Sun 21 August Wimbledon Lost by 3 wkts
We 211/7 in 40 overs (Rakteem Katakey, 83, Nitin Chaturvedi 57, Fred Evans 23*, Jamie Andrews 3/26, Shreesh Mehrotra 2/26)
They 212/7 in 39.2 overs (Chris Fish 49, Anthony Kane 42*, William Dakin 36*, Nitin Chaturvedi 3/25, Sunil Amar 3/33)
Our ever-hospitable hosts, Wimbledon, in their genteel and green environs (with an immaculate hybrid pitch and resolute scorer thrown in), put KCC into bat. Ripples of disbelief travelled through SW19 and beyond, when the very occasional Match Manager and very regular opener (Jai Singh), chose to drop himself down the order. Indeed, the normal “stragglers of KCC,” expecting to settle into the lower middle order, rushed through traffic lights and roadworks in their fancy cars through Putney to try and make the opening slot after getting the call, but, alas, failed to arrive on time.
After all the youngsters in the team turned down his offer to open, it was left to Jai to reluctantly open the innings with a belligerent Tim Russell, apparently, high on red-bull and low on practice. After 2 boundaries in quick succession Tim left to resume his position on the comfortable chairs along the boundary and Jai, after some good strokes, played early to a youngster, walked back in disbelief, wondering what had become of the new generation of KCC cricketers who did not want to open an innings of cricket!
In came Rakteem who was in a belligerent mood unfurling some fine strokes that included 13 fours and a six. He was supported by a cautious but busy Nitin, both acutely aware of the KCC collapse that could unfold if either of them got out. They put on a superb 119 run partnership at a run a ball before Rakteem holed out for 83.
Well, the inevitable KCC collapse did threaten to follow when Club Captain Chris Ledger, expected to set an example for young Debutant Federico Singh and the other youngsters padded up, instead, showed them how to play the game “socially” on a Sunday (even when the family is watching on the side-lines), and both followed in quick succession for not many runs at all. A solid 23 from young Fred Evans (rueing, no doubt, what could have been had he taken up the captain’s offer to open the innings) took KCC to a healthy 211.
In Sunday cricketing circles, a well-made Tea, is the other secret weapon used by oppositions against the KCC team and Wimbledon applied this tactic impeccably in laying out a fantastic spread.
A superb 85-run partnership ensued between the openers Tom Weston and Chris Fish. Hassan and Sid D., then Sid B. and Fred bowled with great effort but were not able to get to do much off the seam on this hybrid pitch. Finally, Fred Evans got the breakthrough. Jai frantically changed field settings using all his leverage over the youngsters and debutants to sprint around the field closing gaps, but it was left to the veteran and club president Sunil Amar to restrict the batsmen with a fantastic spell of 3/33 in his 8 overs. He was well supported by Nitin who bowled accurately for his 3/25 taking crucial wickets of Fish on a roll on 49.
Partnerships broken, wickets in quick successions, KCC held out hope, but the young wicketkeeper batter William Dakin played an excellent support role in helping his experienced skipper Anthony Kane (who came in at No 9) to score a vital 42 off 28 balls by using the gaps in the field intelligently.
Indeed, the match was won on the last ball by Wimbledon who combined youth and experience judiciously in their team. Kudos to man of the match, 13-year-old William Dakin, who held his nerve against the high quality KCC bowling attack (and enthusiastic fielding), having earlier moved beautifully on either side of the wicket as wicketkeeper during the KCC innings.
The game was played in great spirit and marked the return of post covid competitive but friendly cricket with presentations and drinks at the bar. Sunil and Jai were the last to leave the bar reminiscing on the excitement of last ball finishes and the joy that a good day of cricket can bring not only for the cricketers but onlookers as well.
