Whalers CC vs Energy Exiles CC: Kings’s House Sports Ground; Sunday 27th May 2018
The Whalers convened at Kings House hoping to get back to winning ways after three rather heavy defeats in a row. With an obligatory struggle for numbers they would have to do this with 9 men (including a loaned player John) however it was a strong 9 packed full of Whalers all-rounders. Although a hot sunny day heavy overnight rain had left the wicket a little soft so after Jack lost the toss again we were invited to bat.
As our only two ‘recognised’ batsmen Dean and Pip were chosen to open, Jack then seemed to have a little more difficulty with the rest of batting line-up…The Exiles opening bowlers were fairly accurate and on a slow pitch both batsmen started off in a solid fashion although Dean still punished the couple of short balls, pulling them for fours. The change bowlers were also very steady and Dean & Pip continued at around 4 an over reaching drinks at 74-0. The solid base had been set and when a fifth bowler was introduced Dean took a real liking to him and scoring rate immediately increased. Some big overs (including a 23) followed and before long we were celebrating another 50 for Dean and then a 100 first wicket partnership.
The Exiles then introduced their secret weapon, an 11 year old bowler (Bradshaw Jnr). He bowled a tidy line and length and both Dean & Pip suddenly seemed very circumspect, not wanting to lose their wicket to the youngster. Pip bought up his 50 before becoming the first victim of said 11 year old, being bowled trying to force on through the leg-side. Khalil was the ‘all-rounder’ chosen to bat at 3 however he only lasted a few balls before skying one off the bowling of Hussain for a duck. After remarking to the umpire that due to the loss of two quick wickets he would now look to consolidate Dean then had a big slog and was bowled by Hussain two balls later……Geoff and Matt were the new batsmen however Geoff departed almost immediately as the second wicket of the 11 year old, hitting a slow long hop straight to Cow Corner.
From 147-0 the Whalers were suddenly 155-4 (a remarkably similar collapse to England’s earlier in the day). Dan joined Matt still with almost 9 overs left and on a good pitch with plenty of space in the outfield they were still a fair way short of a competitive total. Cue an all run partnership of 53 which came to an end with Matt being bowled for 36 off the last ball of the innings. Not being able to time or hit the ball hard enough to reach the very long boundary Matt hit 4 all run fours (including 2 in one over) plus 2 threes and multiple two’s and in the process turned bright red and needed an extended lie down at tea. The hard running had got the Whalers to a competitive total of 208-5 off their 35 overs however.
Khalil and Jack opened the bowling and both started well. Jack took the first wicket in his second over, finding the edge of Bradshaw Snr’s bat with Pip taking a very smart catch in the gully. Hussain came out next and it didn’t take him long to get going with a big six off Jack and some wristy flicks off Khalil. The other opener Roberts was much more circumspect however and survived numerous LBW appeals (at least 4 bowlers were convinced they had him plum). Dan & Geoff were now bowling and Dan had Hussain LBW only for him to be called back when it was judged that he had hit it first. The bowling was still very tight however and at drinks the Exiles were on 59-1. This meant they would need 150 off 18 overs at a touch over 8 an over so would need to up the scoring rate.
Roberts was out shortly after drinks, a genuine edge being caught by stand in keeper John off Dan’s bowling. Number 4 Alouysius didn’t last too long before having his middle stump removed again by Dan. Hussain at the other end was still scoring however and after he was dropped by Matt off Geoff’s bowling Geoff took matters into his own hands a couple of overs later catching an enormous skier from Hussain off his own bowling. A double switch of bowling then bought Kamal and Matt into the action. Now recovered from his batting and utilising his new 3 step run up Matt took a wicket with his first ball as Muskatel hit one straight to the covers for Geoff to take a juggling catch. Matt had another one next over with Wingfield picking out Khalil at mid-off for a straight forward catch. Kamal was also causing problems at the other end and had Ahmed caught by Dean at mid-off and Patel caught by Dan at square leg.
