Sun 3 June 18 Dunsfold WON by 98 runs
KCC having failed to chase down a target in the previous two encounters with Dunsfold, skipper Saikat decided to bat first in a 40 overs game on this scorching hot day. Amit Shanker and last minute replacement Chetan Malhotra gave us a very good 67 run start on a slow wicket and sluggish outfield. Amit was the first one to get out for a boundary-filled 39, soon followed by Jamie who could not adapt to the lack of bounce. Chetan soldiered on, however, surviving 3 dropped chances on his way to a well-crafted 64. Although Stef, Harsha, and Neeraj failed to contribute significantly it was Sid Chhibbar (44) who played the aggressive innings in the middle order to propel us to a very good total of 209. The Bell family struck again for Dunsfold’s bowling unit with Max getting 4 and Ollie picking up 3 wickets. Adam Young also chipped in with 2 wickets.
The usual lovely tea was duly taken with some freshly made sandwiches and cakes. After Saikat’s brief inspirational team talk Eddy and Seethal shared the new ball for us but failed to make a breakthrough despite bowling with exemplary control. First change Saikat got rid of Dunsfold’s premier batsman Max Bell, thanks to a good catch by Eddy in the covers. Two more wickets in the following overs and a run out by a direct hit from Harsha set Dunsfold back considerably (36/4). Neeraj and Sid then came to the party and picked up two wickets each for not too many. Despite a late flourish from senior Bell and Ross Manton Dunsfold were all out for 111, well short of KCC’s total. Saikat was the pick of the KCC bowlers with 4/4.
A post-match presentation was held thanking Dunsfold’s excellent hospitality as always. The Bell family received the Johnny Walker whisky as Dunsfold’s “Men of the match” while Chetan received the Cobra bottle for his 64 and a sharp catch at slip. Another session of drinks, fun and laughter took place in the nearby Sun Inn; we all look forward to next year’s fixture.
Sun 13 August 17 Dunsfold LOST by 50 runs
Playing cricket in Dunsfold in August is a dream come true, especially as they now have covers to keep the pitch bone dry during the usual August downpours.
KCC won the toss and Captain Tabrez inserted the hosts, “a strange decision” as Matty Marshall would say. Dunsfold’s innings belonged to Max Bell who batted beautifully to get to 77. There were other strong middle-order contributions from Peter Coveney and Max Richards, however it was Sam Bugler (demoted to 5 despite having scored 69* in 2016 in the same fixture) who drew claps and cheers from the audience for some shots reserved for League cricket, such as reverse sweeping medium pacers for 6. Dunsfold’s innings also belonged to KCC wickie Oscar Jefferson who took 3 stupendous catches, and effected 1 stumping and a run out!
In reply, KCC’s opening bat Alex Sabelli hit the second ball of the first over for a humungous six over the bowler’s head. The sound of the bat, the ball flying over the fence across the road on the far side of the pavilion landing in the field, and the nonchalance of Alex – wow, that was a Johnnie Walker Golden moment of the season – and the crowd drew breath. Alex found no support from the top order of KCC, there were some contributions from Tabrez and Saikat – but it was too little and frankly too late. Alex missed out on what would have been a match-winning and deserved hundred in front of his doting mum and sister whose encouragement from the boundary lifted KCC’s spirits. The Bell family shared 6 wickets but in a match where batsmen 2 – 5 make 6 runs between them, the batting side is set to be defeated.
Post-match presentation and banter on the Sun Inn green reminded us of the warmth of Dunsfold and why we love playing them. We will be a better match in 2018.
Sun 14 August 16 Dunsfold LOST by 6 runs
On a very warm Sunday afternoon, the best yet of this summer, Team Kensington headed to the beautiful village of Dunsfold in the depths of Surrey.
