Whalers’ belief defies rain

Believers CC vs Whalers CC; Sunday 3rd September; Morden Playing Fields

It was a wet and windy day in South Morden and for once the Whalers had 11 men. The skippers had thankfully agreed to reduce the game to 30 each and first upto bat were the Believers.

Matt Lucas and Dan Osgood opened the bowling and were successful almost immediately when Dan rocked back the number 2 batsman’s off stump. Batsman 3 and the remaining opener and kept the scoreboard ticking, causing some initial concern, but the run rate was kept down with some sharp fielding. There was a sharp edge to slip, which was unfortunately put down; Matt unable to claim his early scalp.

Paul Clappison was the first change bowler and found some variation in the pitch. Unfortunately the batsmen started to express themselves with some good cutting and driving. Tariq Mohammed joined Paul from the other end and kept the batsmen guessing with his darting off-spin. Andrew Sheridan replaced Clappison and was successful in his first over when the number three bat skied one to Lucus who was lurking in the outfield. Drinks and at the halfway mark the Believers were on around 65 for 2 of 15 overs.

Back in to bat and a few overs later Sheridan was back in the action as he bowled the number four bat and next ball got the number five bat who dollied up to skipper Stuart in the covers. The hat-trick ball was a whizzer, and the batsman almost dragged the ball onto his stumps. In the chaos of the recovering the ball no one noticed that one of the bails was on the ground. A late appeal, which was ruled Not Out. It must have been the wind was the call. It was the right call said wicket keeper Roland, later.

By this point the Believers were struggling. Twenty overs or so had passed and they were still on around 85. The pitch was still variable, though for the most part it behaved itself.

Sheridan got straight back in the game a few overs later when the remaining opener (now on 58) fizzed a ball high to where second slip would have been. Al was standing at 1st slip and took a brilliant outstretched catch followed by a jubilant celebration ala Panesar. Next ball and Sheridan took another wicket, with another spooned ball to Lucas. Unfortunately his second potential hat trick was not meant to be. He ended his spell with 5 for 22 (of 6).

The Believers struggled to get going again. There was one more wicket to fall. Dan Osgood claiming his second, with another flying off-stump. The Believers saw off the remaining overs ending on 114.

A quick turn around and the Whale returned to bat. Opening batsmen Al Dickenson and Channa Karu were facing windy and drizzly conditions, against a determined oppo. The instructions were simple – we only need 4 per over.

Both batsmen had some early jitters, a caught behind appeal for Al and a potential LBW for Channa. The Believers got some early swing and some decent accurate bowling meant it was a slow start. After a few false starts the Whalers were away as Al and Channa started to rack up the runs. They went from 10 runs of 5 to 42 of 10 and then onto 71 of 15.

The long and wet outfield played a huge part in the game with expected boundaries being denied, causing both batsmen to run plenty of 3s. Exhausted Channa focused on rotating the strike while Al continued to hit the bad balls to the boundary. Al reached his 50 in fine style as the pair continued on to make a solid 100 run opening partnership. A few encouraging words from the president and Channa was back on the hunt for his fifty. There were plenty of cat calls from the wet and bored looking Whalers who had been sitting impatiently. Yes the running was lacklustre at times, but that was ok, the Whalers were dominating.

Unfortunately for Al he edged one towards the end of the game, which was sharply taken behind. Dickenson out for 59. Josh joined Channa at the crease, but with a mere 10 to win it was looking unlikely that Channa on 43 was going to get his 50…..which was the case, Channa finishing on 48* having batted for a total of 25 overs.

Whaler went home having won by an impressive 9 wickets.

Believers 114-8 (30)

Whalers 115-1 (25)

Man of the match was Andrew Sheridan for is 5fer
Champagne was Al Dickenson for his flying out stretched slip catch
Muppet was Paul Clappison / Dan Osgood missed runout opportunity. The non-striker was half way down the pitch before realising his partner wasn’t running. He turned to scrambled back the crease – we all thought he was gone. Paul, in the covers, had a mild panic, juggled the ball a few times, and despite having a fair amount of time managed to throw the ball the wrong way

Whalers’ Regal Victory

Whalers CC vs Prince’s Head CC; King’s House Sports Ground: 19th August

A fine team effort saw the Whalers breeze their way to a well deserved victory against the visiting Prince’s Head team. A 35 over-a-side contest of 9 vs 9 to round off the August fixtures, in the end the game was won at a confident stroll which somewhat belied any simmering concerns the uncertain start to batting had aroused.

