Sun 8 July Hawridge & Cholesbury Won by 78 runs
We 305/5 in 40 overs (Tim Keleher 92, Nitin Chaturvedi 70*, Saikat Barua 38, Harsha Gandadi 28, Chris Ledger 26, Extras 40, Channer 2/46)
They 227/10 in 33.1 overs (Harry Doyle 70, Andy Spurr 35, Extras 33, Nitin Chaturvedi 3/42, Wajid Tahir 2/13, Saurav Sen 2/28)
KCC took on Hawridge & Cholesbury CC (HCCC) at the latter’s picturesque ground in the Chilterns on a blazing summer afternoon in the middle of a heat wave which was both as popularly hoped for and as unexpected as England qualifying for the semi-finals of the football World Cup, and for which everyone was similarly unprepared.
HCCC won the toss and generously allowed Kensington first use of the track in this 40-overs-a-side game, much to the great relief of skipper Saurav and 8 of the KCC squad who could spend more time
stretching and warming up like the true athletes that we are resting in the shade.
Once Chris Ledger was able to find his gloves, he and Tim Keleher got underway and got KCC off to a solid start, negotiating a deceptively tricky wicket (at least, that’s what the batsmen said) and putting on 86 for the first wicket partnership as the heat took its toll on HCCC’s bowlers and fielders. Chris fell for a well-made 26, but then Nitin Chaturvedi joined Tim and the pair turned up the heat even more, as Tim motored past his 50 and Nitin scored freely at the other end. Tim eventually fell on 92, within sight of what would have been a well-deserved century. However Nitin continued on his merry way to post an elegant unbeaten 70* and, with Harsha Gandadi (28) playing an able supporting role and Saikat Barua (38) chipping in with a cameo to bolster his batting credentials, KCC finished with 305/5 in their allotted 40 overs.
HCCC called on the services of 7 bowlers, and even though they did not bowl badly, the lightning-quick outfield and the fact that Tim and Nitin were in good nick meant that both they and the boundary riders, and perhaps through them the HCCC skipper Ben Drane, particularly felt the heat (which necessitated two drinks breaks). For the bowlers, C Channer picked up the wickets of Harsha and Saikat while J Cath accounted for Tim.
The fabulous spread of sandwiches and cakes at tea revealed perhaps the real reason why HCCC had chosen to field first, as KCC collectively did a remarkable impression of a Burmese python that had just swallowed its prey and needed a week to move after that.
HCCC openers Shaun Robinson and Harry Doyle got off to a steady start, perhaps knowing that 300 was not as far-fetched as it might seem given the outfield and the short boundary on one side, and perhaps also having an inkling of KCC’s reputation of defending seemingly safe totals. Ian Elliott opened up for KCC and, even though he struggled to find his rhythm, got us a key breakthrough (and took two blinding catches at first slip later on) as the ominous-looking Shaun Robinson top-edged a full-toss to Saikat at mid-wicket, and was sporting enough to walk even though we were not sure whether it was a no-ball on height. His partner Harry Doyle continued to score freely though, even as Wajid (2/12 in 6 overs) picked up two wickets with his usual unplayable quicks from one end.
With runs flowing freely and KCC’s quicker bowlers withering in the heat, skipper Saurav (2/28 in 8) was forced to bring himself on and, in a moment of
desperationinspiration, turned to Nitin because you can’t just score 70 and say job done at KCC. Nitin duly obliged, buying picking up 3 wickets for 44 runs in 5 overs of remarkable bowling, including the wicket of the dangerous Harry Doyle, stumped smartly by Harsha.
At 200/8, it was deemed safe to bring the quicks on again and even though HCCC’s tail continued to find the boundary, KCC held on as that man Tabrez picked up two wickets to wrap up the innings and hand us a 78-run victory. Tim was our MoM for his batting heroics, while Harry was theirs for his. A good afternoon of cricket played in great spirits was rounded off with chilled Cobras and a BBQ duly appreciated by all, not least KCC’s dedicated supporter Mihir Sen (age 8) – whose school headmaster was in the opposition (!) and for whom 6-1/2 hours of non-stop cricket nets in the relentless heat was a dream come true.
Sun 9 July Hawridge & Cholesbury Won by 6 wkts
They 195/7 in 40 overs (James Cath 77, Ben Drane 30, Saurav Sen 2/28, Chetan Singh 2/28, Jake Elliott 2/37)
We 196/4 in 30.3 overs (Rohan Ghosh 84, Sid Chhibbar 61*, Bernard van Vuuren 20*, Alex Neil 2/38)
To impress the seniors and to win his first match, KCC’s newest and youngest match manager Saikat Barua emailed his troops to be present at the ground 45 minutes before the scheduled start so that we could have some warm ups. Despite this effort (or perhaps because of it), Saikat found three of his players yet to arrive by the time of the toss! H&C captain Ben Drane had no hesitation in deciding to bat first on a batting friendly pitch for this 40 overs game. He also generously let two of his players field for us until our latecomers appeared.