With wickets continuing to fall and the run rate not increasing Geoff was bought back to bowl the penultimate over with the Exiles still needing 80. After a few big swishes Ling played on to the last ball of the over which left Kamal to bowl the final over at Number 10 batsmen Patel and Bradshaw Jnr. Bradshaw Jnr was clearly very keen to have a bat and somehow took a run when Patel hit it straight back at Kamal. He did end up getting a single with the Exiles finishing on 137 for 9 giving the Whalers a 71 run victory in an excellent all round performance.
Whalers 208-5 off 35 overs – Dean 81, Pip 51, Matt 36
Energy Exiles 137 – 9 off 35 overs – Matt 2-15, Dan 2-23, Geoff 2-24, Kamal 2-33
M-O-M – Shared between Dean & Matt
Champagne Moment – Geoff’s excellent caught & bowled when their best batsmen hit an absolute skier
Muppet Moment – Geoff for hitting a slow long hop from an 11 year old bowler straight to a fielder for a Golden Duck (special mention that Geoff was extremely unhappy at this being deemed the Muppet Moment following the shiny ball incident in the previous game)
Cricketers CC vs Whalers CC: Richmond Green; Saturday 19th May 2018
A glorious summers day and a distinct buzz across London could only mean another Whalers game (not some pommy bloke marrying a yank), this time against the Cricketers in front of a packed house at Richmond Green. The teams assembled surprisingly promptly and with the Whalers short a couple and Cricketers with a couple extra, the Whale welcomed Geoff (of Australia), Steve and Rich as honorary Whalers for the day. With Geoff, a bowler, needing to depart early and the Whalers short on bowling it was agreed by Nick (as skipper for the day) that the Whalers would bowl first.
The honour of the new ball was conferred upon Geoff and Jiff, with Geoff starting with great line and length for a maiden first up. He was rewarded in his second over clean bowling an opener for the first wicket. At the other end Jiff was struggling for control with his second over yielding a number of full tosses which were dispatch appropriately by the other opener Grace who was now getting his eye in and looking dangerous. At this point a conversation ensued between Nick and Jiff, the exact details of which will doubtless be debated for decades by Whaler historians, the result being that Jiff was out of the attack after 2 overs after struggling to control the new ball because “it was too shiny”.
Will replaced Jiff and the run rate was brought back under control but wickets were not coming, after Geoff finished his 7 overs (going for just 18 runs and the one wicket) the Cricketers had moved on to 64. Steve (also filling in for us from the Cricketers) got the breakthrough in the 15th over with the number 3 out caught for 34. Will having gone for a few in his last couple of overs, was replaced by Nick and with Steve copped some well hit shots from Grace and new man in Marsh. In the 19th over just before drinks, what was looking like a dangerous partnership was broken when Marsh was caught at long off by Dean for a quick fire 17 off the bowling of Steve for his second wicket. After drinks numbers 5 and 6 followed in quick succession out bowled and lbw respectively to Steve in a double wicket maiden. His next and final over brought his 5th wicket, with number 7, Stokes out for 8 after being well stumped by specialist wicket keeper Dave on his Whalers debut. Steve finished with 5-38 from his 7 overs.
Special replaced Steve and some uncharacteristic full tosses were dispatched brutally by Grace who brought up a very well made 100. Some late hitting of some wayward whalers bowling saw the Crickets pass 200 in the 32nd over. Jiff was brought back for one final crack and bowled Grace for 123 off his inside edge. An innings appreciated by both sides and a couple of the more observant spectators and the only wicket to fall to a regular Whaler for the innings. The Cricketers finished 7/221 off their 35.
A quick change over and it was Dean and Al who went out to face the Cricketers attack. It was Wiggles who started and with good line and length bowling scoring was difficult. At the other end Dani started with a number of long hops and full tosses which the Whaler batsman struggled to put away. Al was out in the second over for a duck after spooning a full toss back to Dani for the first wicket. Roland then joined Dean and a partnership began to form with both batsman getting a couple of shots away (a few byes and wides helped as well) before Dean slapped a long hop straight to square leg and he was out for 8 with the score on 22. Roland was out sooner after, caught behind for 6 and Dani had his 3rdwicket. Rich and Steve both of the Cricketers steadied the ship briefly but both were out in quick succession with Rich caught for 15 and Steve bowled for 2 and the Whalers were in trouble at 5/53 after 15 overs.