Indeed, even before a ball had been bowled some uncertainty was felt in the Whaler ranks on account of some ‘laidback’ timekeeping. Russell rolling up a couple of minutes after the game had been due to begin was cast instantly into a distant memory by the news that Tariq was at that moment…somewhere in London. Evidently some error on the communications front had led to no one actually telling Tariq when and where the game was. Most of the team came to the conclusion that this was probably the fault of the absent Channa, though this match reporter has not had time to test the veracity of this claim at the time of going to press. No matter, as Whalers batted first and Tariq could join the line up whenever he arrived. Each side agreed to lend a man to the opposition so that there were 10 in the field.

Pip and Dan opened the batting and soon found that the brisk cross-wind surging across the King’s House ground could turn the honest medium paced deliveries of Prince’s Head into virtually unplayable swingers. Dan’s early demise brought Luke to the crease, who would find himself operating as the rock at the centre of the Whalers innings, albeit one that provided a chance or two to the opposition along the way. Pip skipped to 17 before a very full ball rearranged his stumps and saw him replaced by Mark. Mark startled the opposing side with an on-side drive so sweetly struck that the nearby geese did well to restrain themselves from applauding before promptly startling his own side by leaving a delivery that the wind took from a trajectory aimed somewhere near Barnes Bridge to an inch or two outside leg stump. 14 wides in the innings attested to the wind’s capacity to toy with judgement. Luke’s partners came and went at a jaunty pace until Jiff joined him for a nerve settling 5th wicket partnership of 59.

Jiff hit some hefty boundaries, including a couple of 6s, before departing for 35 and Luke followed a short while after for the high score of 44, having fallen as another victim to the prolific Whaler-catcher Josh, who was fielding for the opposition at the time. By this time Tariq had fought his way across town in traffic, parked up and padded up so that he had a minute or two spare before coming in as 8th man. A sprightly 26no saw him through to the end of the innings alongside Russell (8no) and assured a healthy total of 171.

The opposition started their reply after the break and Whalers found themselves battling to control their bowling line with that cross-wind. Dan and Matt opened the bowling, with the latter taking first blood. Jiff decided that was more than enough success for Matt and promptly removed him from the attack, though not before Pip had run out the Prince’s Head no3. Dan would continue his good run of bowling performances by completing 7 overs with 3 wickets for 19; while at the other end Russell bowled tightly and was duly rewarded with his first scalp for the Whalers, ending with 2 wickets for 19 from 7. Some amusement was had from Dan, Jiff and Mark charging toward a ball in the field only for the three of them to engage in some sort of spaghetti western-style stand off when they all converged at the same spot. Imagine a sort of The Good, The Bad & The Ugly, only one where no one wants to claim responsibility for a cricket ball and the film rights remain unclaimed.

Josh claimed the final wicket with his off-spin with 14 overs to spare, stranding the Prince’s Head opener on 24no. The second highest scorer was wides on 11 (did I mention there was a breeze?) and Whalers won by 106 runs.

Russell

Man of the Match: Luke (retained even after proving unable to recognise his own towel in the showers)

Muppet moment: The Convergence

Champagne moment: Russell’s first whalers wicket

 

Whalers Out of Energy vs Exiles

Whalers CC vs Energy Exiles CC; King’s House Sports Ground; 13 August 2017

The Whalers put up a brave fight at Kings House against Energy Exiles in a see-saw game, but were ultimately beaten by the better side on the day. Only having 9 men didn’t help, although credit the Exiles for lending us a fielder throughout.

Bowling first, Matt and Dennis opened up well, getting lots of movement through the air, and their opener was soon castled by a jaffa from Matt which swung back through the gate to hit middle. Unfortunately, this brought their number 3 to the crease, who set about the bowling with some destructive hitting – including three sixes in one over, earning the unlucky bowler a “devil” fine. In no time he had raced to his 50 and things were looking bleak, before he missed a slow long-hop from Dennis and was triggered LBW, to a collective sigh of relief.

The other opener went the same way (but to a better ball), and tight bowling from Pip and Kamal pegged the scoring rate back. Two more quick wickets followed – one with some not-very-champagne cricket (another long hop, slapped to Andrew at point who took the catch) and the second the day’s champagne moment (a smart slip catch off Kamal by Matt), and at 112-5 the game could have gone either way. However, despite two more wickets for Dan including a sharp caught-and-bowled, the Exiles batted sensibly to see through the overs, held together by their number 4 who finished on 74*. Their final score of 204-7 was probably about 20-30 runs above par, but the talk at tea was the usual “if we bat the 35 overs we’ll be competitive”.

In reply, the Exiles bowling was tight and scoring was slow at first, with Andrew caught early in the gully. Dario and Channa got things moving with some hard-run 3s which had Channa gasping for water, until he worked out it was easier to hit boundaries instead. But just as we were starting to get back into it, they were both out and Luke followed shortly afterwards. The game then swung back again with an excellent partnership between Matt and Pip, which kept us just about in touch with the run-rate to the delight of the capacity crowd (Mr English senior + company).

