TOUR REPORT – Menorca, Spain – 14-15 April 2012
By Chris Ledger and David Behar
So, back to Menorca for a pre-season warm-up. It’s always a great pleasure to visit this lovely Mediterranean island – the luxury of Port Mahon hotel, the many bars and restaurants, and the cricket in such a friendly atmosphere.
Sat 14 April Menorca – game 1 Lost by 21 runs
They 223/7 in 40 overs (Sturgeon 65*, Bryer 36, Sahu 27*, Extras 30, Ghosh 2/32, Gorasiya 2/39)
We 202/9 in 40 overs (Marshall 46, Ghosh 45, T.Khan 37, Barker 3/57)
The first game of the season, and given the fact that we arrived in pouring rain at Menorca airport just the day before, we were delighted that the weather held off enough to allow us to play. Ledger lost the toss so we fielded first. Rohan Ghosh and Bharat Gorasiya both bowled tidy opening spells, but apart from them none of our other bowlers looked particularly threatening. Without much fuss, Menorca compiled 223 in their allotted 40 overs, a reasonable score given the overcast conditions, but very definitely chaseable.
In reply, Kensington’s batting line up rapidly subsided to 61 for 5, and it was left to our bowling all-rounders to try to repair the damage. Tabrez Khan, Rohan Ghosh and Matthew Marshall (newly equipped with glasses, which very definitely seemed to have the required effect) all contributed major scores to get us back in the hunt, but unfortunately all of them fell shy of their half centuries, when if just one had been able to carry their bat, victory might have been within our grasp. In the end, we ended up 21 runs short, but even so it was a very enjoyable game, and a great way to start the season. We did our best to drink Menorca’s excellent bar dry.
Sun 15 April Menorca – game 2 Won by 48 runs
We 237/6 in 40 overs (Marshall 53, Gore 50, D.Behar 36, Ghosh 28, A.Day 2/21, Palmer 2/37)
They 189/8 in 40 overs (Tysoe 86*, Bryer 34, T. Khan 4/32)
“If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster,
And treat those two impostors just the same…
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man, my son!”
Pity the day a Kensington XI ever takes the field ONLY and EXCLUSIVELY to win the game. We play for so much more – love of the game, banter and camaraderie with teammates, fresh air and a break from the workaday and to compete and give of our best. We also aim to give every player in the team an opportunity to contribute whether with bat or ball. The day this ethos is sacrificed in the naked pursuit of victory is the day the Kensington spirit has died. So spake our Moral Leader.
Defeat in our opening match of the tour – only our second to Menorca – fuelled a lot of heated talk over dinner questioning these values. We should have had our best batters up the order no matter how many overs they’d bowled. We should have dropped others down the order no matter they hadn’t bowled. We should have done this or that to maximise our chances of victory. But, clubmates, let’s not be fooled by those twin impostors, victory and defeat. The important thing is to play up and play the game. Let the result take care of itself.
For the record, our second match of the tour ended in ‘victory’ against Menorca’s Sunday team. Again, we were lucky with the weather. The only shower of the day coincided with tea. The KCC opening pair of skipper Behar and Ghosh gave the team a solid platform at the top of the order. The resurgent Marshall and perennially reliable Gore then put together a beautifully paced partnership of 113. Starting watchfully, they accelerated at just the right time and both got 50s. The highlight was San lashing a full toss for six over square leg. Guest Gary Ash, Ravi Mantha and Atul Setia chipped in to take us to 237. Menorca were never in the hunt and fell 40 runs short of our total. Tabby got a well deserved 4 for. Bharat, Ravi and Atul were all in the wickets too, though new boy, Seethal Tharakan, was unlucky to miss out.
So we ‘won’ the game but more importantly we enjoyed ourselves and everyone got the chance to make a contribution. Some might say we were savouring ‘victory’ at the end of the day. I’d prefer to think we were acknowledging our good fortune in being able to play the game we love on a beautiful Mediterranean island.
