Sat 19 Sept Kings XI Amar WON by 49 runs
Kings XI Amar: 253/12 in 40 overs (Jai Singh 52*, Oscar Jefferson 39, Nitin Chaturvedi 33, Chris Ledger 25, Extras 28, Nav Sidhu 4/34)
Gore Knight Riders: 204/12 in 36.4 overs (Preetinder Singh 54, Harsha Gandadi 25, Shahzeb Mohammed 23, Extras 25, Rajat Mehta 5/20, Chris Ledger 2/2)
Report by Chris Ledger
Sadly, the result of the end of season Youths vs Vets match had become all too predictable in recent years. The good guys J kept on losing L for no apparent reason. In truth the Youths were better in every respect, so it was time to freshen up the contest – San vs Sunil in an egg and spoon race, with a cricket match to entertain us in the interval… Bravo to Neeraj Nayar for stepping up and organising the new format superbly well.
Chris Ledger and Tim Keleher respectively captained Sunil’s King’s XI Amar and San’s Gore Knight Riders, with evenly matched players allotted to each side in advance to try to ensure a really competitive contest. Similar rules as the previous format, except only five could bowl a maximum of 6 overs, all others apart from the keeper, a minimum of one; batsmen had to retire immediately on reaching 25 to resume after all had batted. To add a bit of spice to the day a super over was allowed in which runs counted double and could be called by the batting side only against one of the five designated bowlers.
After winning the toss, Tim put King’s XI Amar in to bat, confident the Gore Knight Riders’ strong batting line up could chase any total. But as it turned out, batting first allowed King’s XI Amar to take the initiative. Classy opener Jai Singh set the tone from the start, scoring 14 runs in the second over, and throughout his excellent half century he continued to dominate the bowlers at a fantastic scoring rate approaching 2 runs a ball. Nitin, Oscar and Chris also scored useful runs, and with everyone else chipping in Kings XI Amar scored a challenging 253 in 40 overs. Nav Sidhu, who had been inspired to bring a hand-made personalised cookie for each player, finished with a creditable 4/36.
In reply, Gore Knight Riders were pegged back by excellent tight bowling, losing both their star openers Tim Keleher and Andy Stokes to spin just before they could retire. The outstanding performer of the King’s XI Amar bowling attack, however, was undoubtedly Rajat Mehta (inset) – he skittled a succession of Gore Knight Rider batsmen with his highly accurate medium pace, ending up with the fantastic figures of 5 for 20 in 6 overs. Despite a last-ditch half century from Preetinder Singh, the damage was done and the reply ended up well short, with King’s XI Amar winning convincingly by 49 runs. A great fun day, the match played in fine spirit with top performances from Jai and man of the match Rajat.
Ah yes, the main event, the egg and spoon race between icons Sunil and San ended in an artfully crafted diplomatic tie.
Scorecard – at Barnes, Saturday 19 September 2020
|Kings XI Amar||Runs||Balls|
|Oscar Jefferson #||c.||Barua||b.||Sidhu||39||(45)|
|Chris Ledger *||c.||Khan||b.||Sidhu||25||(16)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||3|
|– wides, no balls||17|
|– penalty runs||8|
|Total||for 12 wickets in 40 overs||253|
|Gore Knight Riders|
|Tim Keleher *||c.||Tahir||b.||Shetty||17||(18)|
|Harsha Gandadi #||lbw||b.||Ledger||25||(23)|
|Stefanos Nayar||c.||Amit Shanker||b.||Mehta||6||(12)|
|Tabrez Khan||c.||Amit Shanker||b.||Mehta||2||(8)|
|Alex Tharakan||Did||Not Bat (ill)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||12|
|– wides, no balls||3|
|– penalty runs||10|
|Total||for 12 wicket in 36.4 overs||204|
Kings XI Amar win and take the lead in the first match of a 10 Year Series
Sun 22 Sept Youths WON by 9 wkts
Veterans: 124/9 in 24 overs (Amit Shanker 28*, Jai Singh 24, Preetinder Singh 17, Praveen Lekhraj 3/20, Tim Keleher 2/10, Wajid Tahir 1/6)
Youths: 127/1 in 14.3 overs (Nav Sidhu 25 rtd, Adam Sumner 23 rtd, Stefanos Nayar 22 rtd, Tim Keleher 20 rtd, Neeraj Nayar 0/4, Sunil Amar 0/11)
Report by Saikat Barua
With a damp weather forecast, there was much doubt that this long-awaited fixture would take place, yet 22 players and few legends of the club turned up at Northwood CC after club captain (also Veteran’s skipper) Chris Ledger messaged everyone in the morning that the match would be postponed to 2.30pm with the possibility of only a T20 match. Tea/Lunch was laid out on arrival and to honour everyone’s effort, 24 overs per side game was decided, with adjusted rules; batsmen to retire at 20 runs (at the end of the over), minimum 10 bowlers to be used, 4 bowlers can bowl at most 3 overs the rest to bowl 2 each, wicketkeepers exempted. Just before the toss it was discovered newbie Praveen Lekhraj would be playing for the Youths, yet 72 hours earlier he had been trolling Youths’ captain assuming he qualified as a Veteran! Such is the beauty of this format, until the game is started you are not exactly sure to which side you belong, especially if your age is 42, give or take a month!
