Sun 5 May Richmond Won by 7 wkts
They 217/7 in 40 overs (Barnaby Cole 122*, Chris Laws 69, Seethal Tharakan 3/37, Sid Chhibbar 2/27)
We 220/3 in 35 overs (Preetinder Singh 91*, Nitin Chaturvedi 81*, Amit Shanker 18, Sumit Chaurasia 2/21)
Defying conventional wisdom once again, Nitin Chaturvedi elected to bowl on what looked like a decent batting track. As usual KCC started without a full team but Adam and Bernard were both quite tight, even though a bit rusty. It wasn’t long before Adam struck, getting the Richmond opener to nick a faint edge to Shahzeb. Bernard got the second wicket and at 34/2 after 11 overs, it looked like the winter nets had been a worthwhile investment.
With confidence surging, KCC maintained pressure as Richmond’s Barnaby Cole and Chris Laws dug in to consolidate. Fielders cheered the bowlers with words if not always with actions. The next wicket fell … 20 overs and 139 runs later! The dangerous Chris succumbed to the wobbly inswing of Sid Chhibbar, who had grudgingly agreed to bowl (something about a myth that KCC all-rounders need to pick one skill for the day). Although fearing that he may not get to bat, Sid still went on to knock back another wicket cheaply.
And then it was time for the Seethal Tharakan con act. Three batters went back for nought before they realised that run up and speed of delivery are not always correlated; modes of dismissal – LBW, LBW, Bowled. While Barnaby continued to push the score literally on his own, reaching a well-struck century, Richmond ended below what they may have expected after 30 overs, but at a very respectable 217 after their 40.
KCC were confident this total was well within reach. The batting line-up was strong and experienced. What could go wrong? Richmond’s Sumit Chaurasia bowled with control and swing and snared both openers. Then Shahzeb fell soon after to leave KCC tottering at 41 for 3 after 13 overs. Nitin had strategically placed himself at No. 5 and Sid at No.6 as a double safeguard against a potential batting collapse.
As it turned out, only one backstop was required. Preetinder Singh and Nitin (who have shared three century partnerships out of the four occasions they have batted together) blunted any hope Richmond may have had. Nitin hit a flurry of boundaries while Preetinder played himself in. And then the roles reversed as Preetinder hit his groove and played a brilliant match-winning innings with Nitin feeding him as much strike as possible. They scored 179 runs in an unbeaten stand to set a new club record for the fourth wicket and secure a comfortable win with five overs to spare against, it must be said, a somewhat understrength Richmond side.
As the team rejoiced over beer and banter, Sid (who sat padded up for 27 overs) couldn’t shake off that nagging thought – are KCC’s batting all-rounders fated to not bat if they bowl in the first innings?
Sun 7 May Richmond Lost by 7 runs
They 218/7 in 40 overs (Huzefa Sajawal 94, Hamzar Sajawal 46, Ahmad Riaz 39, Wajid Tahir 2/40, Todd Cornehls 2/51)
We 211/4 in 40 overs (Rohan Ghosh 83*, Tim Keleher 48, Chris Ledger 43, Omar Wani 1/13)
London could not have provided a more contrasting day from the season opening washout the week before, with glorious sunshine ensuring a perfect day for cricket.
The only mistake in the first hour was losing the toss on a good pitch. After that our bowlers took complete control, led ably from the front by Adam Sumner who didn’t allow a single run from his first 4 overs whilst also taking a key wicket. Amit, Wajid and the KCC blast from the past Todd Cornehls all chipping in.
Richmond could only scratch around for runs and as the half way point of the innings approached the hosts were 3 wickets down and scoring at barely 2 an over. WADA may be interested in what was given to the batsmen at the drinks break, as the last 20 overs belonged to a rejuvenated Richmond and in particular the imposing Sajawal brothers. Huzefa started the blitz with an array of brutal boundaries with Hamzar joining in the assault later on.
