Sun 19 August Acton Lost by 76 runs
They 231/8 in 39.2 overs (David Piper 100 rtd, George Murphy 77, Bernard van Vuuren 3/45)
We 155/10 in 34.2 overs (Sid Chhibbar 60, Nitin Chaturvedi 34, Shahzeb Mohammed 29, Huzaifa Yousafzai 3/55)
KCC v Acton was never going to be easy (for KCC), but we did score a victory of sorts even before the game, as not only did everyone confirm their availability a full 5 days in advance (with even the last-minute Rohan-for-Jamie swap being handled with the smoothness of a chilled post-match Cobra), but we also turned up 15 minutes before start of play!
That, however, was as good as it got for us for this game. Acton won the toss and elected to bat. Saikat bowled with his usual discipline and Eddy manfully bowled uphill into a stiff breeze. Tabby pulled off a brilliant direct-hit run out, but that was KCC’s only success for the next 28 overs as George Murphy and No.3 David Piper motored along at more than 5 an over. Bernard calmed things down for us, and was denied a wicket as skipper Saurav put down a chance at mid-off when Piper was on 14, an error which was to cost us 86 runs (and which could have been more had the batsman not retired). Acton kept the runs ticking over, even though Tabby and, in particular Pradip, bowled well. The reintroduction of Bernard and Saikat for the death overs helped us notch up a few in the wickets column and, aided by another run out (a direct hit from Rohan) that we tried our best to botch, we managed to restrict Acton for what looked like a tough but gettable 231/8 in 40 overs. Nitin had a busy time at midwicket/cover, while Rohan, fielding opposite him for most of the innings, barely touched the ball. It was that kind of day.
Tea was appreciated as usual, more so as the sun had come out and Hardik Pandya’s 5-fer had reduced England to an unexpected 128/8 in the concurrent test match.
KCC’s reply got off to an inauspicious start, as both openers were dismissed cheaply and we only crawled to 14/2 in 6 overs. Sid Chhibbar (60) and Nitin Chaturvedi (34) then steadied the ship, with a partnership featuring some sparkling stroke play, but their dismissals in quick succession brought things to a grinding halt as the rest of the batsmen succumbed to the ever-steepening asking rate. Only Shahzeb (29) managed to reach double figures, as our innings folded for a less-than-glorious 155. Bowling figures for Acton were – as might be expected from the score line – good all round, with special mention for Mitchell Hands whose solitary over yielded returns of 2-6.
Sun 20 August Acton Lost by 43 runs
They 252/4 in 40 overs (Adam Forsdike 100*, Mark Maksic 63*, Nasir Mehmood 38, Saikat Barua 2/20)
We 209/8 in 40 overs (Jamie Keleher 70, Rohan Ghosh 56, Eddy Barreto 38*, Sid Chhibbar 24, Alex Brennan 4/16)
On a bright Sunday afternoon KCC headed to Acton Cricket Club, only to find a massive building site where the pavilion used to be – the result of redevelopment work being undertaken by the new owners, the David Lloyd group. Acton wanted to bat first and Jamie to bowl, so the toss was dispensed with for this 40 overs game.
Saikat and Eddy started well bowling with great control and swing. Both the Acton openers found it very hard to get going. Eddy was extremely unlucky not to get a wicket when Sid Chhibbar dropped an absolute sitter at first slip. However, Saikat finally brought the breakthrough by bowling one opener and having the other caught beautifully by Rohan at first slip. These two quick wickets brought Nasir Mehmood and 13 years old Yousafzai. Mehmood punished anything loose of which there were many from Wes Johnson and Matt Marshall, but eventually they both grabbed a wicket each. After 25 overs, Acton were 90/4 and we thought we were in the game. It proved to be wrong as Mark Maksic and Adam Forsdike formed an unbeaten partnership of 163 for the 5th wicket. These two started steadily but once they found their feet, they took full toll of our bowling especially Adam who hit the ball crisply all over the park. It was fair to say our fielding and bowling were also to their liking. Adam deservedly reached his ton on the last ball of the innings and Mark remained unbeaten on 63. Acton finished on 252/4, the last 163 runs coming in just 15 overs.
After tea, Sid and Preetinder opened very cautiously. After 6 overs Preetinder departed for a 22 balls 2. Skipper Jamie replaced him and formed a brisk partnership of 73 with Sid. Hitting boundaries down the ground and square of the wickets were common sights during Jamie’s innings. Then, Acton skipper John Reeve brought on his star bowler Alex Brennan, their first team captain. The very first ball he bowled, Sid was out LBW for 24. In came Rohan to join Jamie. These two could only add 20 as Jamie holed out at long off trying to clear the rope for a six after scoring a blistering 70 in 41 balls. With the departure of Jamie, KCC experienced its inevitable middle order collapse. David Behar, Kamrul and Saikat all failed to contribute more than a run and KCC were reeling at 132/6. Rohan and Eddy formed a decent partnership of 65 to give us a respectable total. Rohan scored 56 before getting out to a full toss while Eddy remained not out at 38. We finished on 209/8 in 40 overs, falling short by 43 runs.