Youths’ skipper Saikat Barua won the toss and decided to field first without any hesitation. Jai Singh and Nitin Chaturvedi opened for the Vets and were put into a testing condition immediately. Runs were hard to come by in the first 4 overs due to excellent control from Adam Sumner and Saikat. The following Youths’ bowlers kept the same control and composure and the Vets never really got going. Even though Jai and Amit Shanker retired at their 20’s, their strike rates were far from ideal, but such was the Youth’s bowling despite a 10 minutes rain break. The Vets (a.k.a. legends of the club) failed to accelerate throughout their innings and they ended up with a meagre score of 124 in 24 overs. Amit was top scorer for the Vets with an unbeaten 28. Youths’ top bowlers that may surprise many were Praveen Lekhraj 3/20 and Tim “the bowler” Keleher 2/10.
The small hope that the Vets may have had to defend their total, disappeared after the first over as Tim “the batsman this time” Keleher took Nitin to the cleaners by smashing 5 fours in the first 5 balls. After retiring at 20, Tim was replaced by Harsha who did not last long owing to a horrible run out – it was more of a Charlie Chaplin comedy in slow motion, really. Both Adam and Harsha were running without calling and both almost ended up at the same end! However, apart from that there was no further damage as Adam, Stefanos Nayar, Nav Sidhu all retired at 20’s capitalising on Vets’ toothless bowling despite having a “Surrey county player” i.e. Neeraj Nayar in their XI. When Tabrez Khan smashed a straight four off David Behar to seal the victory, it underlined another one-sided affair as the Youths won the game by 9 wickets with almost 10 overs to spare. In truth, the Vets were getting older and frailer (especially in the field) as the years rolled on, while the Youths were becoming stronger and more mature – a very healthy sign for the future of the Club. It was agreed by all that the Youths/Vets game had ceased to be a contest and would be replaced by “Kings XI Amar vs Gore Knight Riders”, teams being selected in a balanced way which would promise to be competitive and still be fun.
A round of post-match drinks were enjoyed by both sides at the very hospitable Northwood bar and then we headed to Lahore Eastcote for dinner, presentations and more bonhomie. Tim “the all-rounder” Keleher won JW Gold Label Reserve for Youths and Jai Singh received the same for Veterans.
Big ‘thank you’s to the club captain Chris Ledger for organising this fixture at a new venue, club legend San Gore for his usual top-notch scoring and photography, and Jon Pickles for spending his afternoon umpiring and sharing our delight.
Scorecard – at Northwood, Sunday 22 September 2019
|Preetinder Singh #||b.||Sidhu||17||(24)|
|Chris Ledger *||b.||T.Keleher||1||(2)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||1|
|– wides, no balls||20|
|Total||for 9 wickets in 24 overs||124|
|Harsha Gandadi #||Run||Out||1||(2)|
|Saikat Barua *|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||7|
|– wides, no balls||19|
|Total||for 1 wicket in 14.3 overs||127|
25 Year Series Final Result: 16 to 8 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 22 Sept Youths WON by 12 wkts
Veterans: 148/11 in 20 overs (Chris Ledger 35*, Chetan Malhotra 34, Jamie Keleher 27, Chetan Singh 3/8, Adam Sumner 2/14)
Youths: 149/1 in 18.4 overs (Tim Keleher 29 rtd, Kamrul 23 rtd, Matt Syddall 22 rtd, Sid Chhibbar 19 rtd, Saikat Barua 15 rtd, Adam Sumner 15 rtd, Sunil Amar 1/12)
Report by Saikat Barua
It won’t be a wrong statement if we say the many hits on different weather websites during the week came from KCC players: everyone was checking multiple times whether the rain forecast for 4pm would stay away long enough on Saturday? Will we have a full 40 overs game if we start early? Will the game rules strictly apply if anyone arrives late despite giving prior notice etc.? Such is the competitive “weight” of this game – KCC’s annual gathering on the field AKA Youths Vs Veterans.
Now, answering some of those questions above: No, rain did not stay away and we did not have the usual 40 overs game, instead we had to settle for a T20 match to start at 11am so as to complete the game as early as possible. Tea would be taken after the match followed later after drinks by The Biriyani Dinner that would arrive by 3pm.
Youths new captain Saikat Barua won the toss and decided to field first in the light drizzle that lasted throughout the game. The rules were slightly adjusted: no bowler to bowl more than 2 overs, minimum 10 bowlers to be used, at least 4 fielders (including slip) to be always in the circle, a batsman must retire after scoring 15 runs (at the end of the over).
Amit Shanker and Chetan Malhotra opened the batting for the Vets but Bernie immediately removed Amit, edging behind for Tim Keleher’s first of four excellent catches. Vets skipper Jamie Keleher at no.3 joined Chetan and immediately hit the ball everywhere. Both batsmen took full toll of some loose bowling and formed a brisk partnership going nearly 11 runs an over. When both Chetan and Jamie banked their 15 runs, no.4 Chris Ledger followed the same pattern and Vets looked in a good position to score more than 160 easily. However, Veterans middle and lower orders struggled against the Youths slower bowlers in the forms of Chetan Singh (who was a Vet in the morning turned Youth just before the toss!), Chris Downes, Matt Syddall and Seethal Tharakan. Chetan Singh was most damaging with 3 for 8 in his 2 overs. With Jamie, Chetan M. and Ledger returning to add more to their banks, the Youth faster bowlers found better length to deny the Vets a strong finish. It was left to Ledger, top scoring with 35, to steer the Vets as last man standing to a moderate, but defendable score of 148 at the end of the 20 overs. The late arrivals of Saurav and Rohan did not help the Vets cause, the latter not getting to the ground in time to bat!