Bernard back from Switzerland for a week opened the bowling for us and was, understandably, a bit wayward – the Swiss weather seemed to have taken its toll on his signature in-swingers. On the other hand, Saikat bowled well with good swing and control but failed to provide the breakthrough. Openers Sean Robinson and James Cath made a decent stand of 42 until first change Jake Elliott drew first blood, thanks to a smart catch by Amit Kumar. Ian Elliot was also bowling well partnering his son Jake before pulling his calf muscle and having to retire. Luckily, we had another Elliott for this game to cover the loss! Ben Drane came to the middle to increase the run rate and did exactly that with a quick-fire 30 before being bamboozled by a Sid Chhibbar in-swinging delivery. Realising slow bowlers would be more effective on this pitch, skipper Saikat introduced Saurav from the other end. This move dried up the runs for H & C with Saurav taking 2 wickets in his excellent straight 8 overs spell. The final change of bowling for KCC was Chetan Singh. Fresh from taking 4 wickets in 4 balls in a charity game at Lord’s he continued his form in this game too by taking 2 wickets for not many. Without much support, H&C opener James Cath scored a fine 77 and at the end of 40 overs Hawridge and Cholesbury reached 195 – a below par total considering the pitch.
After the usual scrumptious tea, new recruit Ravi Jobanputra and Rory Elliott opened the innings for KCC. With some hits and misses, the pair did not last very long and both of them returned to the dressing room when the score was 21. Then the best partnership of the game took place, courtesy of Rohan Ghosh and Sid Chhibbar. These two took full advantage of anything loose and short adding 134 runs together in 116 balls. It looked like they would finish the game but Rohan holed out on 84 at long on trying to hit his fourth six. Amit Kumar replaced him but sadly was adjudged LBW four balls later. KCC legend San was next in the batting order but he let Bernard take his place when Bernard promised to finish the game with a six! Sid moved on to a well made fifty while Bernard from the other end struck four 4s (but no 6s), the game ending tamely with a wide with almost 10 overs to spare!
A balmy evening with chilled Cobra beers shared with the opposition. The two top run-makers for each team, James Cath and Rohan, won the man of the match awards. We look forward to visiting this picturesque ground next year again.
Sun 3 July Hawridge & Cholesbury Lost by 8 wkts
On a bright sunny day, we arrived at the much-awaited fixture of Hawridge & Cholesbury, with some fond memories from the past. Memories such as San’s sixes over cover during his epic 82, a certain KCC member appealing incessantly for an lbw ‘from Point’ – politely acknowledged by the H&C umpire, Shahzeb’s belligerent 93 on a slow pitch in a tight game, and the many BBQs.
That isn’t the story though. This year H&C again wanted to play a 50 over game, split into 30 overs and 20 overs. Batsmen have a chance to come back to bat if they get out in the first innings, team score gets carried into the next innings and result is at the end of the day. Got it? Erm… Okay, let’s play.
First ‘innings’ – 30 overs
We 112/7 in 30 overs (Saikat Barua 35*, Tabrez Khan 24*, Chris Ledger 21, Will Mills 3/22, Ferdy Maintzer 2/14)
They 126/7 in 30 overs (Alex Neal 69*, Charlie Barker 23, Neeraj Nayar 2/9, Saikat Barua 2/29)
Ravi Mantha, appalled at how much each ball was costing him in GBP (vis a vis his flight from India for this game), got out to a notable 2. Ledger led from the front and his stubborn 21 set him for the rest of the season. When you have Jamie in your side, you expect him to make a quick 50 at least (kind of like expectations from SRT). Either he was straight off a Qantas flight or unchanged from the pub. How else do you explain a 3-ball duck, bowled playing across the line, followed by a “Sorry Skipper” with a smile? With others not contributing much, Saikat (34) and Skipper Tabrez (24) formed an unbroken partnership to take KCC to a well below par 112/7. One of Saikat’s sixes over long off sounded like a sweet melody – the ball doing the singing on the way to the boundary. H&C openers were removed with relative ease (one a direct run out) and Neeraj 2/9, Saikat 2/29 were the pick of KCC bowlers. By the time we repaired to think of our 20 over strategy Alex Neal (69*) and Charlie Barker (23) had got them to 126/7.
