Sun 1 August Tilford Abandoned – rain
They 137/4 in 34.4 overs (Johnny Barran 47*, George Amphlett 32, Gavin Nesbitt 30, Sunil Amar 3/31, David Behar 1/40)
One of the season’s most eagerly anticipated fixtures was sadly cut short by rain. That was the second bit of bad news of the day – the first and worst was that Tilford wouldn’t be able to provide their amazing teas this year… As it turned out a monsoon-like cloud burst meant the game never made it as far as tea anyway.
Tilford’s opener Johnny Barran crawled to 7 not out off 44 balls against tight (but not that tight) KCC bowling, before upping the scoring rate after drinks and ending up on 47 not out by the time the rain came. Our legendary El Presidente Sunil Amar was the pick of KCC’s bowlers, bamboozling all Tilford’s batsmen with his deadly loopy swing. Sunil picked up three wickets, the first of which was undoubtedly the truncated game’s champagne moment. Tilford’s no. 3 smashed the ball back in the air towards long off, seemingly past Sunil for a certain boundary, but Tiger by name, Tiger by nature, Sunil pounced at lightning speed and took a spectacular caught-and-bowled that will live long in the memory. Soon afterwards torrential rain washed out the match, and we retired happily to the pub for an extra-long post-match session.
We’re already looking forward to 2022 – the congenial opposition, the lovely pub, the quirky postage stamp sized pitch, and (usually) the fantastic teas make this fixture an unmissable highlight of the KCC year.
Sun 2 August Tilford Lost by 7 wkts
We 225/9 in 41 overs (Rohan Ghosh 84, Harsha Gandadi 24, Amit Shanker 22, Jason Stones 4/27)
They 229/3 in 29 overs (Joel Walker 98, Matt Swarbrick 68*, Geoff Coombe 44, Sunil Amar 1/18)
KCC batted first on a good cricket wicket that was fine to bat on, but also offered a bit of help to the bowlers. Our opening partnership didn’t last long, but Rohan Ghosh at number 3 set his stall for a long innings and played a typically fluent, elegant knock – providing the glue that held the KCC innings together, he finally fell 16 runs short of what would have been a well-deserved century. Tilford’s bowlers all bowled a good tight line and got just enough movement off the pitch to make it hard to score freely, which together with some poor shot selection led wickets to fall all too frequently at the other end. Even so our final total of 225 in 41 overs felt defendable if we bowled well…
But as it turned out, although our bowlers did do a decent job, they were no match for Tilford’s young opener Joel Walker, who batted superbly. Scoring 98 out of the first 130 runs in just 47 balls, he looked a class apart as he peppered the boundary with a sequence of textbook straight drives and cover drives through the V. In truth we never looked remotely like getting him out, and there wasn’t one slog or false shot until he misjudged the length of a deceptive Nitin Chaturvedi ball and skied a catch just short of a fantastic century. After his departure normal service resumed and it was a better-balanced contest, but in truth the game was already lost and Tilford cantered past our score in just 29 overs. Despite our heavy defeat, it was an enjoyable game played in great spirit and we already much look forward to next year’s match.
Sun 4 August Tilford Won by 7 wkts
They 169/9 in 46.4 overs (Hugh French 38, Rob Dale 28, Matt Bosier 23*, Sunil Amar 3/25, Bernard van Vuuren 3/31, Nitin Chaturvedi 2/19)
We 171/3 in 30 overs (Chetan Malhotra 72*, Harsha Gandadi 44, Tim Russell 25, Hugh French 1/12, Alex Beard 1/45)
Our annual visit to beautiful Tilford Green started and ended with a win. First, winning the toss, skipper Saikat decided to bowl and our bowlers were right on the money from ball one. Tilford were very slow to get going and managed to crawl to 50 in 20 overs courtesy of tight bowling from Bernard, Bern, Sunil and Chetan Singh. In the next 26 overs, the home team accelerated somewhat but wickets at regular intervals stalled their progress. Nitin and Amit Kumar maintained the same control as the earlier bowlers. Tilford eventually declared at 169/9 thanks largely to some clean hitting from Rob Dale (28) and Matt Bosier (23*) towards the end. Sunil continued his good form on this ground by picking up 3 wickets (last of which was an excellent caught and bowled), as did Bernard.