After a 10 minutes changeover, Youths openers Tim Keleher and Matt Syddall put the Veterans bowling to the sword hitting the ball crisply. Tim followed Matt as bankers but not before venomously crashing 15 runs in the over before retiring. By this time it was so soggy underfoot that bowlers were unable to get a foothold or grip the slippery ball. Sid Chhibbar, Kamrul Hasan, Saikat Barua and Adam Sumner all banked their 15 runs. Stef Nayar was the only Youths casualty, being taken by his dad in a “Nayar caught Nayar” moment off Sunil Amar’s accurate bowling. Despite some generous umpiring from Youths (many uncalled leg side wides), the Vets failed to make any other inroads.
When Bernard fittingly hit a 4 straight down the ground the Vets suffered a heavy defeat by 12 wickets with 8 balls remaining, perhaps the heaviest in the history of this fixture. A one-sided game really but was played in a great spirit. A delightful tea, followed by an awesome Biriyani with good chats, banters and laughs in the Barnes clubhouse helped make this event so enjoyable.
At the presentations, Vets skipper Jamie tried to play down the importance of the game saying it was a ‘beer game’ of cricket perhaps from the pain of losing so badly! The coveted trophy returned to its real home along with “The bAshes”. The better Keleher of the day received JW Gold for the winning side and Chetan Malhotra got the same award as a consolation for his efforts at the top of the Vet’s order. So, what’s next, Vets? Can we please have a game next year? Until then, sleep well.
Scorecard – at Barnes, Saturday 22 September 2018
|Amit Shanker||c.||Tim Keleher||b.||van Vuuren||0||(1)|
|Jamie Keleher * #||c.||Tim Keleher||b.||Barua||27||(21)|
|Shahzeb Mohammed||c.||Downes||b.||Chetan Singh||6||(7)|
|David Behar||c.||Tim Keleher||b.||Tharakan||4||(3)|
|Neeraj Nayar||c.||Tim Keleher||b.||Downes||1||(4)|
|Matt Marshall||c.||van Vuuren||b.||Chetan Singh||0||(2)|
|Pradip Lotlecar||b.||Chetan Singh||10||(17)|
|Saurav Sen||c.||van Vuuren||b.||Sumner||9||(11)|
|Rohan Ghosh||Did||Not Bat (late)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||1|
|– wides, no balls||15|
|Total||for 11 wickets in 20 overs||148|
|Tim Keleher #||Rtd||29||(20)|
|Stefanos Nayar||c.||Neeraj Nayar||b.||Sunil Amar||6||(6)|
|Saikat Barua *||Rtd||15||(16)|
|Bernard van Vuuren||Not||Out||4||(4)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||6|
|– wides, no balls||10|
|Total||for 1 wicket in 18.4 overs||149|
24 Year Series Result: 15 to 8 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 23 Sept Veterans WON by 3 runs
Veterans: 215/14 in 38.2 overs (Amit Shanker 33, Preetinder Singh 32, Saurav Sen 26, Neeraj Nayar 20, Extras 43, Al Naser Regan 2/6, Adam Sumner 2/14)
Youths: 212/12 in 40 overs (Adam Sumner 35*, Kamrul Hasan 30*, Saikat Barua 29, Stefanos Nayar 28, Matt Syddall 21, Extras 19, Neeraj Nayar 4/25, Matt Marshall 2/16, Amit Shanker 2/16)
Report by Saurav Sen
There are the Ashes. There is the Border-Gavaskar Trophy. There is the Basil D’Oliveira Trophy. And then there is Youths vs. Vets. The important thing in the Olympics is not the winning, but the taking part (just ask the Indian Olympic Committee). The important thing in Youths vs. Vets is not the winning, but in making sure everyone knows who won.
This year’s build-up was remarkably friendly, almost brotherly, especially given that both sides were skippered by Aussies, even though they were in fact brothers. No pre-match emails evocative of Sparta – just the usual nail-biting suspense for those who were not sure until the day which side they would play on including, interestingly, the Vets’ skipper Jamie Keleher.
Youths’ skipper Tim Keleher won the toss and put the Vets in to bat. Amit Shanker and Jai Singh got the Vets off to a watchful start, having to remain content with putting away the occasional bad ball as Wajid started off with two maidens, ably supported by Seethal. Adam Sumner’s first over yielded the breakthrough for the Youths as Jai was beaten and bowled. Jamie and Rohan smashed the bowling but got out prematurely, leaving Amit to bat on more cautiously with Preetinder to bank his 25*. Preetinder played well to bank his own 25*, supported by Saurav as the pair upped the scoring rate. Still, the Vets faltered as they tried to maintain the acceleration, with Matt Marshall reaching 10 from two scoring shots and then getting out, and Neeraj unable to kick on after a patiently compiled 20. John Behar, Sarwar, Michael Blumberg, Sunil Amar and Chetan Singh all fell for low scores, with only David Behar playing some of his characteristically elegant shots for 18. The Vets’ bankers, devoid of any quantitative easing from the Youths’ bowlers, were only able to take the score to 215, with last man Saurav furthering his claim to being the Inzy of KCC (and not just in respect of lamb chops), as he ran himself out with 2 overs left in the innings.