Sun 22 August Wimbledon Won by 66 runs (D/L method)
We 232/7 in 40 overs (Harsha Gandadi 65, Rakteem Katakey 45, Bernard van Vuuren 33, Maaz Khan 2/43, Anthony Kane 2/47)
They 77/5 in 24 overs (Garv Chaddah 25*, Suhaan Shaik 14, Hassan Hammad 3/23, Sunil Amar 1/6)
The immaculate Wimbledon Ground and KCC chose to bat first. Wimbledon had an entire Colt Side turned out for the day led by Anthony Kane. KCC would never underestimate a Wimbledon side who churn out top class cricketers off a conveyor belt.
Stef and Praveen started well and put on a quick opening stand. Rakteem and Bernard were brutal in their approach, but it was Harsha’s 65 that took us to 232/7 off our 40 overs.
KCC had Wimbledon at 77/5 with 3 wickets for Hassan Hammad, the pick of our bowlers, before the rains arrived. Umpires awarded the win to KCC on the D/L method by 66 runs.
It was great to see the very talented Wimbledon youngsters and no doubt they will be tormenting us in the not-so-distant future.
Sun 25 August Wimbledon Won by 2 wkts
They 152/7 in 40 overs (Adam Slater 66*, George Whipple 18, Saurav Sen 4/11, Bernard van Vuuren 1/26)
We 153/8 in 31.2 overs (Harsha Gandadi 47, Adam Sumner 32*, Matt Syddall 21, Pranav Khera 3/25, Pranav Pandey 2/34, Will Royall 2/36)
Sun, Sen and Solipsism
A baking hot day meant that in the world of Nitin it was always the best notion to field first. After all, it was only 34 degrees and England were in the process of knocking off 359, to be watched in the relative cool of the Wimbledon club house. Saurav dropped the opener at gully and there was a feeling this could be a long afternoon. In fact, all that Saurav wanted was the ball in his own hand, spinning his very first delivery through the gate to take the top of the Wimbledon opener’s middle stump. Saurav’s second over produced two wickets clean bowled either side of a smart catch behind by Harsha. Suddenly Wimbledon were rocking at 44/5. There was a recovery, led by Adam Slater, the old hand amongst a gang of fit cricketing youths, and his unbeaten 66 enabled Wimbledon to post something of a total and certainly one that needed chasing.
An extended tea-break due to one of the most exciting finishes in Test cricket for many years was followed by the Kensington innings. Matty Syddall, making his first appearance of the season, and Harsha made short work of the first 50 runs, cutting, sweeping and, in the latter’s case, driving handsomely on the up. In the 8th over, however, Matty succumbed to a bizarre dismissal, bowled by a bouncer that stuck in the pitch and landed on top of the stumps as the batsman ducked. Harsha continued apace but Kensington began to make a meal of knocking off the runs. There was something of a procession of wickets as Nitin, Sid, Harsha, Saurav and Saikat all fell at consistent intervals and the tail needed to wag a little to get the side over the line. As the dismissed batsmen sat on the side it became clear that this was in fact not Nitin’s world at all, but Matty’s, as his prediction of Adam, with a nerveless knock of 32 not out, and the number 10 (in this case Bernard) knocking off the runs eight wickets down and therefore ensuring that almost everyone in the side had had the opportunity to bat without having to go to a nail-biting last wicket run chase like England, came all too true.
Matty expressed his great pleasure that in his world Nitin had been made captain for this match, Saurav bought a jug for his man of the match figures of 4/11, San smiled smugly as Kensington, having almost messed it up, registered another victory, and all was well as the sun set on a delightful day in the world of Matty.
Sun 26 August Wimbledon Cancelled – rain
Sun 27 August Wimbledon Won by 9 wkts
They 128/10 in 37 overs (Pravin Kiritharan 25, Ben Turner 25, Adam Sumner 3/25, Wes Johnson 2/8, Saikat Barua 2/35)
We 129/1 in 29.2 overs (Tim Keleher 59*, Chris Ledger 26*, Matt Syddall 23, Alex Kane 1/15)
A thoroughly professional display at SW19. No catches dropped (!). Every run out opportunity nailed. Target chased down with alarming poise. Bowling figures that made San squeal with delight … hell, even the correct vintage of sponsored logos on everyone’s kit. Who cares that Wimbledon were somewhat under-strength? We were ruthless.
