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Five for Amit continues winning sequence

Whalers CC vs Believers CC – 6th September 2020

A warm early autumn day in South Wimbledon, a slightly delayed start, some somewhat unusual rules and the marching on of the great unbeaten run of the Whalers in this shortened season. And perhaps most notably of all, one of the most memorable spells of Whalers bowling to help extend that run.

A hastily drawn up whatsapp group alerted the day’s players to idle slightly on their way to the ground on account of the Believers renting the pitch from 1.15. The majority of Whalers accordingly idled, and a little too dutifully so for the skipper for the day, Will. Nevertheless, most of the team were there in time to half heartedly warm up a bit while the opposition suggested some novel rules for the day intended to encourage a little haste to the occasion. So it was that it was agrede to play 30 over innings, batsmen would retire at 50 and only one extra per over would be played again (any wide after the first one bowled in an over would accrue 3 runs for the other side – therefore even the widest of overs would only be 7 balls in length). Believers had 12 players and would roll substitutions while in the field. In the end only a single 3-run wide was bowled in the match.

Whalers batted first, Dean and Fraser striding out to the middle and settling into the day’s work. Fraser sparked with some meaty boundaries and Dean provided the usual solidity at the top of the innings, putting on 42 together until the former was caught for 21. With one end pried open, Dean was to see a few partners come and go in the next few overs. Channa was run out for 0 having dropped his bat with the line of the crease agonisingly in sight, while Will fell lbw to a ball swinging but full having added 3 runs. Geoff clubbed a catch for 0 and Suhaib popped up a caught and bowled to the same bowler (Spencer) for 2, continuing the habit for collapse. When Matt joined Dean at the crease things settled down for a bit until the latter was forced to retire for his well earned and untroubled 50*. Matt steadily paved his path to a useful total, while Amit (2) looked solid right up to the point he wasn’t, deciding on a strong leave to a ball straight at his stumps, via the pads, lbw the result. Josh soon gave way to Amit (1), who bedded in till the end, with Russell joining once Matt had departed bowled for 29. The total kept creeping up, though the team could be forgiven for hoping that one of Russell’s heaved misses might ultimately result in Dean returning to the crease to end on a rush. As it was Amit J ended on 18* and Russell 6* and the total set was 156 from the 30 overs.

Defending what seemed a modest total with one boundary invitingly short, Russell and Amit (1) opened the bowling. Though neither managed to take a wicket, the bowling was effectively frugal, with only 29 runs taken from those opening 9 overs, and not without chances created. The pressure on the Believers was only maintained when Matt took over from Amit (1) and Amit (2) took over from Russell. It was Amit (2) that took the first wicket, aligning good pace with line and length to force the batsman into error. Indeed, once the first had fallen, Amit found himself on an incredible roll of wicket taking at regular intervals, including one caught, one lbw and three bowled. This series of sucker blows to the opposition meant Believers found it hard to get going and resulted in figures of 5-2-10-5 for Amit. Matt also bowled well, chipping in with an lbw to claim 1 for 16 across his five overs. With the change of bowlers to Josh and Suhaib, the wickets just kept on coming. Suhaib in particular must have had somewhere he needed to be, taking a wicket with his first ball and hoovering up figures of 3 for 10 across his two overs. One of those wickets saw the ball lob up in direction of Josh standing at mid-on, who had to skip back several metres in order to secure the catch over his head and reclaim his ‘specialist mid/long-on’ status. The delight (and maybe surprise?) on his face outweighed his reaction to making the tricky catch that followed off his own bowling and saw the fall of the 10th Believers wicket for 91 runs from 24 overs. After a brief moment of surprise that a 12th batsmen wasn’t making his way in, it dawned on the Whalers that they had won at a canter by 65 runs.

Man of the Match: Amit (2) for his five wickets

Muppet: Amit (2) for his confident leave to a straight lbw

Champagne moment: Josh for his athletic catch

Crouching Tiger, Wandering Whale

Winchmore Hill Tigers CC vs Whalers CC, 13th September 2020 @ Winchmore Hill Sports Club.