Wajid, Adam and Sid were the pick of the Youths’ bowlers, and the Vets were forced to go after the “backups” as the “mainline” bowlers generally stuck to their task and were economical, aided no doubt by the limited ability of the Vets to steal quick singles.
Tea, prepared graciously by Riddhima, Riko and Udayani, was appreciated far more than Tabrez, Tim and Chetan’s cricketing contributions could ever hope to be.
Faced with a gettable target of 216 and over 500 years of combined cricketing experience (and around 180 of those in the slip cordon alone), the Youths got off to a brisk start, as Matt Syddall struck the very first ball of the innings for 4 past a Vets field that was still recovering from tea. The initial run rate of 8 an over gradually slowed to a still-brisk 6, as Matt Marshall struck twice for the Vets to remove the dangerous Sid and Regan, while Chetan Singh denied Matt Syddall’s banking dreams. Saikat and Adam then steadied the ship for the Youths, while the Vets quartet of Rohan, Sunil, John Behar and Saurav gradually imposed control on the run rate so that even though both batsmen banked their 25s, the asking rate had climbed to nearly 8 an over. Amit Kumar and Wes fell cheaply, Sumaer Amar’s bat was hilariously broken in two, but Stef and Kamrul batted well and, with the threat of Tim Keleher to come, the Youths were still odds-on favourites to win at this stage.
Did someone say stage? The Vets’ prima donnas star dramatis personae – and specifically that man Neeraj Nayar – were still waiting in the wings. He (and the Vets) believed he had Tim out stumped but was denied, in one of several umpiring controversies of the day. Cool as a cucumber, he simply bowled Tim two balls later. Enough drama already. Shortly afterwards, he also accounted for the dangerous Wajid, who had struck a few ominous sixes in his short innings. Back came the Youths’ bankers, but the task was beyond them as Amit Shanker’s excellent spell from the other end ensured there was no bail out.
The Vets won, just. And Sumaer’s splintered bat became the new “Ashes”.
Sat 20 Sept Youths WON by 4 wkts
Veterans: 275/10 in 40 overs (Jamie Keleher 51, Chris Ledger 50*, Preetinder Singh 43 rtd*, Saurav Sen 37, Amit Shanker 25, Extras 38, Varun Sarna 3/21, Wajid Tahir 3/26)
Youths: 277/8 in 38.2 overs (Tim Keleher 47*, Stefanos Nayar 45*, Bernard van Vuuren 31, Wajid Tahir 30 rtd*, Al Nasar Regan 28, Saikat Barua 26 rtd*, Extras 33, Ali Bilgrami 2/14)
Report by Tim Keleher
At the Tuesday committee meeting before our annual Youths v Vets match, newly anointed fixture secretary, Tim, was given a rounding applause for his ‘fine’ work arranging the season’s fixtures. A quick chat with San the next day to discuss arrangements for Saturday raised one small issue. Tim had forgotten to book the Barnes ground for the most important date in the KCC calendar. Hold the applause gentlemen, the mother of all f*ck ups may be about to happen.
A nervous 24 hours followed but good news came with a small caveat on Thursday evening when Barnes chairman Mike Harriman confirmed the ground was good to go – but that play would need to be from one end only (no hitting balls into the lovely houses backing onto the ground whilst there is pending legal action) and perhaps more disastrously that they wouldn’t have time to arrange a tea lady. The fact we have a Gore guide to tea quality shows how important this aspect of the game is to our sandwich and cake-loving members. Tim and Riko stepped in with a splendid sandwich selection and a Japanese rice dish. “What are these dark square things” one confused member asked. “It’s seaweed. You wrap it around the rice”. A brief silence followed, along with a quick shuffle left closer to the sandwiches and cakes. Old habits do die hard, especially on this day.
Now to the cricket, and it is worth mentioning that in the lead up Tabrez did not take a liking to his position as the ‘floating’ vet on the cusp of the cut-off age. At 10am the message came through that Shahzeb had to pull out. Tabrez had seemingly made the ill-fated metamorphosis from youth to vet, complete with a pain medication pocket in his kit bag and demands to field in the slip cordon. His prayers were answered shortly after when Akhilesh called in sick, moving Tabrez back to the Youths.
With Neeraj running a tad late, the Keleher brothers agreed there was no need to walk out for the toss; Tim correctly calling heads and sending the Vets in to bat. Wajid and Saikat were given an over each to impress, and Wajid claimed the first big scalp with Matt Syddall out to a smart catch in first slip.
Thereafter the Vets went into batting cruise control. Amit got to the 25 run retire mark, but was undone by a beautiful in-swinger from the visiting Khush Khan. This though was the best it got for the Youths for a large stretch of the innings as Ledger, Jamie, Saurav and Preetinder were all banked in the shed with better than run-a-ball innings. With so many quality batsmen available for the tail-end of the innings, the old adage of hit out or get out rang true as the Vets kept up the run rate before ushering back in the big guns. 300 looked the likely score with 7-8 overs left, but the Youths had a few pace weapons of their own to keep the scoring in check and restrict the Vets to an imposing score of 275; a difficult but gettable target. Wajid was the pick of the bowlers with 3 wickets for 26 runs in his 4 overs.
