5 for Nick fails to hold back time vs Believers

Believers CC vs Whalers CC; Sunday 5th September 2021; Dulwich Sports Ground

The Whalers travelled to the idyllic and sunny surroundings of Dulwich Village looking for victory against traditional September opponents The Believers. Skipper for the day Josh lost the toss and so a Whalers XI containing a slightly depleted and injured bowling attack took to the field and waited for Geoff to collect his box. Suhaib and Vishal were selected to open the bowling, Suhaib in form after a lovely 3-for in the previous game and Vishal donning the literal and figurative purple cap as the top wicket taker. Unfortunately, neither were able to add to their tally, a combination of two decent opening batsmen, conditions slightly unhelpful to fast bowling and some/lots of balls drifting down the leg side meant that the oppo were able to get to the 10 over mark with a healthy amount of runs on the board and no wickets down.

Dean was summoned from slip to take a bit of pace off the ball and give the batsmen something new to think about. Will also came into the attack but after a promising start he also started to leak runs at what was starting to become an alarming rate. Thankfully Dean was having more luck at the other end and managed to send back both opening bats back to the shed (LBW), albeit not before one of them managed to cross the 50 threshold. Josh then came on, bowling into the sun and kept things tight for two overs. Unfortunately, the other two were about as loose as it’s possible to be and he trudged back to gully, trying to figure out who could bowl the remaining overs, which thanks to it being a timed game was not straightforward to calculate. Nick, who previously said he was injured and unable to bowl anything but slow then came on looking as fit as he had at any point this season. What followed was what we had been looking for all afternoon- straight, full bowling which gave the slightly dubious pitch the chance to work its ‘magic’. He went on to claim he first 5-for in Whalers colours which led to the innings finishing slightly earlier and later a £76 splurge in the bar. There was also time and opportunity for debutant Ramen to get in the act with 3 wickets; the first was slightly fortuitous but what followed was some Shane Warne esque leg spin that showed great potential for the future.

A longer than has been normal break then took place as we were treated to our first teas since 2019. Once we were finished with our cheese or ham rolls, fruit and arctic bars it was time to get back out there. Dean and Al were opening the batting and as Amit was quick to chirp up with later, Al wasn’t out there for long as he was bowled for 1. If only Amit was as that fast with last week’s match report. Specialist batsmen Matt was the next man out to the middle, he was also the next man back from the middle as he too departed for 1. Dean was beginning to find his range and was able to get the scoreboard ticking with some nice drives and pulls. Fraser was in at 4 but he also wasn’t able to trouble the scoreboard/scorebook to a great degree and a big stride down the pitch was unable to save him as he was dismissed leg before. As is often the case, our hopes very much rested on Dean being able to bat for a long period. However, his time was soon to be over too as he mistimed a pull and was gone for 34. Will also came and went, adjudged to have been caught behind but could well have been just thigh pad.

At this stage, things were looking pretty bleak, even in the unrelenting sun. We were into the final 20 overs and it appeared that not being dismissed was our best/only way of getting out of this without a defeat. This didn’t quite transpire in the end- there was some resolute defence at times, but the opening bowlers kept bowling a good line and length and wickets fell at regular intervals. Nick, fresh from his 5-wicket haul was the last man in and needed to stick around for 10 overs to really set himself in Whalers’ folklore, it wasn’t to be though as he was bowled first ball and we trudged back to the bar and consoled ourselves with two jugs that contained a whopping 8 pints each.

All in all, it is what it is. We should have probably restricted them to less than what they got and we should have scored more than we did. You can’t win them all, even though we did actually get pretty close to that in 2020. Just the two games left now before we disembark for a well deserved winter break.

The Believers 183 a/o beat The Whalers 91 a/o 154 by 92 runs

Awards

Champagne moment: Fraser’s slip catch off Nick’s bowling

Muppet: Geoff delaying the start of the game by forgetting his box

MOM: Nick for his 5-28

Party on Pitch D

Whalers CC v Village CC – 15th August 2021, Kings House Sports Ground

The Whalers returned to Kings House after their rain affected sojourns away to a jamboree of Afro-Caribbean soul, gospel and Motown, as Kings House was transformed into a party atmosphere for someone’s birthday, although we are all still clueless as to who could be so important to have had such a turnout. Still, the music was a welcome accompaniment to the cricket, as, finally, was the dry weather.

