Sun 19 May Antigua Cavaliers Lost by 8 wkts
We: 78/10 in 29 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 19, Praveen Lekhraj 16, Warren Williams 4/22, Irfan 3/12, Sarbi Lee 2/18)
They: 82/2 in 11.4 overs (Irfan 49*, Nitin Chaturvedi 1/10, Bernard van Vuuren 1/18)
Yet again Blackheath let us down, this time because they had a cup game in a knockout competition and of course they had booked us in case they lost in the first round! So, we were short of a game for this weekend, but luckily Tim managed to find one in Walthamstow through the Conference – a club called Antigua Cavaliers. They sounded very friendly and even offered to provide a West Indian high tea. We visualised Ambrose and Richards look-a-likes against us and with great trepidation we made our way to North-east London to the Peter May Sports Centre comprising four playing fields spread round changing facilities that resembled prison cells! The pitch didn’t seem to have seen a roller in years! Yet, on an overcast blustery day against a rather intimidating opposition (in our minds that is) Rohan chose to bat first.
Our worst fears were realised quite early in this 40 overs match. The bowling was fiery on this typical park wicket with uneven bounce (sometimes none at all) and we lost our openers cheaply. Praveen and Sid proceeded cautiously but Sid rashly holed out just when we were regaining momentum. In the next over Rohan was well caught behind and soon after Praveen was bowled by a grubber. 52/5 became 53/6, Saurav departing without troubling the scorer (San sitting exposed to the wind – no pavilion for shelter!). Our tail crumbled swiftly despite some rear-guard action from Nitin; we ended on a paltry 78 runs in 29 overs, Williams and Irfan being the main destroyers.
As the High Tea was not yet ready, we quickly took the field expecting to roll their batsmen over on this bowler-friendly pitch. Ha! Bernard and Eddy went for 28 runs in four overs before Bernard took a great return catch. Irfan, the other opener, decided to hit over the top as he rattled up 8 fours in a partnership of 41 before Nitin trapped his partner LBW with just 10 runs short of victory. Irfan smashed a six to end on 49 not out and win the match with 28 overs to spare.
The Antiguans produced the most delicious spread, West Indian style – jerk chicken, salad and rice (inset). They were a fun-loving drinking lot with many of their supporters on hand, all laughing and ribbing each other in good humour.
With time left it was decided to play a 15 overs a side beer match, in which KCC redeemed themselves in the last over with Bernard hitting the winning boundary. Unfortunately, all the Cobras had been consumed by the Antiguans when we were in the field! For his all-round performance Irfan was presented the Johnnie Walker (which was instantly opened and shared with his mates). As no KCC player could remotely claim the equivalent honour, Rohan did the right thing and gave the lunch-ladies the large Cobra.