Sun 9 Sept East Horsley Drawn (but exciting)
We 241/4 in 40 overs (Rohan Ghosh 82, Saikat Barua 52*, Chris Ledger 50, Dom Carpenter 2/71)
They 231/7 in 39 overs (John Staddon 62, Ant Drake 47, James Aston 40, Jeremy Garlick 32, Neeraj Nayar 2/39, Ian Elliott 2/41)
Batting first in this declaration game, KCC’s openers Chris Ledger and Chetan Malhotra had to contend with some challenging bowling on a pitch of variable bounce. Scoring was slow for the first 10 overs but we did well not to lose wickets. With a platform laid and wickets in hand, Rohan Ghosh and Saikat Barua in particular were able to capitalise later in the innings, scoring rapidly to take us to a very competitive score of 241 declared after 40 overs.
In reply, East Horsley’s openers Andrew Bull and Ant Drake got off to a flying start, which had us worried until an excellent low catch by Saikat Barua brought the partnership to an end. Ant Drake, playing his last game as a bachelor before his wedding the next weekend, looked in ominous form before Chetan Singh bowled him through the gate with a pearler. Despite wickets falling regularly, East Horsley’s middle order continued the chase in spirited fashion, always just behind the required run rate but refusing to give up hope. With just one over to go all results were possible, with East Horsley needing 14 runs to win, and KCC requiring 3 more wickets.
A special mention for Neeraj Nayar who in the course of this match reached 401 wickets for the Club. Congratulations, Neej – first to 500 soon?
Sun 10 Sept East Horsley Drawn (in the rain)
We 161/9 in 46.3 overs (Preetinder Singh 71, Rohan Ghosh 24, Tabrez Khan 17, Sacha von Wolfen 3/61, Tim Drake 2/3, Harris Irfan 2/16)
They 54/6 in 19 overs (Jason Launder 19, Philip Drake 15, Ryan Konson 3/24, Amit Kumar 2/5)
Rain brought this game to a premature conclusion with Kensington well on top. Despite the early finish, important lessons were still learned.
1 Patience is a virtue
There was no Indian summer in September. Genuinely autumnal conditions meant it was a bowlers’ day. Only one batsman on either side mastered the conditions. Preet started watchfully but accelerated towards the end of his innings to lift us from 51/4 after 25 overs to a respectable total of 161/9. Preet and Ro shared a vital 6th wicket stand of 70 and Preet finished with 71 (exactly what he got in this fixture last year).
2 Be the first to pass the buck
Ryan’s late in-swing reduced East Horsley to 24 for 3. Meanwhile, Chetan was keeping a good length at the other end. Philip Drake, East Horsley No 3, toe-ended an attempted hit over the top from another good length Chetan delivery. The ball was swirling in the air somewhere above mid off and extra cover. Ro, at mid off, cunningly got his shout of “Your catch” in first. David, at extra cover, had no intention of taking the catch. Fortunately, Ro had the awareness to take responsibility and the catch as the ball swirled back in his direction.
3 Persistence is its own reward
Amit Kumar’s maiden season for KCC has been a tough one. He’s struggled to make an impact with bat or ball but has kept on turning out for KCC, enthusiasm undimmed. Fair to say, he finally arrived at East Horsley claiming 2 middle order wickets in one over, the only one of us who could bowl with a bar of soap! Only rain prevented him pushing for his maiden 5-for for the club.
Sun 4 Sept East Horsley Won by 96 runs
We 188/10 in 43 overs (Preetinder Singh 71, San Gore 55, Stef Nayar 24, Tim Drake 4/29, Marcus Roche 2/4, Sam Robinson 2/28)
They 92/10 in 27.3 overs (Marcus Roche 43, Chris Chunnilall 5/11, Stefanos Nayar 2/30, Wajid Tahir 2/42)
As KCC arrived at the gorgeous East Horsley ground, there was a mysterious and long awaited scent of victory in the air. Welcomed by a friendly opposition, we found ourselves padding up and ready to put on a show that would do the Club proud. Unfortunately, the show had arrived from the wrong team as their opening bowler Marcus Roche penetrated through KCC’s openers, bringing down skipper Tabrez Khan and Jai Singh with devastating swing. David Behar was next to fall (7/3), bringing a change of heart to the E.H captain. With a change of bowling and solid batting from San, we managed to steady through the next 10 overs while two members of our team gently discussed politics during an umpire changeover. Stefanos then fell victim to young Luke Garlick’s accurate spin bowling which proved to be a good spell. Now four down and in came Preetinder with a confident look on his face and his batting did justice as he belted his way to his half century alongside San who soon followed up with his own fifty. Both were dismissed, however, after their 100 partnership. The tail did not wag this time as we were bundled out 22 runs later for a below-par 188. Spare a thought though for John Behar in his first match of the season. Coming in at no.9 he looked in good nick and smashed a ball to square leg destined surely for the boundary, only for Jeremy Garlick to hold a blinding catch. We trooped in for tea, the usual magnificent spread.
