TOUR REPORT – Devon – 17-19 July 2019

By Tim Keleher

Standing: Neeraj, Praveen, Saikat, Wajid, Seethal, Eddy.
Seated: David, Rohan, Tim, John. Missing: Jamie, Sid.

Devon was again the midweek tour of choice given the success of the previous two years, though the smaller touring party suggested that perhaps a fresh destination should be sought for 2020 and beyond. North Devon replaced Exmouth in the fixture list – a wise choice – and we returned to a more rural setting in the quite opulent Westcott House near Exeter. With a 1-5 win/loss record in Devon it was hoped we could put up a better fight this time around…

So, to the matches:

Wed 17 July                           North Devon                                 Lost by 9 wkts (D/L method)

We     256/6 in 40 overs       (Rohan Ghosh 90, Praveen Lekhraj 45, David Behar 44*, Neeraj Nayar 27, Tim Keleher 24, Adrian Isherwood 2/23)

They  195/1 in 22.2 overs     (B.Witty 101 rtd, Reuben Windley 50*, Adrian Isherwood 39*, Wajid Tahir 0/19)

By plane, train and automobile the KCC posse descended upon our first time fixture at North Devon CC. We had been told that the ground was picturesque, but words alone could not do justice as to the stunning setting that awaited us. Immaculate thatched roofs on both the clubhouse and small scorer’s box (absent San would have been salivating) and an outfield that seemed to roll into the nearby ocean.

In the clubhouse a bunch of youngsters coupled with a few noticeable Aussie accents left us a little nervous as to what we were about to face on the field. But as hospitable hosts North Devon kindly let us have first use of a fast batting track.

Praveen had taken the opportunity to travel down with the family for their first taste of a British Summer seaside experience. The family decided a trip to the beach in 19 degree weather was preferable to staying and watching the match. I digress.

Praveen and Neeraj started the innings astutely as any shots that breached the infield ring tended to find the boundary. The KCC contingent was largely staying indoors, impressed with the My Action Replay footage being shown on a large TV screen. A sudden onset of tennis elbow began to curtail what was a bright start for Neeraj. As he gestured to the boundary for some anti-inflammatory cream to alleviate the pain, Eddy rushed hurriedly to his car in an effort to assist. He returned to the boundary line holding the bottle aloft. “I couldn’t find any proper cream to help, but I’ve got some sunscreen”. Unsurprisingly the SPF 15 didn’t do the job but Rohan joined Praveen and immediately looked at his elegant best. Praveen rued not capitalising on his great start and as Tim and Saikat were also soon back in the pavilion, victims of the North Devon skipper, Adrian Isherwood’s, variety of spin and pace, it fell to David to partner Rohan and attempt to post a score that we could defend.

Both went on the attack, and it was particularly pleasing to see David playing glorious inside out cover drives and late cuts given his recent glut of runs. Rohan came perilously close to what would have been a fine century but all in all we were happy with our score of 256.

Drizzle set in during the tea break, not so much that Praveen’s family felt any need to change their beach plans, but enough to reduce the North Devon innings to 30 overs and a 200 run target. Saikat bowled a sharp first over to Aussie pro number 2, B Witty, forcing him to play and miss a few times. That though was about as good as it got as the North Devon opening pair played with reckless abandon as the ball began to travel to all parts. It was literally a tidal wave of batting pressure. Witty retired his innings after reaching his century, which allowed roughly 2 balls of respite before the aforementioned Isherwood began teeing off into a nearby field.

Five lost balls in the space of roughly 3 overs and we were quickly waving the white flag as North Devon sauntered to their adjusted target with 8 overs to spare. The game was actually conceded just prior to the target being reached as we had run out of balls.

Being the professional unit that we are, we licked our wounds on the 75-minute drive back to home base near Exeter where a smiling Jamie was waiting for us. After a quick bbq by iPhone light, we retired to the couch to watch the replay on YouTube with notebooks (and cobras) in hand and laughter in abundance.

Thur 18 July                           Sidmouth – T20                           Lost by 56 runs

They  167/3 in 20 overs       (Jash Patidar 94*, Jordan Fowler 30, Wajid Tahir 2/25)

We     111/9 in 16 overs        (Eddy Barreto 21, Tim Keleher 18, David Watkins 3/31, Byron Knowles 2/9)

The much-anticipated fixture with Sidmouth was reduced to an evening 20/20 match as the hosts were struggling to raise a side. On the plus side it gave us a few extra hours to both enjoy the serene surroundings at Westcott House and retire to the Sidmouth beach to catch some sunshine. In reality it also gave us a better chance of victory given the thumping we received a year prior in a 40 over match.