Slightly less welcome however, was the massive trudge over to Pitch D, the news that Dan and kitbag were running late, that Viren was running seriously late and that skipper Matt had lost the toss on a warm afternoon and that Whalers would be fielding. Dan at least arrived before the start and nevertheless, Ross and Suhaib started brightly with the former unlucky not to get a wicket in the first over, with a strong LBW shout. The Whalers bowling was pretty tight and accurate, and a slow pitch, an even slower outfield and mammoth boundary distances all pointed towards a low-scoring game, which ultimately proved the case. Bar a couple of hefty lofted shots, the Village openers struggled to get the ball away but nevertheless proceeded comparatively untroubled to 45 without loss before two quick wickets from Dan opened the door for the Whalers. Good, straight bowling, combined with growing frustration for the batsmen at the slow pitch and outfield were the cause, one opener plum LBW and the second clean bowled taking a swing. Whalers went into the drinks break thus with renewed momentum and further wickets fell after the interval, with Josh taking a fine tumbling catch at mid-on to dismiss their no. 3, before himself coming on to bowl their no. 4. Whalers were in the ascendancy, and with Dean partnering Josh at the other end in a spin-twin combination, the pressure continued to build on Village CC. Runs were beginning to dry up and for a period, the batters were content on survival. Dean bowled Bilal and amid the sternest of fine-threats, Matt held his nerve to take a catch to dismiss Anna, Village’s female No. 7 bat who had done well holding up an end for several overs.

However, with overs running out, and only 70-odd on the board, the incoming Giles realised that his side needed to up the scoring rate, and he and Troja, who had hitherto dealt mostly in singles, proceeded to take on the 3rd change pair of Viren (who had finally made it) and Nick (off a shortened run), neither of whom bowled badly. The partnership began to push the field back and was able to take Village past the hundred mark to finish at 111/6. As they walked off, the Whalers had that nagging feeling that 111 was not as bad a score as it first looked.

By now, the Kings House party music was ratcheting up, perhaps in expectation of a momentous finish. Almost prophetic. After a short break for drinks and sandwiches, Dean and Pip walked out to start the Whalers reply. They began steadily, with Giles in particular bowling accurately, and the slow pitch producing the occasional low-bounce, but with the required run rate at 3 per over, the pair proceeded steadily, taking the ones, twos and extras on offer to stay slightly ahead of the rate, until the first change bowler offered Dean two waist-high full tosses in an over, which were both promptly dispatched over the long cow-corner boundary for 6. This took the Whalers to 52-0 and comfortably ahead of the required rate with all wickets in hand. However, the first slip up came when the other first change bowler slid a first-ball loosener down the leg-side only for Pip to glance a catch through to the keeper for 10. There was no cause for alarm at this stage however, as Fraser joined Dean at the crease to unleash a fine off-drive for four, while Dean at the other end was also finding the change bowlers easier to score off. He passed 50, although failed to hear / refused to acknowledge the applause from the boundary. He and Fraser took the score on to 79-1, before Kalper, after a slightly inconsistent first spell, returned from the other end to have Fraser LBW for 6. This then unfortunately sparked an old-school Whalers collapse that threatened to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Ross dragged on for a duck, before Dean was forced to trudge off, furious at himself, after pulling a long-hop from the rejuvenated Kalper into the grateful hands of square-leg. Geoff got turned around and caught a leading edge to point for 2, before the promoted Nick was adjudged LBW for 4. Nerves were jangling on the Whalers bench but the carnage was not complete. Matt fell into the same trap as Dean and turned the ball straight to square leg, to give Kalper his 5th wicket of the innings, while Viren sadly came and went without troubling the scorers, after offering up a catch off Abi. 79-1 had all too quickly crumbled to 97-8 and defeat now looked ominously close, with the remaining 15 runs required seeming like a much steeper hill than it otherwise would, with momentum firmly back with Village CC.