Encouraged by a delectable tea, KCC’s reply was smooth and assured, both openers Chetan Malhotra and Tim Russell punishing anything loose with lovely timing and placement. Tim was unlucky not to get a bigger score, being yorked by a beauty from Matt Bosier, the pick of their bowlers (60/1). Saikat in at number 3 to showcase his batting credentials had a rush of blood (stumped by a mile) that cut short his blossoming innings. Harsha replaced him and began immediately to hit balls all over the park, along with the well-set Chetan. On 44 and with only 8 needed to win, Harsha ‘did a Saikat’ getting stumped going for a heave. David Behar came in and finished the business with a gorgeous cover drive and a sweep. Chetan remained unbeaten with a fine 72, registering a back-to-back fifty against the same opposition. A handsome victory by 7 wickets with 11 overs to spare felt sweeter downing chilled cobras with a very likeable opposition who played the game in the right spirit.
Second round of drinks took place at the adjacent picturesque Barley Mow to conclude the day with the usual presentations. Matt Bosier of Tilford received the JW Gold for his all-round performance and Chetan Malhotra the Cobra for his excellent innings. We look forward to play at this charming ground again next year.
Sun 5 August Tilford Won by 133 runs
We 251/7 in 38.5 overs (Chetan Malhotra 79, Sid Chhibbar 49, Amit Shanker 45, Shahzeb 29, M.Cantwell 2/16)
They 118/10 in 34.1 overs (Martin Knott 30, Extras 38, Sunil Amar 4/4, Saikat Barua 2/12)
On a blazing sunny day, KCC travelled to beautiful Tilford Green (not green anymore due to excessive heat). KCC skipper Saikat thankfully won the toss and batted first in a time game to avoid being roasted under the scorching sun.
Chetan Malhotra and Amit Shanker gave us a flying start by scoring 114 runs in 18 overs until Amit played on for 45. Sid Chhibbar joined Chetan, with both the batsmen hitting the ball well and running well (not always the case though) it was a matter of time before the heat took its toll on Chetan who got bowled for a well-made 79 while playing a tired looking shot. David Behar went in at number 4 with contact lenses on but sadly that did not make a difference as he soon departed for 1. KCC’s very own Shahzeb Mohammed in his first appearance in two years played well for 29 and was involved in a 40 runs partnership with Sid who unfortunately got run out on 49. With some late contributions from Rohan (15) and extras (27), KCC declared on 251/7.
In reply, Tilford was in spot of bother very early as both our opening bowlers Bernard and Saikat made quick breakthroughs, inspired by a fabulous tea during the break. However, it was club president Sunil Amar who ripped through Tilford’s middle and lower order claiming 4 wickets in quick succession. Sunil’s spell was magical 8-6-4-4 which could well be the spell of the season. At one stage, Tilford was 64/9 but their last pair added 54 runs largely due to some good hitting from Martin Knott (30) and some loose bowling as well as sloppy fielding behind the wicket which resulted in 38 extra runs. In the end, Tilford finished on 118, handing KCC the largest win of the season by runs. Tabrez, Bernard, Adam all got a wicket apiece whereas Saikat took 2.
The game was played in great spirit in front of large numbers of spectators. Chilled Cobras (beer not snake) were served before we headed to The Barley Mow for a second round of drinks and the presentations. Martin “Rambo” Knott received the JW Gold Label Reserve for his late flurry for Tilford whereas KCC legend Sunil Amar received the Cobra award for his outstanding spell. We look forward to next year’s fixture when Tilford promised to give us a better game.
Sun 6 August Tilford Won by 5 wkts
They 194/4 in 45.3 overs (Nathan Sprittles 101*, Matthew Cook 36, Jonathan Pryce 32, Deepak Ramachandra 2/25, Stef Nayar 1/27, Saurav Sen 1/40)
We 195/5 in 39.2 overs (Chris Ledger 57, Rohan Ghosh 47, Oscar Jefferson 25, Tabrez Khan 20, Matthew Cook 3/44, Guy Wilson 2/63)
The undulating, inclined, roughly triangular ground at Tilford, with the Barley Mow pub along one side, the river close by, and the picturesque Tilford CC clubhouse on the third, is a delight for topologists, lovers of the countryside, and friendly Sunday club cricketers alike. It features a down hill 24-yard boundary at backward point, giving hope to all weekend warriors wanting to emulate Sachin Tendulkar’s upper cut for six, or the more challenging Chris Ledger reverse sweep for the same number of runs and similar emotional appeal.
Thus it was no surprise that we all turned up on time for this much awaited fixture against a friendly opposition side, with even Chris (yes, he of reverse sweep six fame) screeching into the car park at 2 minutes to 2pm.
As thoughts turned towards cricket, skipper Saurav called correctly and opted to field first on what looked like a difficult track in a timed game, only to have to apologise yet again back in the changing room to the half of the side that thought we should have batted first, while at the same time offering silent thanks that cricket favoured the model of benign dictatorship over a more Athenian ideal.
