For the last 10 years KCC has been a huge part of my life and without doubt was one of the best things that happened to me since coming to England.
It all began in March 2001 when my friend Todd Cornehls and I were invited to train with Kensington at Lord’s by Todd’s new boss, Ralph Cobban. We arrived at the nets in the usual Aussie cricket training attire; tracksuit pants and coloured T-shirt. Not quite what they expected at the home of cricket. We managed to borrow some whites from behind the desk and have a hit but it was obvious we needed to adjust to the game in England.
In my first season I played 19 games and was given out LBW 16 times. Each dismissal had a similar theme of me rocking back and across to pull or hook only to see the ball roll along the ground and hit my shins right in front. I was also guilty of using language that was deemed inappropriate for a friendly fixture and was reminded by my captain in one of my first games that we need to be invited back next year and that I was not in Australia anymore!
Apart from these minor indiscretions I must have impressed somewhat as I was made one of the team captains in my second season. A poisoned chalice if ever there was one. I thought I would be undertaking the usual captain’s responsibilities; coin toss, batting order, field placing etc but at KCC the captain has some additional chores. Each player must either bat in the top six or get at least 4 overs, the captain must remind all fielders of where they are supposed to stand and then systematically ask them to return to that position every 6-8 balls. He must be able to leak runs if the opposition is a little slow, stop leaking when they speed up, know when to declare to ensure a fair game, collect the tea money, buy a round for the opposition and then to top it all off write a concise match report telling everybody what a great day we had.
In seriousness, captaining KCC taught me a lot about myself as a leader and also a person. It taught me how to be humble in victory and gracious in defeat. More importantly it showed me that the spirit in which the game is played is of more importance than the outcome. We play to win but never at the expense of the team ethics by which we abide (except against Deutsche Bank where all previous text is null and void).
As someone who has been a member of many sporting clubs I feel privileged to have had the chance to spend 10 years at this fantastic club and there are several reasons why I feel KCC is special.
The Club has a great team ethos that is borne out of a strict adherence to the philosophy that individual participation comes before winning and that we must stay after each game to support and mix with our opponents. The amount of time and effort members commit to the Club ensures it runs efficiently with sponsors to support the club, a highly regarded fixture list that seems to improve year on year, winter nets at Lord’s and European cricket tours to start and end the season. I thank Sunil Amar, Chris Ledger and especially San Gore for their tireless efforts in providing a club that operates at such a high level.
Another point that I feel contributes greatly to the success of KCC is the Kensington apparel, with team colours and sponsors’ logos, that we all wear on the field. If you look like a team you will feel like a team and if you feel like a team you play like a team. I have felt like I am part of a team every time I have stepped onto the park with KCC. It provides all players with a sense of togetherness that is often lacking at other clubs. It ensures all players feel they can get the opportunity to contribute and this in turn helps the club, as people who contribute on the field are more likely to do so off it.
These are the things that separate Kensington Cricket Club from other clubs and this is why Kensington will always hold a special place in my heart.
In closing, I would like to say thanks to all my teammates who shared the great times with me and with whom I have established lifelong friendships. I have loved playing cricket for KCC, I have loved the socialising and friendships and I love this Club.
Thanks for the memories.
Darren ‘Daza’ Bowden
When I moved to England from Australia in early ‘05 I was keen to play some cricket and was fortunate enough to have one of my friends meet existing member David Behar, subsequently attend a few net sessions at Lord’s and soon after play my first game against Balliol College. During that game, whilst batting, I was quite surprised to hear a number of their fielders remark “nice shot, bat” or “well played, bat”. I thought at first they were sledging me as I can guarantee you would not be met with such pleasantries in Australia! I was soon to realise, however, that the good-natured spirit demonstrated that day is synonymous with each fixture KCC has retained over the years. A spirit which KCC certainly prides itself on replicating.
The Club is about more than just the cricket. Cricket is the common ground by which the Club brings together people from many different backgrounds and ages. It’s about meeting with friends, having a laugh, putting on the KCC shirt, the captain phoning to find the whereabouts of the kit (and the final 2 players that have yet to show up), banter from the slips to outfielders who have yet to play enough games to warrant a place in the ‘cordon’, Youths vs Vets, and the all-important post-match de-brief over a few beers.
After spending four and a half years in England I am heading back home to Australia and when I think about my time with KCC I recall the many fond memories and lifelong friendships I will never forget.
I wish you all the best in the future, both on and off the cricket field.