However, with pressure mounting, Josh and Suhaib started to pierce the field and pushed the score beyond 100 to apply some pressure back on the opposition. In the end, the pair made it look easy as Village CC, with Kalper bowled out, ran out of momentum, and the winning single was greeted with enthusiastic and relieved cheers from the Whalers bench. Ultimately, a tough, hard-fought victory that probably should have been more comfortable, but a win is still a win, as they say.

Village CC – 111/6 (35 overs)

Whalers CC – 112/8 (D Johnston 58)

Whalers win by 2 wickets

Champagne: Suhaib hitting the winning runs, much to Whalers’s relief

Muppet: Viren, for arriving more than an hour after the start of the match

MoM:  Josh: Tight bowling for 4-1-7-2, a fine tumbling catch at mid-on and a vital 9* to help Whalers over the finishing line

Rain the winner again

Whalers v Putney 4ths, Saturday 31 July

Rain continued to be the main story of the 2021 season so far, with the Whalers bowlers on top when the heavens opened after ~20 overs.

After quite a lot of faff during the week, we managed to get an almost full team out at short notice – many thanks to Kieron, Eshan, and Bilal for stepping in. However, on arrival at Battersea Park there was already a game going on what we had been told was our pitch (which looked very nicely prepared). So off we wandered to the other pitch which had a few footballers on the outfield and looked, shall we say, a little under-prepared? After a bit of debate over which of the strips was slightly less soggy, the Whalers won the toss and we were… bowling.

Once the skipper’s decision had been debated and Viren arrived (credit also to Fraser’s partner for bringing the team kitbag), Suhaib and Dan got things under way. Dan got an early wicket caught behind by Dean, and Suhaib got the other opener thanks to a good catch from Kieron. In fact our catching all game was distinctly un-Whaler-like, with every chance taken. This might have had something to do with the soothing yoga music coming from the next door festival, which definitely kept everyone’s heart rate down – except for Nick, who found the spectacle more arousing.

The next pair consolidated things a bit and the occasional wide ball tended to be dispatched to the boundary. But generally the bowling was pretty solid throughout. Eshan took his first Whalers wicket, an achievement which your writer is sure will be a lifelong memory, thanks to another good catch from Viren. Bilal also bowled well on debut, and by drinks Putney were only on 66-3. The sun even made a brief appearance, prompting Fraser to scramble for the factor 50. However, there was also a filthy grey cloud getting closer, and post-drinks there was only time for a couple more overs including a wicket for Vishal with one which didn’t really bounce. Then the heavens opened, and everyone ran for the nearest tree in the hope it might provide some shelter (it didn’t).

With the rain still pelting down and a large lake forming in the middle of the wicket, the game was quickly called off before Putney scarpered to try to find something which provided a bit more protection from the weather. The yoga dancing people, on the other hand, were still going quite happily.

We’re still trying to track down the scorecard, but best guess at this stage would be:

Putney ~70-4 off ~19 overs

Whalers DNB

Match abandoned

Double Header Weekend

Whalers v Clapham Inn CC; Friday 23rd July 2021; The Hub, Regents Park

The Whalers kept their winning record going with a closely fought game against Clapham Inn CC last Friday eve. Most arrived on time at pitch 5 at the Hub and some got lost in Regents Park in the process. Pat Moore turned up a little late up post celebrating his last day of school a little worse for wear. But with his trilby hat on he was good to go. Matt the skipper elected to roll with the times and the Whalers first 100 ball game ensued. So the new format ensured 10 bowlers with 10 balls each (either to be taken as 5 at a time or the full 10) only Kishan our wicket keeper missing out.

