Away – WON by 2 wickets
A case of déjà vu on turning up at this Chandos Road ground, but this proved accurate on remembering that Whittingdon share their home ground with Arkley, where we narrowly lost earlier in the season, on what seems to have been a very different track.
Skipper won the toss (amazing) and set his team to field in the heat of an August day. This proved the right decision as batting was not productive, with uneven bounce and long boundaries. Nevertheless Ivanhoe had to bowl well to keep the batting side’s run rate down. Woodcock had one of his best spells of the season with three maidens in his 1-17 off 8 overs and the eternally unlucky Christie conceded just 18 off his 7 overs with 2 maidens (and needless to say no wickets!). This pressure led to wickets but only after bowling changes, which skipper made mercilessly, not caring whether you had just taken a wicket or not. In all 8 players bowled, with Dancer and Hausler Senior taking 3 wickets each (Hausler Senior’s spin figures were the impressive 4-2-5-3). Fielding was impressive and some stunning catches were held by Ivison (caught and bowled), Ben Hausler and Hausler Senior taking a fantastic catch at 1st slip to set a high standard, R Parnell and keeper Collins. However the most surprising moment was the dropping of the easiest chance of them all, with the usually safe hands of Francique failing to grasp a dolly with no sun in his eyes. Ben Hausler was the pick of the outfielders with his whippet like running suggesting he should have been in Rio instead of Whetstone. Eventually Whittingdon were prised out for the Nelson figure of 111, though the time saved was not granted to the side batting second. Still an early (and magnificent) tea was welcomed by all – not least for its traditional nature and low cost compared with some lesser menus of recent times.
Then Ivanhoe took to the field with an hour and 20 overs to score just the 112! Plenty of time and a strong batting line up, so no problems anticipated. Skipper imaginatively mixed up the batting order and it must have been a proud day for Hausler (umlaut omitted) Senior to open the inning with Hausler (umlaut omitted) Junior. There was no danger of Hausler Sr (10) being caught for his swishes and swings rarely got anywhere near the ball. It was down to Hausler Jr (21) to lead the way with some excellent boundaries picked up off the hostile and rapid opening bowler. But as we all know 1 wicket brings 2 and in this case 3 and then 4.
Parnell P and Collins (25*) then took on the bowling and steadied things before the loss of the former for 12. With 2 more rapid departures Woodcock (10) took the initiative with an all run four – easy for him, but more of a struggle for his partner. Worse still the next ball generated an easy 3 for Woodcock but only 2 could be run with Collins struggling to breathe. With his departure the run machine that is Dancer (12*) arrived batting at lowly number 9 and proceeded to make things look easier than anyone before him. 8 needed off the last 2 overs led to 4 off the last and Dancer’s decision to strike the first ball for 4 .. which he did effectively, to bring victory by just 2 wickets and extend the unbeaten run to 7 games.
MOM = Team effort with contributions from all