Mon 6 May Marlow Park Won by 104 runs
We: 272/6 in 40 overs (Tim Keleher 101*, Saikat Barua 52, Raheel Khan 39, Harsha Gandadi 20, Abdul Hasan 2/54, Joe Hoggan 2/72)
They: 168/8 in 40 overs (Kim Barlow 33, Julian White 30, Dave Noray 21, Sunil Amar 3/33, Ryan Konson 2/21)
The Bank Holiday ‘cold spell’ could not stop KCC from continuing on their hot streak to start the season. Marlow Park has been the scene of many a great KCC match over the years, but fielding an understrength team they never stood a chance against a fine KCC team effort.
We were sportingly given the honour of batting first, and Saikat must surely have set a KCC record for an opening batsman by recording three sixes as his first three scoring shots on his way to a second fifty in as many innings. In the midst of that early onslaught, Marlow Park’s opening bowler produced two fine deliveries to upend the stumps of Praveen and Stefanos who had both been in good form.
Raheel joined Saikat at the crease and together they took us towards three figures until Raheel was undone by some brilliant leg spin from Marlow Park youngster, 12- year-old Joe Hoggan. Harsha and Oscar made small contributions before it was left to Tim and Neeraj to close out the KCC innings and take us to a very healthy score of 272. Tim was brutally brilliant, reaching his century in just 66 balls and on the last ball of the innings.
Marlow Park were never really in the hunt, especially after Ryan had their opening bat bowled from a half tracker and Neeraj and Praveen combined to stump the other opening bat when the ball rebounded off Praveen’s chest onto the wicket. Luck certainly seemed to be on our side. Ryan’s second wicket was more regulation as he found the outside edge of Marlow’s most dangerous batsman Kyle Bradley, and at 36 for 3 the game was essentially finished with the remaining time and overs giving batsmen and bowlers alike some handy match practice.
A comprehensive 104 run victory for KCC.
Mon 7 May Marlow Park Won by 85 runs
We: 169/9 in 40 overs (Bilal Musakhel 38, Jake Elliott 29*, Nitin Chaturvedi 20, Mo Munsha 2/10, Kim Barlow 2/30, Ben Hogan 2/36)
They: 84/10 in 28.3 overs (Abdul Hanan 29, Sam Coote 12, Jake Elliott 3/11, Tabrez Khan 2/9, Seethal Tharakan 2/19, Saurav Sen 2/30)
The hottest day of the year beckoned but playing against Marlow Park this early in the season proved a sterner challenge on the batting front than the indomitable KCC have been accustomed to in previous years. We batted first on a green and rather slow wicket. Matt Syddall and Nitin Chaturvedi struggled to get going but produced a sound start until Matty gloved one behind. Nitin continued to play carefully whilst new boy Bilal Musakhel introduced a more heavy-handed approach at the other end. The scoring rate began to increase but when Nitin was flash-stumped for 20 and Bilal hit one too many into the air to be dismissed for 38 our middle order slumped alarmingly, 6 wickets falling for just 32 runs. We were, however, indebted to Jake Elliott coming in at no.10. He smashed 29 valuable runs in a last wicket stand of 31 as we scrambled our way to 169.
In reply, Marlow Park made harder work of the wicket than had Kensington. From 19/4, with Jake having picked up 3 of the wickets, Marlow Park fell further into the mire and were reduced to 37/7. After a mini-revival led by skipper Abdul Hanan they were bowled out for 84. There were 2 wickets apiece for Seethal, Saurav and Tabby, but Jake finished with figures of 3/11 from his 6 overs, and this performance alongside his batting display ensured that the MOM award was only going to one winner. More beers and food ensued as the sun set on a beautiful day in Marlow.