Young Stef opened up at one end, bowling an able spell picking up a wicket in the process while Chetan sent down 8 mostly unplayable overs from the other. The Tilford batsmen found it hard to score freely on a difficult wicket, but did well to dig in and avoid losing too many. Deepak, breaking journey en route to New York from Mumbai, bowled 10 overs for not very many while picking up the wicket of the dangerous-looking #3 bat, Jon Pryce, caught by a relieved Saurav at mid-off, who had no idea that a skier was coming his way until the rest of the team shouted “yours”. Seriously chaps, whose?
Neeraj throttled the scoring rate with his usual nonchalance, which allowed Sid and Saurav to follow up with tidy spells as the batsmen felt the pressure to up the run rate. Deepak, bereft of the collective guidance that had been offered to the skipper before, put down a difficult chance at mid-on, while Saurav accumulated his negative Gore points while doing an impression of his more famous left-handed namesake as he did a “spill and sprawl” to Rohan’s bowling at long on. Oscar was outstanding behind the stumps. Stef hared around with more energy than the rest of us. Tabby patrolled calf corner with great brooding intensity and had to recover the ball from a puddle, twice.
Tilford’s batsmen did well to negotiate both the wicket and our bowlers, as they did not get distracted by all the above on-field entertainment, and posted a decent 194, while nearly doing a KCC as they indicated a declaration with opener Nathan Sprittles stranded on 98. KCC generously allowed an extra over so that he could reach the magical figure.
Tea was, as they might say at Deepak’s destination, awesome (or perhaps more accurately and aptly, ahh-some).
Tabby and Chris opened the batting for KCC, negotiating a wicket that was still difficult and bowlers who exploited the conditions well. Oohs and aahs accompanied each Ledger square cut, especially the ones that connected. At the other end, Tabby provided his usual exhibition of unique batting technique, respectfully dead-batting half-trackers with a straight bat while making room to squeeze the fuller length ones between second slip and gully. They put on a very good opening stand of 73 runs in 16 overs before Tabby fell to a blinding catch taken low at gully. Chris soldiered on, joined by Rohan who played some beautiful strokes in his cameo of 47. Kamrul was unlucky to get out cheaply, so it fell to hard-hitting Oscar and nerveless Sid to guide KCC to within 5 runs of victory, at which point Oscar decided to let the others have a bat. As more senior KCC players pondered the pressures of going in with no potential upside, out strode young Stef and swatted his first ball for 4, winning the game with an over and a half to spare in the next ball and wondering what the fuss was all about.
Tilford’s bowlers did well to take the match down to the last two overs. Martin Knott bowled unchanged for 12 overs, after which Guy Wilson sent down a top-class mixed bag that KCC did well to negotiate. Matthew Cook picked up 3 wickets from the other end.
Post-match drinks were excellent, and you could do worse than congregate at the Barley Mow and you could do a lot worse than sharing a few pints with Tilford CC. We look forward to being back next year.
Sun 31 July Tilford Lost by 5 runs
They 168/7 in 44 overs (Tom Blackburn 58, Guy Wilson 42, Huw Town-Jones 22, Neeraj Nayar 4/30, Deepak Ramachandra 3/28)
We 163/10 in 29 overs (Sid Chhibbar 52, Amit Shanker 19, Eddy Barreto 19, Extras 27, Martin Knott 6/53)
Tilford CC is the scene of a quintessential English Village Cricket Ground with the field set in the middle of the green and surrounded by the Pavilion, Pub and river, all of which provide an excellent vantage of the game.
Tilford batted first and were placed under immediate pressure from Deepak who dominated the opposition with 3/28 off 10 straight overs. Neeraj kept up the pressure with a great spell of 4/30 off 12 as Tilford struggled to get any momentum to their innings. The opener Tom Blackburn (58) and no.5 Guy Wilson (42) did well to keep KCC out as Tilford eventually declared on 168/7 off 44 overs (leaving KCC only 30 overs to chase).
KCC lost two early wickets but were well served by Sid at the top of the order who stroked his way to a good 52. When he was dismissed, however, the inevitable KCC collapse occurred and we lost 6 wickets for 40 runs in the next 10 overs. To our credit we continued to chase the target and some late hitting from Eddy (19 off 13 balls) gave KCC the opportunity to win needing 6 runs off 7 balls with one wicket remaining. Unfortunately, Amit attempting to win it next ball with a big six was caught on the boundary and Tilford had won this exciting game. Martin Knott proved to be the difference taking 6/53 off 10 overs.
