Mon 27 May Maidenhead & Bray Lost by 9 wkts
We 200/5 in 35 overs (Tim Keleher 65*, Nitin Chaturvedi 41, Shahzeb 26, Tim Russell 21, Matt Armstrong 2/29, Arul Appavoo 1/25)
They 201/1 in 21.1 overs (Ethen Walker 103*, Cameron Jacobsen 40, Ben Ward 36*, Chetan Singh 1/42)
We batted first in this shortened 35 over, with the looming and unmistakable threat of late afternoon British rain. Shahzeb had given an in-depth pitch report prior to the start and with Skipper Tim remembering the fixture from 2017 when in similar circumstances we logged 40 overs in the field before being rained off, he had no hesitation in batting first.
Nitin and Rohan made very solid starts against a tight Maidenhead attack, as did new Kiwi recruit Tim Russell playing his first game for KCC. Unfortunately all 3 were dismissed without posting the big score that was probably required on this pitch. Tim and Shahzeb combined down the order to help KCC to a respectable but far from imposing score of 200.
As it turned out even 400 may not have been enough as the Maidenhead openers opened their shoulders from the first over and were never troubled in the chase. Cameron Jacobsen raced to 40 before being smartly caught by Tim at mid-off, but it was Aussie pro Ethan Walker who provided the standout innings, securing his century after a barrage of boundaries which gave Maidenhead the victory in just the 22nd over.
Mon 28 May Maidenhead & Bray Lost by 51 runs
They 187/3 in 40 overs (Sean Phillips-Williams 108*, Arul Appavoo 31, Seethal Tharakan 2/22, Jake Elliott 1/25)
We 136/10 in 37 overs (Neeraj Nayar 27, Chris Ledger 24, Extras 22, Arul Appavoo 3/7, K.Vaja 3/31)
We were completely outplayed in this 40 overs match thanks to a superb century from Maidenhead’s Aussie import Sean Phillips-Williams and some indifferent KCC batting. Our hosts won the toss and promptly took first strike on a placid wicket.
Sean and Ben Howard made a decent enough start of 45 in 10 overs against Bernard and Jake when Jake crashed through Ben’s defence. Sean was joined by Arul Appavoo and together they put on 77. Skipper Rohan rang the bowling changes from behind the stumps using Neeraj, Downesy (yes, back from Oz for the summer – see inset) and Sunil, but could not secure the breakthrough. Only when Seethal was introduced late in the piece were serious questions asked of the batsmen. Two quick wickets for very few runs fell to Seethal and we seemed to have fought back a semblance of control. Sean, however, was not to be denied as he raced to his hundred, reaching the milestone in the last over when 17 came off the hapless Bernard.
After tea, Nitin and Stefanos started cautiously, but both fell within 7 balls of each other (34/2). This set the tone for the innings as twice more two wickets fell in a cluster. A 50-run partnership to challenge the target remained elusive, the nearest we came close was when Chris and Neeraj put on 46 for the 5th wicket. The rest of the batting collapsed dramatically as Appavoo picked up 3 wickets for 7 runs to polish off KCC with 3 overs to spare.
Mon 29 May Maidenhead & Bray Abandoned – rain
They 181/6 in 38 overs (Ash Becker 69*, Brian Dixon 48, Vijay Kalalbandi 33, Amit Shanker 2/22, Matt Marshall 1/12)
Vintage was the theme of the day for our annual trip to Bray Village. The teamsheet read like a fixture from 2005 – Gore, Ledger, Marshall, Ghosh, Keleher/s, Nayar, Behar – no fewer than 6 maroon jackets playing in the same match which would have to be a KCC record.
Maidenhead had mistakingly left the covers off overnight so we were presented with a vintage May wicket. Wet and sticky. The obvious thing to do was bowl after winning the toss.
Matthew rolled back the years and produced a 2005-esque spell full of bounce and swing. One of the openers found a leading edge early and did the obvious thing when not having any clue where the ball has gone, setting off for a single without calling. Ghosh to J Keleher behind the stumps had him comfortably run out for a big Fat Duck.
David and Neeraj came on first change and kept the run rate hovering between 3-4, with runs incredibly hard to come by. But Maidenhead’s Aussie import Ash Becker laid the groundwork for a late flourish, and when joined by hard-hitting Brian Dixon in the middle order the field spread as boundaries began to flow.
The 2017 version of this vintage outfit did as KCC has always done and dropped no fewer than 7 catches to make Maidenhead’s job just a little bit easier. In the end Amit came in and did a job at the death as he has done so often, helped by Rohan who battled well in his first spell of bowling for over 2 years.
182 to get off 38 overs. As we enjoyed our tea, now joined by a 7th maroon jacket in President Amar, some vintage English drizzle settled in. That annoying rain with a density where you can’t decide whether to have the intermittent wipers on the car or not at all. And as is the norm it just wouldn’t shift. Eventually the game was abandoned, as we retired to the bar with our vintage cobras in hand.