There was literally nowhere for the bowlers to hide. But with Huzefa approaching what would have been a well deserved century, skipper Tim took a sharp catch at midwicket and 2 overs later Hamzar was also back in the pavilion. KCC applied the brakes over the finishing stretch, but Richmond left us with 219 required for victory.
Jai and Tim got off to a solid start but both were dismissed in quick succession bringing the veteran pairing of Ghosh and Ledger together with the score at 63. Runs were coming fairly easy and all seemed in order even with the run rate hovering around 7-8. But a long day in the sunshine and lack of match practice started to take its toll, and where Richmond were able to accelerate their scoring with regular boundaries, KCC started to toil. Jamie was pushed up the order once the Ghosh/Ledger partnership ended at 113 and after a couple of quick boundaries and a towering six by Rohan over long on we looked a sure thing. Alas the Richmond bowlers produced the goods in the final overs leaving us 7 runs short. Rohan’s unbeaten 83 the highlight, but definitely a match that got away from us.
Richmond rubbed it in further by locking away our stash of cool cobras!
Sun 7 May Richmond Lost by8 wkts
We 220/6 in 40 overs (Amit Shanker 93*, Wesley Johnson 50*, Matt Syddall 36, Ben Compton 2/10, Jono Jones 2/49)
They 221/2 in 26.1 overs (Charlie Roberts 100 rtd, Ben Compton 80 rtd, Chris Law 22*, Wesley Johnson 0/16)
KCC’s freshly printed 2017 Yearbook gave a vital clue to this year’s game against Richmond – the 2016 Richmond match report stated that while Richmond had lost heavily to KCC, we should expect a ‘backlash’. That Richmond wanted to set the record straight against KCC this year became evident when 14 players made themselves available for this friendly Sunday fixture, a problem of plenty for the Richmond skipper.
The elder Keleher, who had stepped in at the eleventh hour as KCC skipper owing to Tim’s injury, called correctly and elected to bat first. Chris Ledger and Amit Shanker went in to start the proceedings for KCC. However, their opening bowler Jono Jones (Richmond’s Gilchrist Scholar from Australia) soon had the first scalp, getting Ledger LBW for a duck. This brought the previous game’s centurion Kamrul to the crease but, unfortunately, he followed Ledger back to the pavilion in identical fashion. Matt Syddall and Amit put their heads down and set about resurrecting the KCC innings, Matt in particular looking good, with everything hitting the middle of his bat. Matt departed after a sparkling 36, and may have been a tad unlucky to have been adjudged LBW to Compton’s first ball. Amit held the innings steady at one end, but a sharp call for single saw Jamie Keleher being run out. Richmond had even more success with the ball, with quick wickets of Sid and Saurav – the former out to a sharp catch by Jono Jones at mid-off. A few quiet overs were played out until Wesley Johnson joined Amit. With 10 overs to go acceleration was the need of the hour. Wes batted with intelligence and power, and was severe on Jono Jones in his second spell. Wes finished with a fine unbeaten 50, and Amit’s 93 not out helped the total to 220 at the end of the 40th. It was a fighting score, and KCC went to tea hopeful of putting up a good challenge.
Richmond clearly had other ideas. Their opening pair of Charlie Roberts and Ben Compton looked in excellent touch from the word go, and the left-right combination was severe on anything even slightly off line or length. Jamie rotated bowlers in an attempt to stem the flow of runs, but brilliant batting and some ordinary fielding meant that Richmond continued to score at 10 an over throughout their innings. Roberts duly registered a well-made century, and both openers retired to give their fellow batsmen a chance. The formalities were completed by the new pair without fuss, and KCC experienced the full brunt of the Richmond backlash, effectively losing by 10 wickets.
The match strategy was duly dissected over chilled Cobras on a lovely Sunday afternoon, while Ben Compton and Amit were acknowledged for their fine efforts with the bat by winning man-of-the-match awards.