Usually September marks a change in many things. The end of summer, the return of school and the beginning of the end of the cricket season. However, in this year during which humanity had to adapt to so many new habits, the world would also have to face up to the fact that the Whalers didn’t know how to lose a game anymore. With now just two games in front of them, was the Whaler’s invincible season more a reality than just a dream?

To find out, the Whale was embarked on an away trip to the lush green suburban utopia of Enfield to face the Winchmore Hill Tigers. Here the Whalers were keen to practice this new habit of winning (and fielding full teams). However, a very late drop out meant that a last-minute substitute bowler, Kurt, was graciously donated by one of the home club teams to make it up to a full 11-man strong line up.

On what turned out to be a very balmy Sunday afternoon, with a noticeable breeze, skipper Will won the toss and the Whale were betting first. The opening pair, which included skipper himself and Al strode out onto what looked like a good surface and a fast outfield.

Both openers got off to a steady start and Will looked in good nick as he played flurry of drives. Al also got in on the act and between them made a steady start to give the Whale a good foundation.  There was a drop in the field as Al was handed a life line and the runs began to trickle through. However, as the run rate was starting to pick up Al was dismissed for 9, bowled out on a ball that just did enough.

Next man in was Fraser who after feeling his way into the innings and seeing off the opening bowlers, started to loosen up and was looking to hit the ball sweetly. Sixes were being hit cleanly well over the boundary rope. However not all the balls followed the laws of physics and one sweetly struck shot got caught in the wind and a gob smacked Fraser could scarcely believe his eyes having to dawdle for a single. Will too tried to get in on the act but soon fell for a respectable 27 being caught out on a half volley that found a man in the infield.

Kev who was currently multi-tasking between being an England youth prospect coach (i.e. teaching his son to bat) and being Whalers middle order batsman, was dropped into the thick of it. He quickly hit some handsome shots to the boundary and found his form. Fraser was in a mood, a good mood, and continued to strike the ball with venom. The ball seemed to crack off the middle of his bat and found their way briskly to the ropes. A fifty came up and the Whale was looking at a decent score at the very least.

After a much deserved/needed drinks break in the September sun, Kev soon managed to get bowled after a quick fire 24 off 7 balls (which included 2 huge maximums). It was now the turn of Whaler debutant and gloveman Kishan. Armed with a brand new MRF blade, Kishan was hoping to prop up one end and give Fraser the stoke to stack up the runs. However, this was not to be as after a couple of singles and a well-placed 4, Kishan was caught shuffling on his crease and was given LBW as he missed a shot across his line.

Next man in was Rahul who was sent straight back to the shed after a 3-ball duck, undone by a ball that was dead straight and dead low. Geoff was next up and after a couple of encouraging singles was caught behind with ball snicking past his outside edge. Was this an ominous sign for things to come or just a few bad minutes?

Matt Lucas was now making his way on to the 22-yard strip and try and stop the middle order rot. Playing a range of elegant (and not so elegant) shots he managed to keep the score board ticking. Fraser meanwhile was edging ever closer to the magical 3 figure score and was still striking the ball cleanly. Whilst the heat was evidently causing his strife when running between the sticks, he continued on his swashbuckling manner and got the Whale close to 200.

As the remaining overs started to dwindle so did Fraser’s chance to convert his ninety score into 100. The Whale was now urging him to get over the line. With one over remaining Matt Lucas fell for a gallant 18. Now Fraser was running out of time and batting partners. Kurt was in next with the Whale urging him to get Fraser on strike. In the final over with Fraser on 98 Kurt was unable to rotate the strike and was bowled out for a duck.

Suhaib now had the unenviable task of getting a single. And never has getting one solitary run been so painful. Suhaib on his first ball at the crease played a glorious straight on-drive that could only have been a boon from the cricketing Gods from above. Never has there been a more tumultuous mix of ecstasy and agony as the boundary was met with sighs of disbelief and a smattering of applause.  

There were now only 2 balls remaining and thankfully somehow Suhaib managed to dig one out to scamper through for that much yearned for single. Fraser was on strike with the final ball to come. All Fraser needed was bat on ball and he managed exactly that, butchering the ball with a solid amount of brute force. The ball was hit with power and velocity – destined for the boundary. However, the cricketing gods were not looking down on young Fraser this time. An outstretched foot/big toe from the opposing fielder managed to halt the ball (and probably left a decent bruise). Fraser could only manage a single and he finished his innings on 99*. The Whale finished on a very respectable 225-8.