Having lost the toss for this 40 over game, KCC were asked to field. Jake Elliott and Saikat opened the bowling and the Dunsfold openers looked all over the place with the probing line, length and swing. Jake was unlucky not to pick up an early wicket, dropped in the gully, but Saikat drew first blood when Mike Berry hit one firmly only to be caught smartly by Sid at mid off. The runs were not coming quickly and after 12 overs Dunsfold’s score was 27/1. Saikat maintained his good line and length from one end throughout his spell and grabbed another wicket finishing with respectable figures of 8-4-7-2. But the change bowlers were not so tight as runs began to flow. Ian Elliott found success in his second over with a cool caught and bowled to remove the other Dunsfold opener Petersen. This brought the 15 year-old Sam Bugler to the middle who played carefully at first and then was severe on anything loose hitting these crisply. Although Ian and Sid Chhibbar chipped away at the middle order the run rate accelerated, 57 coming in the last 10 overs, thus enabling Dunsfold to finish with a respectable total of 171/6, thanks to an unbeaten 69 from Bugler. Sid finished with 2 wickets whereas Ian and Jake took one apiece.
After a good tea KCC openers Neeraj and Varun went out to chase down the total but never found it easy to score especially off opening bowler Adam Young who hardly bowled anything loose. Varun was his first victim, a feathered ball to the keeper. Stefanos joined Dad in the middle and put on a partnership of 55 in 17 overs. In trying to break the shackles Neeraj holed out to a splendid catch at cover off Ross Manton. Skipper Tabrez joined Stef who was playing magnificently. Another excellent partnership of 51 was formed between these two which was broken when Tabby was caught behind. At that point the required run rate was getting higher and scoring quick runs was difficult with the uneven bounce plus slow outfield, however KCC batsmen refused many possible singles or twos through poor running between the wickets. Stef hit a fine 63 but those following tried their level best to up the run rate. KCC fell agonisingly short by 7 runs, despite wickets in hand.
The young performers from both sides grabbed the man of the match awards: Sam Bugler received the Johnnie Walker while Stef got the Cobra. A good close game on a lovely day which ended with a few pints at the adjacent Sun Inn. We look forward to this amazing fixture next year and hopefully come up with a better performance!
Sun 16 August 15 Dunsfold WON by 42 runs
A splendid roast lunch at the Sun Inn adjacent to this charming village ground is the ideal preparation for this annual fixture. But when we ambled across to get ready for the game we were mortified to see that the pitch was damp and soggy in the middle as the covers had only protected the ends and not been extended to the good length spots. We started half an hour late to give some soak-off time and agreed to a 35 overs match. San, of course, lost the toss.
As is their wont Dunsfold put us in and we realised immediately that batting would be difficult. Matt Syddall, now back from China, and Chris fended off rearing deliveries and it was not long before Matt was bowled. Young Varun Sarna, on debut, decided to commit suicide by attempting to get off the mark second ball and called for a run which everyone at the ground knew wasn’t there (18/2). Chris and Atif plodded along at under 3 an over ever wary of that spiteful ball. When both fell there was a lot to do in the remaining 14 overs. Alex Sabelli, our man from Italy, upped the tempo and Nitin, Eddy and Bernard followed suit all scoring freely. Wickets continued to fall, however, as we scrambled to get a decent total but we managed to end on a paltry 127/9. Sadly, the Dunsfold skipper Paul Petersen twisted his ankle when fielding and took no further part in the match.
After tea, Dunsfold’s innings started disastrously. The pace of Bernard and Eddy on that wicket simply swept away the top five batsmen to leave the home team reeling on 25/5. Paul Whitney and Ollie Bell fought a rear guard action, but Paul did not last long bowled by Varun. Another wicket later and it was left to Ollie and his son Seb to put on a partnership and aim for victory. Ollie made a good fist of it farming the strike sensibly and dispatching loose deliveries to the boundary. But it was not to last as one shot too many found Alex at deep mid off who make no mistake. San generously allowed a substitute bat for the injured Paul but the innings folded soon after with San having last man Seb being beautifully stumped by Mark Oppe (glad to see you back, Mark, even if it be for this one match).