Tour to Menorca, Spain
By Mark Jefferson and Rohan Ghosh
Sat 10 April Menorca Won by 4 wkts
They 189/10 in 39.3 overs (Sturgeon 54, Cockcroft 26, Blumberg 3/20, Ledger 3/26, Jefferson 2/29)
We 193/6 in 33 overs (Rishad 41, Ghosh 31, Cornehls 29*, Hussain 4/64)
Menorca won the toss and batted. On a glorious Spring day in this beautiful setting their openers had probably not banked on a working over from Todd and Hammad (the latter fairly charging in, high on Sprite), yet, despite a wicket for Todd, Menorca got off to a bit of a flyer with a series of extras, nicks and good shots. Marshall wisely threw the ball to Mark “corridor” Jefferson who shored things up, while the skipper himself beguiled and bamboozled from the other end. It was left only for Blumberg and Ledger to squeeze the life out of the innings with three wickets apiece, Ledger showing more energy with an appeal on a hat-trick ball than had been seen for many years. 189 all out in the last of the 40 overs, despite a sound fifty from Roy the skipper, seemed a few short.
Mantha and Keleher opened for KCC and it might as well have been Morecombe and Wise. Mantha had parachuted in especially for this, his only game of the tour, so a lot of expectation surrounded his knock. He wafted and missed a no ball and was then castled next ball for a silver duck. Keleher, having spent the Menorca innings grazing in the shade at cow corner and barking meaningless tactical observations, was clearly unfit for purpose after a late night. Circumstantial evidence suggests cricket began in Saxon or Norman times but all present agreed that this was surely the worst 10 in the history of the game. 4 chances offered, a series of hideous wafts and heaves, before he finally succumbed and was able to resume his true métier for the day. Rohan batted nicely – or so he thought, at least – astonishingly announcing on dismissal, like a true prima donna, that he would score a shedload of runs this season. San looked good but got out, clearly already worrying about his evening attire (see below). Hammad and our Menorca ringer Simon then smashed KCC close to victory with a brutal stand. Todd hit a couple of big sixes to see us home but Kensington’s premier all-rounder Chris “red ink” Ledger played like a becalmed, average-hungry Jacques Kallis and the Menorca crowd drifted home. Sad to see a club Captain playing just the sort of knock that’s squeezing the life out of the longer forms of the game. Still, 4 wickets was the margin and represented some relief as the lower order appeared to have started drinking.
There were a couple of notable events during the after-match socialising. Keleher held court at the bar, doing a passable impression of a senile member of the Melbourne Tourist Board. Meanwhile, Gore pranced around in his KCC blazer, largeing it like a preening peacock. Little did we know an internal lifetime award at the club dinner would seemingly give him carte blanche to bestride global sporting stages as if he’d just won the Masters.
The sun came down and Jamie went to bed to the relief of all. Ravi had more courses at dinner than he’d faced balls that day and even the shape of the fried calamari seemed to be a cruel reminder of his tour’s run contribution. At £200 per ball faced, he looked back on a disappointing tour as he took the early flight next morning, hours before the game. There was small consolation, perhaps, in avoiding the ignominy of a certain pair.
Sun 11 April Menorca Lost by 4 wkts
We 150/10 in 37.2 overs (Marshall 30, Ghosh 24, Cornehls 22, C.Phillips 4/16, Morris 3/34)
They 151/6 in 37 overs (Tysoe 43, Cotton 24, Wright 23, J.Marshall 2/13)
The arduous struggle of visiting an idyllic, sun-kissed and sea-washed Balearic island took its toll on the tourists on our Sunday-fixture against the hosts. Straggling out of night clubs in various stages of inebriation, KCC’s batsmen were found out by a harmless home-side attack and bundled out for 150 in 37 overs, with Phillips, the opposition skipper, taking 4/16 in only 6 overs. Embarrassed, we sought solace in the cakes, sandwiches and amber beverages on offer in the shade of the pavilion.
After lunch, our seamers – Rishad, Ledger, Cornehls and Ghosh – started impressively, pushing the hosts into a corner at 69/3 in the 25th over. As the game swung in the balance, predictably, the tourists ran out of steam as thoughts of a collective siesta under the warm Spanish sun proved a powerful disincentive. Fortunately, much to our relief, the hosts crept home soon after with 3 overs to spare. The large local crowd warmly applauded both teams back to the pavilion.
Later on, as a beautiful evening unfolded and the temperature cooled, the KCC boys outshone the locals at the bar, taking advantage of their hospitality in a more familiar surrounding.