KCC won the toss and put Wimbledon into bat. Wes Johnson opened the bowling and was utterly dominant. At the end of his spell, in the 16th over, Wimbledon had only managed to score eight runs at his end. Wes finished with 8-4-8-2 and took home the man-of-the-match award. Meanwhile, at the other end, first change Adam Sumner was equally impressive. His dismissal of the dangerous Miguel Machado, Wimbledon’s star batsman, was a good example of how good KCC were all day. With runs hard to come by against our persistent outside off-stump line, a trap was set when skipper Rohan moved everyone to the off-side, save Saurav at mid-on. The very next ball, Machado took the bait and fell to a superb catch at slip (Tim), trying to flay a perfect out-swinger through mid-wicket. Saurav, Rohan and Saikat all contributed with the ball as the last six Wimbledon wickets fell for only 38 runs.
In reply, Tim, Matt Syddall and Ledger were far too classy for anything Wimbledon could throw (literally!) at us and we got home with plenty of fuel in the tank.
Sun 21 August Wimbledon Lost by 4 wkts
We 228/8 in 40 overs (Saurav Sen 97*, Kamrul Hasan 29, Oscar Jefferson 24, Chris Ledger 19, Stefanos Nayar 19, David Wills 3/47, Carlton Anand 2/17)
They 229/6 in 39.3 overs (Miguel Machado 51, McArthur 50, Oliver James 31*, Tim Lloyd 26, Wajid Tahir 3/40)
Our annual visit to Church Street is always much looked forward to. Opposite Centre Court, Lovely Ground and Batting Track, friendly opposition so why wouldn’t we have a huge waiting list of players or so thought Skipper Tim. Alas, the team kept dramatically changing what with injuries and dropouts. Even Tim had to rule himself out with a groin strain and he handed the Captaincy to Neej drafted in at the last minute to play.
At the time of the Toss – Neej had 5 players at the ground and had no choice but to Bat. Matt Syddall and Chris Ledger faced a very quick opening spell. Ledger looked smoother and promptly despatched a few boundaries and got off to a good start. Carlton Anand bowled with great pace and before long had Matt caught at slip. Stefanos joined Chris only to see Ledger’s bright and promising innings come abruptly to a halt. Sid Chhibbar then followed a few balls later and KCC were looking perilously close to not batting their 40 overs nor giving the opposition a decent target. That all changed with the arrival of an inspired Saurav Sen at Number 5. Saurav and Stefanos consolidated with a very solid partnership of 69 runs with Stef dismissed after a well-gritted 19. Saurav carried on steadily and solidly and KCC got great momentum from cameos from Kamrul, Wajid and Oscar. However, this was the Sen show who eventually finished agonisingly close to a very well deserved 100 on 97* and got KCC up to a competitive 228.
A splendidly delightful tea is always served up at Wimbledon and they welcomed the support party of little Sen, little Ledger and even several little Kelehers.
New Ball and early wickets would be crucial. Although Wajid picked up two wickets, Wimbledon started at great pace – punching the boundary repeatedly off the opening bowlers. Neej had to take drastic action and introduced Spin very early via Saurav and Matt who with their tight control brought the game back into balance. Quick breakthroughs came and although Matt excelled in his 8 overs (1/25) and Wajid came back strong in his second spell, Wimbledon controlled the chase brilliantly to knock off the runs with 3 balls to spare and with 4 wickets in hand.
Another good game at SW19 and Bar time is always extremely enjoyable there. Look forward to next year.