Second ‘innings’ – 20 overs
We 138/5 in 20 overs (Jamie Keleher 57, Stefanos Nayar 39*, Neil Jones 2/8)
They 126/2 in 17.1 overs (Ian Hames 41, Ben Drane 32, Charlie Barker 29*, Neeraj Nayar 1/25)
Sometimes we influence and sometimes we get influenced. This was a day that the KCC Skipper let his side down by being the latter. After 10 overs, when we were 38/4, opening with the elegant Stefanos and pumped up Eddy was a decision fretted over several times. Why also were Varun and Ravi up the order? Such an error that Chris, Tabrez and Saikat didn’t even get to bat. Anyway, a lesson learnt and we managed 138/5. Surely, Jamie had a hangover in Innings 1, because this time, he scored a belligerent 57 to make up for his duck, being sent down the order and for being frustrated at the slow scoring rate. A classic Jamie was a hook for 6 – nice to have you back JK.
In return, H&C lost 2 wickets in their canter up to 126 to win with 2 overs to spare. Ian Hames and Charlie Barker (again) batted well to lead us back to the bar. Clearly, this Mickey Mouse format is loaded against the bowlers who have to toil against the top order twice and have little chance to bat. The usual beer and banter ensued and before we set off for home (via the curry house) we agreed to have a conventional afternoon game next year.
Sun 5 July Hawridge & Cholesbury – T30 Won by 48 runs
– T20: Won by 39 runs
“Did you win the toss, Shahzeb”? “No San, I maintained the KCC tradition. Also San, we are playing 4 innings (30 overs, then 20 overs) instead of a typical long boring declaration type game.” “What!! This is not the way we play our cricket, what about my stats management software”? “San, keep quiet and you are opening”. “Gosh! Okay then”. This is how the game started at Hawridge & Cholesbury. The rules continued to be altered as the game(s) progressed. Confusion reigned. Will it be a continuation of the first innings from where we left off? Can a player bat twice? Restriction of overs per bowler? What if …? – and so on. In the event San treated this as two separate limited over matches which actually worked quite well.
We 188/5 in 30 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 93, San Gore 51, Mills 3/34, Nick Woof 1/27)
They 140/9 in 28.2 overs (Andy Spur 24*, Nick Woof 23, Charlie Barker 22, Extras 25, Ali Bilgrami 3/19, Sid Chaturvedi 2/23, Saikat Barua 2/31)
In our first match/innings, we posted a competitive score of 188/5 courtesy of a quick half century by San and a brilliant one from Nitin who unfortunately missed out on his maiden hundred. Both our batters negotiated HCC’s first team opening bowlers extremely well. Most impressive of all was the cut shot played by San to reach his 50.
Sadly, their opening bat and skipper, Phil Wright, got a nasty knock on his knee early in his innings and was forced to retire from the match(es). Sid Chaturvedi and Saikat Barua, took early wickets and managed to keep the run rate under control. Ravi Mantha, visiting with family from India, was brought on to give him a game and he was rewarded by bowling out the dangerous Nick Woof. But it was Ali Bilgrami’s darts that decelerated the innings and claimed 3 tail-end wickets to give KCC a first innings lead of 48 – or, as it transpired, to win the first match!
We 136/4 in 20 overs (Shahzeb Mohammed 41*, Chris Ledger 23, Ravi Mantha 16, Andy Holdsworth 2/23, Neil Jones 2/25)
They 97/9 in 20 overs (Mick Sargent 23, Charlie Barker 18, Steve White 15, Ali Bilgrami 3/33, Sid Chaturvedi 2/12, Sunil Amar 2/24)
Before the start of this second game (or our second innings) it was decided that rather than continue from where we left off, our lead of 48 would be added to the first innings of the second match, but we begin afresh, 20 overs each side. KCC start was jet-propelled as Ravi, Sid and then Saikat put on 65 in 8 overs. With a quick 41 from Shahzeb in the final few overs we managed to amass 136 in the 20 overs and gladly added the 48 runs lead from our first innings.
Hawridge were now truly shell-shocked and made a poor start. Ali took the first 3 wickets two of which were well caught by Shahzeb in the deep, and a third off a brilliant stumping from Oscar. A run out by Regan reduced their reply to 19/4. Sunil and Sid bowled mean and accurate lengths on a now deteriorating and tricky track and bagged a brace each. Nitin picked up the last wicket on the last ball of the innings as Hawridge ended well adrift of our score (without the aid of the 48 runs).
So, what should have been an all-day 50 overs match turned into two wins for KCC. That is one way of improving our season’s win-loss ratio – well done Shahzeb!