Drinks all round and presentations at the Sun Inn before the long drive home.
Sun 17 August 14 Dunsfold WON by 87 runs
Down to the wonderful country ground on the Surrey/Hampshire border where we all met up at the local inn for a roast lunch and beer before cascading onto the cricket field. Dunsfold won the toss and inserted us, much to San’s surprise. But it soon became obvious that it was a defensive measure for they turned out to be much weaker than in previous years.
Our debutant from Italy, Alessandro Sabelli, donned his black pads and with Chris opened KCC’s innings. We soon realised that Alex had played a lot of T20 cricket as he smote the ball in all directions. Sadly, it was not to last, well caught in the deep for 13. Deano then, in a rare appearance for KCC, brought a measure of calm as he and Chris put on 46 before Chris departed. A flurry of wickets followed and at 111/6 we were in danger of squandering a good start. Fortunately the resolute Deano, already on 50, launched into attacking mode and with the belligerent Amit (31 in 18 balls) lifted the score together by 64 runs. San declared the moment Deano reached his well-deserved hundred.
Dunsfold’s innings never really got going. Leg-spinner Gabriel Thomas opened the attack, mainly to get the overs in, struck an immaculate length and was rewarded with 3 early wickets. Eddy was hostile in his 6 overs for 7 runs. Rohan and David pitched in with a wicket apiece to leave the innings in tatters at 39/5. It was all too much to do for the later batsmen although Ollie Bell, Watkins and Petersen offered stern resistance in an attempt to secure a draw. But Rohan eventually bowled Ollie and had Watkins well caught behind by Nino Trapani. The returning Archangel and Amit finished off the innings – 9 down as Dunsfold conceded the match so as not to expose their under-aged youngster in the approaching dusk.
Drinks all round and presentations at the adjacent pub before the long drive home.
Sun 18 August 13 Dunsfold LOST by 1 wkt
Picture the scene. Dunsfold are on the brink of victory in the late summer gloaming. 2 wickets in hand, 10 runs to get. Paul Whitney has played his usual trick of batting himself down the order, then hitting the ball to all parts just when we think we’re getting on top. He’s picking runs off with ease despite the failing light. Match is tense with 6 runs to get as David brings Manas Roy back into the attack. Four scampered runs in the first 3 balls. 1 run to tie, 2 to win. Then Manas castles Paul with a beautifully disguised slower ball. No.11 survives the last two balls of the over. ‘Lethal’ Seethal, bowling exceptionally well, continues at the other end. One more wicket and victory is ours. Glory beckons. First ball – wide! The scores are level. Three balls later No.10 dollies a simple catch to cover. Kabir runs in and spills it as the batsmen cross for the winning run and the game is lost! But what a cracker!
Earlier, San had held the batting together with a pugnacious 77 at the top of the order and shared a 92 run stand with Regan. Ed St.Aubyn took advantage of a juiced up pitch after the rain break to take a 5-for on the eve of his departure for South Africa. Pradham and Gupta both scored tidy 50s to set up the Dunsfold run chase. Matt Syddall was the pick of our slow bowlers, whereas Behar Snr and Gabriel conceding 100 runs between them both looked rusty after long lay-offs.
Sun 19 August Dunsfold Won by 74 runs
We 215/7 in 40 overs (Tabrez Khan 84*, David Behar 45, Manas Roy 22, Bharat Gorasiya 19, Peterson 3/56, Marriott 3/70)
They 118/9 in 27.1 overs (Berry 45, W.Wigmore 25, Sunil Amar 5/16, D.Behar 3/15)
If you want to experience a proper village cricket match, Dunsfold is your game! The setting is bucolic. The village pub is a short walk away. The locals are welcoming and the home side play to win. Bizarrely, we had a Phantom bomber doing repeated flypasts off the ground at frightening low altitude and ear piercing volume for the first few overs of play. Hard to tell if the pilot was or wasn’t a cricket lover. On the field of play, however, this was very much the Sunny and Tabby show.
