Sun 25 June Sunbury Squires Drawn (but close)
We 247/4 in 42 overs (Sid Chhibbar 74, Rohan Ghosh 65 rtd hurt, Neeraj Nayar 39*, Tim Keleher 31*, David Price 2/85)
They 233/8 in 45 overs (David Price 81, A.Edwards 36, Michael Serpant 34, Neeraj Nayar 3/42, Saikat Barua 2/44)
“Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn” wrote Laurence Binyon in his famous poem about fallen soldiers, but his touching words are not out of place when describing the marvellous Sunbury Squires whom KCC were playing for the first time. They may be largely an over 50’s team, but they were more than a match for us. Indeed Neeraj, for the first time ever, got to know what it felt like to captain a Youth team!
We batted first on what looked a belter of a pitch with a short boundary to one side, a Sawbridgeworth-of-the-west type setting. Rohan and Sid batted calmly from the outset and were untroubled in bringing up their half centuries. Sid had some luck when dropped in his 50’s, but was repaid by a sharp catch at midwicket from KCC’s own Amit Kumar who was lending a hand in the field.
With Rohan having to retire hurt soon after we had a little wobble in the middle order before Neeraj and Tim hit quick-fire 30s at the tail end of the innings to set Sunbury a tasty 248 run chase for victory.
To say that our new recruit Wesley enjoyed the look of the pitch would be an understatement. Seam and sharp bounce had him feeling like he was back home in sunny South Africa. After unsettling the two openers with some gentle chin music, he was advised to try a few deliveries off a shorter run. “We’re old, we can’t see that well” was the gist of the message delivered with a smile from the openers. Wesley reluctantly complied – his Antipodean blood still leaves him a little bemused with the pleasantries of Sunday cricket – though his smile disappeared when he was subsequently dispatched into the houses. It should be noted that on another day, Wesley could easily have helped himself to a bag of wickets such was the fierceness of his spell.
Each of the Squires’ top 3 got good starts, but once Saikat broke the opening partnership with the score at 58, wickets fell at regular intervals. The Squires though continued to aggressively chase the target even with the required run rate hovering around 8 for much of the match. Neeraj and Seethal chipped in with crucial wickets but the thorn in KCC’s side proved to be the Squires no.5 David Price. He had initially looked a tad uncomfortable at the crease, but a crushing 6 over cow corner got his innings motoring along.
Neeraj introduced San with his tempting loops, a masterstroke that brought the ‘write your betting slip’ moment of the match – Kumar caught Tharakan bowled Gore!
Even with Price in destructive touch, the Squires couldn’t stay up with the chase, eventually falling 14 runs short and the game ending in an entertaining draw.
We did what we do best with our hosts after a great match – sweep them off their feet with gifts of booze! Here’s to many a great fixture in future years.