Believers CC vs Whalers CC; Sunday 5th September 2021; Dulwich Sports Ground
The Whalers travelled to the idyllic and sunny surroundings of Dulwich Village looking for victory against traditional September opponents The Believers. Skipper for the day Josh lost the toss and so a Whalers XI containing a slightly depleted and injured bowling attack took to the field and waited for Geoff to collect his box. Suhaib and Vishal were selected to open the bowling, Suhaib in form after a lovely 3-for in the previous game and Vishal donning the literal and figurative purple cap as the top wicket taker. Unfortunately, neither were able to add to their tally, a combination of two decent opening batsmen, conditions slightly unhelpful to fast bowling and some/lots of balls drifting down the leg side meant that the oppo were able to get to the 10 over mark with a healthy amount of runs on the board and no wickets down.
Dean was summoned from slip to take a bit of pace off the ball and give the batsmen something new to think about. Will also came into the attack but after a promising start he also started to leak runs at what was starting to become an alarming rate. Thankfully Dean was having more luck at the other end and managed to send back both opening bats back to the shed (LBW), albeit not before one of them managed to cross the 50 threshold. Josh then came on, bowling into the sun and kept things tight for two overs. Unfortunately, the other two were about as loose as it’s possible to be and he trudged back to gully, trying to figure out who could bowl the remaining overs, which thanks to it being a timed game was not straightforward to calculate. Nick, who previously said he was injured and unable to bowl anything but slow then came on looking as fit as he had at any point this season. What followed was what we had been looking for all afternoon- straight, full bowling which gave the slightly dubious pitch the chance to work its ‘magic’. He went on to claim he first 5-for in Whalers colours which led to the innings finishing slightly earlier and later a £76 splurge in the bar. There was also time and opportunity for debutant Ramen to get in the act with 3 wickets; the first was slightly fortuitous but what followed was some Shane Warne esque leg spin that showed great potential for the future.
A longer than has been normal break then took place as we were treated to our first teas since 2019. Once we were finished with our cheese or ham rolls, fruit and arctic bars it was time to get back out there. Dean and Al were opening the batting and as Amit was quick to chirp up with later, Al wasn’t out there for long as he was bowled for 1. If only Amit was as that fast with last week’s match report. Specialist batsmen Matt was the next man out to the middle, he was also the next man back from the middle as he too departed for 1. Dean was beginning to find his range and was able to get the scoreboard ticking with some nice drives and pulls. Fraser was in at 4 but he also wasn’t able to trouble the scoreboard/scorebook to a great degree and a big stride down the pitch was unable to save him as he was dismissed leg before. As is often the case, our hopes very much rested on Dean being able to bat for a long period. However, his time was soon to be over too as he mistimed a pull and was gone for 34. Will also came and went, adjudged to have been caught behind but could well have been just thigh pad.
At this stage, things were looking pretty bleak, even in the unrelenting sun. We were into the final 20 overs and it appeared that not being dismissed was our best/only way of getting out of this without a defeat. This didn’t quite transpire in the end- there was some resolute defence at times, but the opening bowlers kept bowling a good line and length and wickets fell at regular intervals. Nick, fresh from his 5-wicket haul was the last man in and needed to stick around for 10 overs to really set himself in Whalers’ folklore, it wasn’t to be though as he was bowled first ball and we trudged back to the bar and consoled ourselves with two jugs that contained a whopping 8 pints each.
All in all, it is what it is. We should have probably restricted them to less than what they got and we should have scored more than we did. You can’t win them all, even though we did actually get pretty close to that in 2020. Just the two games left now before we disembark for a well deserved winter break.
The Believers 183 a/o beat The Whalers 91 a/o 154 by 92 runs
Champagne moment: Fraser’s slip catch off Nick’s bowling
Muppet: Geoff delaying the start of the game by forgetting his box
MOM: Nick for his 5-28