Will was joined in the middle by Jiff and with Will pushing singles and twos, it was Jiff who took up the attack plundering several 4s from wayward deliveries from the Cricketers change bowlers. Nick, who as next man in was telling the assembled crowed of his batting prowess after actually scoring runs last week, was soon put to the test after Will was caught for 14 ending a hopeful 44 run partnership for the 6th wicket. Perhaps predictably, Nick’s golf swing didn’t live up to the hype and he was well caught in the gully for a 2ndball duck. Enter Will’s mate Dave who made the trek from Wiltshire for the game. With Jiff still plundering 4s including some particularly nice straight hits which sent groups in the crowd scattering, Dave was able to sneak some quick singles and lofted a couple of 4s himself. Jiff brought up a well made 50 as the Whalers pushed towards 150. Dave was eventually out caught behind for 12 ending a very handy 40 run partnership with Jiff. Next in was a confident looking Special who’s forward defence was never in doubt. It was his 4 through cover though that particularly impressed the watching Whalers, even if it was the result of overthrows. With Special holding up an end, Jiff continued his plundering right to the end with a particularly impressive 6 over backward square leg in to a crowed of distracted female spectators. He made it to a very well-played 64 not out (50 of which came from boundaries), but the Whalers had left too much to do and the final score was 8/158 off our 35 overs.
The result then was victory to the Cricketers by 63 runs. A special thanks to the Cricketers for hosting in front of literally hundreds of people on Richmond Green and lending us Geoff, Rich and Steve, as well as to Will’s mate Dave for coming up to London from Wiltshire.
Cricketers 221-7 (35)
Whalers 158/8 (35)
Man of the Match – Jiff for his 64 Not Out (also his highest score)
Muppet Moment – Jiff for refusing to bowl after 2 over because the new ball was “too shiny”
Champagne Moment – Jiff for his 6 in to a crowd of people
Fine of the Day – Jiff
Whalers vs Quokkas – 13th May 2018; King’s House Sports Ground
Having thawed out from the first game and ‘fresh’ from the tour, the Whalers gathered ready for their second home game of the season. After a bit of a delay, new captain Will was keen to bowl first on a pitch that looked like it was only going to get drier and flatter as the day wore on. Thanks to the oppo captain winning the toss and choosing to bat, the game seemed to be setting off on the right foot.
Nick opened the bowling with some tidy lines and encouraging pace, joined by Jack from the other end with some untidy lines to test new keeper Jiff. After edging behind off a no-ball, opener ‘Fruity’ waved at a wide one which flew to Pip in the gully. A spectacular catch was followed by an energetic celebration, and the Whalers were off to a good start. The Quokkas were clearly here to have a go at the bowling, and began to up the run rate before their second opener fell in similar fashion to the first, thanks to an excellent catch from Will. Evidently frustrated by these two early wickets, the Quokkas began to find the boundaries as Khalil and Russel came on. A quick-fire 35 for Satin was ended by some good pressure bowling from Khalil, but unfortunately this didn’t stem the flow of runs. The Quokkas fourth wicket partnership began to build, much to the frustration of the Whalers as they watched the ball just evade the fielders (either through good placement/luck or the occasional drop).
With the score on 97-3 at drinks, either side could have seized control. Fate evaded the Whale, as another couple of dropped catches aided the Quokkas continued quick scoring, despite the attempted slow-bowling-K-pairing (Kamal and Kieran). The sun (and lots of chasing in the field) was starting to take its toll on the Whalers, and the Quokkas quickly passed 200. Once ‘Baggy’ and ‘CMES’ had passed 100 and 50 respectively, it seemed it was going to take a heroic batting effort from the Whalers. CMES was bowled in the 34th over, but the damage was done and the Quokkas finished on 251-4.
Tea was fairly sedate, and Al and Pip padded up, buoyed on by the prospect of being able to score some runs thanks to an opening position vacated by Dean (hopefully temporarily). Tight bowling from Dack and his opening partner kept the pressure on, and Pip’s departure in the third over felt ominous, rightly so as Will followed him back to the sidelines the next over, leaving the Whalers on 1-2 off two overs. Jiff, promoted to number 4 and excited by the opportunity to showcase his batting prowess, managed to find the rope before being bowled and returning after his predicted 4 or 5 balls. Khalil and Al steadied the ship and began to hit out, with some (almost) energetic running between the wickets.
