Whalers CC vs Clapham Inn CC; Sunday 20th June 2021; King’s House Sports Ground
After a disappointing defeat the week before, 10 Whalers gathered at Kings House to get things back on track against Clapham Inn. There was no sign of either Dan or the team kitbag, currently battling their way across south London, but by the time Russell and the opposing skipper had had a long chat about the weather (overcast but dry), the journey up from Southampton (in their skipper’s case), and Priti Patel’s progressive immigration policies (in Russell’s case), all 11 Whalers were present and correct and we could get on with the game. Russell won the toss and in an unusual but proved-right move, decided to bowl first.
Nick and Dan opened the bowling and kept a lid on the run-rate initially with some accurate bowling against the CICC right-hand left-hand opening partnership. After 10 overs, the oppo were only on about 30-odd, and some themes for the day had already been set. The outfield was damp and very slow, anything pitched short just sat up and said “hit me” (most Whalers bowlers decided to test this theory, but got the same results each time), it turned out to be a good day for left-handed opening batsmen, and while the Whalers ground fielding was generally ok our catching was terrible.
After a couple of fairly simple chances were grassed, Matt eventually got the first wicket by bowling their right-hand opener. Will picked up another bowled and Russell rotated the bowlers well, and despite having wickets in hand and another couple of drops CICC weren’t ever really able to accelerate. Dean got some good turn and Ross was unlucky with a couple of edges flying through the slips “cordon”, and special mention to ball-magnet Josh and to Roland for their work in the field. Eventually the CICC innings closed at 161-2 with their opener carrying his bat for 86*.
Dean and Al opened up against some accurate bowling but looked fairly secure, before accelerating against the change bowlers. It also looked like the CICC bowlers hadn’t read the script either about not bowling short on this wicket. As Dean repeatedly dispatched loose deliveries through mid-wicket, or the batsmen jogged through for another gentle two, speculation on the boundary turned to whether Roland (down at 4 in the book) would get to spend another whole innings warming his pads, or why biology teacher Nick didn’t seem to know the name for any of the muscles in the human body.
Drinks came and past, and when Dean got his hundred his offers to retire and protect his average were rejected on the grounds that we only needed 20 runs off 12 overs, so he and Al might as well finish the job. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Al chipped one to mid-off – bringing an end to an excellent and chanceless opening partnership of 145 (of which Al scored 32). After a bit of debate between Fraser and Roland as to who should bat next, Roland trotted to the middle. But when he missed a straight one and then so did Dean, there was a sudden flurry of looking for pads etc before Fraser and Ross steadied the ship. At one point it looked like we were trying to score all the remaining runs in byes and edges, until Fraser hit a six off another short delivery to bring an end to proceedings and let us escape to the bar and their slick new beer-ordering app (not).
In the end a comfortable 7-wicket victory. Man of the match was Dean for his 103, champagne moment there wasn’t really a stand-out so it went to Al and Dean for their 145-run opening partnership, and muppet moment went to Russell for taking 12 minutes to complete the toss.
Clapham Inn: 161-2 from 35 overs (Matt 1-20, Will 1-24)
Whalers: 165-3 (Dean 103, Al 32)