Ross opened the bowling and with an audience watching made our standard of cricket look decent with his first very quick ball swinging in to hit the top of middle stump. Both he and Matt bowled some decent line and length balls keeping the scoring low. Will and Aseem (ignoring his first ball … extreme loosener) followed and also bowled well but the opposition dug in. Some comical fielding and missed run out opportunities didn’t help with Pat struggling to keep upright at times in the field. Vishal also refused to catch the ball putting down some chances. Both Williams and Lynch the opposition batsmen proved hard to get out. Nick tried some off spin and managed to stop a decent drive with his foot but couldn’t break the deadlock. Geoff also tried from the other end and bowled well. Dan eventually tempting Lynch into a lofted drive caught in deep gully. Williams eventually retired on 25 and Vishal got the other break through getting the new batsman to loft the bowl to a good catch from Aseem. Dan got an LBW and Pat and Amit K continued the fight with decent pace bowling. The best bowling figures however probably awarded to Dan, Ross and Matt. Also some great keeping from Kishan. Clapham CC setting 81 off 100 balls as our target.

Nick (who ascended the batting order from no. 11 to no.2) and Geoff went out to bat. Nick taking ‘leg guard’ batting tips from Dean to move his feet managed to play some nice shots in the first couple of overs. Geoff also did the same as the antipodeans got the score board going nicely. Nick eventually retired on 25 and Geoff soon followed maliciously being given out by Will LBW despite clearly hitting the ball for 10. Ross came out to bat and hit 2 nice 6s but got himself out caught behind off the back of his bat for 20. Kishan came out and played some nice shots but was also out caught. Amit K came into bat and then played some good shots. However with 2 runs needed both he and Pat got mixed up with Pat refusing to run the second run, falling over and being run out. With one ball to win Amit K thought it would be a good idea to try left handed batting… he missed the ball twice… embarrassingly delayed the game…deservedly got muppet of the match… and a no-ball unceremoniously and comically won the Whalers the game with a couple of balls to spare. We all headed to Primrose Hill after the game for a beer.

Man of the match – Nick Howes!

Champagne Moment – Ross – first ball top of off stump

Muppet

  • Amit K – Left hand batting unsuccessfully to try and win the game

(Muppet honourable mentions)

  • Aseem’s first ball
  • Pat Moore refusing second run then falling over and getting run out

Whalers CC v Salix CC (return leg) Sunday 25th July 2021; King’s House Sports Ground

Folk met early for the much anticipated return leg against Salix to be played at Kings House this time. Due to phones pinging and other reasons the team was down to 9 late on Sunday morning. The skipper put out a desperate last minute email plea for players with a battered and bruised Nick answering the call pushing the team to 9.5. The weather forecast was poor with thunder storms and heavy rain forecasted for around 4-5pm. Based on this both Matt and Yov the skippers decided on trying for a quick 25 over game.

Based on his personal best top score the weekend before out strode Dean and Will to open the batting. Dean wasted no time getting settled. He bludgeoned the first ball for four. Raj bowled some tight overs but basically anything bowled by the opposition bowlers that was legside and short was further belted out to cow corner as Dean continued to get the run rate going. Sai was very unlucky to have a dropped chance by the keeper off some good spin bowling. There were some other dropped chances put down as well. The umpire then suggested it a good idea to bowl over the wicket to Dean instead of around and was later heavily fined for this. Will took his time to get going and creamed a ball high into the sky unlucky to have not made it to the boundary go out to a long hop ball caught and bowled by Sai. Dean clubbed balls to all parts of the ground despite some good pace powling from Andy and retired on 102. Fraser came out and was run out by a good throw and was out for 5. Dan and Matt the left and right handed nurdlers of the ball caused the opposition fielders to come in from the boundary. Dan eventually being caught. Paul came out for one ball before the weather took a turn for the worse.

As predicted the heavens opened with thunder and lightening and after a short delay all walked towards the clubhouse. Dan and Geoff waited behind with the kit and the rain stopped. All turned around at the clubhouse with Matt declaring on 142 off 20.1 overs. Amit K and Amit J opened the bowling with thunder and lightening ominously billowing out and around the Kings house area. Amit K bowled with some real pace troubling the opening batsmen. Nick put down a tough catching chance in gully despite the treacherous conditions. Amit J bowled a few looseners down leg side and the Salix batsmen Raj and Will got their score going. At the start of the 4th over heavy rain prompted all to retreat to the clubhouse. The heavy rain continued unabated for the 30 minutes. Despite this Dan, Geoff and Paul refused to give up on the game and waited out by the ground. Dan refused the stumps being removed. However most had given up on the game and were either in the bar or in the carpark on their way home.

