The Perfect Storm

by San Gore

Kensington CC plays friendly social cricket at a decent level. There are many talented cricketers, young and old, in the club. We play to win but always mindful to provide opportunities for every player, and to enjoy the camaraderie.

Covid-19, though, continued to wreak havoc on our daily lives throughout 2021. Having had Christmas cancelled in the previous year and a winter lockdown imposed, we looked forward in April to the promise of a full season of cricket with plenty of runs and wickets, mixed with fun and laughter. Just like the old days.

But buffeted by the winds of Covid uncertainties, flooded by a spate of injuries, and lashed by rain through the season we were caught in the middle of the perfect storm.

We lost the first three matches comprehensively. Rusty limbs and no winter nets, we said, and not helped by freezing conditions. Worse was to follow. Many of our members were reluctant to put their names down to play either for fear of contracting the Covid bug, nursing niggling injuries, or for other personal reasons. Perhaps the thought of BYO teas put some members off! Nor did it help when players withdrew after the team had been selected, late replacements affecting the balance of the side. We were forced to cancel three matches for lack of numbers. Other clubs too appeared to have similar problems; five were cancelled by our oppositions.

The weather also played a significant role in our frustrations. Six matches were cancelled, two were abandoned midway and three were disrupted as rain tormented us throughout the season. Lack of match practice contributed towards the many mid-order collapses and the high number of individual ducks, though fewer than the 2021 England test teams! Bowlers suffered as well, struggling to find their line and length.

There were, however, some magical moments in the eye of the hurricane. The first wicket partnership record of 197 that had stood for 22 years was finally broken with 223 runs between Jai Singh and Praveen Lekhraj at Hertford. There were also fine bowling and fielding performances in several games. And not once did the spirit and enthusiasm of our players wilt in the face of adversity.

All told though, we had a dismal time, statistically speaking, on the cricket field in 2021. It was an abnormal year and certainly we did not do justice to our capabilities. Storms, however, do pass and we will emerge stronger from that sobering experience.

Here’s hoping the summer of 2022 will be bathed in bright sunshine, Covid will be reduced to a mere chill in the chest, and teas and cakes, so essential to the enjoyment of social cricket, will be back, together with runs and wickets.

Just like the old days.