Unsurprisingly, Alex Brennan was the pick of the Acton bowlers taking 4/16 in his 8 overs. However, it was Adam who received the Man of the Match Johnnie Walker Gold Label award for his fine century. Saikat got the Cobra for his fine opening spell.
Sun 10 July Acton Lost by 9 wkts
We 177/10 in 35.4 overs (Tim Keleher 52, Sid Chhibbar 45, Nikhil Dhokia 27, Scott Kojak 2/10, Alex Brennan 2/11, John Reeve 2/22)
They 178/1 in 25 overs (Matthew Reeve 96*, Scott Kojak 54, Casey Lee 1/27)
Following the exciting tied game last year, this turned out to be a very one-sided 40 over match indeed, with Acton taking all the honours.
It did not start like that, though. San won the toss and elected to bat on a slightly damp but good wicket. Tim was again on song as he and Stef hared out of the traps going at 6 an over. Two quick wickets in the 11th over (including San for a golden) and with out-of-sorts Varun soon departing brought KCC back to earth. After Tim was also out for a breezy 52 at 88/4, new boy Nikhil Dhokia and Sid Chhibbar set about to slowly repair the damage. They put on 71 runs before Nikhil was senselessly run out. With 10 overs to go one would have expected a score of at least 200. But no – KCC contrived one of their famous dramatic collapses losing 5 wickets (6 if one includes the run out) for 18 runs in 5 overs. The innings had been truly shipwrecked by two of Acton’s main league bowlers who had been deliberately held back. We trudged into tea with an air of foreboding.
Tim held the team talk, taking over as skipper on the field so San could concentrate behind the stumps, and exhorted a supreme effort from the troops. It seemed to have fallen on deaf ears, however, as the opening batters Matt Reeve and Scott Kojak took a great liking to the generous fodder that came their way and duly smashed them to the boundary. The fifty came in the 9th over and the 100 in the 19th. It was all too easy and the only surprise was Scott getting out, caught by Tim off Casey Lee. Matt continued on his merry way and Acton cruised to victory with 15 overs to spare.
Sun 31 May Acton Tied
They 228/6 in 40 overs (Mark Maksic 92*, Peter Lawla 33, Ghumra 28, Extras 42, Neeraj Nayar 1/16, Bernard van Vuuren 1/26)
We 228/9 in 40 overs (Bernard van Vuuren 71, Eddy Barreto 34*, Neeraj Nayar 31, Extras 49, Ian Reeve 2/23, Harman Singh 2/28)
It’s been three years since I’ve held a bat and now I’ve been asked to captain a side. “It is a last minute fixture and very close to your home, Tabrez, so you should skipper for the day.” That’s a great honour and thanks San for selecting the team but when I get to the ground, why don’t I recognise more than half of the KCC side? Forget that, “it’s raining and play may not be possible”. Thanks for the insight, that’s what my new wife said too before I left her for the day. The characteristics of an early season game in England.
Ok – so after a long wait, hoping and praying to the weather God, introductions and new found knowledge of what each of the KCC team do on the cricket field – I lost the toss and we had to field in the damp and cold. Great start… but at least we were getting in a game, probably the only one in Southern England that rain-soaked day!
Acton didn’t at all seem that they were playing a start of the season game. Skipper John Reeve looked very solid and when he walked after nicking a faint edge behind, it was a sigh of relief. There were a couple of other double-digit scores which contributed to a strong looking total. The batting honours and Man of the Match performance from the opposition belonged to Mark Maksic who hit a very good, chanceless 92 and never really looked in any trouble as he carried his bat through their 40 overs. The KCC bowling was a bit rusty but the fielding was a painful experience as players wandered between and during overs to have their ‘imaginary cup of tea’ and new KCC captains emerged as we progressed through the last 20 overs – to the extent that we needed a ‘talk’ during the innings break.
Chasing 228, the top four KCC batsmen got 13 runs between them as we subsided to 48/4. Neeraj (31) continued his bowling form by manfully making 69 runs with Bernard before getting out trying to up the run rate. At the start of the match I had told their skipper, “we only have 2-3 proper batsmen”. Well, it turned out the real batsmen were those who I didn’t know could bat, so I got a few questioning looks whilst umpiring as our bowlers Bernard, Eddy and new-boy Akash Shah (bats 6, 9 and 10) plucked fours and ploughed sixes at ease. After hitting 5 sixes and 4 fours Bernard finally fell for a career-best 71 when the score was 170/8 with 7 overs left. It was a nail-biter, reminiscent of the James Anderson and Monty Panesar partnership which saved England that test against Australia in 2009. But with a draw not an option, Eddy and Akash continued to plunder runs – 49 in the next 6 overs with Eddy hitting 4 fours and 1 six for his 34 not out to set up a thrilling finish. 10 required off the last over, then two off the last ball to win. Field in close, Last man Seethal swings and misses but Eddy scampers safely through for a bye to seal an unbelievable TIE.
It was a day we will remember a long time, for the Bernie and Eddy sixes, the warm hospitality of Acton CC during and after the match, the lovely surroundings of the pitch and the nail-biting finish which I was thankful neither of the sides won as it was a deserving tie and a great story to relay back home. We look forward to coming back here next year and yes, I’d like to skipper that game again please Mr Team Secretary.