Sun 4 June Marlow Park Won by 2 wkts
They: 187/7 in 40 overs (Jordan Turner 43*, Kim Barlow 33*, Abdul Hanan 29, Mo Munsha 27, Rohan Ghosh 2/12, Seethal Tharakan 2/16, Saurav Sen 1/23, Stef Nayar 1/23, Wes Johnson 1/48)
We: 191/8 in 39.5 overs (Wes Johnson 36*, James Berkley 28, Tabrez Khan 27, Regan 27, Matt Syddall 24, Mo Munsha 3/42, Alex Head 2/30, Kim Barlow 1/44)
Marlow Park – one of our favourite clubs to visit, and the site of match manager San Gore’s 10,000th run for KCC – was the setting for this weekend’s friendly. San, fresh perhaps from reading some combination of Steve Jobs’ biography and the latest on mindfulness, decided to adopt a duly visionary approach with KCC fielding first, as he instructed the fielders to “find your own place”. The folly was soon realised, and once the resultant 6 slips had been dispersed to more orthodox positions, play could begin in earnest.
MPCC got off to a quick start, as the first 10 overs went for 53, with only Wes Johnson picking up a wicket. KCC was able to apply the brakes after that, picking up 3-20 in the next 10 overs, as MPCC opener Jordan Turner, who was batting fluently, had to retire hurt (the perils of scoring too fast). Seethal Tharakan, heeding the highly technical advice to “do nothing different”, picked up two wickets in an entertaining spell while conceding only 16 runs. MPCC stalwart Mo Munsha then steadied the ship until he was dismissed caught and bowled by Stef Nayar, who clearly learned the Kensington way of not relying too much on your fielders as he had had a catch dropped at point off his very first ball to Mo. Rohan Ghosh (2-12) bowled a probing spell from the other end, before fellow MPCC vet Kim Barlow and the returning Jordan Turner scored some quick runs to propel MPCC to a tricky 187.
Tea was taken with the usual appreciation, and the safety of knowing that we would not have to go out and field after stuffing ourselves with cakes and sandwiches.
KCC’s reply got off to a steady start – though unfortunately that was true for the run rate as well as the rate at which wickets fell. Matt Syddall (24) played effortlessly until he was run out, as KCC’s top 5 were dismissed for 117, with Tabrez Khan (27) and James Berkley (28) starting well but unable to go on. Fingernails grew back as Regan scored a breezy 27, but with both San and Saurav failing with the bat, the respite was brief and it fell to Wes Johnson (36*) to play a nerveless innings as he and Ryan Konson guided KCC to a thrilling last-over victory, much to the relief of all and especially last man Seethal Tharakan who was padded up with all the confidence of a furry animal in headlights. Alex Head (2-30) and Mo Munsha (3-42) were the pick of the bowlers for the opposition.
Wes was our MoM for his all-round heroics, while Jordan Turner got the JW Gold for his sparkling knock for the opposition.
Sun 17 July Marlow Park Won by 39 runs
We: 212/7 in 40 overs (Tim Keleher 64, Stefanos Nayar 61, Sid Chhibbar 26, Mo Munsha 3/14, Abdul Hanan 2/37)
They: 173/10 in 38.4 overs (Kyle Bradley 54, Jas Chahal 51, Mo Munsha 36, Jake Elliott 3/7, Neeraj Nayar 3/9, Wajid Tahir 3/15)
Always seems to be a carnival atmosphere when we play at the marvellous Marlow Park CC and this year was no different, helped by the blazing sunshine and swarms of people enjoying a Sunday in the park and providing one of the only games where we have a crowd of onlookers cheering us on. Or perhaps they were just looking on.
Mo Munsha the MPCC skipper did away with the regular pleasantries of tossing the coin, and offered us the chance to bat. Neeraj sensed a sting in the tail…but after looking at the deck had no hesitation in taking Mo up on his offer.
Tim and Sid got off to a glorious start, 0 for 80 odd in the first 11 overs. But both were dismissed soon after and both to outstanding catches at first slip from the MPCC skipper, a most Un-Sunday way to get out they mused.
Stefanos and San took things up and though the run rate was brought back into check by a tightened line and length from MPCC, Stefanos led the way with some cracking stroke play to reach his maiden KCC fifty.
With Stefanos eventually falling in an attempt at a late innings flurry, the latter overs did not bring about the increased run rate that seemed necessary, given the general consensus that this was a 240-250 pitch. In the end we had to settle for 212.