Sun 2 August Tilford Drawn
We 176/10 in 36.5 overs (Saikat Barua 37, Chris Ledger 33, Abid Nasir 30, Jack Cantwell 5/30, Martin Knott 2/14)
They 153/9 in 38 overs (Tom Blackburn 33, Guy Wilson 24, Neeraj Nayar 4/23, Sunil Amar 3/24)
Where is Sunil? The annual Prudential Cycle Race had a lot to answer for as it clogged traffic all round South West London and particularly the Hammersmith roundabout. Not that this should have made any difference as Boris Johnson had given us ample warning of road and bridge closures. Most of us had, more or less, assembled on time at this delightful undulating ground in the depths of Surrey, except for Sunil Amar and new boy Kunal Nathwani. In his wisdom (or lack of it), Sunil had decided to pick up Kunal from Hammersmith and thereafter they both saw a lot of it.
On arrival at the ground San was greeted by opposition skipper, Rick Austin, who explained that a German film crew wished to record the match for television viewers at home and would be unobtrusive as possible! San won the toss and with only 7 KCC players present reluctantly decided to bat when all his instincts were to field first. Well, actually, San won the toss several times over as the film director insisted on endless re-takes. Meanwhile Sunil and Kunal were still firmly wedged in the gridlock at Hammersmith at least 2 hours away.
Neeraj and Chris started painfully slowly, perhaps aware of the presence of the cameras and posterity. They put on 34 runs in 11 overs, despite a very short boundary square of the wicket, before Neeraj was adjudged LBW. Nitin departed soon after, leaving Chris and Pammi to continue the crawl. Not the greatest advertisement of the game for the Germans as this turgid progress continued. Chris scratched around hopelessly out of touch and when both he and Pammi fell, it was left to Saikat and Ali to hit a few lusty blows. But at 148/8 with Sunil and Kunal still at least 10 minutes away the innings technically ended. Rick then very graciously let the not out batsman, Abid Nasir, continue to bat on his own until the cavalry arrived. Abid and the hastily padded up Kunal, and then last man Sunil took the score to 176. Young Jack Cantwell picked up the bowling honours with 5/30.
After a great tea, Tom Blackburn and Guy Wilson gave Tilford a resounding start with 55 in 12 overs having hit both Deepak and Abid out of the attack. But the moment Sunil was brought on the game changed, both openers succumbing to the wiles of the Master Swinger. Neeraj joined in with his accurate, darting deliveries and soon Tilford’s innings went into a tailspin. At 126/8 with 7 overs to go we were in the driving seat. But given the generosity of the opposition in letting us bat on when we had been down on our knees, San could not find the heart to press for victory. So a few overs of gentle off-spin from Pammi, one of which got an unintended wicket, helped the game peter out to an honourable draw – and several merry drinks at The Barley Mow.
Wonder what the Germans made of it all!
Sun 3 August Tilford Won by 4 wkts
They 220/8 in 43 overs (Jake Austin 73, G.Wilson 37*, S.Wilson 26, Sunil Amar 3/20, Rohan Ghosh 2/62)
We 221/6 in 36.2 overs (Chris Ledger 100*, Rohan Ghosh 46, Pammi Chaggar 33, R.Austin 2/57)
KCC has always aimed to play at picturesque grounds against friendly opposition. At Tilford, we also happen to play on a ground that would be a topologist’s dream – triangular, curved, sloping, with a tree, next to the river (and critically, a pub), distance to boundary varying between 25 and 60 metres – all in all, unique. And so it was on another pleasant Sunday afternoon that we landed up just in time for this timed fixture – in true KCC style there were 4 of us present (and waiting in close proximity to the pub, of course) 10 minutes before the scheduled start of play.
KCC won the toss and elected to field. All was calm for the first 20 overs as Khush (1/23) and Amit bowled a tidy opening spell, picking up 2 wickets for 37. However, Jake Austin (73) took a liking to KCC’s spinners and decided, after surviving a couple of LBW shuts and streaky edges, that watchfulness was for spectators as he launched into a serious assault on our bowling, the river, the trees and the roof of the Barley Mow pub. Pammi Chaggar managed to break the partnership and then it fell to Sunil “Golden-arm” Amar to keep a tight leash on the tail, which we managed to do until the very last over when Rohan, who had bowled well until that point, was despatched for 20 runs over the boundary traditionally known as cow corner (dubbed “calf corner” in view of the fact that it was about 30 metres from the pitch).
