Whalers Vs Balham Roamers

14 August 2005; Wandsworth Common
Whalers 233 for 9 off 35 overs; Balham Roamers 162 all out off 33.2 overs; Whalers win by 71 runs

The oppo asking for a slightly earlier start than normal and only 35 overs each way offered the prospect of an early finish and the chance to catch the final overs of the Ashes at Old Trafford – but the weather had other ideas. The forecast was for showers and we were indeed plagued by sunshine/rain/cloud/wind in various combinations all afternoon which led to a few breaks for rain.

Al won the toss and put us into bat. Being late and drinking until 4am that morning is never good preparation for an opening batsman. Dario lasted 5 balls before being clean bowled for a duck. He trudged back to the sideline to put his feet up…it had been a long afternoon already. Al provided a modest contribution before also being bowled, which led the way for Mike and Oz to make something of the innings and build a good partnership. Mike wasted no time at all by getting off the mark with a six, and Oz quickly got into the groove and his singles started to turn into fours. Oz managed to get just past 50 before being caught behind off his glove which brought Duncs to the crease. He had someone looking over him today because he edged and scooped the ball away from his stumps much to the frustration of the bowlers, in his own words; “if this bat has a middle I’d love to find it”. But there were also some classy shots and with Mike remaining solid at the other end the scoreboard was ticking over nicely. The run rate never really dropped, with good scoring from the middle order, especially from Dan who came in to slap a quick fire 38 not out with a couple of sixes along the way. The only glitch was probably Geoff’s golden duck, who strode purposefully out to bat…came back in due to rain without facing a ball…and was promptly bowled on the first ball after the break. Admittedly it was late in the innings and he needed to hit out…at least he saw the funnier side of it.

So with a total 233 the Whalers were feeling quite pleased with themselves as they headed out into the field. Things started briskly, especially for Oz who seemed keen to get a run out – firing the ball at the bowlers end for four overthrows. Andy and Khalil started things off with the bowling but proved to be fruitless in their opening spells and the batsmen were starting to look comfortable. Andy came out of it with some great figures; 5 overs, 2 maidens for 10 runs…the only thing lacking was a wicket. Dan and Geoff made the break throughs and also managed to keep the scoring down enough to start the oppo thinking about hitting out a bit more.

Dario came on with his first ball of the match (second of the season), a classic long hop which the batsman dutifully hoicked to Khalil who took the catch as cool as a cat. From here on the Roamers never looked as though they were going to reach the target but they certainly didn’t just lie back and roll over. They continued to hit out with Oz doing some sterling work sweeping up on the boundary. Oz also featured in the most controversial moment of the match, taking a catch at square leg that the batsman pulled off a full toss from Dario. The batsman argued that it was a no ball (reaching the batsman above waist/shoulder? height without bouncing). After a few mumbles about the rules from all and sundry the umpires ruled in favour of the batsman but it was quickly forgotten and had little effect on the game, including the catch that Oz dropped the very next ball, albeit a much harder chance!

With so many runs to play with the Whalers never really felt under pressure. Dan put in a good spell, starting with a half run up because of the slippery surface but progressing to full speed as things dried out a bit and earned himself 2 wickets.

Al had a bowl, 2 overs for 27 runs, enough said.

Mike was by far the best bowling performance of the day, 4 overs, 1 maiden, 15 runs and 2 wickets. Khalil came back on to join him and the two of them swept up the tail end with the final wicket going on an easy run out.

We have played much better than this in the past but it was clearly a good team performance, which is what the Whalers are all about. Everybody contributed well to this game, the good batting performance setting things up well for the bowlers. It was played in a good spirit and it is for games like these that I turn up to play each week (even with a shocking hangover).

Man of the match: Mike
Champagne moment: Khalil’s nonchalant catch
Muppet moment: Al for letting himself bowl a second over


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