves for the task ahead by consuming large amounts of salad.

With a run rate of just over 3 required, the Whalers needed pressure from the start, and captain Mildon again excelled himself with figures of 8-3-12-1. The Pretenders started solidly and the score reached 28 before Mildon made the deserved first breakthrough. The introduction of the Welsh Wizard into the attack gained immediate rewards as wickets began to fall more regularly amidst some very tight bowling and fielding. Terrell took a great over the shoulder catch and at the 20 over half way mark the Pretenders were 62-4, and the Whalers had their foot in the door. Replacing Mildon at the radio mast end Paul Osbourn bowled with pace and troubled the batsmen when on target. Unfortunately he was also troubling the wicketkeeper and scorers with his wides. Williams continued taking wickets at the other end finishing with an excellent 8-1-23-4. So 32 overs gone, the four frontline bowlers bowled out, and a few nervous glances around the field as to who was going to be called upon to bowl at the death. Pretenders needed 24 off 8 overs with 4 wickets left.

Unwaveringly Mildon called on the not very tried and some might say not very trusted combination of Dickenson and Terrell to do the job for him, and he was not to be disappointed. Dickenson took 2 wickets in successive balls in his second over to set the game up for a thrilling climax. Terrell bowled tightly for 3-1-9-0. At the other end Dickenson bowling well (4-0-12-4), albeit with a few leg stump full tosses as ‘variations’ got a third, and 10 were needed off the last 2, with one wicket left. Off the final ball of the penultimate over a sharp chance was presented to Gibbins in the covers and he held on well to complete a great game, and a victory by 4 runs. A credit to the excellent outfielding, hard work and tenacity of the Whalers, never giving up, and another fine captaincy performance in the field by Paul Mildon.

Man of the Match: Stuart Terrell
Champagne moment: Ian Gibbin’s match winning catch
Muppet moment: Nelson’s sightscreen antics.


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