Sun 1 May Richmond Won by 140 runs
We 274/3 in 40 overs (Tim Keleher 157*, Varun Sarna 46*, Jai Singh 22, Extras 30, Chris 2/48)
They 134/8 in 32.1 overs (Imran Basharat 36, Raj 26, Extras 24, Kunal Nathwani 2/17, Nitin Chaturvedi 2/17, Ali Bilgrami 2/22, Sid Chhibbar 2/30)
Beware the backlash…
The KCC season got off to the perfect start with a rather comprehensive victory over Richmond who were fielding a well-below strength team of just 9 players, and no customary Gilchrist Scholar. We provided them two fielders throughout our innings.
KCC batted first on what looked a very decent pitch given the recent weather (April snow anyone?). Skipper Tim Keleher and Jai Singh were scoring easily at a run a ball before Jai had a rush of blood, skying an easy catch to mid off. Nitin Chaturvedi, the reigning club batting champion but newly minted father dealing with compromised sleep, nicked a decent leg break to first slip. Chris Ledger started aggressively, smashing a straight drive into the tennis courts, before rather tamely helping one to square leg next ball.
After 30 overs the run rate had slowed, but KCC newcomer Varun Sarna joined Tim, the two of them ending the innings in a flurry with an unbeaten partnership of 149 as the Richmond attack tired and then disintegrated in the face of the onslaught.
Tim notched his 3rd consecutive century versus Richmond, ending on 157 not out, just 7 runs shy of the all time KCC record. It was a truly dominating innings filled with elegance and, after reaching his hundred in 87 balls, with power – launching 3 sixes and 6 fours thereafter.
Richmond were never really in with a shout. Kunal’s 2 wickets opening the bowling with decent pace and his left arm swing made him the pick of the bowlers, whilst Ali Bilgrami, first gamer Sid Chhibbar and Nitin all also took a brace of wickets.
Happy to take the points this time (if there were any to take!), but also we fully expect a Richmond backlash for our return fixture later in the season.
Sun 10 May Richmond Won by 18 runs
We 280/9 in 40 overs (Tim Keleher 127, Chris Ledger 41, Saikat Barua 23*, Extras 38, Ahssan 3/35, Basharat 3/40)
They 262/5 in 40 overs (Nathanael Scott 156, Mark Price 42*, James Baird 24, Ryan Konson 2/50)
It was one of those squeaky bright London days that make your eyes water. Still, the generous pies dished up by a rag-tag Richmond attack seemed quite unnecessary — KCC’s Tim Keleher and Chris Ledger were seeing the ball just fine, notching up a century stand for the second wicket in little time. As drinks arrived on field in the 20th over, the score card read 143/1. A torrent of late applications were put forward to skipper Rohan, advocating the merits of a promotion up the batting order. 300 seemed a given and, clearly, several felt a bat was unlikely. Of course, wickets soon tumbled as eagerness trumped application. Luckily, Tim kept his wits about him, notching up a fine 127 and Richmond’s hapless wicket-keeper did the rest. 280 in 40 overs seemed defendable.
The rest of the day followed the usual script. Richmond’s Gilchist scholar – Nate Scott – smashed a fine 156. Check. He was dropped when on (insert low score), (insert middle score) and (insert high score). Check. We kept plugging away at the other end despite abject lethargy on a vast outfield. Check. Some fine bowling by Deepak (8-2-25-1) and a fine stumping and caught behind (Scott) by Rohan being the standout on-field performances. In the end, conceding half the amount of extras won us the game, as Richmond fell 19 short of a win. Cobras, banter and casual plane spotting followed. The light was squeaky bright after all.
Thur 10 July Richmond Won by 40 runs
We 278/5 in 40 overs (Tim Keleher 137, Gautom Menon 46, John Olive 43* )
They 238/10 in 36.5 overs (Bryan Warren 149 , Saikat Barua 5/64, John Olive 3/69, Deepak Ramachandra 2/64)
It seems money not only buys you a very decent property in the lush surrounds of Richmond. It also apparently guarantees sunshine whilst the rest of London is drowning is rain – a decent result for those of us lucky enough to partake in this annual Thursday fixture as part of Richmond’s cricket week.