Any qualms about our lack of runs were blown away by one of the finest opening spells in KCC history. Old timer Wajid was back for his second game of the season, joined by 14-year-old youngster and first gamer Jake Elliott, the son of new member Ian Elliott. Two sets of father / sons for KCC, perhaps the beginning of a new dawn?
Wajid opened with a tight maiden, before Jake dismissed the MPCC opener first ball with a dipping in-swinger that upended his off stump. 3 balls later and the number 3 bat was also back in the pavilion, his middle stump laying in a mess.
Jake’s first 3 overs – 3 maidens, 2 for 0. An extraordinary debut.
Wajid then got in on the act, Preetinder and Neeraj combining for a catch in the cordon, before Jake and then Wajid again gave San his first 2 catches of the innings. 10 overs gone. MPCC in disarray at 5 for 10.
Unfortunately for us these would be the last wickets taken for some time, as Jas and Kyle knuckled down and began to take advantage after Jake and Wajid had taken a well-earned rest. Both batsmen reached their fifties and even with the required run rate hovering around 8, MPCC were in a good position. Continuing the earlier theme though, 3 wickets came in a flurry as Jas and Kyle were out in consecutive overs, both splendidly caught by San standing up to the stumps.
Mo hit a typically quick-fire 36 late on, but with help running out once he was dismissed by the returning Waj the chase was up. Jake, Wajid and Neeraj ended up with 3 wickets apiece as KCC secured an excellent 39 run victory.
Sun 7 June Marlow Park Won by 93 runs
We: 233/9 in 40 overs (Matt Syddall 40, Chris Ledger 34, Nitin Chaturvedi 30, Ali Bilgrami 30, Saikat Barua 23*, Mo Munsha 3/47, Pete Stephens 2/30, Kim Barlow 2/36)
They: 140/10 in 32.4 overs (Kyle Bradley 23, Mo Munsha 20, Saurav Sen 3/33, Neeraj Nayar 2/19, Deepak Ramachandra 2/36)
KCC and Marlow Park played this much-anticipated fixture on what was possibly the first sunny Sunday of the summer. We won the toss and elected to bat and, for the first 12 overs this looked like a great decision, as Matt Syddall and Tim Keleher got us off to a racing start at close to 7 runs an over. Seeing as scorekeeping and photography were safely in the personal care of San “Hawkeye” Gore, everyone from no.4 downwards settled in with their Sunday papers and their feet up.
It must have all looked much too bucolic for our intrepid opening pair, as they got out playing false shots next over to slower deliveries, and suddenly there was a general sense of – let’s just call it “urgency” – in the KCC tail (which started one lower than the traditional no.3 this time). Nitin Chaturvedi was brilliantly stumped down the leg side and none of the KCC batsmen were able to build on their starts. Wickets fell at a steady pace as the opposition slow bowlers led by skipper Mo Munsha (3/47) ground the scoring rate down, so that from 126/3 off the first 20 overs, we were reduced to 199/9 in 36. It finally fell to Saikat Barua and skipper Saurav Sen to put on 34 runs in the last 4 overs to take the score to a semi-respectable 233.
Marlow Park got off to a cautious start as Saikat and Akash Shah bowled a tight opening spell and were able to knock a couple of top order wickets. Akash in particular bowled beautifully, having one of the batsmen bowled off a no-ball and then having a close LBW shout turned down off the very next ball. The good work was carried forward by Deepak Ramachandra (2/33) and Saurav (3/33) as the opposition batsmen struggled even more than KCC had. With the asking rate climbing to more than 10 an over and with 3 wickets to get, it fell to that man Neeraj Nayar to clean up the tail (under pressure, as he was allegedly going to be taken off if he did not get the last man out) so we could get to the Cobras and the fantastic barbecue that our hosts had organised. He duly obliged with 7 overs to spare.
All in all a good win for KCC at a venue where we enjoy playing and with hosts who are always a pleasure to play against.