Tea was taken with the usual gusto while KCC pondered the best way to chase 221 in an hour and 20 overs. Whether through over-indulgence in the scones, the desire to take a quick nap in the sun, or a combination of several factors, we found ourselves in the unprecedented situation where no one wanted to bat. David Behar offered “not” to open the batting, San (allegedly) said something about batting in the middle order (which we all know starts at #3 for KCC), Nino politely asked to be batted at #9, and Khush and Sunil reached an agreement to share the #10 and #11 slots.
It therefore fell on Ravi Mantha’s shoulders to open the batting with Chris Legend. The left-right combination worked like a charm for 0.4 overs when Ravi perished doing a Virender Sehwag impersonation. Out went David Behar at #3 and proceeded to play around a straight one which, according to the batsman, started down leg side and reverse swung before rearing off a good length to clip the top of off stump. Cue classic KCC confusion as San was spotted wandering along the mid-off boundary, camera in tow, instead of being padded up to go in at #4. As the opposition sportingly agreed not to time him out, San made the most of the opportunity to post our top score of the game until that point before he too took inspiration from David Behar and decided to contribute to the scorecard by updating the scoreboard as he departed for 7. Amit Shanker could not follow up his heroics with the ball and he too perished cheaply.
At 30/3 and then 47/4 things were looking decidedly bleak but Pammi Chaggar (33) played a sensible innings, guiding KCC to a semi-respectable 72/4 when the 20-over countdown started. Still, with 149 to get in 20 overs, Tilford clearly held the upper hand. At this point Chris Ledger surveyed the ruins around him and decided to take charge, striking, amongst other memorable Ledger classics, a reverse sweep for six (yes, you read that right), as he and Pammi slowly but steadily rebuilt the innings while keeping the runs flowing at a good rate. Thanks to some reliable Presidential scoring, we applauded Chris’s 50 when he was on 67. Pammi fell to a full toss – painfully LBW after being struck high up between the pads – but was followed by Rohan Ghosh who played a beautiful innings and provided Chris with the perfect foil. The pair took KCC to within 8 runs of victory, and Chris to within 4 runs of his century, when Rohan was run out attempting what no self-respecting KCC batsman does, a second run. Out strolled a nervous skipper Sen, who, after nearly getting himself out on the first ball, managed to strike the second for 4 and leave Chris with the strike and just enough to do in the final over of the day to achieve the twin goals of individual glory (100*) and a team win.
For Tilford, bowling honours went to the opening pair of Jake Austin and R.Austin, who kept the batsmen alert and took 1 for 2 wickets between them. Post-match beers, always the highlight of our games, featured us repeatedly referring to the opposition skipper (whose name was Chris) as Terry and a unanimous vote that opposition opener Spot Wilson had perfected the approach to batting that we at KCC strive for: bat first, bat long (30 overs), score a moderate number of runs (26) and sit out the fielding session.
We look forward to the fixture next year!
Sun 4 August Tilford Lost by 6 wkts
We 250/7 in 39.1 overs (S.Thomas 65, Regan 65, Gore 40, D.Behar 34, Beard 3/25)
They 253/4 in 35.2 overs (Ambrose 78*, Mathews 77, Wilson 45, Barua 2/34)
Our second visit to Tilford Green, one of the most picturesque village grounds in England. The ground and adjacent pub, The Barley Mow, are featured on the cover of the recent book on wandering cricket “Gentlemen, Gypsies and Jesters” in which Kensington has an honourable chapter.
On a warm summer’s day Steve Thomas (inset), in a rare appearance for KCC this year, and David Behar gave Kensington a flying start smashing 62 for the first wicket inside 9 overs, helped considerably by the short square boundaries. Gautom, no doubt thinking of sixes, holed out immediately for a duck. But Steve powered on regardless putting on 63 runs with Regan who was back to some form. Once Steve was out, Regan and San compiled another fifty run stand both getting out in pursuit of a massive total. San eventually declared on 250, which was regarded as an above-par score even on this small ground.
An early wicket by Khush gave us a great start, and Saikat bowled meanly conceding just 15 for one wicket in his first 6-over spell. Then the wheels came off. Imran and John Behar took heavy punishment as Matthews and Ambrose clobbered 91 in the next 8 overs. David with his ‘Golden arm’ came on to work his magic, but it became a ‘leaden arm’ as his first over went for 31 including 10 wides! San turned to Steve and was rewarded by a wicket first ball, John B taking a good running catch in the deep. By this time the game was up as Ambrose and Wilson cruised to the target, the only consolation was the returning Saikat bagged a wicket an over before the finish.
The after-match social at The Barley Mow continued well into the evening twilight. Steve was awarded the Cobra Man of the Match and the opposition provided him with their traditional ‘up-in-one’ beer sundowner. Little did they know that Steve was an accomplished artist in that form of the game as well!