With a beautiful flat deck prepared, KCC had no hesitation in batting first and trying to put a score on board in lieu of the obligatory Gilchrist inspired batting performance that was sure to come from the home side. More on this later.
Rohan and Tim started watchfully after a very tight opening spell of bowling. Eventually scoring became easier, helped by a lightning fast outfield that gave full value for your shots. Rohan unfortunately departed after a hard working start but Tim carried on his sublime touch from last season, with a superb 137, his 13th hundred for the club. 24 sweetly struck boundaries spoked his busy wagon wheel with rarely a false shot in sight. Such was his dominance that two separate stretches of his innings comprised only boundaries as scoring shots – first a string of six fours followed soon after by another seven. Of particular note were a set of sweetly struck cover drives and two thumping hooks off the back foot. For four, of course. His innings culminated in the very last over of our innings after productive partnerships with Gautom (46) and a blistering 25 ball 59 run partnership with John Olive for the 5th wicket. Surely the innings of the season, we all agreed.
278 on the board seemed an ominous total, but history has taught us it would not be an easy score to defend.
Our bowling started brightly with John Olive bowling with searing pace, ably supported by Deepak’s consistent line and length. Deepak was first to strike, taking 2 wickets in his 2nd over. Bryan Warren, Adam Gilchrist’s guest for the Summer, then single handedly took on the task of reeling in the KCC total. After a couple of early reprieves from the KCC fielders (and umpires), Warren began depositing the ball to all parts with a brutal display of batting. Singles were not on the agenda, only lost cricket balls and bruised egos for KCC’s bowlers. With Warren irrepressible from his end, Saikat began the task of targeting the other batsmen and slowly but surely the wickets began to fall around him.
Warren brought up his century after a couple more chances fell through KCC hands, but he was not finished there. John Olive returned to the attack in an unsuccessful attempt to quell the Aussie onslaught, but in the process grabbed a few wickets for himself. Eventually Saikat made the key breakthrough, Warren being caught in the covers on 149, 132 of these coming in boundaries. With the required run rate creeping above 10, the chase was up for Richmond and it was left to Saikat to clean up the tail and secure a maiden 5 wicket haul.
A nervous time in the field for KCC, but in the end a very enjoyable 40 run victory.
Thur 11 July Richmond Lost by 1 wkt
We 242/8 in 46 overs (Bryan 77, S.Thomas 46, Sur 28, Bradshaw 3/60)
They 245/9 in 35 overs (Fryer 91, Thornton 68*, Konson 4/60, Sur 4/70)
Mid-week Richmond CC is always a challenge. A strong opposition armed with Gilchrist scholars who pulverise our half strength attack each year. And youth fielders. Lots of them. Annoyingly chasing down every bloody ball. We’ve predominantly lost at Richmond. At times by large margins. Determined to turn the tide, we showed up at Old Deer Park on a hot Thursday afternoon with a strong-ish, if batting-heavy side. Including two strong debutantes in Russell Bryan and the skipper’s namesake, Rohan Sur.
Batting first, Matt Syddall fell early, for nought, but Chris and Russell consolidated, putting on a 64 run stand in 15 overs. Just as Chris (21) began to finally relax in the company of his partner, a policeman by profession, Lord Ledger was dismissed. Russell dropped anchor and guided us to 175/3 in the 35th over, with first Rohan Sur (28) and then Steve Thomas (46). With David, Rohan and Gautom to follow, it looked like we were set for a total large enough to challenge the Gilchrist scholar. But, once Russell fell for 77, looking set for a hundred on debut, the middle order found the two-paced pitch difficult to accelerate on. We declared in the 46th, setting Richmond a target of 243 in 35 overs.