Mon 30 May Maidenhead & Bray Lost by 48 runs
They 223/7 in 40 overs (Brett van Niekerk 120 rtd, Aruk Appavoo 25, Bhanu Baweja 2/9, Atif Yusuf 2/29, Ryan Konson 2/43)
We 175/10 in 35.5 overs (Bhanu Baweja 55, Stefanos Nayar 29, Abid Nasir 22, Yusuf Qureshi 3/25, Faisal Aziz 2/26)
Our annual drive past charming Bray Village always leads us into the very well manicured Maidenhead & Bray Ground. Skipper Neej had the initial task of familiarising himself with a few new faces.
Maidenhead batted first in this 40 over game and a look at their aggressive batting immediately suggested that we had a tough game on our hands. Ryan bowled with pace but anything marginally short was being ruthlessly punished, particularly by their first team captain Brett van Niekerk. The pick of the bowling was Bhanu Baweja who finished with astonishing figures of 2/9 in his 8 over spell despite the opposition getting to 223/7 in their 40 overs. This was largely due to Brett’s 120 and of course the fair share of KCC “missed” chances. We dropped the man at least 4 times on his way to 100. He then chose to retire to give others a go. Atif Yusuf finished with 2/29, bowling his swingers with great control.
KCC’s reply was not ideal, David being “triggered” in the second over by his own team-mate. Stefanos joined Bhanu and together they mustered a terrific 71 run partnership. The pair counter-attacked at a run a ball with the highlights being a straight lofted drive back over the bowler’s head by Bhanu, and a ferocious pick up over wide long on by Stefanos who eventually succumbed for 29, for a cover drive that he could not control and was ably caught. Bhanu continued and completed a superb 50 but alas his wicket led to a familiar KCC collapse – with Run Outs playing a leading role. Abid Nasir and Atif Yusuf provided some late resistance with a few lusty hits at the end. KCC were all out for 175 with five overs still to play. A run chase that we had under control whilst Bhanu and Stef were there.
Mon 25 May Maidenhead & Bray Lost by 11 runs
They 260/6 in 40 overs (Simon Ball 98, Charlie Rodger 56, James Billington 51, Brian Dixon 35, Nitin Chaturvedi 1/17, Sunil Amar 1/26)
We 249/9 in 40 overs (Matt Syddall 51, Tim Keleher 42, Regan 36, Gabriel Thomas 31, Rohan Ghosh 30, Zak 3/45, Allen 2/49)
Maidenhead skipper Matt Armstrong had no hesitation in batting first on what looked a good flat deck for this 40 overs match.
After a calamitous fielding performance a couple of weeks before vs Richmond, skipper Tim thought it prudent to remind the KCC fielders of the nuances of backing up in the field and standing behind the stumps when the ball is thrown in. NB; diagrams, charts and perhaps even a model cricket field may also be required when giving such instructions in the future.
Earlier in the week Rohan had requested a ‘decent spell’ of bowling, in view of his impending move to Hong Kong. With Hammad running 5 minutes late in KCC time (45 minutes in real time), Rohan indeed got that spell – with the new ball against the Maidenhead Aussie pro. Be careful what you wish for hey Ro!
El Presidente shared new ball responsibilities with Mr Ghosh, putting on a typically high class display of controlled swing bowling – his 8 overs costing only 26 runs. Nevertheless the Maidenhead innings motored along from the beginning, with 3 of the top 4 crafting classy half centuries and punishing anything remotely off line or length (quite a few, actually). At the midpoint of the innings, a score of 300+ was on the cards. The introduction of Nitin’s mixed off breaks in the latter overs well and truly put the brakes on scoring, as did a direct hit run out from Tim to dismiss the dangerous Simon Ball just 2 runs short of what would have been a deserving century.
With 261 to get, a similar contribution from the KCC top 4 was required. Although the run rate was steady from the beginning, the innings was littered with decent starts (6 scores over 20) but only one partnership over 50 and a high score of 51 from Matt Syddall. The nature of the dismissals rubbed salt into the wounds – 2 catches from full tosses and a needless run out to dismiss Rohan.
A solid 7th wicket stand from Regan and Gabriel lifted us closer to the total, but there were always a few too many runs in the shed for Maidenhead. A well deserved 11 run victory for the opponents. KCC will need to bring their ‘A’ game for future fixtures.
Sat 13 Sept Maidenhead & Bray Lost by 120 runs
They 263/3 in 40 overs (Cheema 112*, Parsons 100, Bernard van Vuuren 2/45)
We 143/9 in 36.3 overs (Ryan Doye 57, Sal Butt 33, Allen 3/16, Blackett 3/21)
KCC travelled to Maidenhead & Bray – a wonderful cricket ground set smack-bang in the middle of The Countryside. Having been rained off earlier in the season we were lucky to have been able to rearrange the fixture. With an overnight dropout and a latecomer, we started this 40 overs game with only 9 men, fielding; San lost the toss again. Had it not been for that late arrival (and debutant), Ryan Doye, the day could have gone much worse for Kensington.
