Sun 30 June Brook Lost by 9 wkts
We 181/10 in 43.3 overs (P.Kumar 40, J.Singh 34, Kidwai 27, Roy 26, Qadir 3/23, Khalid Mohammed 3/39)
They 183/1 in 35.4 overs (Hamilton 95*, Prynne 37, Extras 38, Tharakan 1/29)
This idyllic setting with all its bucolic charm once again drew us down the A3 into the depths of Surrey. It is not often you get to play on a ground where you don’t require a sightscreen at one end as the grassy meadow slopes above the eye-line.
San called correctly and chose to bat. KCC began dramatically with Jai Singh pulling a no ball for four, first ball. With the large frame of guest David Bournes unyielding at one end, Jai rattled to 34 before slicing a drive to gully. Then, a sudden collapse as three further wickets fell for just 3 runs – David, San for a second ball duck, and Regan having a swish still not off the mark. 52/4 with lots to be done. Furquan and newcomer, the Australian-Indian Prashant Kumar, began the repair work to put on 53 valuable runs. After Furquan’s exit immediately followed by Khush, Prashant continued to impress, ably supported by Manas (26). A final flourish by Saikat (15) and Imran (14) got us to 181, and some respectability.
But with the notable exception of Manas who bowled ten overs on the trot with great tenacity yielding only 13 runs, the rest of our bowling was treated with contempt by the two Brook openers, Prynne and Hamilton. The many erratic deliveries were dispatched to the boundary through, what must be said, cardboard cut-out fielders. Like it appeared they were all on strike for danger money and had refused to support the inept bowlers! It was indeed a surprise when San held a caught behind to end the century opening stand. The industrial action continued nevertheless, the bowlers were not going to be pressured into bowling a proper line and the fielders were not having any of the speeding bullets. The run rate increased and Brook were home and dry with two and a half overs to spare. Peace talks, fellas! A sort of truce was brokered at the Dog and Pheasant in the cool of an evening of a very pleasant summer’s day.
Sun 17 June Brook Drawn
We 182/8 in 46.4 overs (Shanker 53*, Gore 29, T.Khan 27, Prynne 3/33)
They 141/7 in 42 overs (Hamilton 65*, Shea 27, Rishad 4/30, Raja 2/15)
This was an inaugural fixture for Kensington which had been secured by the famous PR firm of Gortex and Legend, whilst journeying back from Chichester a couple of years ago. After stopping for a snifter at the Dog and Pheasant, in the quintessential Surrey village of Brook, they wandered across the A286 to Brook Cricket Club and pitched their Kensington wares to the receptive locals. Although the fixture was sadly rained off in 2011 it was Game On for June 2012.
The picturesque ground in it’s rural setting was bathed in rare (for 2012) summer sunshine as Kensington congregated on the balcony of the 1920’s wooden Pirrie Hall, that doubles as a cricket pavilion and community centre, overlooking the wicket and down the considerable slope towards the Dog and Pheasant. The boundary at Brook is somewhat redolent of a jig-saw puzzle piece rather than the oval of other traditional village greens, allowing quick scoring towards the pavilion and south side and the opportunity for extreme middle distance running, once the ball is hit to other areas. The soggy outfield also made the long boundaries unobtainable except for the likes of Chris Gayle or Tabby Khan.
Kensington lost the toss and were inserted by the Brook captain who realised that the wicket should dry up throughout the afternoon. This proved to be a canny decision as Kensington’s stylish opening pair of San and Ajit found runs hard to get. Ajit was bowled for 18 in the 12th over with the score on 35. San snicked one to the wicket keeper for an admirable 29 in 54 balls. Tim uncharacteristically played round a straight one. Matt Marshall also found it hard to score in his usual free style, lost patience and was stumped for 10. At 80 for 4 after 27 overs, Kensington were looking either at a low, indefensible total or boring the opposition by batting too long and running the risk of rejection by the Brook fixture committee for the 2013 season, despite the not inconsiderable PR capabilities of a crate of Cobra and a couple of bottles of Johnnie Walker Black Label, generously supplied by the sponsors. But the later order responded well. Amit Shanker hit a fine, not out 53 and aided by some sweet blows by Tabby, who was the only batsman to better a run a ball for his 27 off 25 including three 6s, Kensington declared on 182 for 8 off 46.4 overs.
The Kensington fast medium opening pair of Hammad Rishad and Khush Khan started in fine style. Hammad (inset) was the pick of the bowlers, having the Brook opener clean bowled by an inswinging yorker in the 3rd over. This was the first of Hammad’s four wickets, all were top or middle order batsman and all clean bowled for 30 runs, a marvellous achievement on a pitch not helpful to fast bowlers. At 62/5 Brook were in dire straits and the other opener, John Hamilton, resisted all attempts to dislodge him. This was a solid not spectacular innings with only one real chance which was put down on the square leg boundary off a full-blooded hook. The run rate fell away and no attempt was being made to chase our total. Kensington tried hard to winkle out Hamilton. When the pace bowlers were unable to penetrate his defences, Tabby called upon San’s and Matt’s flight and guile to tempt the batsmen to have a go, but despite a few sixes Hamilton’s wise head and straight bat were equal to the faux spin maestro. Brook held out for a draw reaching 141 for 7 having batted all of 42 overs, with Hamilton unbeaten on 65.
Both teams repaired to the Dog and Pheasant and worthy Men of the Match awards were dispensed. It was a lovely evening and all agreed that Kensington should be invited to play at this lovely venue next year. Cheers all round.