Sun 23 August Wimbledon Lost by 5 wkts
We 166/10 in 29.5 overs (Nitin Chaturvedi 34, Chris Ledger 32, Shahzeb Mohammed 30, Tim Keleher 19, Barney Oates 3/32, Ed Cooper 2/26, Harry Crocker 2/28)
They 171/5 in 28 overs (Adam Slater 48, Barney Oates 40*, Dwyer 35, Ed Cooper 33*, Deepak Ramachandra 2/27)
For future reference, please note that Roger Seymour IS NOT involved with the Wimbledon Cricket Club. They’ve never seen him. Never heard of him. He is in fact a cricket umpire, arranged to officiate on KCC’s behalf against Wimbledon. So if, on the odd chance, the weather forecast for the Sunday before a game at Wimbledon is looking dodgy and you want to discuss bringing forward the start time, Roger Seymour is not the man to talk to. So after KCC skipper Tim liaised with the aforementioned Roger Seymour to arrange for an earlier 11.30am start, it is not surprising that none of the Wimbledon players arrived by 11.30am. Like I said, they’ve never heard of him. Rather the full KCC XI twiddled their thumbs inside the pavilion as the rain got heavier leading up to the scheduled 1pm start.
At 1.40pm the rain was at its heaviest, and it was sensibly agreed with the opposition to call the game off. At 1.43pm the clouds cleared, the sun was shining and the birds were in full song. Perhaps a tad hasty in making that decision. With 4 KCC players already packing kit bags into their car boots and dreaming of kebab lunches, Tim managed to get their attention waving from the pavilion balcony. Unfortunately Roger Seymour didn’t get the message. He promptly disappeared, ironically leaving us to umpire ourselves.
Onto cricketing matters, it is a testament to the excellent conditions at Wimbledon that within 25 minutes of the two-hour deluge coming to an end, Matt Syddall and Nitin Chaturvedi were walking out to open the batting for KCC in a shortened 30 over match.
Although the wicket was on the slow side, it played remarkably true given the rainfall. KCC’s innings was one of potential not quite fulfilled. Plenty of decent starts and positive stroke play, but lacking the one bedrock innings to allow for the run rate to increase in the last 10 overs.
As it was, Chris Ledger, Shahzeb Mohammed and Nitin all got decent 30’s but the run rate hovered around 5 for the whole innings, with KCC first timer Adam Syddall – Matt’s younger brother – being run out in the final over to end the innings at 166. The general consensus was we were 20-30 runs short of what was needed.
The first hiccup prior to defending our score came with the news that Chris Ledger had tweaked his back whilst taking a bite out of his tea-time sandwich. Even for KCC, this was a first.
Bernard got us off to the perfect start with a blinding caught and bowled, one handed low to his left. Adam Syddall followed in the second over, clean bowling the other opener second ball.
At 4 for 2, the wiser heads of Aussie import Dwyer and skipper Adam Slater steadied the innings and kept the run rate ticking over with minimal risks taken. Deepak and Sunil worked in tandem, bowling excellent 6 over spells in the middle overs. Deepak pocketed 2 wickets in 2 balls towards the end of his spell to take the spoils for their solid partnership. Shahzeb’s caught behind up to stumps another highlight. In fact only 2 catching opportunities presented themselves in the whole innings, both taken with aplomb. Perhaps another KCC first.
But with Adam Slater providing the innings sorely lacking for KCC, Wimbledon were able to accelerate the scoring in the last 10 overs, eventually passing our score with 2 overs to spare. Indeed those 20-30 runs would’ve come in mighty handy.
Sun 24 August Wimbledon Lost by 11 runs
They 295/5 in 40 overs (Alastair Muirhead 83, Tom Bradshaw 63 rtd, David Roberts 59, Mark Costin 41, Jai Singh 2/51)
We 284/10 in 38.5 overs (Tim Keleher 100, Jai Singh 54, Alessandro Sabelli 35, Eddy Barreto 28, Will Jones 6/53)
Thankfully this highlight in the KCC fixture list was played in more friendly circumstances to last year, i.e we were not cannon-fodder for the Surrey Champion 1st XI. With a stronger batting line up and our tails still positioned between our legs from last year’s poor showing, Tim sportingly let Wimbledon have first use on a hard flat track.
