Sat 4 July Jesus College High Table Won by 10 wkts
They 116/9 in 33.5 overs (Paul Smith 33, David Wilson 21, Extras 24, Suraj Vithlani 3/10, Eddy Barreto 2/10, Saikat Barua 2/14, Chris Page 2/29)
We 121/0 in 19.2 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 58*, Keith Juriansz 54*, Oscar Brunton 0/9, Ash Rattan 0/30)
We love playing at Jesus college. It is a bit of a long drive, but with a healthy breakfast washed down with a stout or two, it is a fairly pleasant ride. When you get to the ground all becomes clear why we play a fixture so far away. A majestic entrance gate (which one though), grand buildings, the smell of academia, the serene surroundings and that flat pitch – yes indeed, what a fine ground overlooked by the magnificent thatched pavilion. However, we almost never made it as we were woefully short of players three days before the match. Thankfully, Michael managed to rustle up some Nomads and Barnes Common chaps to help out.
Pleasantries exchanged and the whites on, Tabby lost the toss, again. “Matthew – please can you stop telling me to call Tails…” Jesus decided to bat, we suspect because there were a couple of hangovers from the game the day before which was part of their week-long marathon of cricket. The KCC bowling looked fantastic. Opening bowlers Eddy and Seethal had to be taken off as they very easily bowled out the first 3 wickets. On came Martin Crouch, who raised a few concerns as he marked his run up. “With all due respect, it looks a bit too long for his age”, said our man at Point. The first ball had decent wheels, swung in the air, pitched and left the batsmen with a whisker of a distance from his gloves. Some days, the best bowler does not get wickets either because the batsmen are too lucky, the fielding captain doesn’t know how to do justice to the excellent bowling or the Gods are generous. This was that day as Martin ended up with 8-1-27-0. Best bowler number 2, Chris Page, bowled 11 very convincing overs of spin to take out two more batsmen, including their opener Smith who had put up a stiff resistance. Another bowling change was required to bring on guest Suraj Vithlani who promptly took a 3 for, and Saikat (as bowler number 6 – really?) who duly wrapped up the innings with 2 wickets on his last two balls, leaving Jesus with an embarrassingly low total of 116.
The KCC openers were nothing but solid. When Skipper Tabby padded up to go out at number 3, little did he know that Nitin and the lefty Keith Juriansz of Barnes Common would chase down the small total with relative ease and elegant, sometimes effortless, shots within 20 overs. Nitin and Keith ended unbeaten at 58 and 54 respectively. It was lovely to watch both their (ahem) better halves clap their man’s effort in the middle and relay their pre-match preparation stories which have been reserved for a selected few playing this game next year.
We repaired to a bar nearby where plenty of lager, crisps and peanuts were exchanged amidst friendly and raucous banter in the pleasant Cambridge sunset. What a lovely honour to be playing at Jesus College. Hope to see you next year!
Sat 5 July Jesus College High Table Won by 6 wkts
They 196/9 in 46 overs (David Wilson 51, Noel Rutter 47, Andrew Parks 26, Bernard van Vuuren 4/20, Sunil Amar 3/36)
We 197/4 in 29.5 overs (Tim Keleher 84*, Gautom Menon 40, Chris Ledger 26*, Noel Rutter 2/63)
The weather forecast had looked grim all week, so we were thankful to get a full day’s play at the fine Jesus College ground in Cambridge. Gautom Menon took a keen interest in the local rule awarding 10 runs if the mural positioned towards long on was hit on the full. Something that apparently had never been done.
Jesus skipper Geoff Parks won the toss and after 5 minutes decided to bat. After 5 overs it looked a shaky decision as Bernard had ripped through the top order taking 4 wickets with his patented in-swing. For the good of the game it was decided Bernard best take a rest, and with KCC rotating their bowlers JCHT slowly began building their innings. Noel Rutter provided the stable knock, carefully getting close to 50, supported in the middle order by David Wilson who just surpassed his partner’s score. The late arriving Parks Jnr clubbed his way to a quick fire 26 and by the time of declaration a game was to be had with 197 to get in around 35 overs.
As it turns out the overs weren’t needed as KCC scored heavily from the start. Gautom wasted no time in aiming for the aforementioned mural. Unfortunately for him he was striking the ball too cleanly, comfortably clearing the boundary on a number of occasions, and scaring a local wedding celebration instead. After disappointingly throwing away another start and potential century, it was left to Keleher (84*) and Ledger (26*) to ease KCC home to victory with 7 overs to spare.
Sat 6 July Jesus College High Table Drawn
They 200/9 in 37.5 overs (Edmunds 95, Wilkinson 36, Sunil Amar 3/40, Prashant Kumar 2/26, N.Bali 2/62)
We 161/8 in 34 overs (David Behar 40, Regan 34, Barreto 23, Rattan 3/34)
My memory of this game 3 months after the event is a little hazy. Note to self – must remember I’m now a ‘Veteran’ with corresponding senior moments and must write up match reports whilst I can still remember what happened! Dreaming spires? No, that would be the other place. Punting on the Cam? Not without a boater.