Needing 60 off the last 6 overs, Matt was out and the end then came quickly. After 13 overs bowling and 35 overs keeping wicket between them, Dennis and Dan contributed a grand total of two minutes and 1 run with the bat. And so the only question was whether last man Kamal could see Pip through to a well-deserved 50 – but sadly this was not to be, leaving Pip on 49*. The Whalers had lost by 38 runs.

Ultimately it was a great team effort to keep it competitive for so long, but the Exiles were better than us on the day, and the lack of players didn’t help us particularly in the field.

Champagne moment was Matt’s sharp slip catch, with an honourable mention for Dan’s self-protecting caught-and-bowled.
Muppet moment went to Kamal for a misfiring throw in from the boundary, with an honourable mention for Channa’s fielding antics.
Man of the match was clearly Pip.

Nice Weather for Whales

Whalers CC Vs Lambeth Sports and Social Club (T20)

Whalers 139/6 (20) lost to Lambeth 140/4 (18.1) by 6 wickets

King’s House Sat 29th July 2017

 

 

As an Australian captain in England it is easy to make a bad decision that will haunt you for the rest of your days (Edgbaston 2005), good ones will typically just be forgotten. It was therefore even more apposite that as captain for this clash Jiff suggested and arranged with the opposition that we would play a T20 before the predicted downpours arrived, have tea and if possible then play another.

The last 20 minutes of the first game was played in heavy rain that had the test players further down river at the Oval scampering for cover but Whalers are made of stern stuff (and used to getting wet) so we continued to a finish. It was obvious that it wouldn’t be possible to play after tea and we had done very well to get a game in at all. That said we did lose comfortably so perhaps a rain enforced draw would have been kinder to the season stats.

It had all started so well, under leaden but dry skies the initial Lambeth bowling was innocuous enough and helped by several wides the score moved along as Dean played himself in and Pip (29) watched from the other end. The scoring was not as fast as those observing from the side-lines would have recommended but as is so often the case it was when those advisors  got to have a go themselves that the wheels fell off the innings. The opening pair put on 77 from the first half of the overs which was an excellent start, Dean hit some big 6s before he fell for 44 as better bowling came into the attack. Next in, Rich was down from Yorkshire but commitment exceeded achievement on this occasion as he fell for 1 (2017 season; 3 games, 2500 miles travelled, 1 run) bowled by a straight one. Josh was looking composed but left for 8 which brought Channa and Ed together who had some fun and hit some long balls all the while flirting with danger in front of the stumps (ask for middle, stand on an imaginary 6th off stump, start swinging as the bowler begins run up, copyright Karuneratna) . Channa hit a flat bat straight six but neither of them could make it past 13 runs. Then some solid blows from Mildon 8* and some very committed running from Terry 1* on debut brought the innings to a close with 139 on the board.

 

Defending 140 10 years ago in a T20 would have been considered very achievable but since most of us were at least 10 years older than the friendly Lambeth side we feared their modern approach might make it difficult though we were certainly in it. The rain had started gently by now and the wet ball didn’t help things. Paul M and Dan opened the bowling and in the spirit of fairness began returning all the wides we had been gifted. Dan got the first wicket as Terry took a catch he had a while to think about at mid on, the other opener was looking good though and Kamal came on to try to dislodge him. It was one of those rare occasions where The Colonel didn’t strike as he was taken for 28 from his 4 overs. In the end the Lambeth opener retired for 50 and that gave us an end to bowl at at least. Jiff picked up a wicket to finish with 1-31 and Rich took another for 1-11 from 2 overs including a 2 that became 6 thanks to overthrows. Dan came back into the attack and got another wicket 2-30 but we were never really in with much chance of forcing victory, the run rate was good enough that we would have had to bowl them out and hadn’t taken enough. Ed was brought on when all hope was gone and having cleverly thought they wouldn’t want to win it with a wide bowled a very “legside” line only for the second ball of his second over to be called and the match was over. Lambeth had won reasonably comfortably by 6 wickets with 10 balls to spare.

Despite the sting of the defeat no one was really too disappointed to be coming off the field as the rain was now falling heavily. We made the most of the extra time to buy a couple of jugs and some even carried on in Barnes into the evening. Ed made friends with the opposition and trying to prove he was still young enough to be one of them joined in with a boat race (won). Im sure we would have beaten them in the second match but the rain wasn’t going to allow that, we were lucky to have got a game in at all.