Conditions were similar to North Devon with a fast pitch and slick outfield. The decision to open with Neeraj didn’t go as planned as he lacked his customary control. Wajid replaced him in an attempt to stem the flow of runs and in the 5th over he did what we were not able to do at North Devon – take a wicket!

He would take one more to be the pick of the bowlers, as would Neeraj in his second spell, but Sidmouth eased to a score of 167 after their 20 overs with opener Jash Patidar the standout unbeaten on 94. Unfortunately with skipper Rohan injuring his leg whilst fielding, and Neeraj still nursing a sore elbow, the KCC batting line-up was effectively 9 players.

We started brightly enough as Tim creamed a couple of boundaries, but after being triggered LBW the chase quickly fell apart. Loose shots and rash decision-making left us teetering at 55 for 5 (effectively 7) at the halfway point and the match was all but over. Eddy and Seethal at least got to enjoy some time in the middle but in the end we couldn’t even bat out our overs in a disappointing run chase.

On the plus side, we had plenty of time to make our 9:30 reservation at the nearby Marine pub where the pizza is outstanding, and we came a close second in the pub quiz so not all was lost.

Fri 19 July                               Budleigh Salterton                      Cancelled – rain


TOUR REPORT – Devon – 18-20 July 2018

By Tim Keleher

Back: Sam, Seethal, John, Rohan, Stefanos, Neeraj, Chris, Eddy, Alisha.
Front: San, Sid, Kamrul, Jamie, Tim, Saikat. (Missing: Alex, Todd, Ravi – see below)


After the success of the inaugural 2017 Devon Tour, there was little doubt the KCC contingent would again be travelling to the south west for a touch of midweek cricket.

The 2017 KCC rural base of East Budleigh was exchanged for the seaside charm of Torquay. The self-professed centre of the ‘English Riviera’ seemed a remarkably apt description as the unexpectant UK heatwave continued.

So, to the matches:

Wed 18 July                           Exmouth                                 Lost by 20 runs

They  158/6 in 20 overs       (George Greenway 55, Benny Rudolf 40, Alex Sabelli 2/13, Neeraj Nayar 2/30)

We     138/10 in 19 overs      (Saikat Barua 31, Kamrul Hasan 25, Tim Keleher 23, Craib 2/5, L.Greenway 2/11, Brenton 2/24)

The first tour game was an evening 20/20 against an expectantly strong Exmouth side, one of the leading teams of the Devon Premier League. Jamie attempted a late WhatsApp exit stage left as the lunchtime beers had gone down a little too well, but eventually was wooed back into the fore by the unmistakable smell of sweaty wicketkeeping pads.

With the home side down on numbers at the prescribed start time, we played the generous guests in allowing them to set us a score.

We did a good job of containing what was obviously a very classy batting line up. Wickets fell regularly as they tend to do in the shorter format, but each incoming batsman looked pretty much the same as the last meaning we had to be at our best to keep the runs in check. George Greenway and Benny Rudolf lead the run scorers for Exmouth, with Neeraj and Alex Sabelli each collecting 2 wickets. All in all 159 was a very gettable total.

KCC lead off with Tim and Kamrul and could not have asked for a better start, with Tim crushing a pair of fours and sixes, and Kamrul following suit. At 61 for 1 off 6 overs it was little more than a run-a-ball from then on. But cricket can turn quickly and in a matter of overs the wheels had well and truly come off the chase. Exmouth choosing spin over pace proved to be the masterstroke as the KCC middle order came and went. Saikat provided some resistance to give us a faint chance, but eventually we fell 20 runs short in the penultimate over.

Thur 19 July                           Sidmouth                                Lost by 7 wkts

We     261/9 in 40 overs       (Saikat Barua 56*, Ravi Mantha 46, Stefanos Nayar 44, Extras 38, Ed Hurley 3/34, Byron Knowles 2/38)

They  263/3 in 26.3 overs   (Ed Hurley 152*, David Watkins 49 rtd, Byron Knowles 21*, Seethal Tharakan 1/32)

The undoubted fixture highlight of the 2017 tour, we were thankfully invited back to Sidmouth for a return fixture. Jamie doubled down on the previous day’s attempt to avoid playing, this time boldly attempting to pull out just 30 minutes before the start time even though he was supposed to be skipper. Neeraj stepped in as he often does, doing the right thing in having us bat first on a lovely track.

It could be said that Ravi Mantha rolled back the years opening the batting, but in truth I doubt we have ever seen Ravi bat with such calm authority. Lofted drives flowed effortlessly to the boundary as he and Rohan set up the KCC innings. Stefanos was also at his elegant best, and with Saikat providing the power hitting in the latter overs we reached an excellent score of 261.