Sun 8 June Marlow Park Lost by 6 wkts
We: 154/10 in 39.1 overs (Babi 81, Barua 20, Gore 19, Barlow 4/29, Chahal 3/10)
They: 158/4 in 30.1 overs (Hawkens 40*, Akathar 37*, Javed 35, Saikat Barua 2/36, Sunil Amar 2/40)
People say if you want to see the ‘true beauty’ of England, just go outside London. Marlow Park is one of KCC’s regular fixtures where cricket is played with Great Spirit and the River Thames flows nearby with wonderful scenery.
Having won the match previous year, courtesy of Saurav Sen’s 5/16 (including a hat-trick), KCC wanted to repeat the episode. Saurav was out injured so David Behar skippered in his stead, won the toss and elected to bat. San and Sher opened the innings and gave KCC steady start putting on 67 before San was bowled. Captain David then lost his off-stump before getting off the mark. Manas Roy (normally a bowler) requested skipper to play him as a specialist batsman and was promoted to number 4. He soon departed trying to slash a wide ball and edged through to the keeper. Tabrez Khan took his place in the middle after having a long break from KCC cricket. Despite spending some time at the crease, he could only score 4 runs leaving Sher Babi alone at the other end. After seeing this procession, young Sher decided to accelerate the total by himself driving the ball through cover, hitting straight down the ground. He was scoring runs very quickly but losing his partners even quicker as number 6 Tridib and number 7 Khush Khan did not bother to trouble the scorers. KCC’s Italian wicket keeper Nino Trapani came at number 8 to join Sher. However, the partnership did not last long as Sher was caught behind the wicket after making a fine 81. Very soon Nino departed and Akhi was joined by Saikat but the partnership broke soon as Akhi united with others in the dressing room. KCC were reeling; losing 9th wicket for only 136. Having a fear of being bundled out before 150, Saikat started to hit a few quick boundaries adding 18 runs for the last wicket with Sunil before holing out in the deep trying to hit a six off Kim Barlow. KCC’s innings finished in the final over on 154 which we felt was below par.
Tea was duly taken and KCC came back to the field hoping to make a good start with the ball. Saikat and Khush started to ask a few questions of the opening batsmen with some movement and tight length. The rewards came quickly when Saikat dislodged the off-stump of Stephens, and then trapped number 3 Bradley lbw leaving the score 21/2 from 7 overs. To defend 154, a team always needed to be sharp in the field but KCC lacked that virtue on that day dropping a couple of dollies, and fumbling in the outfield. Sunil Amar finally got rid of the other opener but the team score went to 76. Few overs later, Marlow Park’s Javed was undone by a magical ball that cartwheeled the middle stump to give Sunil his 400th wicket for the Club. The score was 95/4, from where KCC needed something special to turn the tide. David Behar made several bowling changes changes but none of them was able to break the fifth wicket partnership (63*). Marlow Park cruised home to win by six wickets. It’s a shame KCC did not have Saurav Sen this time!
Sun 9 June Marlow Park Won by 43 runs
We 188/10 in 39.4 overs (Gore 55, Kidwai 29, K.Khan 28, Stephens 3/28)
They 145/10 in 30.5 overs (Munsha 58, Kim Barlow 57, Saurav Sen 5/16 – incl hat-trick, Sunil Amar 2/35, Sakib Ola 2/23)
When you are on 9,991 career runs, you bring a camera and make sure we have a full team. San did both, but sadly no one in the pavilion recorded the moment he struck his 10,000th run for KCC. Blame for this glaring omission was variously laid at the door of el Presidente Sunil Amar, who was keeping score and failed to inform everyone until after the glorious landmark had been passed (“Oh yes he is on 10 now….”), the complexity of the camera, the number of daisies in the outfield etc, etc, but deep down we all knew it was just more evidence of the gap in administrative competence between Gore and the rest.