Cricket can be a cruel mistress.

It was now time for tea and to take stock of what just happened. After being reminded that the club house kitchen was open for business the Whale enjoyed their well-deserved half time nutrition and had a spring in their step as they looked to defend the total. There was no sight of any pressure of as they were now only 10 wickets way from being own step closer to unbeaten immortality

But when the Whalers took to the field, there was a noticeable difference as Will started to marshal his troops. There were only 9 fielders with sub Whaler Kurt and man of the hour Fraser missing in action.

After a few shrieks and hails it came as a nasty shock that Fraser was still getting is was through his tea. A tuna mayo sandwich had taken Frasers attention away from the task at hand and refused to step onto the field. A tuna had trumped the Whale. After a sensible amount of muttering and sighing the umpire signalled play on and Nick was ready to open the bowling. The bad luck that finished the previous innings continued in full fashion as Nick was hit for 3 consecutive fours in the first 3 balls. It seemed that troubled waters lied ahead for the Whale.

Kurt now managed to get on the field but Fraser was still AWOL.

Suhaib was into the attack and tried his best not to replicate the previous over’s inauspicious start. After a couple of wayward deliveries to start off with he found his stride and the squeeze on the free-flowing runs had begun. With now 11 Whalers and no more tuna sandwiches to distract minds and tastebuds Nick manged to find his line and length. The tide was beginning to slowly change. From the other end Suhaib bowled a beautiful delivery to get the opener Read out for 6.

The tight bowling continued as the Tigers were not able to maintain their blistering start as pressure from both ends meant that after the first 16 overs the opening blowers only gave up 56 runs between them.

Skipper Will than handed the ball to Matt Lucas to replace Nick and he followed the fine bowling from the far end. Kurt replaced Suhaib at the near end and picked up where Suhaib had left off. The pressure was now starting to mount for the Tigers and a few swings and missed meant that Gloveman Kishan was in action, taking some (overly) dramatic diving takes on the leg side. The pressure soon turned into chances and a swooping shot down the ground was headed Al’s way at long off, who managed to spill it. Another lofted shot was skied to Will who also managed to fumble the ball. Respite for the Tigers, frustration for the Whale. The Tigers took a liking to Kurt’s medium pace straight bowling and batsman Ganeshalingam hit one towards Fraser at the long on boundary. A good accurate throw coupled with quick hands by bowler Kurt knocked off the bails and the Tigers were 2 down.

From the other end, opening bat Ranger had found his way to a very patient fifty but Matt Lucas struck in this third over with a good ball undoing him. Geoff was asked to come into the attack and he too would stick to the status quo. The Tigers were managing to find the odd boundary by now as the fielding effort started to dip for the Whale.

Going into the final 10 overs the equation was simple. The Tigers needed 100 runs and they now had two reasonable set batsmen. After Kurt finished off his bowling with a very respectable 29 off 6 overs it was the turn for Rahul to turn his arm over. Whilst the bowling was never threatening, audible grunts and expletives from the batsmen were evident as they were unable to put him away. He even managed to create half a chance a thick outside edge meant that Kev shuffled back with outstretched arms only for it to evade his fingertips by the barest of margins.

A tactical change from the skipper brought Matt Lucas in to bowl from the near end whilst Geoff would keep bowling from the other. However, dots now turned into easy singles, singles were converted into twos and the ball was starting to find 4’s and 6’s. No. 3 Batsmen Greenman scored 50 and with 5 overs to go the score was 164-3 the game was in the balance. After a tidy 36th over by Matt Lucas only giving 6 runs Geoff was looking to maintain this good death bowling.

The Tigers had other ideas. Batsman Hodges was looking to tee off in a manner that would have impressed even his teams namesake on the back 9 at Augusta on a Championship Sunday. Four boundaries and a 6 into the leg side was a sucker punch that the Whale did not see coming.

