Down Memory Lane – Kensington Stoned
Match against Old Merchant Taylors on Sunday 5 June 1994
Report by Tim Yeardley
OMT is the only game of the season where the players meet at 10 am (for a 2 pm start), drinking starts immediately, and transport, plus driver, is provided – and, oh yes, Kim Stockton makes a guest appearance. On a mild but blowy morning the mini-bus passengers were assembled in good time at Earls Court, but the driver (chosen by Woody!) turned out to be only 12 years old!! Kimbo heroically takes the oath of abstinence and we are on our way to Amersham with an ample supply of cold beer (thanks Ralph). Well, via the large pub at Croxley Green, which took a while to find – not that anybody minded, for as well as the beers, Raj Tandon had generously supplied some champagne to celebrate his fortyish birthday. This all helped to prepare for the arduous task that loomed ahead – eating his birthday cake! We devoured a full roast lunch at the pub, then headed for the ground (Ledger at the wheel) to lose our way hopelessly up a country lane cul-de-sac! Eventually, we arrived and were promptly put in to field, the prospect of which filled us with dread.
But sometimes inebriated minds can do intoxicating things. Ralph Cobban and Chris Ledger, both still under the influence, bowled like demons possessed and gobbled two wickets each, to reduce OMT to 31/4. Wall, the no.5 bat, was struck on the face by a Cobban bouncer and was forced to retire. The abstemious David Gray (not of the minibus party) continued the hostilities with a fine display of accurate seam bowling, taking 5 wickets as OMT slumped to 115/9. Skipper Mark Stockton thought this was all a bit too unfriendly so he brought on Woody, who was gratefully clouted by the returned retiree. But David clung on to a splendid diving catch in Tim Yeardley’s first over to end Wall’s resistance on 58 and the innings on 147.
After tea, Vinoo Nath (35) and Ian McLean (26), both sober non-minibus men, got KCC off to a flying start with the first 50-run opening partnership of the season. But once both were out and San Gore had been caught by a stunning rebound effort at silly mid-off, the rest brought their unfocused, wobbly, euphoric minds to bear so that an easy victory turned, at 97/7, into a real struggle for survival. David Gray (22) and Tim Yeardley (14) then grafted patiently and saw KCC to within 14 runs of the target before both lost their wickets. A nail-biting last over began with 8 wanted by the last pair, reducing to 5 off the last 3 balls – Ralph having got off the mark on the first ball, and Mark nudging a two off the third. But then Mark, in his anxiety to sneak a single, rushed forward, forgot to touch the ball and was stumped by yards.
So another close and exciting finish here at OMT – last year the scores were level. The celebrations were no less exuberant, although the evening passed off “quietly”, with a little fining (£105 collected for misdemeanours, real or otherwise), a little drinking (trays of whiskies produced, and beer spilled everywhere), and a little injury (Mark insists on sumo-wrestling with an OMT heavy, slips, and breaks a collar-bone that puts him out of action for the rest of the season!).
So, let’s LIVEN things up a bit next year!!