Wajid and Stef opened the attack in hopes to break through the top order. As Wajid picked up his first wicket, KCC were looking strong but Marcus caused quick panic only to be blown over by Wajid’s destructive pace (gaining himself a second wicket). Stef followed with a couple as that victory scent began to return (72/4). Neeraj bowled a crucial few overs but it was left to Chris Chunnilall to show his Behar relatives how it’s done as his quick wickets compensated for John’s bad shoulder. His offies swept through the tail and he ended up with five wickets for just eleven runs bringing KCC to victory and that long-forgotten sweet smell of success; East Horsley all out for 92 in 27.3 overs was a result we badly needed.
As always the game was played in good spirit. The two Garlicks were presented with the Gold Label and Chris won the KCC Cobra award. The opposition also kindly presented us with a bottle of wine after the game.
Sun 9 August East Horsley Lost by 4 wkts
We 221/6 in 39 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 78*, Tabrez Khan 45, San Gore 28, Shahzeb Mohammed 25, Sam Robinson 2/40, Teagan Pitout 2/51)
They 223/6 in 33 overs (Jason Launder 127, Teagan Pitout 27*, Saikat Barua 3/53, Nitin Chaturvedi 2/28)
Beautiful (and expensive) houses surrounding the cricket green, and an opposition we love playing with, makes this a great day of cricket for KCC. The spirit is warm, competitive yet friendly and all about having fun on the field. We also have a long history of tightly contested wins and losses at this ground so everyone is bright eyed and bushy tailed.
So some of KCC’s finest set about padding up as Skipper Khan won the toss (a first) and chose to bat in the sunshine. When San says he will open the batting with a nod and a smile, you know he is the right one to take the shine off the ball. He struck decent partnerships with Kunal and Shahzeb and fell to an unfortunate bounce that spooned off the bat to mid-wicket. On came Tabrez and Nitin needing to steady the ship in the face of tight East Horsley bowling. A few lusty blows, well placed shots and a mix of aggression and defence led to an 86 run partnership and the score was 166 when Tabby got bowled for the second time that weekend in the 40s, playing the same shot! Nitin soldiered on to an unbeaten 78 off 70 balls. When Sam Robinson found himself with a hat-trick chance in the last over before declaration was due, it was discovered that next-in-to-bat Deepak had taken his pads off anticipating not to bat the last few balls. Tabrez declared at this point much to Robinson’s disappointment. A swift consultation with East Horsley Skipper and Deepak ran in to bat with one pad in hand – to be worn on the pitch before facing 3 balls, unbeaten, and not adding to the score of 221/6. Much ado about nothing but Robinson got to complete his over. Teagan Pitout was the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 51.
Opening bat Jason Launder took to KCC bowling like a hungry man takes to his food. Although Saikat took two early wickets and troubled him at first, Jason dispatched everything with ease, to all parts of the ground and no chances were offered. He brought his side to within easy reach of the target with a splendid 127. KCC however, sensed an opening as other East Horsley batsmen walked in and out. A dropped catch, a tough chance some would say, meant that East Horsley crept over the line with Pitout holding his bat with support from Robinson and Elliott.
We retired to the bar for some excellent local brews and a post-match presentation in the sunshine. Jason walked away with the Johnnie Walker Gold Label Man of the Match bottle and Nitin got the Cobra Man of the Match (for KCC) bottle. A good day of friendly cricket ended with a trip to a curry house on the way home.
Sun 10 August East Horsley Cancelled – rain
Sun 11 August East Horsley Lost by 5 runs
They 222/4 in 38 overs (McClellan 102*, Smart 60, Launder 23, Manas Roy 3/39)
We 217/10 in 42.5 overs (Amit Shanker 94, Chris Ledger 38, Saikat Barua 22, Ant Drake 4/30)
A very enjoyable, close-fought game. Batting first, East Horsley initially struggled against excellent opening bowling from KCC’s new ball bowlers, Manas Roy and Saikat Barua. Deepak Ramachandra followed up with a typically tight spell, but having done well to survive, East Horsley’s man of the match McClellan was then able to plunder KCC’s wayward spinners. After McClellan reached his century, East Horsley’s skipper generously declared after just 38 overs with the score on 222, when most captains would have been tempted to continue for two or three more overs.
KCC’s reply started badly, with both openers dismissed in single figures, before Amit Shankar and skipper Chris Ledger staged a recovery, putting on 70 or so. Once Chris was out, Amit carried the rest of the innings virtually single-handedly as the rest of KCC’s middle order collapsed around him, just missing out on a well-deserved 100. Tailender Saikat Barua played a fine cameo towards the end, smacking 22 quick runs, but perished in the final over, caught in the deep attempting another boundary that might have taken KCC to victory. Although KCC lost, this was a great game of cricket, going down to the wire in the final over. Well done to East Horsley’s skipper Ant Drake for making such a finely judged declaration!