Sun 6 July Hawridge & Cholesbury Won by 132 runs
We 198/7 in 43 overs (Saurav Sen 51*, Pammi Chaggar 41, Shahzeb Mohammed 30, Ravi Mantha 23, James Cath 2/24, Andy Holdsworth 2/45)
They 66/10 in 28.2 overs (Andy Holdsworth 12, Extras 20, Khush Khan 3/9, Saikat Barua 3/17, Saurav Sen 2/19)
Classic English summer day this was. Blue skies flocked with fluffy clouds like the opening titles of The Simpsons. Kensington showed up rather mob-handed, a strong side bolstered by the enthusiastic support of Sens and Manthas, KCC’s ‘Charmy Army’. The captains, Marshall and Holdsworth, wandered out to the square but avoided the messy business of the toss by agreeing that Kensington should bat first, the home skipper concerned about the depth of his batting. This seemed like a canny move as opening bowlers Cath and Sargent hooped the ball about on a softish, slightly two-paced wicket. Rohan and Amit both scratched around to little effect before Shahzeb showed a bit of purpose. Ravi Mantha struck the ball selectively and Pammi Chaggar crafted a typically skilful 41 but it was Saurav’s thumping 51 not out off just 34 balls that finally gave the innings some impetus. The home attack had all bowled tightly throughout the innings but Saurav was indiscriminately brutal. Just as well really, since 108/6 after 32 overs had looked a bit skinny.
We took the field with short-cover crouched, slips showing and gully placed and largely held those positions for the whole innings. Khush Khan and Saikat tore into the Hawridge batting, both bowlers finding new demons in the pitch and giving nothing to hit. By the time 20 overs were called the home side were reduced to 40/7 and survival looked a long way off. The last wicket of Sargent and skipper Holdsworth kept us from the beer for 6 overs or so but Pammi Chaggar came on and wrapped things up in less time than it took to set his field. This after Saurav had rounded out his day with a few wickets and Tridib had demonstrated great control while coming out as a left arm spinner.
40 overs-a-side cricket has much to recommend it but there can be little to play for if a run rate gets silly and the tail is swinging and missing. A declaration game, on the other hand, reserves the right to change its focus and turn into cunning siege, or lion-hearted resistance, depending on your point of view. Crowded round the bat trying to break the H&C resolve made for an intriguing finish on this perfect summer evening. Heresy perhaps, in these T20 times, but long live the declaration game.
Sun 7 July Hawridge & Cholesbury Won by 19 runs
We 287/4 in 50 overs (Shahzeb Mohammed 93, Marshall 74, Ghosh 56*, Gore 37, Anderson 1/20, Holdsworth 1/44)
They 268/9 in 50 overs (Spur 96, Knight 51, Holdsworth 20, Extras 49, Ramsagar 3/16 – incl hat-trick, Konson 3/50)
Arriving bright and early for this all-day 50 over game, amidst idyllic Chiltern surroundings, KCC skipper Rohan was happy to “win” the toss and bat first. It was hot! We immediately retired to the shade of the bar to watch Murray on the telly, playing Djoko at SW19. Meanwhile, San opened the batting with Ajit, who looked like he’d rather be somewhere else. After swishing about for a few overs, he was mercifully bowled. Shahzeb and San then plodded along, scoring at an earth-shattering pace of two runs an over against friendly bowling. After drinks in the 13th and some not-so-gentle prodding from the skipper, Shahzeb suddenly went into top gear; from first. With Shahzeb back to his element, San picked up his game too, stroking his way to 37. The pair put on nearly a 100 runs in the next 10 overs. Matt strode to the wicket and immediately gently timed a back foot punch to the fence through mid-on. David Gower would have been proud. When Shahzeb fell for 93, unlucky to miss a well-deserved ton, Rohan joined Matt. The pair accelerated the innings beautifully, stealing singles everywhere and running the H&C fielders ragged. Another rapid century stand followed before Matt fell for a superb 74 in the final over with Rohan not out on 56. 287/4 in 50 overs. Not bad after 30/1 in the 13th.
The H&C innings followed a similar course to ours. The home side found the going tough initially against some controlled swing from Ryan and Manas. Soon we had two early wickets and H&C were 30/2 by the 11th, firmly behind the required rate. But as the ball got older, with little spin or swing on offer, Knight and Spur consolidated and then accelerated. Spur, in particular, looked menacing, striking anything loose for four. Our bowlers played their part, testing new keeper Antonino behind the stumps with some miserable line. 49 extras were contributed to H&C’s cause. 26 of them wides. I digress. At 240/4 in the 44th, with the game finely balanced, Ajit, who had by now recovered from his hangover, then turned the match decisively in our favour. Bowling the 45th over he took a remarkable hat-trick. With Ryan dismissing Spur for 96 in the very next over, the match was all but won. H&C finished at a very creditable 268/9 in their 50 overs. The usual barbecue and banter followed. Johnnie Walkers were presented. Cold cobras popped.