The Youths began disastrously, 16 for 3 after 5 overs. Steady heads required. Tim, batting down the order, teamed up with the promoted Saikat and safely navigated to 25. This brought Stefanos and Saikat together which proved to be the key partnership of the Youths’ innings. Saikat played with poise, and every shot Stefanos made came off the middle of the bat, with each subsequent boundary helping the Youths to collectively stand just a little taller and take the ascendancy away from the Vets.
Like the Vets innings, there were fantastic lower order contributions from Regan, Wajid and Bernard. The Vets held back Nayar and Shanker for the return of Tim and Stefanos. Needing 15 to win in 4 overs Tim saw off a tight maiden from Amit, before Nayar v Nayar proved to be the decisive over. Stefanos nonchalantly lofted his dad over mid-on. Neeraj followed with 3 brilliant deliveries that left Stef stuck on his crease. “Hit those ones for 4” Neeraj remarked tauntingly. Next ball, a similar location, but a balanced Stefanos stroked it past point for another 4. The game was up and with Tim striking two boundaries the Youths cruised home with 10 balls to spare.
Post-match, Neeraj handed the Vets reins over to Jamie, ensuring the first Keleher v Keleher captaincy battle since the scorching Down Under Summer of 1995.
In a year of uncertainty off the pitch, at least one thing returned to normal. The cup was safely back in the possession of the Youths.
|Amit Shanker||b.||Khush Khan||25||(28)|
|Matt Syddall||c.||Tim Keleher||b.||Tahir||2||(3)|
|Jamie Keleher #||c.||van Vuuren||b.||Tahir||51||(49)|
|David Behar||st.||Tabrez Khan||b.||Sarna||2||(7)|
|Neeraj Nayar *||c.||van Vuuren||b.||Sarna||0||(2)|
|San Gore||c.||Sarna||b.||Tim Keleher||12||(17)|
|Ali Bilgrami||lbw||b.||Tabrez Khan||5||(4)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||19|
|– wides, no balls||19|
|Total||for 10 wickets in 40 overs||275|
|Tabrez Khan #||c.||Syddall||b.||Bilgrami||4||(20)|
|Sid Chhibbar||c.||David Behar||b.||Syddall||1||(5)|
|Tim Keleher *||Not||Out||47||(47)|
|Al Naser Regan||c.||Blumberg||b.||David Behar||28||(26)|
|Eddy Barreto||b.||Preet Singh||1||(3)|
|Ryan Konson||c.||Shanker||b.||Jamie Keleher||5||(8)|
|Bernard van Vuuren||c.||Sen||b.||Shanker||31||(19)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||13|
|– wides, no balls||20|
|Total||for 8 wickets in 38.2 overs||277||
22 Year Series Result: 14 to 7 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 20 Sept Veterans WON by 4 runs
Veterans: 201/9 in 40 overs (Shahzeb Mohammed 40 rtd*, Deepak Ramachandra 33, Pammi Chaggar 32 rtd*, Chris Ledger 28 rtd*, Preetinder Singh 22, Khush Khan 2/8, Run outs 4!)
Youths: 197/13 in 39.2 overs (Adam Sumner 80, Casey Lee 24, Al Naser Regan 21, Oscar Jefferson 19, Saurav Sen 3/18, Matt Marshall 2/9, Neeraj Nayar 2/15, Deepak Ramachandra 2/16, San Gore 2/19)
Report by Neeraj Nayar
Overcast and slightly damp Barnes was the setting for our Annual grudge match. The Veterans had been “put to the sword” for the past few years by the KCC Youngsters and an air of calm and almost quiet arrogance awaited the Vets when they met their counterparts at the ground.
Vets unceremoniously sack their losing Skippers. You lose a Vets/Youths Match and you lose your job, as simple as that. We had no Skippers left, so Neeraj Nayar put his hand up to try and outdo Tim Keleher’s side after being on the losing end for 4 years.
Tim won the toss and had no hesitation in inserting the Vets. Shahzeb and Saurav the Vet openers face Khush Khan, back from a long absence. Saurav chose to give catching practice both first and second ball he faced. The second ball stuck. The in-form Nitin went next for a duck. Youths on top. Deepak steadied the ship. Shahzeb very watchful and rightly sees off Adam Summer’s 80mph opening burst. Slow start though….Vets not going anywhere in a hurry. Shahzeb gets sledged from his team-mates (never a good sign). Chris ups the tempo and we are counting on big gun Preetinder to bank his 25 (to return later, per the rules). Alas, he falls for 23. However, Deepak, Shahzeb and Chris all reach the magic number.
The Youngsters are bowling well, though. Eddy and Sumaer are quick, and even Stef Nayar gets to both sledge and bowl to his dad. Overs are running out, but somehow the Vets scramble to a well below par 201/9. Khush with admirable figures of 2/8 but 4 run outs from the Vets are clearly the best figures for the Youths.
Youths are comfortable at tea. “Why did I bother to even show up” mutters one, over cake and sandwiches. Neej calls for a Team huddle. “All for one and one for all” is the best he can muster. Matt Marshall’s eyes are the telling team talk.
Jubilation. Tim dismissed in the first over, bowled by a gem from Deepak. This is stunning BUT another huddle is called. “We’ve been here before – Focus Focus Focus” and Matt’s eyes are still telling a story. Vets want this, even more than before.