Rich

Man of the Match: Dean for his runs

Muppet moment: Whole team for conceeding 6 thanks to overthrows to a push through mid-on

Champagne Moment: Dan direct hit run out from deep square leg 

Whale outfoxed by Quokka in Pitch D excursion

Whalers CC vs Quokkas CC; Sunday 16th July; King’s House Sports Ground

The rare sight of eleven Whalers was seen at King’s House on a cloudy Sunday full of expectations – a Wimbledon final, England to skittle South Africa and make the test an exciting one, and a Whalers mid-season game. When some of the Quokkas had made it to the ground, the toss was taken and the Whalers were sent out to bowl in what looked like favourable conditions.

Jack and Paul opened the bowling in great style, both starting with a wide. Movement was found early on which looked like it would trouble the batsmen, and Jack soon found the edge of the Quokkas’ opener Chas. Unfortunately Pete couldn’t quite hang on after diving to his right, but the Whalers were buoyed by the prospects of seam and swing. Paul produced a variety of deliveries – some on a good line, some giving Pete plenty to do behind the stumps. The breakthrough came after a few overs when Jack bowled the other opener for 8, and followed up with their number three, Tom, two balls later after he dragged on.

A tactical bowling change brought on Dan who started off excellently, bowling their left-handed Skip for a duck with his first ball. The rest of the over was tight, and he was backed up by Kamal at the other end who offered few chances. Quokkas’ number 5 and their opener began to build a partnership with some strong hitting and a couple of lofted drives that just evaded the Whalers in the field. The partnership was finally broken by Matt who enticed their opener into a loose shot that went high over long on. Calls from both Al and Dean went back and forwards until Dean recognised the authority of the president and the catch was safely taken, giving Matt a well-deserved wicket. Dan’s bowling had become somewhat wayward over time, so he swapped positions with Pete behind the stumps to bring in some fresh legs into the bowling attack. At the other end, Kamal was continuing his attack, luring their number 5 into a skip down the wicket, missing the ball and being sharply stumped by Dan. With their top-scoring batsmen back in the pavilion, the Whalers started to turn the screw. Jack and Paul returned to the attack in the hope of finishing things off quickly. Two wickets from Jack – a caught and bowled that Geoff was keen to be involved in, and an edge to the recently moved fielder – and two from Paul (both bowled, one off a full toss that was met with silence from the Whalers) ended their overs for the game. Matt was unlucky not to pick up another wicket after a few edges and near misses, but the game was finished off by Pete who drew their number 11 into a drive that sailed into the safe hands of Josh, leaving Quokkas all out for 118.

Expectations were high for a steady Whalers victory after tea as Dean and Geoff strode out to the middle to start things off. The Quokkas’ bowling attack wasn’t what you would call intimidating, but they were managing to find enough movement to cause some trouble and Geoff was soon given out LBW. This produced some prolonged chuntering about the Whalers’ understanding of the rules of the game, and brought Al into the crease to steady the ship. Unfortunately the ship kept wobbling as Al was soon out having guided a wide-ish delivery to point, leaving the Whalers struggling on 15 for 2. Mark marched in looking to continue his run of ever-increasing scores, but unfortunately missed a straight one and was back relatively soon, bringing in Pete. Hopes were high that shot selection would improve, and for a short while it looked like it might be the case, but Dean had other ideas and hit the ball high to mid-off, to much frustration all-round.

In came Dan, aware that he had to leave in about half an hour but keen not to follow his team-mates in their short-lived innings. He kept things going, supporting some good hitting (and very loud calling) by Pete, until his edge was found and their second slip took a sharp catch. Josh was unlucky to face, as his first ball, a very good delivery which seamed and swung to clip the top of off stump and the Whalers were left on a very precarious 54 for 7. Pete had made his way into the 20s and was looking set until he was caught, and hopes were rapidly diminishing of a Whalers victory. Paul succumbed to an LBW decision (one of many appeals throughout the innings), and Jack and Matt set about trying to keep the strike rotating. More poor shot selection saw Jack caught and bowled, bringing in Kamal for the last wicket stand. By this point Matt had begun to get his eye in, and there were a few good shots which brought 1s and 2s, but still the Whalers were yet to hit a boundary. Kamal kept their bowlers out, and brought out some strong pull shots which resulted in the first (and only) four of the innings, and took the Whalers to within 30 of the target. The final Whalers wicket was taken with another catch, meaning Matt fell for a valiant 22, and the Whalers lost by 24 runs.

All in all a good bowling and fielding performance, but some questionable decision making all round lead to a rare loss to the Quokkas and large fines all round.

Quokkas CC: 118ao (33.2)

Whalers CC: 94ao (30.3)

Man of the match went to Jack for his 4-14 off seven overs, and Kamal picked up the champagne moment for his (glorious) four – the only one of the innings. Muppet moment went to the whole team for a collective batting collapse.