Sun 3 July Hemel Hempstead Town Lost by 32 runs
They 213/10 in 29.3 overs (Dan Keene 71, Aaron Wilson 27, Extras 34, Jithin Thamdan 4/45, Eddy Barreto 3/58, Alex Tharakan 2/43)
We 181/9 in 38 overs (Andy Stokes 44, Alex Tharakan 38, Sid Baveja 19, Extras 36, Stan Hayden 3/26, Dan Keene 2/16, Max Clark 2/24)
A match manager’s lot is not always an easy one. The team published on a Wednesday was chopped and changed beyond recognition come Sunday, and a player short. Guest players George Oram and Jithin Thamban were making their debuts for KCC. The opposition captain assured me they were fielding a lot of colts and not particularly strong. I’d heard that one before.
We had 2 frontline bowlers, one of whom hadn’t turned his arm over for three years, 2 unknown quantities in the debutants and the skipper, David Behar, to bowl. Thankfully, Eddy Barreto found his groove early and took a brilliant reflex caught and bowled among his 3 wickets. Jithin was also quickly into his stride at the other end and was a constant menace moving the ball both ways. George exhibited an agricultural action that cost a few extras but also snared his maiden wicket for KCC. Alex was as reliable as ever to bag himself a brace. When Hemel Hempstead were 139/9, the game was very much in KCC’s favour. However, Dan Keene at no 10 had other ideas, smashed a quickfire 71 in a 74-run 10th partnership to take Hemel Hempstead’s total to 213. Momentum well and truly swung. Jithin was the pick of the bowlers with 4 well-earned wickets on debut.
We had two frontline batters in our line-up, both in form, and both had to fire for us to chase down the target. Undy (new moniker for Andy Stokes who cannot properly pronounce Indian names) was slow off the mark but more fluent as the innings progressed. Harsha nicked off after a couple of casual cuffs for 4 down the slope to the shorter boundary. From then on, the innings went into freefall, only arrested by a cameo from Sid Baveja playing his part in a 47-run 3rd wicket partnership with Undy. The wickets were shared around with the young Clark brothers accounting for 3 between them. Undy was 7th out for 44. At 116/8 and only 1 wicket left, the game seemed up. Eddy and Alex had other ideas putting on a buccaneering partnership of 65 (just short of the Club ninth wicket record) to carry the KCC total to 181 and restore some pride.
Alan Hansen said you’ll never win anything with kids. And just like the Man Utd class of 92, Hemel Hempstead proved that, with a little helping hand from the opposition, you can. Their future looks bright.