KCC’s bowling was solid enough, but it was hard to keep the runs in check as both Wimbledon openers, Muirhead and Bradshaw, posted comfortable half centuries. Pammi was the pick of our bowlers and deserved to break the opening stand of 147, with Italian import Alessandro Sabelli taking a sharp catch in the deep.
After a minor dispute between skipper Mark Costin and young opener Tom Bradshaw which led to Tom’s enforced retirement, we were hoping that the wheels might fall off the Wimbledon innings. We were out of luck as they showed their batting depth, moving through the gears and accelerating the scoring rate at will. David Roberts provided the highlights with two lofted square drives towering over the boundary for six.
A mammoth 295 on the board. A tall order for KCC to chase in only 40 overs.
Wimbledon got the early wicket that KCC couldn’t, but then Tim Keleher provided a master-class in batsmanship combining firstly with Ledger and then more so with Jai Singh to give us a chance of reaching the total. Tim cut and drove and pulled with absolute authority, and boundaries flowed regularly from both ends ensuring the required run rate always stayed within touching distance. At the 20 over drinks break the score was 139/2 with Tim on 79. Even with Tim and Jai both being fingered for contentious LBW decisions, and middle order stalwarts Shahzeb and Amit falling relatively cheaply, we showed our batting depth as the lower order made a massive contribution. Alessandro and Eddy played some brutal shots all over the ground, the highlight being Eddy’s towering six over cow corner which landed on top of the training nets.
Suddenly with 3 overs remaining we were in the box seat, requiring only a run a ball to cap off a remarkable run chase. But as we edged closer to the target the nerves got the better of us, and Wimbledon had kept a trick up their sleeve with young Will Jones cleaning up the tail with pace and accuracy. KCC dismissed for 284 with 7 balls remaining.
A great chase, in fact a record high to lose, but we were left to rue one that got away.
Sun 5 May Wimbledon Lost by 9 wkts
We 76/10 in 23.4 overs (Amit Shanker 20, Snape 4/9, Bett 3/8)
They 78/1 in 15.5 overs (Eaves 39*, Costin 17, Bett 15*, Shanker 0/8)
I’m not sure which is more undesirable. Turning up at the ground to find out the opposition have called the game off, but failed to notify you. Or turning up at the ground and hearing from the skipper of the Surrey Premier League champions “We’re using this as a bit of a warm up for our 1st XI”. These have been our last 2 visits to the glorious Wimbledon Cricket Club.
Tim Keleher won the toss but it quickly went downhill from there with Wimbledon’s opening bowler tearing through the top order in a matter of overs. Even with some slight middle order resistance, we were eventually knocked over for a measly 76, which Wimbledon duly reached inside 15 overs. An unofficial game continued to kill the time, but we will have to raise our game considerably for future fixtures.
Sun 6 May Wimbledon Cancelled – rain
Sun 4 Sept Wimbledon Lost by 6 wkts
We 122/7 in 25 overs (Amit Shanker 27, David Behar 17, Neeraj Nayar 17*, Ali Raja 17, Thom 3/14, Wright 2/15)
They 123/4 in 21.5 overs (Thompson 39*, Hunt 33, Eaves 20, Ali Raja 2/19, Sunil Amar 2/19)
A match blighted by rain, which arrived when we did and increased in intensity for the next two hours. Although our other match at HAC was abandoned, Wimbledon’s excellent facilities meant that we continued to hold out hope, and finally the clouds parted in time to allow a 25-overs a side game. Kensington ‘batted’, in the loosest sense of the word, and put up 122 in the allotted time. It was never going to be enough and despite good spells from Sunil and Ali Raja Wimbledon cruised home with overs and wickets in hand.
We hope for better weather next year.
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