SBU Ground, Turney Road – 15th August 2004
Strollers 234 all out; Whalers 178 all out
Strollers win by 56 runs
The final game of the season was upon us, against potentially one of the strongest opponents. What a coup it would be, to beat a team that had, in previous seasons, thrashed us so soundly. The toss being lost (now that sounds familiar), the Whalers took the field in confident mood. A strong team was assembled, with a string of victories under its belt. As the opening Strollers settled themselves at the crease, Osgood was clearly fired up to take on the top order. A wicket with his third ball, and barely half a dozen runs from the bat in his opening spell, he was clearly the man in form. His opening partner Ahmed struggled a little with his line early on, and a plethora of wides eased some of the pressure on the batsmen. Yet their scoring rate was still painfully slow.
The Whalers took wickets at regular intervals, due to sensible bowling changes and good catching (now that sounds less familiar!). Pritchard caused several problems on a slow wicket, causing batsmen to play early, and lift the ball into the waiting hands of Graham, and belly of Duncs. However, at 56-4, it all went wrong.
The next two batsmen bludgeoned their way to 200, taking apart everything we threw at them. Kamal, Graham and Hon all suffered at the hands of a skilful partnership, and both batsmen passed 70 before the steak and kidney servings of Terrell, in an act of desperation by the Captain, removed the bails of one of them. This then opened up the tail – Graham removed the other danger man, and he and Ahmed mopped up the remaining batsmen. The target – 234 – was a good score for both sides, considering the poor start they had had, and the pummelling we had taken. However, 48 of these runs were extras, and were their third top scorer!
As Terrell and Oz strode out to bat, all were aware of the importance of a solid start, and having to maintain a run rate of between 5 and 6 per over. We were sure their bowlers would not be push-overs, and this indeed turned out to be the case. The openers concentrated hard, and a combination of fine stroke-play, defiant defence and a couple of large slices of luck allowed the Whalers to reach 75 after 14 overs. We were on course, but then a sudden rush of blood to the head had Terrell caught superbly in the slips for 33.
After that, in true Whalers fashion, the collapse began. Hogg was lbw for 1, Duncs got a duck, but Oz was still going strong. He reached a majestic 50, and continued to take the attack to them for a short time. However, runs were becoming difficult to come bydue to some excellent bowling, and in an attempt to seize back the initiative, Oz was well caught at mid-off, driving hard. This left the responsibility firmly on the shoulders of the Captain/President, who, after a couple of hesitant slashes through the slips, succumbed to a fast, straight delivery. Hon joined Graham, but was quickly out, as was the next man Ahmed, but Graham (28) continued to attempt an assault on the bowling. His first 5 scoring shots, all boundaries, showed his style – he clearly didn’t fancy running much!
With Osgood (33), he held up the collapse, but it was soon to be all over. Some more brave shots by these two players gave us some respectability, but a combination of poor bowling on our part, and very tight bowling on theirs, meant there was a certain inevitability to the outcome as Kamal brought up the rear. Osgood refused to give in, and carried on lustily, but eventually the team were out for 178. Much better than in previous years, and without being quite so generous with our wides, maybe next year we will turn it around.
|Man of the Match:||Oz (57)|
|Champagne Moment:||Duncs’ catch in the slips|