Suddenly, a flurry of wickets – 7/4 and Vets are on top. Matt bowling beautifully. Chaggar is great. Saurav even turns a few. Run rate climbing. This is happening. Vets even dream to dream. Adam Sumner retires for 25 quietly. He had a plan. Vets didn’t know it. Oscar plays a blinder including a GIGANTIC Six over the huge Barnes fence…. Hang on – Regan and Casey Lee, together with Oscar and Stefanos have picked up the runs again. Drinks break (79/6). Casey is on 24. Superstar Deepak rolls up and knocks over Casey. Danger man gone and only Adam banked. The required run rate begins to soar. Vets with thoughts on Curry and Cobra forget creaky knees and start the Jive. Short-lived Jive. Adam is back and launches a brutal assault on the Vets bowling not seen in South West London since the time Anshu Jain brought Virendra Sehwag to guest for him on the said ground. 3 overs to play. 45 still needed. Vets plans in place. Pammi, Deepak and Neeraj to bowl last three. No problem. Really? Last-man-standing Adam takes Pammi for 24, and then Deepak, who has gone for just one run in his previous 3 overs, for 15. OUCH! Vets look gone. You can hear the Youths on the benches. Their voices louder. Much laughter. They are home. Adam will surely knock off the 6 little runs needed. Surely. Even uber self-confident Neej, about to deliver the last over, is smitten with self-doubt, with the prospect of seeing the urn robbed from in front of his eyes – yet again.
Neej marks his two-pace run up. Adam calmly smirks. First ball – Smashed to long on…they should have run 2 but managed only one. Ah well, 4 to win off 5. Cakewalk after what was witnessed before. Then one mistake, just the one mistake Adam made all day. He took his eye off the ball for a fraction and Neej castled him. Leg stump gone. Adam is disconsolate but applauded by one and all for his stupendous effort.
Here is how it went. Vets losing, winning, losing and then WON. All in the space of four hours and the sequence was repeated a few times in the last ten overs. A great game. Kensington won. But really, the Vets did and they intend to milk this one for a bit longer. Well, until September at least… till we do it all over again!!!
Scorecard – at Barnes, Saturday 19 September 2015
|Shahzeb Mohammed #||Rtd||40||(76)|
|Saurav Sen||c.||Regan||b.||Khush Khan||0||(2)|
|Nitin Chaturvedi||c.||Barreto||b.||Khush Khan||0||(10)|
|Deepak Ramachandra||c.||Tabrez Khan||b.||Sumner||33||(31)|
|Preetinder Singh||c.||Tabrez Khan||b.||Lee||22||(36)|
|Neeraj Nayar *||Not||Out||13||(14)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||6|
|Extras – wides, no balls||16|
|Total||for 9 wickets in 40 overs||201|
|Tim Keleher * #||b.||Ramachandra||0||(5)|
|Al Naser Regan||b.||Gore||21||(28)|
|Oscar Jefferson #||c.||Marshall||b.||Chaturvedi||19||(32)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||6|
|Extras – wides, no balls||11|
|Total||for 13 wickets in 39.2 overs||197|
21 Year Series Result: 13 to 7 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 20 Sept Youths WON by 60 runs
Report by Tim Keleher
Youths: 256/9 in 36 overs (Bharat Gorasiya 54, Khush Khan 42*, Saikat Barua 39, Akhi Shailendra 32, Eddy Barreto 27, Ryan Konson 26, Shahzeb Mohammed 4/38)
Veterans: 196/10 in 32.2 overs (Deepak Ramachandra 49, Steve Thomas 38, Chris Ledger 21, Saikat Barua 3/12, Bernard van Vuuren 2/17)
And to think it all started so well for the Vets, depleted of stalwarts Rohan (broken nose) and Jai (nursing a toothache – what’s that got to do with holding a bat, Jai?).
Win the toss and send the Youths in on a ground on which it is always easier chasing a score. Then after the third delivery of the innings, Neeraj knocks over the Youths skipper with a smart line and even smarter catch from Shahzeb behind the stumps. To say the Vets were excited would be an understatement. Neeraj sprinted – nay jogged – all the way to the mid-wicket boundary, soon swamped by delirious team-mates. There hadn’t been as much excitement in a group of 40+ men since ‘Touch of Silver’ hair treatment was buy one get one free at the local chemist.
Akhi and Bharat did not let the early dismissal faze them, as both played smart yet aggressive innings to comfortably reach the 25 run retirement landmark. Bharat in particular played some delicious straight drives. Even though Regan would not replicate his man of the match performance from last year, Saikat, Eddy, Bernard, Ryan and Khush all played sensibly positive innings. No remorse was shown to skipper San’s tempting off-breaks. Whilst San struggled, the same could not be said of his partner in spin, Pammi, who bowled a fine 4 over spell conceding only 11 runs.
The one downside was the dismissal of Eddy. If ever there was an illustration next to the word ‘unnecessary’ in the dictionary they will surely find a picture of Mr Barreto. And not because of the ageing tinted sunglasses that he wears whilst bowling. Rather, after batting superbly for his 27 and with one ball to see out before retiring, he danced down the wicket to San and was duly stumped by Shahzeb.
