Fri 3 June Elvetham Hotel Won by 56 runs
They: 195/10 in 37.3 overs (Segu Rishafi 50, Riswan Fuard 38, Ryan Hale 3/32, Jai Singh 3/37, David Behar 2/47)
When your batters form partnerships, your bowlers bowl wicket to wicket and your fielders hold their catches, this captaincy business is a piece of cake. Having been informed earlier that Elvetham Hotel had a strong side including several Sri Lankan recruits, skipper David Behar remained undaunted, even when losing the toss and being inserted on a good batting wicket at the picturesque ground at Hartley Wintney.
Our total of 251 was based on one major and one minor partnership. After a breezy start by Ryan Hale (20 in 13 balls) he made way for Stokoe and Jai to lay the platform with the major partnership of the innings – 119 – despatching the Elvetham bowlers to all parts. Rakteem, supported by Shaz, then kept up the run rate for the latter part of the innings to lift us to a very competitive total off our 40 over allocation, albeit a gettable one with a short boundary on one side of the ground. Skipper Nazoomi Azhar was the outstanding performer for Elvetham with the ball with 4 wickets for only 17 runs off his 8 overs.
Sid Dhurka and Sajjad Shawl, playing his first game for the club, then fulfilled their side of the bargain as our two recognised bowlers, giving nothing away in their opening spells. Sid opened up with a wicket maiden to set the tone. Following his cameo with the bat at the top of the order, Ryan was then persuaded to turn his arm over and proceeded to break the back of the Elvetham top order with unwavering line and length. He winkled out 3 of the top 5 including a stupendous reflex caught and bowled. With Kensington continuing to take every chance offered in the outfield, including 2 brilliant pouches just off the ground by Sid and Rakteem, and the run rate climbing, Elvetham were never in realistic pursuit of the total. Jai finished things off with his 3rd wicket and claimed the MoM award for a fine all round performance.
We all repaired to the nearby wonderful Elvetham Hotel where we were treated to drinks and a magnificent Indian meal out on the terrace. Our hosts were most gracious, and it seemed rather unkind of us to have won so convincingly though not without a good fight. No doubt the Elvetham Hotel will be recruiting more Sri Lankans next year!
Fri 2 July Elvetham Hotel Lost by 105 runs
They: 198/10 in 34.1 overs (Richard Mansfield 50*, Azar Nazoomi 29, Sajid 20, Extras 27, Vik Mehrotra 3/41, Mark Roughley 2/20, Jas Singh 2/26, Andy Stokes 2/28)
We: 93/10 in 22.3 overs (Mark Roughley 24, Jas Singh 18, David Behar 18, Richard Mansfield 3/16, Azar 2/2, Farouk 2/17)
A Friday first for KCC and an early start and a trip to Hampshire. This being a first outing vs Elvetham Hotel and anticipating a “Pub-Side” opposition we were quick to realise that The Elvetham had a very impressive Team with a lot of Cricketing Pedigree.
KCC virtually fielded an invitational XI with Peter Andrews, Prakash Joshi, Jas Singh and Keith Bradley guesting for us.
The Elvetham chose to bat and started the assault as though it was a 5 over game. Sajid was particularly brutal and smashed our bowlers to all parts only for Andy Stokes to bowl him a swinging and seaming beauty. The introduction of Vik Mehrotra and Sunil Amar steadied the ship and Vik took 3 well-deserved wickets. KCC restricted and eventually bowled out Elvetham for a manageable 198.
On a flat track and with a short leg side boundary, KCC were confident of the chase but Peter Andrews and our International – Prakash Joshi were bowled first ball. The classy Mark Roughley and Andy Stokes started to rebuild but wickets fell at regular intervals, and we fell well short of the target with Richard Mansfield backing up his 50 with a 3/16.
Rarely are KCC outdone at post-match presentations, but we were completely outplayed when Skipper Nazoomi wheeled out bottles of Champagnes as gifts for our Skipper, Club President, Man of the Match etc.
Next came the real event. We were all driven to the actual “The Elvetham” a stunning, luxury, country 5-star Hotel Property with spectacular gardens. Both teams were hosted for Drinks and Dinner with Butlers et al. It was Hospitality of the highest order and our hosts Nazoomi, Jay and Senior Raj Matharu treated us to the most memorable of days. Fortunately, some of us had left their cars behind and staggered out at close to midnight on the journey back to London. We can’t wait for 2022’s repeat fixture.