With 18 balls to come the Whale needed to defend 32. Matt Lucas then bowled a reasonable over allowing 11 runs. The tension was now unbearable. A tidy penultimate over would mean Matt would have a better chance to defend in the last over with two batsmen both well in and Hodges had also gone past the half century mark. The skipper now placed the ball into Rahul’s hand. The weight of the Whalers invincible season on his shoulders. Could he deliver?

As he shuffled in to bowl the first ball he was flicked onto the leg side boundary where after some pedestrian fielding the ball rolled over the rope. Next a loose ball way outside the off stump was again, unbelievably, flicked off into the leg side for a 6. Torrid bowling, his head was down. With a short inhale and a focused mind, he bowled one straight and full for a dot and the Whale roared it on as if it was a wicket. Same ball again but this time the batsmen heaved it to cow corner where ice man Matt Lucas took a great pressure catch. Greenman finished on a handsome 80.

The game again might now have tipped in the Whalers favour. The batsmen had crossed and in form batsmen Hodges ran 2 off the penultimate delivery and then managed a single on the final ball keeping him on strike.

The final over. The bowler Matt Lucas. The equation simple. 10 runs needed. 9 for a super over. The first ball was dug out for just a single. de Crescenzo was the new bat in and his first ball faced again was looking like just the one run. But a very eager throw by infield Suhaib at the bowlers end meant that the batsmen ran for an overthrow. Pressure has been the undoing of even the greatest. But Matt Lucas dug deep and bowled a peach of delivery to hit the top of off. 3 balls remained and 6 runs to win. Sikander strode onto the field and at the crease. He refused to even take a guard when prompted by the umpire. Was this the cornered Tiger of 1992 or a charade to cover his nerves?

Another good ball by Matt was met with a swing of the bat but only manged to trickle for a single. The runs kept being ticked off but so too the balls. Two balls 5 runs. Matt made his way to his bowlers mark with Hodges staring back at him with a steely look in his eyes. Matt bowled another good ball and was met with a heaving swipe of the blade. The result – a scamper for two.

Final ball. The sun had now began set over the Western treeline. Was the sun setting over Whalers’ unbeaten run or was it the twilight to signal yet another success on the field? Matt Lucas lined up one final time. 3 to win, 2 for a super over. Time stood still as Matt hurled himself as he bowled his final ball. The ball transcended through the air and pitched just in front of the batsmen. The field on the haunches was prowling and ready to snaffle the ball should it come near them. Anything was possible at the moment. No easy runs and no silly overthrows. The dream was still alive.

Hodges on the other had other plans and he bludgeoned the ball onto the leg side for a sweet boundary and to take home the spoils. The Tigers quite literally roared the ball as the Whale was left aghast. Defeat snatched from the jaws of victory.

In the battle of the mighty mammals the stealthy Tiger had outdone the wandering Whale.

Despite 450 runs across the day, the Whale left the field leaving behind only dreams and the lingering smell of an overpriced tuna sandwich.

Whalers innings: 225-8 (40.0 overs)

Fraser 99*, Will 27, Kev 24.

Winchmore Tigers bowling:

Webster 8 1 39 4
Greenham 2 0 18 2

Winchmore Tigers Innings : 227-5 (40.0 overs)

Greenman 80, Hodges 70, Ranger 50.

Whaler’s Bowling:

Lucas 8 0 45 2
Suhaib 8 2 30 1

Winchmore Hill Tigers win by 5 wickets.

Man of the match: Fraser.

Muppet moment of the match: Fraser missing two overs of play so he could eat his sandwich. Champagne Moment of the match: Frasers 6’s all over the park

Opposition report: HERE

Whalers Defeat Journeymen To Extend Unbeaten Run

Whalers CC vs Journeymen CC; 23rd August 2020, King’s House Sports Ground

After a washout the previous week, 11 Whalers gathered at Kings House for the final home game of the season against new opponents The Journeymen. Captain Dean won the toss and elected to bat with a keen eye on a very short boundary on one side of the ground. 