Still, the foundation had been laid to accelerate the scoring in the final overs, with Bharat, Saikat and Khush building on their earlier innings to help secure a formidable target of 257 in just 36 overs. A superb team effort. Khush, being the supreme athlete he is, particularly enjoyed the quirky Youths v Vets rule of ‘last man’s tucker’ and having to face every ball. In a show of KCC team unity, Neeraj allegedly gave him a few puffs of his e-cigarette. Not the real thing thought Khush, but still appreciated.
The Vets innings started positively enough. Steve Thomas waltzed out to the middle with Neeraj in tow, and took a liking to Akhi’s slightly short-pitched stuff. Earlier in the season versus Barnes, Steve had planted a monster six through the living room window of one of the neighbours. The memory must have still been fresh in mind as the boundaries flowed to similar regions. Even though Akhi found his length and extra pace, the Youths appreciated the reprieve of Steve’s enforced retirement.
For the rest of the top and middle order scoring runs did not come easily. Bharat’s mixed pace enticed Neeraj to drive uppishly to Bernard. Ledger and Pammi exhibited some fine stroke play, but both were largely held in check by excellent bowling from the Youths. Eddy’s dismissal of Ledger before he reached 25 was crucial. Shahzeb and San did little to trouble the scorers, and Matthew wasn’t timing his shots as well as we all knew he could. This allowed skipper Keleher, by far the weakest Youths bowler, to get through his overs relatively unscathed.
The same cannot be said for Gabriel, as Deepak’s brutal rear-guard action gave the Vets a fleeting chance of victory. Clean hitting was on the menu as Deepak reached his 25 runs in just 11 balls, highlighted by a tile-shattering 6 deep over long on. But with only Steve and Deepak banking their 25 runs, it left little margin for error when the two big hitters returned to the crease in the last few overs. Though Steve could not quite find the middle of the bat as easily, Deepak’s charge continued unabated, with Bernard now receiving the same medicine that was earlier reserved for Gabriel.
If Deepak could keep up his strike rate then the Vets had a chance. But Saikat delivered the knockout blows in the 33rd over. Deepak, perhaps the gravity of the chase getting the better of him, played all around a quick in-swinger that dismantled his stumps, and next ball, last man Steve also had his stumps uprooted.
An emphatic end to the match and a comprehensive 60 run victory for the Youths. Saikat with his 39 runs and 3 wickets just edged out Bharat (54 runs, 1 wicket and 2 catches) for the man of the match award.
Where to now for the Vets??? Don’t know. Don’t care!
Scorecard – at Barnes, Saturday 20 September 2014
|Tim Keleher * #||c.||Shahzeb||b.||Nayar||4||(3)|
|Al Naser Regan||c.||Shahzeb||b.||Ledger||0||(4)|
|Bernard van Vuuren||c.||Ledger||b.||Shahzeb||11||(4)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||8|
|Extras – wides, no balls||12|
|Total||for 9 wickets in 36 overs||256|
|Neeraj Nayar||c.||van Vuuren||b.||Gorasiya||8||(13)|
|Shahzeb Mohammed #||c.||Gorasiya||b.||van Vuuren||3||(12)|
|San Gore *||b.||van Vuuren||6||(9)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||13|
|Extras – wides, no balls||11|
|Total||for 10 wickets in 32.2 overs||196|
20 Year Series Result: 13 to 6 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 21 Sept Youths WON by 2 wkts and 10 balls to spare
Report by Tim Keleher
Veterans: 226/5 in 40 overs (Shahzeb 28 rtd, Ghosh 26 rtd, Nayar 26 rtd, Shanker 24, Ramsagar 2/17)
Youths: 229/8 in 38.2 overs (Keleher 51*, Regan 42*, Kidwai 27 rtd, Imran Khan 27 rtd, John Behar 2/12)
Alex Ferguson once said, “You can’t win with kids”. It’s about time he was proven wrong. The Vets had all the names – Ledger, Ghosh, Shankar, Mohammed, Singh, Behar/s, Gore, Nayar – a veritable who’s who of KCC folklore. The youths were a mere bunch of sprightly start-ups, many of whom were KCC rookies and therefore Youth debutants.
On a typically grey and gloomy London day, Youths skipper Keleher gleefully sent the Vets in to bat. Now any Vets worth their salt-streaked hair know that the key to success in these hard-fought games is most of the top order should reach the 25 run retirement target. Perhaps it is a good sign for the economy that despite their advancing age, most of the top order seemed intent on avoiding retirement. Jai Singh and Amit Shankar in particular seemed to let the occasion get the better of them; Amit had negotiated his way to 24, until some gentle nudging from the slip cordon and late swing from Saikat upended his stumps. You could sense the nerves running through the Vets line-up.
Skipper Ledger, never one to get bogged down, tried to assert his authority over the bowling. Even after Eddy Barreto had grassed a catch that can only be described as a dolly (coincidentally enough after spruiking pre-game that he never drops catches), Ledger was intent on pushing his luck. Next over Ledger sent a ball high into the low lying clouds. It seemed to stay in the air for days, and as luck would have it, it was again Eddy who was under the ball. Seemingly off-balance and out of position, as the ball neared the ground this time his hands were rock solid and it was as clean a catch as you’ll see. In a poetic moment of the day, Eddy had learnt his lesson. Ledger hadn’t. From that moment on the Vets innings cruised along without ever looking menacing. Shahzeb, Ghosh and Nayar all reached 25 runs, but by failing to get through all of their batsmen (yes Sir Blumberg, Gore and Navneet were left stranded on the sidelines) the Vets had made yet more strategic errors and an admittedly below par score of 226 was registered.