As it turned out, the declaration proved finely balanced, with the match finishing, in dramatic fashion, on the last ball of the day. It all kicked off in the 6th over when Ryan, bowling to an attacking field, delivered a double break. First dismissing the Gilchrist scholar, caught at slip by a relieved Russell, immediately after he’d floored an absolute lollypop. Then, getting rid of the other opener, caught behind smartly by young Oscar Jefferson. We were cock-a-hoop. But, Richmond’s young No.3 Fryer had other ideas, immediately lashing Ryan for four consecutive boundaries. Apparently late for a baby-sitting appointment, Fryer then raced to 91 off only 55 balls and at 135/3 in the 17th Richmond were well on their way to victory. But just as it seemed like our wheels were about to fall off, Rohan Sur struck. Four times in fact. 135/3 became 149/8 (22nd over). So, 13 overs to get two wickets. Surely … Finally. A win against Richmond?
Fast forward to the last over. We are still searching for those two elusive wickets. More importantly, Richmond need 12 runs to win. Tension is high. 2 byes off the first ball. Damn. Run out and dot ball. Yeah. Dot ball. Double yeah. Two runs. OK. OK. We still have this. Six! Uh-oh. 2 to win. One ball to go. One wicket needed. Ball is tossed up. No.9 Thornton (who batted beautifully for his 68*) skies it to long on. Anguished cries of “Caaaatch!” all around. It’s dropped. Worse. It’s gone through for four. Richmond win. Again.
Match 2: Thur 12 July Richmond Abandoned – rain
They 212/1 in 33 overs (Dain Moreton 121*, G.King 45*, Tom Sky 33, Lewis Allan 1/52)
It’s unclear if it is a good or bad thing that rain ended this game early…
Richmond won the toss and batted first on a typical belter of a wicket. Their decision also helped by the forecast of early evening showers. Their rolling production line of young Aussie imports got off to a quick start, with skipper Dain smashing a 74 ball century, on his way to an unbeaten 121. This was despite some decent bowling from Neeraj and Manas, and later from Ben Moores, who can no longer be referred to as ‘Moores Junior’ given he is now twice as wide as Dad.
When rain finally came at the 33 over mark, Richmond were well on their way to a huge total. Alas the rain settled, and we had to make do with some early cobras to pass the time.
Match 1: Sun 7 May Richmond Lost by 37 runs
They 220/6 in 40 overs (Cheetham 76, Barrett 38, Helg 38*, George 30*, Syddall 3/37)
We 183/9 in 40 overs (Ajit Ramsagar 48, Amit Shanker 45, Moreton 4/28)
Dear oh dear. Last year we lost this fixture by a fair margin but left having enjoyed a moment of schadenfreude, dismissing the Gilchrist scholar cheaply. For a duck in fact. That’s cheap even in Yorkshire. Plus ça change, as they say in Nether Poppleton.
First of all, well done Richmond for reading the weather so well and doing everything to make sure the game took place. This season needed all the help it could get.
We managed to disturb the Richmond innings only after an opening stand of exactly 100 between Barrett and Cheetham, halted by the inspired, actually, let’s be frank here, brilliantly advised introduction of Matt Syddall into the attack. He bowled his 8 overs straight, regularly taking wickets, while Neeraj tied them up at the other end and provided the champagne moment as another talented scholar fell to the wise KCC attack – Dain Moreton this year’s fallen star, foolishly padding up to the one that offers to look like it might just about go on with arm but in the end appears almost to have begun to turn a bit. Amit also kept things in check but the rest of us took a spanking, so 220 had a ‘could have done better’ school report feel to it.
The Kensington innings was disturbed from the very start. Yusaf bowled big away swingers at a slingy pace from the miles-away-over-there-towards-the-hedge-and-usually-into-the-wind-end and Ross hooped some heavy inswingers from the score-hut end. KCC newbie Ajit was finding his feet facing Yusuf in English conditions and played, missed but also hit a few on his way to 48. David Behar watched the ball carefully at the other end but failed to hit it once in an effortless 18 ball duck. We scratched about and got somewhere within an IPL dream of chasing the Richmond score, largely thanks to a hard working stand of 60 between Amit and Shahzeb, later batsmen struggling as Dain redeemed himself in taking 4/28 and Cheetham backed up his 76 with some smart leg-spin. Must do better.