The record states that we drew this match, honours even. However, in league parlance, this was definitely a losing draw. Jesus College outperformed us in all 3 cricketing disciplines. Huw Edmunds was the mainstay of the JCHT batting falling 5 short of his ton. His fellow opener, Rory Wilkinson (or ‘Ruby Wolfman?’ – blame blurry scans of scorebooks and diminishing eyesight!), was particularly severe on Navneet, hitting him into the adjacent canal. JCHT posted a round 200, perhaps 20 more than better fielding and catching should have allowed but still gettable on a good pitch with a fast outfield. Sunil picked up a 3 for and Prashant bowled controlled leg spin to earn himself a brace.
The Bali brothers took up in the batting where their Dad had left off in the bowling and were back in the pavilion with only 27 on the board. Skipper David and Regan, breaking the habit of a lifetime and showing commendable watchfulness, took the score onto 99 before both were out to successive balls. The chase petered out from there. Oscar and Prashant played some nice strokes. Eddy, unlucky not to be called back into the attack after a tidy opening spell (or did he injure himself? I forget), struck a couple of big 6s. But there were no last minute heroics from Michael this time. He and Sunil blocked out the last couple of overs and KCC were 40 runs shy of their target. David Wilson was probing as ever and Ash Rattan bamboozled a couple of our batsmen with balls tossed up into the setting sun. Will I remember to tell incoming batsmen about this tactic next year? Better put a reminder in my phone now rather than rely on a failing memory.
Sat 7 July Jesus College High Table Cancelled – rain
Sat 9 July Jesus College High Table Won by 1 wkt
They 226/6 in 38 overs (Wilson 58*, Caines 49, Rutter 27, Extras 44, Chris Ledger 2/33, Akhi Shailendra 2/39)
We 227/9 in 39 overs (Steve Thomas 72, Azam 52, Charlton Lamb 27*, San Gore 24, Wilson 4/76, Rattan 2/13)
Two wise men set off in search of Jesus – and came back with a gift for their team-mates. The combined ages of Michael Blumberg (left) and Charlton Lamb (right) come to 141, but when it mattered, creaking joints and a stately trot between stumps were no stop to a last-ball thrilling win at Cambridge. So was written in the local Chronicle to record a most exciting game.
It all began innocently enough. San lost the toss and the Cambridge side took first strike. After bowling one over Bharat disappeared to change his boots and was replaced by Ali Raja who, unfortunately, completely lost his radar and conceded 19 wides in his four over spell (a dubious club record!). Meanwhile, Akhi was bowling with zip as did the returning Bharat, but the college pitch was a belter and runs continued to roll off the bats of Caines and Wilson. Our debutant leg-spinner from India with the wonderful name of Siddhant Jhunjhunwala couldn’t find his English length and went for a lot for his one wicket. San turned to the experienced Chris Ledger who brought a semblance of control to the proceedings, at one stage taking 2 wickets in an over. The hosts eventually declared in time for the most glorious tea.
At first it looked all too easy for Kensington as openers Steve Thomas and Usman Azam smashed the ball all over the ground ratcheting up 119 for the first wicket in only 18 overs. But a fateful run out ended Steve’s bid for a glorious hundred and he had to settle for his 72 in just 56 balls. Wickets fell at regular intervals thereafter and when 72 year-old Charlton joined San at 162/5 with 11 overs to go the game was finely poised. It was then that the Jesus skipper decided to use the ‘Hun-in-the-sun’ strategy and tossed his off-breaks straight into the sun now sinking behind the bowler’s arm. Charlie would have none of this and pulled away complaining bitterly of unfair practice. Calm was restored but panic ensued as we lost 3 quick wickets in the pursuit. 38 required in 5 overs with 2 wickets left. Akhi and Charlie now batted sensibly and at the start of the last over 10 were needed – and the heroics began.
Akhi took a single off the first ball but then wanted to run on the next, was sent back by Charlie and was hopelessly run out. Last man Blumberg strides to the non-striker’s end. Charlie hits a four, then the two old men scamper (if that’s the word) two 2s. Last ball and scores level, Charlie facing. Bowler runs in and Michael has only one intent – to get to the other end – and charges down the wicket like a wounded rhino as the bowler bowls. Charlie only manages to push the ball towards the bowler, then realising that Michael is almost upon him, gathers his wits and sets off for an impossible run. The bowler tries to pick up the ball, fumbles and finally throws to Charlie’s end, and misses as the puffing batsman makes his ground to the cheers from the pavilion. The two Oldies running for a famous victory was a sight to behold; a thrilling senior moment that won them the Entertainers Cup.