The Sidmouth response though was emphatic. Ed Hurley, who had apparently been out of touch and down the batting order in the league, blasted the ball to all parts from the start. We had nowhere to hide as he, and whoever was his batting partner, went full throttle without ever thinking about applying the brakes. Eventually we could wave the white flag as Sidmouth chased down our score in just 26 overs, Hurley finishing on an unbeaten 152. A humbling defeat, which was thankfully tempered as the entire travelling party of 18 retired to a nearby pizza bar by the sea, with a perfect view of John Behar taking an evening dip in the ocean.

Fri 20 July                           Budleigh Salterton                   Lost by 4 wkts

We     225/8 in 35 overs       (Tim Keleher 55, Jamie Keleher 30*, Chris Ledger 27, John Behar 27, Will Oxland 3/51, Jack England 2/49)

They  227/6 in 34.1 overs    (Max Mejzner 65*, James Doble 50, Jack England 33, Rohan Ghosh 3/21)

The final game of the tour, and easily the most exciting of the 3 fixtures, with the match going down to the final over.

Neeraj got his wish to open the batting alongside Tim, but perhaps had wished that the young Budleigh left arm paceman had been left out of the side. He had apparently warmed up in the morning by bowling to a selection of the Somerset first team before switching his attention to the mighty KCC! With scoring hard to come by at his end, Tim and Neej pushed for runs at the other end and were able to keep the run rate at a respectable level. Elder statesmen Ledger and Behar were also pushed up the order and looked in great touch once the openers departed, Ledger square-cutting the ball from leg stump as he has always done with aplomb, and John gracefully stroking the ball through the cover region. A well-rested Jamie put the cherry on the cake, taking 20 from the final over to set up an enthralling chase for the home team. 226 required from 35 overs.

A majority of the Budleigh Salterton line up were talented youngsters, and to a man were punishing of any loose bowling. Thankfully our bowlers were largely up to the task, especially Rohan whose controlled away swing led to measly figures of 3 for 21 from his 7 overs. No mean feat against a host of quality batsmen. Some slower bowling options would have been nice, but John felt a tweak in his neck whereby his allotted 5 over rest turned into the beach swim-shower-pint treble and he was not seen in his whites again.

At the pointy end of the innings, the Budleigh batsmen began to open their shoulders with more regular boundaries bringing them closer to victory. Eddy, attempting a world first ‘low sugar diet whilst on tour’, returned at the death with more balanced blood sugar levels after an emergency prescription of Devon’s finest ice cream. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as Budleigh scraped home with 5 balls to spare.


TOUR REPORT – Devon – 18-20 July 2017

By Tim Keleher, San Gore and Chris Ledger

Back: Regan, Saikat, Stefanos, Tim, Neeraj, Tabrez, Todd, Jamie, Ravi, John, Eddy, David
Front: Tak with Ken, Alisha, Riddhima, Chris with Hannah, Zoya and Carolin with dogs Gilbert and Henry, Rohan, San. (Missing: Sarwar)


Tim: Overseas tours have always been a key part of the KCC social fabric, part of what we think makes us the club that we are. Sadly in recent years, with families growing, hairlines and bank balances receding and/or greying, such tours have been lacking from the KCC calendar.

Hence the idea for a mid-Summer UK tour was born, where commitment months in advance was not required. With the help from some friends at East Horsley, Devon was the chosen destination. The response from the KCC entourage was strong – 16 playing members, 4 partners, 3 children, 2 dogs and 1 Recreational Vehicle – made their way to the sunny-ish English seaside for a spot of mid-week cricket.

Home base was set up through AirBnb by Tim at Spring Cottage in the wilderness of East Budleigh, and it must be said that the accommodation was nothing short of superb. Tons of room for the bulk of the travelling party plus Todd’s sizeable RV, plus a large fridge to keep our cobras ice cold.

So, to the matches:

Tues 18 July                           Budleigh Salterton                   Lost by 28 runs

They  178/5 in 25 overs       (J.England 51*, J.Doble 50, C.Parkin 29, Rohan Ghosh 2/45)

We     150/9 in 25 overs       (Saikat Barua 30, Ravi Mantha 25, Jamie Keleher 18, Matt Junk 2/20, Sid Fereday 2/21, Ed Middleton 2/39)

San: Devon is a long way from London, made longer by a traffic jam on the M5. The result was that several of our players arrived at Ottermouth late for the 2 pm start. We were told that every winter the river floods the ground and pavilion. There was dampness in the air and the forecast suggested rain to follow, so the skippers agreed a reduced game of 25 overs. Jamie duly lost the toss and led KCC onto the field.

