Whalers C.C. – 168-9
Harting C.C. – 110
Whalers won by 58 runs
The final game of the season saw the Whalers gather in deepest darkest Sussex at a beautifully located ground in the pretty village of South Harting. The weather was fantastic and the team was eager to end on a high and avenge last week’s crushing defeat.
Despite the distance from London, we had a full squad well in advance of the start time and with Al winning the toss, things were looking good for the Whalers. Stu and VDP opened the batting and put on a solid opening stand of 30. The Harting openers were handy with the 16-year-old Baldwin posing the sternest test but Messrs Terrell and VDP seemed well set and were coping well. However, when VDP played on for 19 (somehow outscoring Terrell 2 to 1) it started a mini collapse – Terrell followed soon after and when Bayne fell for a duck we were suddenly struggling at 32-3. Our promising start had evaporated and it needed Big Al and Phil to knuckle down and rebuild the innings. Which is exactly what they did.
Dashing stuff it may not have been but they played out the next few overs and once the spinners were introduced, pushed the run rate up. Phil eventually fell to a dubious LBW decision (‘It hit my bat!’) for a Whalers best of 19, a vital part of a 75 run stand. By this stage however, Al was well and truly up and running and a succession of lusty blows brought him his fifty. However, the Whalers were unable to fully capitalise on Phil and Al’s efforts, and the failure of the late middle order to forge further strong partnerships left us looking a having to defend a total the wrong side of 150. However, there was still a bit of wag in the tail as James (16) and Kamal (5*) together with yet more runs from Clippy (1*) ensured we used all our overs and brought the total up to a competitive 168-9.
After an outstanding tea (scones, cup-cakes and sarnies aplenty), we set out to defend the total. It was a big outfield and we had a strong attack: we were confident we could do the business and end the season on high.
And that is exactly what Khalil did very first ball – their opener couldn’t resist a swipe at the slightly wide, slightly short one and nicked one through to the keeper. Exactly the start we needed. Khalil, bowled outstandingly and went on to take 2 further wickets – well taken chances by Terrell and Morgan – for a mere 2 runs. Clippy at the other end also joined the party with a stunning reflex caught and bowled to snare the dangerous looking no 4. With Harting on 30-4, the Whalers were most definitely in the ascendancy.
However, it was time for the home side to steady their ship and as Baldwin and Pay played themselves in, wickets were hard to come by. James bowled well but could not fashion the breakthrough and with Pay settling in and finding his range, the runs began to rack up. Although Morgan kept one end pegged back, Kamal and Giles suffered at the other end. Giles was unlucky though to have his first ball dropped as the thunderous Pay nicked one behind which Bayne could not hang on to. But would it be a costly error? For a while it looked like it might be as Pay unleashed some furious blows including 2 huge straight 6s.
Morgan eventually found a way through – bowling Pay and Baldwin in quick succession as they tried to keep up with the rate. This opened the floodgates and with Terrell taking 2 wickets in his first over, the Whalers knew victory was in their sights. A further two for Morgan (5.2-1-7-4) finished off the Harting innings as they quickly succumbed to 110 all out.
As so we retired to the local pub where members of the Harting team joined in the fines sessions (which they seemed to enjoy). An excellent end to the season: a good win in a great setting against very welcoming opp. Hopefully we’ll be back next year.
Man of the match – Al – his batting performance kept us in the game and gave us a total to defend
Champagne moment – Clippy’s sensational, reflex, one-handed caught and bowled
Muppet moment – Al – “Does anyone have a spare pair of trousers…?”