About 30 minutes prior to this, KCC had turned up 10 strong at the picturesque Marlow Park ground under unexpectedly overcast skies. Having established that the inflatable swimming pool at the neighbouring fairground was a safe distance away this time (and hence the likelihood of a repeat of last year’s flooding fiasco was unlikely), both captains went out for the toss which was won by Marlow, who put KCC in to bat. With Atul still trying to get his kit together at home, it fell to Furquan to accompany San out into the middle. KCC started off well, getting to 54 in 10 overs, as Furquan (29) played a perfect foil to San who coasted past 10,000 career runs for the club with a nonchalant stroke down to third man. Marlow then applied the brakes, as the next 10 overs broke the opening partnership and yielded a paltry 20-odd runs. The scoring rate progressed in fits and starts after that but it was only San (he of the 10,000 career runs), who really got going and brought up his half-century. Wickets fell at a steady pace as Marlow kept up the pressure. Khush Khan was involved in a farcical run out that should be nominated for entertaining moment of the year, and eventually KCC posted 188, which we felt was a good 40 runs shy of where we wanted to be.
Tea was sumptuous and featured copious amounts of complex carbohydrates such as scones, jelly doughnuts and ice cream, which the KCC boys duly appreciated (even San) and partook of.
Reluctantly dragging ourselves back onto the field, we realised that Marlow’s openers were even more reluctant to get going after tea as they slumped to 21/3 in the face of some accurate bowling from Sakib Ola. 21/3 soon became 100/3 as Mo Munsha and Kim Barlow settled down and then began taking the attack to KCC’s inexperienced middle over bowlers. By the time drinks were taken, Marlow looked to be on course for a comfortable victory. Cometh the hour, cometh el Presidente, who delivered an exhibition of devious outswing bowling, and, supported by skipper Saurav Sen at the other end, brought the scoring rate to a grinding halt. 121/4 became 145 all out as the Marlow batsmen failed to break the shackles. The match was eventually won in the 30th over as the umpire raised his finger to give a delighted Saurav (inset) his 5-wicket haul and a hat-trick.
The day however belonged well and truly to San ‘10,000’ Gore, who, at post-match drinks, modestly drew comparisons between the un-fussy manner in which he reached his hundredth set of hundred runs, in contrast to the amount of time that one S Tendulkar made his fans wait for his 100th 100. Whatever. When you reach 10,000 runs, you can say what you want.
Sun 10 June Marlow Park Won by 78 runs
We 198/9 in 40 overs (Matt Marshall 45, Ajit Ramsagar 40, Ben Goldschmied 23, Munsha 3/16, Stevens 3/36)
They 120/10 in 29.5 overs (Preece 19, Saurav Sen 4/14, Hammad Rishad 3/23, Sid Chaturvedi 2/40)
After the toss was won by Ledger KCC batted first, despite a damp pitch, since rain was forecast by late afternoon / early evening, and if the game did have to be abandoned, it would surely be more fun if we’d already batted. Scoring runs wasn’t easy on a very slow wicket, and it was frankly something of a triumph that after 20 overs we’d reached 82 for the loss of just one wicket. Having said that, we were helped hugely by Marlow’s poor fielding – there were smirks all round as Matthew Marshall was dropped six times by six different fielders before the second wicket finally fell. With nine wickets in hand, the last 20 overs were much easier than they should have been, and although wickets fell fairly regularly in the effort to speed up the run rate, it didn’t really matter. On this wicket, our score of 198 off 40 overs felt very defendable.
In reply, Marlow Park struggled from the off. Hammad Rishad’s bowling was as fast and threatening as ever, and after he tore through the top order Marlow were reduced to 41/4. From this position, chasing 198 was always likely to be very difficult, and things weren’t helped when an idiot working in the funfair just beyond the boundary’s edge emptied the water out of a huge plastic paddling pool onto an area of grass sloping down to the outfield, without considering the likely consequences. A large lake soon appeared at cow corner, but luckily not a single ball was hit in that direction in the half an hour or so before the water finally drained away. After the deluge, it was Saurav’s turn to bamboozle Marlow’s batsmen. With the sticky pitch taking plenty of spin, he was too much to handle for the middle and lower order, and as a result Marlow were never in the chase, subsiding to 120 all out within 30 overs. Nonetheless, it was a thoroughly enjoyable game, played in good spirit, and we all felt lucky to have managed to complete a full game before the heavens opened.