M&B had a strong start reaching 50 in 10 overs before Saikat took a smart catch at point off Gabriel’s first over. Then Cheema and Parsons hammered fine centuries. With an ever-increasing run rate, they finished on 263/3, with Bernard picking up two late wickets. It may at this point be worth mentioning that the double-digit dropped catches sinned by Kensington may, possibly, have contributed to M&B’s success. But may be not. Maybe the boys further down the order were even bigger hitters. Maybe.
Anyway, after a rugby type ‘tea’ (not a bad tea, just not cricket) it was KCC’s turn to bat. Sal Butt and Ryan Doye, the two debutants, opened the batting for Kensington. Both looked solid from the start, but when Sal fell for 33 with the score on 89, Kensington dove off the proverbial cliff losing 7 wickets for 38 runs. Our innings came to an abrupt halt on 143, with only Ryan offering any resistance, being last out having scored a respectable 57.
We had a chance and were competitive up to a point, but at the end of the day, when all was said and done, we just took our eye of the ball. And dropped it. Lots of times…
Mon 27 May Maidenhead & Bray Won by 3 wkts
They 184/7 in 40 overs (Wilding 73, Knowles 56*, Saurav Sen 4/26, Manas Roy 2/27)
We 188/7 in 35.5 overs (Gautom Menon 60, Rohan Ghosh 22, Ramsagar 20, Extras 34, Allen 3/35)
In this annual limited overs contest played amidst a posh Berkshire setting, complete with Hero Honda IPL stumps, cricket legends and one of England’s most expensive restaurants nearby, KCC won the toss and chose to bowl first. On a flat but slow deck Ryan Konson and Manas Roy bowled accurately, swinging the ball prodigiously. Complemented by sharp KCC fielding. In the fourth over, skipper Rohan grabbed a sharp caught behind off Manas to get us an early breakthrough. Before long, Number 3 was gone too, clean bowled by a Manas yorker. The other opener, Wilding, was a graduate of the Stuart Broad School of Walking. We failed to get him out despite taking three clear chances behind. Apparently they were not clear enough! Ryan and Manas suffered. Although not by much, returning very impressive figures of 8-5-14-0 and 8-2-27-2 respectively. Wilding, (73) and Number 4, Knowles (56*), then struck together a partnership and 9/2 turned into 122/2 in the 30th over. At which point Wilding finally fell, in undisputed fashion, clean bowled by Saurav. In a beautiful seven-over spell, Saurav went on to take three more wickets, all for a miserly 26 runs. Maidenhead’s innings closed at 184/7 after 40 overs.
In response, KCC’s openers Tim and Ajit had a nervy start, with Tim falling cheaply and Ajit soon after. Rohan and Gautom strung together a partnership of sorts, taking the score to 64 before Rohan was dismissed. Hit wicket! The first of several ‘unusual’ dismissals for him this season. As Matt strode in at No. 5, Gautom finally discovered how to bat on English pitches. While Gautom went on to score his maiden fifty for the club, the pair put on 65 runs, leaving us 53 to get in the last 10 overs.
Plenty of wickets in hand. Oh wait! Suddenly, all manners of batsmen were taking new guards, as offie Allen tightened the screws. Still, fortitude prevailed as Maidenhead’s part-time bowler Qureshi won us the game, hurtling several past a helpless keeper for multiple wides.
After the game, a special treat awaited all at the bar. None other than the great Sir Garfield Sobers, on his way to an expensive meal at the neighbouring Fat Duck, no doubt. Wee Otis immediately charmed his way in, posing alongside Sir Gary for proud father Tim. Sadly, any further efforts to approach the great man were impeded by some officious hangers-on. Matt never got to find out if Sir Gary had seen his handsome cover drive earlier. Bad luck Matt. Better luck next time.
Sun 29 April Maidenhead & Bray Cancelled – rain
Sun 24 April Maidenhead & Bray Lost by 5 wkts
We 186/8 in 40 overs (Sharma 32*, David Behar 31, Ledger 27, Saurav Sen 24, Wykes 2/15, A.Ball 2/28, Armstrong 2/30)
They 188/5 in 35 overs (King 44, O’Dell 42*, Jacobsen 29, Khush Khan 2/32)
A great all round performance by Wykes led this Maidenhead victory at this beautiful riverside ground overlooked by the Church of St.Michael. Matt Marshall won the toss, tails – you know it makes sense, and decided to bat. David Behar and Chris Ledger put on a watchful 72 for the first wicket before Behar was lbw to home skipper Armstrong and Saad Syed played over one 2 balls later in the over. Wickets tumbled from there with only Saurav Sen and Sunil Sharma finding the middle of the bat before Akhi displayed his batting talent with a boundary-filled 19. Through the middle of all this Wykes bowled 8 overs taking 2 for just 15 runs, a great spell.
In reply, Maidenhead took to the Kensington attack with gusto. Vaja was caught early on for 16 and debutant Khush Khan took 2 quick wickets to stem the tide, but King and O’Dell put on 70 for the 4th wicket in good time, effectively sealing victory, before Wykes returned to the fray to belt a quick 20 not out and settle the matter with 5 overs to spare.
Black Label whisky for Wykes then, and a few pints in the bar to soften the collective blow for Kensington. Like Fu Manchu way before Arnie, we’ll be back.