SBU Ground, Turney Road – 18th July 2004
Whalers 179 all out (39.3 overs); Valkyries 111 all out (35.3 overs)
Whalers win by 68 runs
The Whalers returned to the sanctuary of the lush green Turney Road after months ‘on the road’ to record a satisfying victory against the Valkyries.
Normally the toss is a fairly routine event (Sometimes Ollie calls wrong, all the others the oppo calls correctly), and this week seemed no exception Ollie lost and the Valkyries captain chose to bat. But no – there was a twist in the tail (or was it a head?) as their skipper was overruled by his players and despite having one player still at an unknown airport and another tucking into his lunch, decided they wanted a bowl instead.
And so it was, after a polite exchange between Oz and their captain about whether it was sporting or not to post fielders directly behind the bowler’s arm, that Osbourn and Dickenson started steadily against some lively opening bowlers. Dickenson managed to avoid a host of unwanted duck records off the mark with a four and all looked set fair until Oz went after a wide one, caught behind for 13. Hall failed to trouble the scorers and captain Bayne hit some lusty blows before also departing for 13. Dickenson followed the ball afterwards for 28 and the Whalers were in some difficulty at 64-4.
Devoid of such exalted responsibilities as going to work, Ian Gibbins stepped to the plate at number 5, and pushed the scoring rate along with some attractive strokeplay, assisted by brief cameos from Morgan and Hanmer. Gibbins finally perished stumped for a Whalers best, and ten pint jug avoiding, 45, leaving Ahmed and Osgood to make the score competitive.
Both played well punishing the bad balls, but Khalil was (with hindsight!) harshly adjudged caught behind for 11 and Osgood was left in the company of Sherratt (for 2 balls) and then Kamal for a glorious display of calling and running between the wickets that even the most exalted cricketing scholars may have struggled to find reference to in their textbooks. Sometimes Kamal ran at least three and Dan had only run two, but these are all incidental observations as an important 15 runs were added for the last wicket leaving Osgood not out on 33 and the Whalers a solid 179 to defend.
The Whalers took to the field with enthusiasm and Osgood and Ahmed troubled both opening batsmen, regularly beating the bat and ensuring runs were extremely hard to come by. Ahmed struck first capturing their wicketkeeper played on. A few overs of blocking and missing followed until a sharp single was attempted behind square. Morgan, ever alert, pounced with a one-handed pick up and throw over the top of the stumps. Oz did the rest and an exceptional moment of cricket left their captain clearly run-out, a good 2 yards short.
Valkyries third wicket partnership looked more solid and guided the score to 36 before change bowler Morgan made the breakthrough with a caught and bowled, almost elbowing Sherratt out of the way in the process. It marked the start of a fantastic spell with some proper buffet (which took wickets) and some excellent deliveries (which also took wickets). A clean bowled gave Piers a five wicket haul (8-0-38-5), only the second Whaler ever to achieve this feat and a deserved place on the honours board.
At the other end Special K tried to weave his magic, but with no success this week (5-0-19-0) and was replaced by Sherratt who didn’t disappoint with at least two trademark deliveries and a range of juicy long-hops just to mix it up a bit. As the Whalers lost their way a little, prompting a colourful exchange of thoughts between Oz and Ollie, both of whom using words which some of the gentlemen in the team had never heard before (and led to heavy fines later), Sherratt finally provided the breakthrough with a catch taken by Dickenson in the gully.
Sensing the kill Bayne brought back Osgood and Ahmed to finish the job off, and he was not to be disappointed. Osgood, unperturbed by continued denials of extremely close leg before calls finished with figures of 7.3-3-7-2, the match winning catch again taken in the gully as Dickenson managed to snaffle a low chance by balancing the ball on his chest. Ahmed was unlucky not to get more wickets with excellent figures of 7-1-17-1, nearly all runs conceded edges through the cordon.
A competitive game of cricket and a good win for the Whalers who had dug deep to get to 179 with the bat and followed it up with pressure bowling and excellent fielding.
|Man of the Match:||Piers Morgan|
|Champagne Moment:||Piers Morgan/Paul Osbourn run-out|
|Muppet Moment:||Dan and Kamal running between the wickets|