Hot Northern Journey

Whalers vs The Journeymen; 13th June 21; Highgate

Its coming home, its coming home, its coming…but how fast? A hot one in north London, as the journeymen invited the Whalers to the St Aloysius sports ground in Highgate on a sunny day in the high 20s. And as the opposition marked out some lengthy boundaries, all but guaranteeing a need for some sharp running in the middle, thoughts turned to sun cream and hydration. If that led anyone to think there was a bit of a beach vibe to the day, they would find that was heightened even further by the presence of a lot of sand on the outfield, ensuring that 4s were at a premium throughout. To add all the more to this sunny idyll of an English summer day, the clubhouse was booked out by a hundred or so booze (and whatever besides) hungry football fans watching the England game v Croatia, lending the day a somewhat festive atmosphere

Josh lost the toss and we were up for 40 overs in the field. Nick and Dan opened the bowling, each finding sharp pace in the first 10 overs but, facing some careful batting, drew no wickets from costa del Highgate, despite creating a couple of sharp chances. Russell came on first change and took the first wicket in his opening over, finding some slight movement off the pitch so that the batsman played on from an inside edge. Not long after the second wicket fell as a rank full toss from Russell was pushed into the off-side for a single which only one of the batsmen wanted, a run out being the ultimate conclusion. Vishal was bowling the other end at this time, keeping the batsmen honest with a tight spell, catching the remaining opener with an lbw so plumb he was resigned to his fate long before the finger went up. And so flowed the remainder of the Journeymen innings, with wickets falling at fairly regular intervals. Suhaib bowled well, bringing the wicket keeper, by this time Geoff having taken over from Ross in this role, into the game for a caught behind from their top scoring batter (31). Suhaib finishing on 1 for 19 off 6 overs. Viren took a few balls to find his range, looping a beach-volleyball like beamer through to the keeper at one stage, before suddenly getting everything very right and picking up 2 wickets for 25 from his 6, getting another caught behind by Geoff and a bowled. Ross took another wicket and Josh, clearly scenting blood, brought himself on to pick up 2 for 9 in 2 overs. Vishal came back on for a one ball spell, picking up the last wicket and finishing with figures of 2 for 9 off 5.1. There had been 25 extras, with some wides clocking up. The journeymen had scored 139, target set.

By this time England had evidently secured their 1-0 victory in the Euros and the gathered masses had decided the only sensible response was all out hedonism. A carefree attitude that perhaps spilled over into the batting performance of the Whalers. Hot as it may have been, Suhaib was bubbling over with excitement at the chance to get out of the shade and go umpire. One may well ask why: the answer being to give his newly acquired speed gun a go. Finally, the Whalers have the means to decipher if they bowled that last one at 62 or 63 mph, though obviously the main beneficiaries in this instance would be the oppo. Whatever the speeds of the Journeymen bowlers (with respect, not high) they proved quite adequate enough to pick up wickets even more regularly than we had. Fraser was the first to go, eyes lighting up at a half tracker before spooning it up to be caught at point for a duck. Ross and Amit both tickled behind cheaply before Josh was castled. By this time one of the football revellers was well into a relentlessly paced, loud and breathless recount of his various dating endeavours, which chipped away at the souls of all who heard it. Even a (all too brief) sojourn in the middle offered no relief from his tales. The Whalers scores do not make for pretty reading and it wasn’t until the 7th wicket partnership of Viren and Vishal that some stability looked on the cards, coming together as they did with the side on 56. By the time Vishal’s flashing blade swung its last with the score on 93, the deed was all but done, Russell getting caught at bat stop for 9 before Nick was run out for 0, wrapping up a 34 run loss in the 34th over. Viren finished on 19 not out but top scorer was extras on 22. The decision was taken by the team to downgrade the champagne moment this week, perhaps all feeling the combined effects of the sound loss and the energy sapping sun.

Journeymen CC 139ao

Whalers CC 105ao

Asti Spumante moment: Ross’ bowled top of off

Muppet moment: Fraser’s top edging of some dross to start the collapse

MoM: Viren