Budleigh started well despite a probing spell from Eddy and Saikat, but it was first change Rohan who made the breakthrough in his first over. Next over, Eddy pegged back the other opener’s off stump. Todd Cornehls and John Behar followed suit with a wicket each as Budleigh slipped to 70/4 in the 12th over. We were not in the driving seat for long though as J.Doble and J.England hammered our attack to put on 108 runs and set us a target of 179. Mark Oppe kept wicket immaculately throughout.

Jamie began briskly but was smartly caught in the 4th over. Ravi Mantha swung his bat but San could only scratch around, soon being clean bowled by Matt Junk who also did the same to Ravi. San announced his retirement soon after, citing failing eyesight, rejected by a hastily convened Committee meeting. Chris and Rohan could not accelerate and lost their wickets to Ed Middleton, leaving KCC with the daunting task of hitting 104 runs in 10 overs and the weather closing in. Saikat and Regan gave us a fleeting hope as they put on 33 in 25 balls. Regan’s run out however proved fatal to the cause and the asking rate spiralled out of control. The Mighty (Sar)War at least struck two mighty fours before we slid to the inevitable defeat, just as the rain set in.

The tea was truly scrumptious and our hosts were excellent company. A very picturesque spot to play and we hope to revisit soon – when the weather is drier!

Wed 19 July                             Seaton – T20                               Lost by 31 runs

They  150/6 in 20 overs       (Brian Cann 59, Ben Morgan 28, Josh Cann 26*, Neeraj Nayar 2/28)

We     119/10 in 17 overs       (Saikat Barua 37, Rohan Ghosh 26, Josh Cann 3/15, Chris Aplin 3/18, Joe Berry 3/31)

Tim: The middle fixture was played at Seaton CC, an evening 20/20 which gave some of the members respite from the obligatory first night hangovers. The stumps were laid out when we arrived, but the green pitch on offer was not exactly to the batsmen’s liking. Seaton batted first, and one man who did like the look of the pitch was Toddy. He clean bowled the opening batsman and looked dangerous from the off. The Seaton middle order, however, showed their local knowledge, especially Brian Cann who hit a destructive 59 to lay the platform for a respectable score of 150.

In response, KCC showed glimpses of their batting class, especially the promoted Saikat Barua who got 37, and with 4 overs remaining we required 37 off 4 overs and with 4 wickets in the shed, very gettable in the modern game. However, the Devon drizzle had by now truly set in and the fielding side bravely continued through it soaking wet to ensure a completion. It came sooner than anyone thought – 6 deliveries later and we were all out for a tame 119. Certainly not our best performance, and it left us 0-2 for the tour. Onto Sidmouth where we would be desperate to atone.

Thurs 20 July                             Sidmouth                                 Won by 3 wkts

They  248/7 in 40 overs       (Ben Sapiecho 84, Joel Seaward 46, Matt Williamson 39, Daley Holmes 36, Neeraj Nayar 2/38, Tabrez Khan 2/55, Rohan Ghosh 2/60)

We     249/7 in 40 overs       (Jamie Keleher 80, Chris Ledger 80, Tim Keleher 27, Jordan Fowler 2/33)

Chris: Our final game of the tour at Sidmouth was a cracking 40 overs match in a spectacular setting overlooking the sea. Sidmouth are one of the South West’s best cricket clubs, and as they told us they had an especially strong side, we let them bat first after an agreed toss, in order to avoid us being rolled over too easily in the first innings and the day being spoiled. Happily things didn’t work out like that at all.

Sidmouth’s top order played handsomely, and in particular opener Sapiecho looked a class act, a 1st XI league player hoping for some good practice and expecting to score a big hundred. At drinks after 20 overs, with Sidmouth coasting along at 142 for 1, things looked very ominous indeed, with a score well in excess of 300 looking a virtual certainty. Neeraj, however, who often bowls at his miserly best against high class opposition, transformed the match after drinks by dramatically slowing the run rate, provoking the frustrated Sapiecho to try to attack a ball he should have defended, getting out LBW. Overall, KCC’s bowling and fielding in the last 20 overs was then exemplary, restricting Sidmouth to a gettable total of 248 – at least 50 or even 75 runs short of the huge score that looked on the cards after 20 overs.

In reply, KCC stumbled badly early on, and we looked in big trouble by the time our best batsman Tim Keleher was dismissed with our score just 59 for 3. But brother Jamie Keleher and skipper Chris Ledger fought tooth and nail, putting on a big 130 run partnership to turn the match around. Jamie peppered the short leg side boundary and provided the champagne moment when a big six noisily smashed an unfortunate neighbour’s greenhouse. After Jamie was out, Chris shepherded us all the way to within sight of the winning total, before getting out in the last over with just 3 runs still to score. Well-earned victory came off the last ball – a great way to end the tour.