At drinks things were looking less bad, with the Whalers on 69-3, and the Quokkas’ front-line bowlers had used all their overs. Al and Khalil kept the score ticking along until the 22nd over when Al was caught for 38. Kieran’s Whalers batting debut brought 5 singles before being ended by some accurate bowling from ‘Fruity’. Nick and Khalil continued to push the runs, more in an effort to save face rather than save the game, before Nick slapped a return catch back to ‘Baggy’ for 22. Russel supported Khalil, who looked to tried to hit out but only managed to hit up and was caught for an excellent 54. With a few overs remaining, Russel and Jack gave it a go, but tired running and ballerina-esque batting from Jack meant the end was nigh. The Whalers finished on 157-7 and promptly found the bar to rehydrate and relive the multiple muppet candidates.
Champagne moment went to Pip for his catch (and celebration), Jiff took muppet moment for endless commenting on the ‘variable’ bounce, and Khalil’s took man of the match for his batting (but definitely not for his bowling).
Quokkas CC 251-4 (35)
Whalers CC 157-7 (35)
Quokkas win by 94 runs
Whalers CC vs Wenlock Arms CC; 29 April 2018; King’s House Sports Ground
It has become a bit of a Whalers tradition for the first game of the season to take place in sub-Arctic temperatures, and the 2018 season was no exception. A fine (in every sense of the word) selection of non-Whalers thermals, hoodies, down jackets and even scarves were on display as the team gathered at Kings House. New captain Jack lost the toss, and the Whalers were bowling.
Khalil had a sabbatical for the 2017 season, but in his first game back showed he hadn’t lost his touch by firstly bagging the end with the wind / downhill, and then bowling a testing line and length. At the other end Dan’s approach was a bit more varied, but he took the first wicket with some dross which the batsman guided to Pip in the gully. Khalil soon bowled the other opener, and the next batsman was run out by Geoff, and at drinks it was all a bit sedate at 60ish for 3. And cold. Did I mention it was cold?
Jack and Geoff continued to keep a lid on the scoring, although their number 5 unleashed a few shots on his way to a top-scoring 35. And when the slow-bowling tandem of Special K and the other K (Kamal and Kieran) were unleashed, the scoring slowed further and the wickets suddenly began tumbling. Will took the first of two catches, Dean took another two (one after some juggling), and Kieran denied himself a debut 5-for by dropping one off his own bowling. Despite some late hitting, Wenlock Arms finished on 115-8 from their 35 overs, with Kieran finishing with 4-13.
Tea was indoors and warm, and so it was a reluctant and very well-wrapped up Whalers who trudged out to see Dean and Will take on the Wenlock bowling. On a slow pitch and with the potential for some early-season rustiness, early wickets could have made for a nervous afternoon. However, the opposition dropped Dean in the first over, and with both batsmen particularly harsh on anything short, we were off to a flyer. The bowling tightened up after that but we were still well ahead of the run rate, and Dean proceeded serenely to his first 50 of the season. Drinks were declined on the grounds it was too cold, and with the next men in looking less and less keen for the opportunity to pad their averages, it wasn’t until Will was triggered for 31 that the first wicket fell. A big six from Dean and another boundary to get him to 75* saw the Whalers home by 9 wickets with 12+ overs to spare. And the showers were hot, which was great.
With so much non-Whalers kit on display (you have all been warned), the fines committee got off to a flying start, with Al’s collection of new kit and Lords-branded gilet earning him fine of the day.
Muppet moment – Roland, for missing a run-out despite only standing a couple of feet away from the stumps, but appealing anyway. Not that it really mattered as it was the last ball of the innings
Champagne moment – Khalil bowling the opener, middle stump
Man of the match – Kieran for figures of 4-13 from 7 overs on debut. Honourable mention for Dean for his 75* and two catches
Wenlock Arms – 115-8 from 35 overs (Kieran 4-13)
Whalers – 118-1 from 22.2 overs (Dean 75*, Will 31)