Match Data vs Whalers CC on 2024-06-09 at Dulwich (Season 2024)

  • Result: Lost
  • Salix 203 runs from 35 overs for 9 wickets.
  • Whalers CC: 204 for 8 wickets from 35.0 overs
  • Game Type: 35 Overs Game (Salix Batted First)

Match Scorecard

Shakespeare at the crease

Report by Ollie

Tragically for the Swan of Avon, cricket would not be invented until more than a century after his death. So whilst Shakespeare may have enjoyed the bear-baiting and the like, he will never have known the raw delight of a close game of cricket. But many of his sagacious words echo in a way which cast a thin beam of light on our wonderful game.

And gentlemen in England now a-bed shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here and hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks that fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

Now I know that dear William wasn’t writing about Whalers CC vs. Salix CC when he drafted those immortal lines. But he could have been. The match was a thriller. A seesawing joy. And if you weren’t there then you missed out.

The day was overcast and chilly. Compared to a summers day it wasn’t much cop. Moreover it seemed that there were some ten-thousand men in England who did no work today, as both teams fielded only 10 men. But whilst we were few in number, by the mass, our hearts were in the trim.

CK was our Prospero-like skipper (I think of myself as Horatio, Rory as Hamlet and Daveski as Caliban). He won the toss and in to bat went the boys. New man Ben (nickname TBC) was an early bright spot, making 21 fine runs, until he was caught chasing one he really could have left alone. Other than that things were poor. True, the pitch was as uneven as Richard III’s shoulders, but even so; we did not distinguish ourselves by our shot selection. It was the batting of our discontent; by the 12th over 6 of our men were back in the hutch and things looked to be going only one way.

But cometh the hour, cometh the men. In went a newly svelt Saiborg and the young (favourite) Dodd son, Fergus. Saiborg knew that whilst cowards die many times before their deaths; the valient never taste of their deaths but once and went in to throw the bat. This led to a heart-stopping drop in the deep (Sai: “I think I’m playing myself in” Rory (umpire) “do you”?); but having been given a life, the pair never looked back.

What followed was just wonderful. With Salix having seemed to be drifting to ignominy and shame, Saiborg & Rory were ready to screw their courage to the sticking place (the wicket was indeed sticky) and make a stand. And my; didn’t they. It was a stand for the ages; redolent of that tiny force at Agincourt who would not be beaten. Fully 20 overs in the middle, running like daemons between the wicket, choosing judiciously their shots and amassing a partnership of 116, in which both got deserved 50s to their name. I count myself in nothing else so happy as in a soul remembering my good friends; and so it is with the remembrance of their batting.

The tail wagged a bit, and suddenly we had 203 to defend. Not insurmountable, but enough to make it a game.

After tea (which had a pleasing amount of cream on my scone) we went into the field. True, we put down a couple of tough chances; but in the main we were in good form. People ran down lose balls, tough chances were usually held and the bowling was tight. Things seesawed between the two teams. Just as it seemed like The Whalers were pulling ahead, we’d get a wicket and the run rate would slow. Then, after a bit, they’d look to be in command again. Shout out to debutant Lazio, playing his first game since he was 11 years old (2018 I’d guess). He put his all into things, enjoying shouting “how is that sir?” from the long boundary.

New man Ben took the fresh cherry and bowled a fine line. Whilst he went without reward, he kept his losses to 4 an over; vital pressure when the oppo needed 6. CK bowled beautifully, snaring three important scalps across his two spells. Krutik was hot on his heals, likewise putting three to his name. Others chipped in. All this was helped by the wicket, which remained as unpredictable as King Lear. But as time wore on you could hear the skipper mutter “a change bowler, a change bowler, my kingdom for a change bowler”. Daveski had a go, but had to withdraw as his shoulder flared up. Sai did a credible job, and Fergus bowled with real venom. To facilitate this we had a revolving trio of bowlers, with Irwin standing up to the fastest Fergus could put down.

But as the overs passed, the scoring nudged back up and we felt things slipping away. Suddenly though a flurry of late wickets sent the oppo tumbling to 170/8. 34 runs or one wicket the cost of victory. 8 overs to play. It was nail bighting stuff. In the end it went to the wire. 7 needed off the last over, which the oppo achieved with 2 balls to spare. The narrowest of victories. If I was inclined to be critical, I’d say that the fault was not in our stars, but in ourselves. We could have been slightly more economical at points. One or two midfields was the price of defeat.

But there is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. And looked at from another angle, it was a damn fine game of cricket played to the last in good humour between fine teams. I certainly enjoyed it. I guess all’s well that ends well*.

*I’d give it a few days before asking the skipper if he felt it ended well.