Whalers C.C. – 48 all out
Strongroom C.C. – 49 for 2
Whalers lost by 8 wkts
The Whalers convened once more at the Civil Service Sports Club in Chiswick for this game against new opponents, Strongroom. The earlier 1pm start clearly proved difficult to comprehend for most Whalers, with only three members arriving by the scheduled meeting time of half twelve. Bit by bit however, both the Whalers and Strongroom teams achieved a full complement and the game began at around quarter past one, in glorious September sunshine.
Despite the fact that this was the penultimate game of the season, the Whalers’ were boasting two season debutants – Dom Childs (whose last game for the Whalers was some four years ago), and Ed’s “very hungry” brother Patrick (sporting a large selection of borrowed kit).
The toss was made, and captain Ad lost – we were put in to bat. This, according to the captain, was what he’d have chosen to do if he’d won, however he had no idea who he wanted to actually open the batting. After much deliberation, and ignoring Ed’s insistence that he should be selected to open, Oz and Piers strode out into the middle to face the unknown quantity of the Strongroom bowling attack. The pitch looked good, despite the fact that the football pitches were all marked out on the square and outfield – this is the last weekend for cricket at the CCSCG.
It soon became clear however that we would be in for a tough day at the crease. Strongroom’s opening bowler, Simon, was one of the quicker bowlers we have ever faced, and he had a good degree of accuracy too – Piers’ leg stump pegged back in the very first over with just one run on the board. Worse was to follow. At the other end, Strongroom had another excellent bowler, Bully, who although not as quick, was very accurate and could move the ball a good few inches. Simon’s second over saw his second wicket, this time his delivery clipping the top of Oz’s off stump. Dom Childs came in to keep Ollie company in the middle, but not for long. Ollie became Bully’s first victim of the afternoon when his beautifully executed forward defensive failed to compensate for the amount of movement the bowler was generating, and off stump was flattened. Whalers were in the embarrassing position of having lost more wickets than runs scored – on 2 for 3.
Duncs came next, and he and Dom built the Whalers’ best partnership of the day – 24 runs, which included some nice shots to take advantage of the quick outfield. Duncs finally perished for a joint top score of 13 – getting a thin edge through to the keeper off Bully’s bowling (although Dunc will tell you he didn’t get anyway near it….). Dom fell shortly afterwards to the same combination – again scoring 13. 30 for 5.
This was as good as it got for the Whalers, as the remaining batsmen collapsed. Strongroom replaced Simon with a younger bowler, Ivan, who was deceptively quick from a slow run-up, and accurate. Patrick hung on for a while but was caught at second slip off the bowling of Ivan for 2. Ad also saw off a few balls, but fell caught behind off Ivan’s bowling for 6 (although he’ll tell you he didn’t get anyway near it….). Khalil’s recent match-winning form didn’t help him today as he perished for three, well caught in the field. Ed was next in, and it was clear he was going to play his usual ‘expansive’ game. When Ed hits, the ball stays hit. Today, he missed – clean bowled for a duck, and Bully’s fifth victim of the day.
Clippy was last in, but didn’t stay long, despite scoring his first ‘proper’ run of the season. Ivan’s bowling was just too quick for the number eleven, and as his stumps were re-arranged, Whalers had stuttered to a paltry 48 all out – Geoff stranded at the other end on 1.
We definitely did ourselves no favours with the batting, but credit must go to Strongroom’s excellent bowling attack. It was the best we had faced this season. 48 was a highly disappointing total, certainly our lowest for some seasons, and it was a shame that this performance came in what has otherwise been an excellent Whalers summer.
As we had lasted just 16 overs, it was deemed a little early for tea, so the teams changed straight round. Despite the low total to defend, the Whalers bowlers were in good form, and it was a positive team that took the field.
Khalil opened the bowling, but saw his first two balls disappear to the boundary, before tightening up his line. Geoff began from the other end and earned success immediately, the Strongroom opener (like many batsmen before him) presuming that off a three pace run-up the delivery wasn’t going to be a quickie, and finding his middle stump gone. Khalil and Geoff both bowled good, tight spells, but there were no further successes, and as the score crept upwards, the captain changed bowlers to try to take the wickets.
Ed came on to replace Khalil (0 for 16 off 5), and kept up the tight bowling. At the other end, Geoff was the victim of some poor fielding (which was a more of a shame for the rest of us as we had to put up with Geoff moaning about this incessantly in the bar afterwards), which messed up his figures slightly, but he still finished with 1 for 20 off 6 when replaced by Clippy.
Ed persisted, and finally Whalers claimed a second wicket, as the Strongroom No. 3 hoisted the ball high up in the air over Geoff’s head at square leg. Despite having to run backwards and try to spot the ball coming out of the sun and over his head, Geoff managed to take an excellent catch. 2 wickets down, but 43 on the board. Ed (1 for 9 off 3.2) and Clippy (0 for 3 off 2) continued to bowl well, but the Whalers couldn’t eke out any more wickets, and the Strongroom batsmen made their total by 3:30pm. Strongroom were excellent opponents – a sociable bunch of lads with a great bowling attack, and what we saw of the batting looked solid. Hopefully next season we can try to avenge this defeat!
The disappointed Whalers trudged off to tea, and then to the bar – where the barman seemingly refused to believe that we had been beaten ‘already’. Needless to say after such a performance the fines session was particularly harsh, and swelled the coffers by almost £50. Fine if the day went to ‘Ozzie’ Geoff (playing possibly his last game for the Whalers before returning down under) for his incredibly insensitive choice of t-shirt, emblazoned with a stingray – Steve Irwin fans were not amused….
And with that the Whalers disappeared off into the Autumn sunset to wonder what they were actually going to do with an extra evening they didn’t envisage having, and to contemplate redemption at next weekend’s final game of the season.
Man of the match – Not awarded
Champagne moment – Geoff’s great catch
Muppet moment – Ed’s shot selection