Dunsfold’s opening bowlers, Peterson and Marriott, used their knowledge of local conditions to best advantage by keeping an immaculate length on a slow pitch and allowing the ball to do just enough but not too much. KCC were soon reeling at 50/5 with KCC’s frontline batsmen unable to come to terms with the pitch. Even the in-form and imperturbable Gore was by now back in the pavilion and you don’t score many runs there! Tabby and the skipper David Behar set about righting the ship. Both started out watchfully but played with greater freedom as they became more settled at the crease. By the time the skipper hit the ball down mid-on’s throat, KCC were in a much happier position of 140ish for 6. In the final overs, Tabby launched a brutal assault on the Dunsfold bowlers sparing none. Even Marriott came back into the attack only to be despatched for 39 off his last 3 overs. Tabby ended the innings 84 not out ably supported in the final thrash by Manas who scored 22. KCC declared on 215 for 7 off 40 overs.
Dunsfold came out to bat and the momentum of the match swung again. The opening pair raced to 80, Mike Berry scoring a brave 45 after taking a Sumaer beamer on the arm. Whilst Sumaer struggled to pitch a ball, Manas and Giorgio also found rhythm elusive. It fell to our teenage borrowed ringer, Chad Moraes, to turn the tide and take the first wicket. Dunsfold were still handily placed at 110/2. Enter stage right, the big swinger, the silver fox, the President, to mesmerise and bamboozle the opposition batsmen. 6 overs, no maidens, 16 runs, 5 wickets. Two fell to excellent catches by Bharat. Three were off consecutive balls! That’s right, a hat-trick. The first of your career Mr President. David also chipped in with 3 wickets and KCC were home and dry. After a lean summer, we’d almost forgotten the taste of victory, but not quite.
Sun 14 August Dunsfold Won by 7 wkts
They 141/9 in 39 overs (Berry 52, J.Wigmore 27, Amar 2/17, Shailendra 2/24)
We 145/3 in 29.2 overs (Ghosh 74, Gore 33, Westland 1/18, Manton 1/41)
Sunil Amar doesn’t ever recall having a full team at the start of a game at Dunsfold, there is always a traffic jam somewhere on route and this time he was right in it, arriving well after start of play. Maybe having lunch at The Sun should be a must.
There were three debutants for KCC. Martin Sumpton, a golfing friend of Sunil, and two young Bangladeshi lads, Manas Roy and Al Naser Regan, the first to play for KCC from that country. We won the toss (in Sunil’s absence) and elected to field. Dunsfold lost their opener to Akhi in the first over, while Berry held on at the other end to some hostile fast bowling from Manas who was unlucky not to have the edges taken in the slips. Stefanos came on first change and bowled a tight line and length taking a useful wicket in his five overs. Regan was given a go but nearly caused a diplomatic incident with a less than straight arm action. Sunil persuaded the opposition captain and umpire for Regan to have just 3 overs, enough to involve him in the game (and to take a wicket). Apart from Berry who managed to score a worthy 52 before being lbw to Sunil, Dunsfold were not particularly strong this year and at 88/6 after 28 overs we relaxed our grip. Young Wigmore flung his bat with great success to enable Dunsfold to declare on 141/9 at the stroke of the fixed tea interval.
San and Rohan opened the KCC innings and weathered a barrage of lifting seamers from Young and Manton to put on a 63 run stand. Rohan continued in a rich vein of form to his fifty, then opened his shoulders against some high-lobbed bowling with a six and a four, but was dismayed to be bowled next ball on the second bounce! Martin (14*) and Neeraj (13*) saw us home with some 12 overs to spare.
Dunsfold is probably the oldest fixture in the KCC Year Book and what a delightful place it is to play village cricket. The friendly nature of the opposition and lovely tea are well worth visiting this place and we all look forward to being there next year.