Dean and Al started the innings at a rapid rate raising 50 within 5 overs, Dean in particular taking a liking to some short-pitched bowling. Having motored past his own 50 in only the 8th over, Dean was eventually bowled by their opening bowler for 61, bringing Fraser to the crease. 
A partnership of 38 runs followed, the highlight being a couple of lovely straight drives from Fraser, who unfortunately departed for 14 after hitting one straight to cover to leave the Whalers 115-2 after 20 overs. 

Channa was in no mood to hang around, hitting a couple of boundaries in his first few balls, completing an all-run four, and to much amusement, vaulting the opposing wicketkeeper in an attempt to complete a quick single. At the other end Al was beginning to find his range with a couple of nice drives to keep the scoreboard ticking. The Whalers were well set at 143-2 after 24 overs. 

Then the inevitable collapse. Channa was well caught by Hayes off his own bowling for 10 (although he claims it was 12), a skittish innings from Will was ended by a tumbling one handed catch and then Al was bowled having just raised a 50 of his own. A comedic run out of Roland followed by much chuntering, left the Whalers 162-6 after 29 overs. 
Some measured lower order biffing, coupled with some good running from a combination of Amit, Dan and Matt saw the Whalers finish on 203-9 off their 35 overs. 

A circumspect start from the Journeymen openers was ended by the in-form “I’ve recently-retired from bowling” Amit Kumar getting one to shoot low and pin Dixon for 4. He soon struck again, bowling the other opener for 10 to put the Whalers in a good position after the first 10 overs. 
Jounerymen’s No.3 Turner looked in good order, hitting a couple of lovely drives and with their skipper started eating into the total. Step up first change bowler Matt to dismiss their skipper on the stroke of drinks, caught by Fraser at mid-on. 

The drinks break magic helped the Whalers again with Suhaib dismissing the No.5 batsman for a duck almost immediately after the restart. Soon after Matt produced a beauty to dismiss the No.6 batsman. The Whalers were well on top. 
Turner passed 50 but was cleaned up by Amit Kushwaha with the first ball of his spell. No Whaler was more relieved to see the back of him than Channa who had put him down earlier in his innings. 

The Journeymen’s No’s 7 and 8 struck a few lusty blows to keep things interesting, before Amit took 3 quick-fire wickets including a good catch from Matt and a couple of yorkers to leave him on a hat-trick to end the game. Needless to say, neither the hat trick or the 5-fer were achieved and the Journeymen finishing their 35 overs 163-9. 

So another win for the Whalers and the unbeaten run extends to September. 

Whalers 203-9 (Dean 61, Al 50) Journeymen 163-9 (Amit Kushwaha 4-18). Whalers win by 40 runs

Man of the Match: Amit Kushwaha for his 4-18 

Champagne: Amit Kushwaha’s delivery to dismiss their N0.3 from the first ball of his spell

Muppet: Channa’s Steeplechase vault of their wicketkeeper attempting to complete a run 

Winning team in the evening sunshine

Whalers Bask In Hot Sun

Whalers vs Salix 9 August 2020; King’s House Sports Ground

On one of the hottest days of the year, the Whalers gathered at Chiswick to face old foes Salix. Many thanks to Josh’s mate Sam, Amit Kushwaha playing despite being injured (a “cricket-related injury” but mysteriously not one acquired playing for the Whalers…) and to Tim from Salix for helping us out. We were all begging Will to win the toss, so inevitably he didn’t and we were fielding.

During the week Amit Kumar had informed the captains that he wanted to retire from bowling to focus on his batting. This ambition lasted precisely 6 balls, before Will told him he was opening the bowling from the other end. And he bowled very well, claiming the first wicket with an excellent catch behind the stumps from Geoff and then two more in consecutive balls to finish with great figures of 3-25 from a marathon 7-over spell. This brought Salix’s danger man Yov to the crease who set off with intent. But the scoring was kept in check by another excellent bowling spell this time from Dean who bowled a great length throughout to finish with 2-13 from his 7 overs – including a slow-motion dive to take a dolly caught-and-bowled.

