Whalers vs Elthorne CC

Ealing Central Sports Ground – 5th June 2004

Whalers 190 all out, Elthorne 132 all out
Whalers win by 58 runs

In theory, it should be quite simple. Find 11 mates who know which end to hold a cricket bat and get them to a field in west London on a Saturday afternoon. But the best we could manage this week was 8, plus Duncs plucked from the treatment room, plus Mr Sherratt whose injured groin obviously affected the speed of his driving as he only turned up half an hour after the match started.

Still, by then we were batting and doing quite nicely, with first Oz (before a slow-motion edge onto his stumps) and then Big Al keeping Stu Terrell company. Stuart’s hitting through the ball in particular was endangering the various members of the Ealing Large Dog Owners Association as they paraded behind the bowler’s arm. By the drinks break we were 140-odd for 1. “Don’t lose your concentration”, Al warned Stuart as they headed back to the middle.

Sadly, in an abject failure to follow his own advice, Al (33) got himself out straight away after a partnership of 98. And so the traditional Whalers’ collapse began, in its all-new 2004 version (i.e. oddly similar to previous years). Stuart got a well-deserved 101 before patting the ball back to the bowler, followed by a steady stream of plane-spotters, cloud-watchers, and a duck for Dan Osgood. Perhaps the worst choice of shot came from Piers – looking to get off the mark with an extravagant square cut, he stepped back several yards behind his crease, took a wild swing, and sent his own stumps flying towards cover point, while putting a large dent in Olly’s willow. Duncs had stood firm at the other end during this witless carnage, but when he missed a swipe at a straight one for 28, that was that – all out for 190.

After possibly the season’s least impressive fielding drill, early wickets were vital. Step forward Khalil, who after a very impressive spell ended with 3 for 7 from 8 overs, including a stunning caught and bowled. In fact despite being a man down, the fielding was exceptional throughout especially from Olly and Dario, and some good catches were taken. The commitment was exemplified by a comedy race for the ball between a one-legged Duncs and a one-legged Sherratt: the rest of us stood back and placed bets on who would get there first, with strange visions of the Whalers story being re-made to a Chariots of Fire soundtrack, smiling happy floppy-haired upper-class Englishmen in vests running along the beach, Nigel Havers taking the starring role of Olly Bayne. Anyway, where was I…

Oh yes, the cricket. All rather fizzled out. Piers kept the middle order quiet with some banana-bowling, and Elthorne were crawling along until Whalers’ own slow master, Big Al, was brought on to speed up the scoring rate, and have the last 3 wickets caught slogging. Another convincing win, and if we field like that again we should beat most teams.

Man of the Match: Stuart (although Khalil came close)
Champagne Moment: Khalil’s caught and bowled
Muppet Moment: Piers denting Olly’s willow


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