Match 2: Thur 14 July Richmond Lost by 54 runs
They 223/6 in 41 overs (Kezzy 89*, Morley 40, Lees 32, Jhunjhunwala 2/25, Pammi Chaggar 2/63)
We 169/10 in 34 overs (Tim Keleher 31, Pammi Chaggar 29*, Chris Ledger 28, Waqar Siraj 26, Cole 4/10, Stephenson 3/40, Bhutani 2/25)
Adam Gilchrist has long been a thorn in the side of English cricket, and he now seems intent on extending that to the regular KCC v Richmond fixtures.
With Richmond batting first on a predictably good wicket, KCC were on top past the half way point, a combination of tight fielding and bowling, particularly from Pammi Chaggar. Yet with Richmond’s young Aussie import still at the crease, trouble still loomed. And so it was, a young Australian left-hander in the Gilchrist mould began to plunder the KCC attack to all parts, helping himself to a well made 89, and helping Richmond to a decent, yet gettable, score of 223.
The KCC response was initially strong, with skipper Tim Keleher and Ledger making decent starts, but a middle order collapse quickly sent the required run-rate soaring. Waqar Siraj and Pammi gave us some hope with a solid late innings partnership, but with Waqar falling a draw seemed the most likely outcome. Richmond had other ideas, throwing the ball late to Mr Cole, who coolly picked up the last 4 wickets with minimum fuss, including 3 in his last over, leaving KCC 54 runs short of the target and disappointed with a rather poor defeat.
Match 1: Sun 1 May Richmond Lost by 5 wkts
We 184/7 in 40 overs (Amit Shanker 45, Shahzeb 43, Gabriel Thomas 37, Patel 2/26, Parsad 2/32)
They 187/5 in 30.1 overs (Woodhouse 66, Rotheram 53*, Shepherd 28*, Akhi Shailendra 2/29)
Who are all these people in tracksuits? Kensington arrived at a breezy but sunny Richmond to find a battalion of sporty looking young types, buzzing around an edge-of-the-square pitch, all vim and vigour. Ben, the home skipper, explained that competition for places in the various league sides meant today was to be a bit of a try out for several cuspish wannabees. Terrific. The coin came down tails for Matty, as it should, so Kensington chose to set a target. Chose? Well we had a few traffic issues and it’s a big old park to cover with 8 fielders….
Richmond openers Grant and Rotheram bowled with good pace and direction. Jai Singh was bowled early on, but Amit Shanker and Shahzeb Mohammed batted with patience, Amit falling one run shy of their hundred partnership. Richmond went through the gears a bit after that, sharing the bowling around and it took a fine, battling 37 from Gabriel to lend the score a hint of respectability after the 40 overs. In truth 184 was 60 or so short on another very good Richmond surface.
Akhi took the new ball, downwind, with skipper Marshall charging into the wind from the other end like a Tesco’s bag on a string. Perhaps the wind took the edge off the Richmond calling but a brilliant run out by Matt Syddall nicked an early wicket for the visitors and a few balls later Akhi had No.3, the stalwart Albert Helg, caught behind. 19/2. Same over and Patel was gone, same method. Gilchrist scholar Craig Dand was watching Akhi’s pace and bounce from the other end and now faced Marshall. The first 2 balls were wides either side of the wicket, wobbling around trying to preserve enough momentum to reach the ‘keeper. The third was straighter and Dand swatted at it a few times as it hesitated and ducked passed him to eke the bails off. My word. 25/4. The next ball thumped Ben Rotheram right in front but…hmmm, not given. Panic in the Richmond ranks? Well it didn’t last long and Rotheram and Woodhouse stroked it about to canter home, helped latterly by Shepherd. Jai finally got his wish to bowl with only 2 wanted and promptly sent down a long hop that was mended to the boundary.
It was a real pleasure, again, playing this organised Richmond side. We look forward to running them closer next summer.