Number 7 Ali batted sensibly to keep Yov company and there were a few expensive overs along the way, although the fielding was generally very good despite the heat. Eventually Suhaib broke the partnership and then took another wicket next ball with the day’s champagne moment, bowling the new batsman with one which just clipped the top of the stumps. Salix then managed the strike well with Yov scoring most of the runs, although he was dropped by Dan when he was only on about 60. Both numbers 9 and 10 were run out trying to get the strike back to Yov, with an unnecessary direct hit from Dean and then good work from Josh and Geoff. In the last over Salix passed 200 and then Yov got his ton off the last ball. We were chasing 210 – a run a ball – to win.

After a quick sit in the shade to try (and fail) to cool down, Dean and Tim strode to the crease to open the Whalers innings. Unfortunately Salix had worked out that the best approach was to bowl slow loopy full tosses. First Tim, then Amit Kushwaha (after a couple of nice fours), then Josh all chipped full tosses straight to fielders. At 20-odd for 3, and a player short, things were not looking great. And when next man in Geoff was hit on the hand by another full toss, it wasn’t looking like the Whalers day. However, it turned out that having an injured bottom hand was actually good for Geoff’s batting technique, as he and Dean both started dispatching the bowling to all parts of the ground. Very soon the field was scattered around the boundary, which also made it easy to pick up singles off the good balls, and we were comfortably ahead of the run-rate.

Just when the game was starting to meander slightly, Dean was well caught on the boundary for 58 which brought Amit to the crease with another 90 or so still needed to win. The game tightened up a bit, but Geoff was still striking the ball cleanly and Amit batted sensibly to keep things safe at the other end. With only two runs needed to win, next-but-one man in Suhaib was so confident of victory that he started taking off his pads. Inevitably this brought a wicket, as Geoff skied one to be caught for an excellent 87. Next man Will kept us on our toes with a wild swipe at his first ball, but then drove the next ball for 2 and the Whalers had won by five wickets with four overs left.

Salix 209-9: Yov 103*, Amit Kumar 3-25, Dean 2-13, Suhaib 2-50, two catches for Geoff and Dan

Whalers 210-4: Geoff 87, Dean 58, Amit Kumar 21*

Suhaib got champagne moment for his bowled, Geoff got man of the match for a very controlled innings + two good catches (honourable mention for Amit Kumar for a great all-round performance), and muppet moment went to Amit Kushwaha for forgetting his whites.

Whalers Unbeaten Run Continues into August (still counts, right?!)

Whalers v Cricketers – Sunday 2nd August 2020, Kings House.

Result: Whalers win by 5 wickets: Cricketers 158/9 (35 overs; Abhay 4-28); Whalers 162/5 (31.3 overs; Dean 91*)

A tight bowling performance, in spite of some dropped catches, and a batting chase once again led by Captain Dean ensured that the Whalers earned a prized victory over The Cricketers at Kings House, and began August unbeaten for the first time, albeit in this unfortunately truncated season.

Dean lost the toss and The Cricketers opted to bat first, which seemed like a sound choice. However, opening pair Dan and Russell had other ideas. Russell in particular bowled a couple of highly accurate overs and soon had Elwer trapped for a front-foot LBW. The batsman did not seem to like the decision but he had to depart. At the other end, Dan too was finding some rhythm and pinned the No. 3 batsman plumb in front for 8. The Cricketers were still keen to pounce on anything loose and were able to put away a few boundaries before Russell took a fine reflex return catch to dismiss Wriggles for 8. At around 30/3 after the first 8 overs or so, the run rate did not seem to be an issue for Cricketers, more the wickets column, and so it would prove ultimately. However, Downer and Taker began to fight back and the change bowling combo of Amit 1 and Amit 2(!) found that anything leg-side or short was often dealt with severely. This was not helped by 3 dropped catches from the Whalers and one particularly comical moment where Channa and Amit 2 chased a slowing ball to the boundary, only to seemingly dance around it, leaving it to each other, while the ball trickled piteously over the rope! Cricketers had passed 60 with still only 3 wickets down by drinks and for a short period, it seemed as though it could be a long afternoon in the field for the Whale, with the knowledge that the opposition tended to have a long batting line-up.

