The Whalers bounced back in fine style this week, to record a thumping win over Salix at the Glaxo Ground on Sunday. You know it’s that time of year again when you are driving up the A40 and the sun is shining. Stand-in-skipper Ollie Bayne had “prematurely” tossed (last week by email apparently) by the time the team arrived. We were batting, which explains why we were doing fielding drills when I arrived. It was 30+ degrees but the ever-cool Duncs and Kamal were wearing jeans.
Osbourn and Vanderpump opened the batting. Osbourn started well, trying to dominate by cracking an early boundary. Unfortunately the same shot found a great catch at mid off at the end of the first over. Salix celebrated and Whalers’ leading run scorer was back in the Pavilion, his thoughts returning to DIY. Stuart Terrell strode out in new (wedding anniversary) pads, left and right, and set about a steady consolidation. Salix bowled tightly early on, using a Dermot Reeve style medium pacer at one end who was hard to get away. The two Whalers looked to use their fitness and nick the singles and punish the odd bad ball, ticking away at about five an over. Once the openers had gone off, they saw off the surprisingly quick Aussie and looked to punish some loopy spin. Stuart in particular drove hard straight down the ground and took good singles to the deeply-set field. He perished on 27 tough looking to “get after” the spinner. LBW on the back leg was fair enough, although I personally prefer it when Dan doesn’t grin as he gives these tough decisions!
Duncs strode (dodgy knee recovered) to the wicket and applied himself to his favourite stage of any innings – acceleration. The next 50 came in about 7 overs as the Whalers capitalised on an increasing number of bad balls and pressurised the fielders with aggressive (that’s right) running between the wickets. Duncs smashed several seemingly straight through the mid-off fielder and both he and VDP helped themselves to some easy runs through mid wicket and square on the off side. 66 for 2 off 15 became 121 for 2 off 21 and 177 for 2 off 28. Duncs, the anonymous report writer notes, was especially good at taking singles off the last balls of overs. He got to his 50 in about 35 balls. VDP took a bit longer (!), but when he departed for 60 with the score on 187, the platform for a furious final assault had been built. Osborne eventually made an excellent 87 off about 70 balls and was aided by some good lower order hitting by the President (who provided a free Zorro impersonation against their quickie), the Skipper and Khalil. Salix came back well in the last 5, but the Whalers had made a competitive 220. It was time to take on fluids, cakes, sandwiches and watch the NeverEnding Story (nothing to do with Paul Osbourn’s second over) in the clubhouse for 20 minutes.
The acting skipper, no doubt inspired by his teatime “canoodling” on the boundary, insisted on a prematch huddle as the fielders focussed and Khalil tried to work out which way was downhill. We had a good score, but Salix were still in and had an Australian….
Khalil opened the bowling with his usual good pace and line and length making scoring tough. Dan settled in well after a couple of early looseners. The fielders were on fire, Gibbo going very close with a run out attempt as he “swooped” (sic) from cover point. Both beat the bat and Khalil drew an edge – soon after he took the first wicket as the frustrated Salix opener forced straight to Al at short cover. Both openers continued to bowl well – Khalil finding another edge which bisected slip and keeper. Both took some punishment from the Salix number 3 as he punished even stuff on a good line and length. Gouldy came on and after some initial tough treatment, clean bowled the big-hitter as he aimed through mid-wicket again. The bowler was no doubt delighted to be playing cricket again having spent last weekend cleaning his house. It was a key wicket as despite some good bowling, Salix were up with the required rate and enjoying the good pitch and relatively short boundaries. From the other end, the skipper bought on occasional-bowler Osbourn. An interesting spell saw ripping deliveries mixed with wider deliveries and Stuart’s laundry bill go up 150%. Towards the end of the over, he stuck one in the corridor of uncertainty, the batsman prodded and Vanderpump took the edge in the gully. The second over was more eventful, longer and varied and the skipper decided to give him a rest.
In his place, Kamal came on to produce a really memorable spell of Whalers bowling. His first ball was on the spot, turned and took the edge, but slip couldn’t quite hold onto it. His control was spot on and he was too good for Salix – figures of 6 overs, 4 maidens, 3 wickets for 2 runs say it all. A bowled, a plumb LBW and a catch by Dan Osgood made up the wickets. At the other end Gould picked up another wicket as Gibbo ran round and dived from point, before celebrations which were half Monty Panesar and half LumanaLuaLua – good catch! The skipper gave himself a few overs and picked up a wicket with a nick to the keeper He also had a very possible looking glove to the keeper turned down. As Salix last wicket partnership tried to block until the rain, the skipper sealed victory with a direct hit run out.
Good cricket Whalers – sensible batting and some big hitting, combined with a tight fielding performance and super bowling gave us victory by 132 runs. Thanks to Salix for another good game at a great ground.
Men of the match – Duncan Osborne / Kamal;
Champagne – VDP catch;
Muppet – Osbourn’s second over.