Match abandoned – no result

Man of the match – Dean for his 102 not out

Champagne Moment – Dean brutalising Salix for the second week in a row

Muppet – The 3 batsmen who got out

Hot 150

Salix CC vs Whalers CC: Barn Elms; Sunday 18th July 2021

The hottest day of the summer set the stage for a great outing for the Whalers, with skipper winning the toss and elected to bat first on seemingly “used” pitch. All the 11 Whalers arrived fresh in the scorching sun in a not too far away game against Salix. Josh, Vishal and Amit loosened themselves with the football while others were applying sun cream in the shade.

Dean and Pip opened for Whalers and gave the steady start. A few missed chances against Dean was going to be very expensive, little did Salix know about by then. Dean started to deal in 4s and reached his 50. The opening partnership was done when Pip was trapped in front of wickets and given LBW on 26. Amit joined Dean in the middle who started to look good and hit some boundaries.Dean well settled by now, started to deal in 6s, reached to his 90s and celebrated his magnificent 90s as a century –  credit to scorer – probably scorer knows the pain of being underscored – he overscored the batter.  Not aware of this, Dean went into all out attack and reached his un-clapped 100, and continued to dominate and de-moralizing bowlers. He went to hit 11 sixes, and 14 fours equalizing his own best score of 152 before he was caught on the boundary. Vishal continued to show his DSLR skills on the boundary – Dean’s inning is well captured for the memory.

Fraser walked in to join Amit but did not trouble scorer much and got out on a loose delivery while trying to hit long. Geoff walked in next, soon Amit departed too, losing his concentration and got trapped in front of the wickets on 26. Viren after a long wait went to join Geoff in the middle in a football jersey( more on this later ). Both departed soon leaving Matt and Vishal on the crease. They didn’t disappoint and gave us entertainment with some good shots and good running between the wickets. Vishal’s six over the long off was the highlight of the last part of the Whalers inning where his hitting took the opponents by surprise. Matt was bowled on 15 trying to hit over the covers. Josh and Vishal continued till the last overs and left Whalers on 280 in 35 overs.

With the ongoing rumours of a good batting line-up in the opposition left Whalers bowlers nothing but inspired. Dan and Suhaib started with the new ball. Dan struck first for the Whalers when he wrapped the batter in front of wicket. While Suhaib was struggling to find his line, he was targeted and got  hit for boundaries. Dan showing his experience kept the business – run rate – in control with his line-length and pace. VV (Viren and Vishal) were brought as the first change. Viren was quick to get Whalers another breakthrough – clean bowled and gave batsman a send-off with a stare – not a gentleman’s game anymore for him. Vishal too got one by cleaning the wickets. Salix started to leave behind the required run-rate, which started to skyrocket and put pressure on the batsman. Next in the bowling attack, Matt and Amit were brought – Matt immediately got one, as the pressure was mounting on the batsman. While Salix were losing wickets from the one end, their one opener reached his half century. Any hope of chasing it down vanished when Amit clean bowled him, and got the next batsman LBW on consecutive deliveries –  and was ready to bowl the hat-trick ball – “not today” he ended up with. Josh brought himself on the attack and soon got the wicket. Batsman skied the ball, Amit failing to realize the trajectory of the ball, started to run for the ball very late with one hand in front (in hope) and luckily got the catch. All that was left was overs to bowl as the required run rate was way over. Finishing 35 overs, Salix managed to get 188.

PS: If you are wondering who was the scorer – Geoff

Whalers: 280-8 from 35 overs (Dean 152, Vishal 29)

Salix: 188-8 from 35 overs (Amit 2-13, Dan 2-19)

Man of the Match: Dean for 152 runs

Champagne: Vishal’s six down the groundMuppet: Viren taking forever to get ready, although warned about the typical Whalers collapse – eventually went to bat with a Tottenham jersey.