However, the drinks break brought a result soon after, as Dean and Abhay began to tighten the screw and apply some pressure back on the batsmen. Abhay induced Downer to drag on to his stumps for a pugnacious 31. No.6 Mahesh was also in no mood to hang around, but after some strong shots, he too was deceived in the air by Abhay and edged a drive to short third man where Pip took a neat, low catch, tumbling to his right. The trickle of wickets had returned and continued, ensuring that the Cricketers would not regain the fluency of the Downer-Taker partnership again. Dean, ably supporting from the other end, bowled No. 7 Paul for 12 and No. 8 Johnny soon followed by skying a good-length ball from Abhay straight up for Pip to jog in and take a comfortable catch. Unfortunately, another comedy fiasco then entailed, as Pip pulled his thigh muscle tidying up a …. erm…slightly below-par throw from Channa, and was confined to slip-fielding for the remaining few overs. At the other end, Taker had been accumulating steadily since Downer’s departure and had taken Cricketers beyond 100, but he too, succumbed to spin, trying to take the attack to the persistently accurate Abhay. He lifted his back foot and at the second attempt, Geoff removed the bails to end a fine innings of 42. Dean picked up a second wicket when the experienced and dangerous Sohail edged to wicket-keeper Geoff, but there was still time for a nasty sting in the Cricketers tail, as No. 10 Louis carved 16 from Dan’s and the Whalers’ final over, leaving the Cricketers on 158/9.

After a swift self-provided tea break, Dean re-jigged the order to bump the injured Pip out of the way and a slightly surprised Channa went out to accompany Dean at the crease. As expected, the opening bowling pair of Wriggles and Taker kept things tight, with few scoring opportunities meaning that the score was only 6/0 from the first 4 overs. However 4 wides and a boundary from Channa eased the pressure, before the latter missed a straight ball from Taker and was given out LBW with the score on 22. Roland then joined Dean, who remained watchful at the other end, but when the change bowlers came on, runs began to flow more freely, with both batsmen playing some fine shots. That was, until the lack of pace on the ball from Boydey induced Roland to lunge forward, lose his balance and fall over, to be stumped for 12. Amit 2 soon followed, looping a return catch to the same bowler and after 11 overs, Whalers were 50-3 and in a similar position to where the Cricketers had been, with the run-rate very healthy, but the wickets column becoming a concern. Geoff came in at No. 5 and promptly hit Boydey for 3 fours in an over, as both he and Dean looked to accelerate, scoring 22 off 2 overs. Nevertheless, over-confidence perhaps once again pegged the Whalers back with Geoff being bowled by Boydey with a “head-in-clouds” moment, for 13, and Whalers were 74-4, and looking more nervous.

One felt that if someone could get in and occupy the crease to keep Dean company, the Whale would emerge triumphant. Thankfully, Suhaib seemed to know what to do, and although he only scored 11, batted for 11 overs with Dean, during which time, Dean was able to push the score along without concern for the wickets column, increasing the boundary count whenever the change bowlers erred in line and length. The pair accumulated nicely and took the score to 118/4 after 25 overs, with Dean passing 50, before the crucial 26th over, which effectively killed the game off as a contest. Ward began his 4th over of seamers, but Dean had decided he had seen enough and promptly launched him down the ground, with the ball travelling up and over, with unerring certainty, to the scorer’s table. Whalers scattered in all directions except for the injured scorer, Pip, who just sat and prayed for a near miss, which thankfully happened, by half-a yard. This six, the first and only one of the innings, was followed by several other crunching shots and some wides, to ensure 19 came from the over. Suddenly, Whalers were 137/4 from 26 overs and the win was firmly in sight. There was still work to do though, and when Suhaib dragged on to the returning Wriggles, to end a vital partnership of 53, Abhay came in and batted calmly and sensibly to ensure no further wickets fell. Dean then clattered the winning runs with 2 boundaries from the first 3 balls of the 31st over, to finish with a fine Captain’s knock of 91 not out.

As always, a competitive and well-spirited fixture against our friends, the Cricketers, and we look forward to another round next season.

MoM: Abhay Ganga-Nair (4-28)

Champagne Moment: Russell’s entire over culminating in dismissal of opener LBW

Muppet Moment: Channa & Amit 2 for boundary dance / miss fiasco