Sun 14 August Hertford Won by 6 wkts
They 157/10 in 35.3 overs (F.Ruskin 49, N.Darby 28, Extras 22, Saurav Sen 3/21, Jai Bhalla 2/8, Nitin Chaturvedi 2/12, Eddy Barreto 2/45)
We 159/4 in 29.3 overs (Amit Shanker 49, Harsha Gandadi 41*, Rakteem Katakey 32, Extras 27, Duke 1/24, Coleman 1/24)
Preetinder lost the toss and Hertford promptly elected to bat first on this excellent batting track. Perhaps they were mindful of KCC’s massive opening partnership of 223 the previous year and hoped to emulate it.
A barnstorming start by the two young Hertford opening batsmen Neil Darby and Flynn Ruskin saw them get to 62 in 9 overs. KCC were staring down the barrel and potentially looking at chasing 280 plus. But cricket is a funny game. Eddy broke the partnership having Neil well caught by Sid Baveja, then clean bowling the next man in the same over.
The introduction of spin twins Saurav Sen and Nitin Chaturvedi saw the game turn on its head – spin is king and it completely changed the momentum. Hertford were totally bemused by the flight and guile and the middle order was not able to cope. Saurav and Nitin between them bowled 15 overs and picked up 5 wickets for 33 runs. At 115/7 Hertford were desperate to try to bat out through to a respectable total.
Some canny seam bowling from 14-year-old Jai Bhalla, and loopy spin from Tim Russell and the tail was brushed aside. Hertford had limped to 157 all out in the 36th over.
Kensington had a hesitant start losing two early wickets, Jai Bhalla being bowled and Rohan not being able to capitalise on his recent good form. Nevertheless, Rakteem made a quickfire 32 before skying a catch to cover (68/3). Meanwhile, Amit Shanker had been quietly playing the anchor role but when joined by Harsha Gandadi both unleashed a flurry of strokes and advanced rapidly to the target. Unfortunately, Amit a hit away from victory was bowled for 49. Harsha finished the match next over with a scorching boundary.
This was a great performance by KCC with some excellent fielding and catching.
All round a very entertaining game.
Sun 6 June Hertford Won by 113 runs
We 250/2 in 32.4 overs (Jai Singh 131*, Praveen Lekhraj 95, Matthew Ahl 1/36)
They 137/10 in 34.1 overs (Steve Page 51, Peter Amos 42, Hammad Rishad 4/56, Adam Sumner 3/24, Neeraj Nayar 2/36)
Hampstead unfortunately had to cancel our planned fixture on the eve of the season because of their league schedule, which meant we played our first match against Hertford on what is one of the nicest grounds we have played at in recent years.
Unaware of the overall team strength, the Hertford CC skipper offered us the chance to bat first in what was originally a 40 over match, much to the chagrin of the former skipper whose opinion of limited overs Sunday cricket was “it’s complete bollocks”.
After Jai and Praveen had rather effortlessly taken us to 75 off the first 10 overs, Tim had a quiet word with the Hertford skipper and suggested we revert back to a timed game which was agreed with a welcome smile. The aforementioned former skipper wasn’t happy though “You can’t change the format after the game has started”. I digress.
Jai and Praveen continued on their merry way, with each Hertford bowler suffering the same fate as the last. The strokeplay was impeccable, and the boundaries flowed for each batsman. Jai reached his 100 in just 83 balls and kindly offered to retire to alleviate Preetinder of his uncomfortable pad burn on the sidelines, but with a record partnership in the offing that was declined by Tim. On the cusp of what would have been his maiden KCC century Praveen finally succumbed to a false stroke and was bowled for 95. The 223-run opening stand set a new KCC record, the previous first wicket record of 197 had stood for 22 years. The innings was declared soon after, an imposing 250 runs on the board with plenty of overs to come.
Hertford were never in the chase in what was an outstanding team bowling performance. Adam and Neeraj broke through the top order, and Hammad, back for his first game in 6 years, skittled through the middle and lower order with 4 valuable wickets (even if the line and length was a little erratic!). With not a single catch put down to match the bowling output, Hertford were dismissed for just 137 with 6 overs to spare.