Sun 12 August East Horsley Lost by 64 runs
They 223/8 in 39 overs (McClellan 76, Launder 40, Davies 32, Amar 3/53, J.Behar 2/54, Marshall 2/54)
We 159/10 in 39 overs (Ramsagar 53, D.Behar 20, Tharakan 18, Extras 31, McClellan 3/18, Elliot 2/27, Carpenter 2/39)
With the sun beating down hard, East Horsley decided to bat. Spectators in the Million Pound homes waited with bated breath to be threaded with some thumping sixes. KCC opening bowlers Khush Khan and Matt Marshall were having none of that. Matt was simply too good for the batsmen by swinging it both ways at will. San took a stunning catch at gully and at 18/3 KCC were looking good. McClellan and Saunders counter-attacked scoring 93 together until the Amar and Johnny Behar show finally began. Sweat, good fielding (Rohan pulling off an amazing stumping) and the heat got to everyone including Khush and Furquan who found the boundary shade a few too many times for their skipper’s liking.
203 is not a big score on this ground but KCC made a meal of it. Rohan got stumped (first this decade), David got caught flashing hard, Gore undone by the bounce (theme of the season), T Khan, Scalco, Marshall, J Behar all out within single figures. Ajit scored a fine gritted run-a-ball 50 but the hope for a draw in the timed game rested on Sunil and Khush Khan. Sunil had six balls to face the wily McClellan (who was MoM for his runs and 3 for). Each ball drew oohs and aahs from the fielding and batting teams and the umpires too.
Last ball, field in, “just put bat to ball Sunil”, thought his skipper Tabby Khan umpiring. The ball thudded on to the pads, in slow motion, men in white jumped up and down screaming their lungs for that lbw. A deep breath, right spirit vs save the game, and Tabby raised his finger very slowly. EH were joyous at returning the stuffing they received previous year.
Post match hospitality and beers saw some banter, handshakes and hugs. Surely, that’s what Village Cricket in England is about.
Sun 7 August East Horsley Won by 18 runs
We 222/7 in 46 overs (Shahzeb 62, Ghosh 47, T.Khan 30*, McLellan 5/45)
They 204/10 in 43.4 overs (A.Drake 59, McLellan 55, Brown 51, Chaggar 3/42, Shanker 3/44, Nayar 2/20, Amar 2/35)
As the England-India test series has become hopelessly one-sided, it has fallen to KCC to keep up interest in the highest forms of the game.
KCC won the toss and elected to bat. Rohan Ghosh (47) put on a steady start with Chris Ledger (who was still reeling somewhat from the festivities marking his personal half century the previous evening) and was unlucky to miss out on a half century. Shahzeb survived several attempts at running himself out, but played some delightful shots in between to help himself to 62. He was ably supported by Pammi Chaggar (21), but East Horsley kept the run rate in check with some impressive bowling, particularly from Rob McLellan (5/45) who also took what looked to be a superb catch diving full length forward at the boundary to get rid of Tabrez (20 in quick time), but sportingly declined to appeal as he thought it was a bump ball. Stefanos Nayar’s verdict was “they wanted to keep him in”, though he subsequently retracted (was made to retract?) the statement.
The run rate dragged along at 4 an over for 39 overs until Tabby decided that enough was enough and, sans helmet (naturally) slapped the bowling around to reach 30 in no time at all and help KCC post a respectable 222/7 by the time a delightful tea was taken.
East Horsley started the chase watchfully, and were pegged back to 37/3 thanks to accurate bowling from Amit Shanker (3/44) and the wiles of that man Neeraj Nayar, who conceded just 16 runs in his eight over spell. The introduction of skipper Sen’s off-spin opened the floodgates as Ant Drake (59) and Brown (51) tucked into anything short, and for a few overs it looked as though the hosts would canter home to a comfortable victory as KCC (particularly Furquan, who found himself in the uncomfortable position of boundary rider) chased leather.
However, Pammi Chaggar held his nerve to keep things under control – just, while el presidente Sunil Amar produced a golden spell to tilt the balance back in KCC’s favour. At 151/8, KCC would have been entitled to think the game was effectively over, but again, Rob McLellan (55) had different ideas as he put on a 51-run partnership for the ninth wicket with young Dominic Carpenter, who contributed 1 run to this figure. With the game threatening to get out of hand, Tabby produced a disciplined spell of death bowling which enabled the re-introduced Neeraj to induce McLellan to hole out to long-off and then pick up the last wicket to give KCC a win by 18 runs.
Great sighs of relief accompanied the excellent post-match hospitality and we look forward to another great match next year!