Sat 8 September Hawridge & Cholesbury Won by 6 wkts
They 127/10 in 34 overs (Hamlyn 28, Sargent 23, Extras 33, John Behar 4/19, Manas Roy 4/23)
We 129/4 in 28 overs (Atul Setia 70*, Regan 28, N.Jones 2/27)
We picked up this wonderful fixture, played amidst some of the most picturesque Chiltern landscapes, quite by chance the previous year when a fixture was cancelled. We enjoyed our visit so much that this year, we rescheduled an early season wash-off with HCCC. Our efforts were rewarded with a sparkling summer’s day. HCCC had clearly put in a lot of work on their ground in the off-season; it was in magnificent condition. So much so that the groundsman got a bit carried away and cut a playing strip with sufficient girth to accommodate a small airplane.
Winning the toss, the home side decided to bat and quickly got afoot bashing our opening double act of Manas Roy and Giorgio Scalco all around the park. The score board read 41/0 after only six overs. Oh dear! Just then, Manas rediscovered his radar and turned 3-0-18-0 into 8-1-23-4. Giorgio, the Italian silver bullet, was charging in at the other end, bowling whooping in-duckers, arguing all the time that he was an out-swing bowler. Hawridge were left tottering at 65/5 at drinks after 15 overs. The introduction of John Behar and Neeraj Nayar only exacerbated the pressure. Neeraj bowled “seam up” (as he called it), complete with slicked back hair and hair band, returning brilliant figures of 6-2-9-0, unlucky not to have picked up at least a couple of wickets.
John, fresh from his self-imposed cricket exile, bowled superbly as well, returning 7-1-19-4. Hawridge folded in the 33rd over, all out for 127. Extras top scored with 33 (but of course!)
KCC’s innings was dominated by Atul Setia, who managed to turn a clueless first few overs faced into a fine and measured innings of 70*. He was ably supported by a remarkably calm Regan (28), an unlucky Stefanos and a defiant Michael Blumberg as Kensington strolled home in 28 overs, with six wickets intact.
With the game finishing early, everyone kicked back in the warm evening haze to enjoy a barbeque and several amber beverages.
Sun 3 July Hawridge and Cholesbury Won by 20 runs
We 246/7 in 40 overs (San Gore 82, Amit Shanker 45, Rohan Ghosh 45, Ravi Mantha 33, Tabrez Khan 21, Holdsworth 3/52)
They 226/7 in 40 overs (Holdsworth 45, Knight 40, Cath 29, Sunil Amar 2/23, Ali Raja 2/43, Gabriel Thomas 2/54)
A new late fixture to fill a blank weekend took KCC for the first time to the pretty village ground at Cholesbury on the Bucks/Herts border. Immediately on arrival, a mad rush of private consultations with skipper Rohan followed as, all of a sudden, everyone fancied a bat, no doubt encouraged by the 40 yard boundary at one end. Ravi Mantha (33), fresh off a flight from somewhere, took off with a flurry of boundaries, before jet lag caught up with him. Amit (45) and Rohan steadied the ship and took KCC to 89 in the 18th, before Amit fell victim to that nemesis of every Sunday cricketer, flighted dibbly-dobblies. In strode San (inset) who unleashed a vintage performance smashing 82 delightful runs off only 70 balls, including three sixes! Rohan (45) and San put on a run-a-ball 82, before various lower order efforts took KCC to a respectable 246/7 in their 40 overs.
After an extended tea interval, when we watched Nadal and Djokovich beat each other to a pulp down in SW19, KCC took to the field and immediately strangled the Hawridge openers, thanks to excellent spells from Akhi, Jon Pickles and Neeraj. At 112/3 after 25 overs, Hawridge were hoping for a heroic performance or two, which arrived soon after in the unlikely forms of KCC’s Gabriel and Ali. Several wides, long hops. no balls, full tosses, byes, dropped catches and hit-me’s later, it was game on and the home side threatened to steal an unlikely win. Brows were furrowed. Heads were being scratched. Teapots everywhere. Raucous home support. Pitch intruders (harmless ramblers really). Both Ali and Gabriel picked up two each to balance out their bowling ledgers … somewhat. In the end, Hawridge fell only 20 short of the target, thanks to a couple of tight overs from Sunil.
Johnnie Walkers were presented, a barbeque followed, watered down by Cobras to soothe the nerves before the journey home.