In the team talk prior to the Youth’s innings, Tim had implored 3-4 of the top 6 batsmen to reach the 25 run target. The top order delivered, even with Ajit being fingered for LBW on 25 by a fellow team-mate who seemingly did not get the memo ‘NO LBW’S IN YOUTHS VETS MATCHES’.
Special mention should go to Furquan and the very impressive Imran who steadied the ship in the middle overs whilst also keeping the run rate ticking along. Not to be outdone, obviously aggrieved that he had failed to get his chance in the middle, Sir Gore shone with the ball in his 2 overs, but was surprisingly benched by Ledger despite his elusive line, length and height. There are game plans and then there are instances when you must read the flow of the game. From the Youths point of view we were happy to see the back of San despite him having potentially 2 more overs up his sleeve. Furquan and Imran provided the key wickets in hand that are always needed in the last 10 overs of this fixture, but as the game unfolded it came down to Regan and then Tim to deliver the knock out blows.
Heavyweights Neeraj and Amit were being held back to bowl at the death, a task neither one of these gentlemen will ever shy away from. But where to set the field when Regan is in full flow? The Vets still needed to save runs so fielders on the one had to be blended with the necessary boundary protection. Neeraj wanted mid-off back, but Ledger overruled and brought him up. Where to bowl? In the block hole, or perhaps mystify the young buck with one out the back of the hand? It seemed not to matter as Regan took the game by the scruff of the neck, clubbing 3 crucial boundaries in the dying overs which put the game beyond doubt. It was left to Tim to finish the game in some style, a boundary and then a lofted 6 over mid wicket bringing up his 50 whilst also securing the winning runs in the penultimate over.
For the Youths a very professional performance, and one which will hopefully set the springboard for a number of the younger crew to take their game to another level in 2014. For the Vets it wasn’t as galling as last year’s ‘run 4’ off the last delivery, but back to the drawing board they go.
Scorecard – at Barnes, Saturday 21 September 2013
|Chris Ledger *||Barreto||Roy||9||(10)|
|Shahzeb Mohammed #||Retired||28||(34)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||4|
|Extras – wides, no balls||35|
|Total||for 5 wickets in 40 overs||226|
|Did not bat: San Gore, Michael Blumberg, Navneet Bali|
|Tim Keleher * #||Not||Out||51||(43)|
|Al Naser Regan||Not||Out||42||(45)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||5|
|Extras – wides, no balls||13|
|Total||for 8 wickets in 38.2 overs||229|
19 Year Series Result: 12 to 6 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 22 Sept Youths won by 1 wicket off the last ball of a 40 overs match
Report by San Gore
Veterans: 262/12 in 39 overs (Shahzeb 82, David Behar 37, Farrukh Hasan 36, Extras 45, Wajid Tahir 2/21, Furquan Kidwai 2/23)
Youths: 263/10 in 40 overs (Wajid Tahir 99*, Tabrez Khan 39, Furquan Kidwai 31, Shahzeb 3/27, Neeraj Nayar 2/28)
Flushed by their success of the previous year the wise old Veterans were ready to consolidate their superiority over the impetuous Youths in this annual face-off. The Vets’ batting looked formidable with newly aged Rohan Ghosh in their midst (my gosh, we are getting collectively old!) and the youngsters’ bowling had been all over the place during the season. However, the Youths had a secret Cunning Plan, unveiled on the day with the appearance of a lean, fit Wajid Tahir – strictly ineligible for the contest of course, not having played for two years or so, but the Vets were magnanimous as clearly the Youths needed a bit of help. The 40 over game proved to be a cliff-hanger going to the last ball with all three results possible.
The Vets made all the initial running, batting first with David seeing off the dangerous Waj before retiring after 25, per the rules of this format. A sudden collapse ensued and Vets were reeling at 67 for 5, then 84 for 7. But a hard-hitting 82 by Shahzeb down the order aided by a breezy 36 from Farrukh and 24 from Elias helped the Vets to amass a daunting 262.
The Youths reply started badly, losing two early wickets including the out-of-sort Ajit and the six-and-out Regan. But Furquan and Bharat steadied the ship before skipper Tabrez and Wajid led the charge. When they returned after all others had fallen the score was 179/9 – still 84 to get in only 7 overs. The Vets thought the game was in the bag. Not so Waj (inset). He launched a fearsome assault on the second string attack (all had to bowl) smashing 4 sixes and as many fours. When Tabby departed with 3 overs left Waj (last man standing rule) had to be more circumspect.
And so it came to the last over with the Youths requiring 7 to win. The Vets skipper Matt Marshall stepped up to the plate, taking it upon himself to bowl with the field carefully spread out. Pressure mounted as only three singles were conceded in the first five balls. Waj and Tabby conferred. Last ball. 4 to win. Strategy set – “We have to get a boundary, or run like hell”.
The final delivery. Waj slogs towards the mid-wicket boundary but Chris Ledger fields. All over, we’ve won, thinks Matt, as the batsmen run two. But then, the Keystone Cops Moment, the headless chicken scenario – one that forever will be burnished in the minds of the Veterans whose wisdom disappeared that fateful day.
Chris hurls the ball to Matt at the bowler’s end who only half stops it. Batsmen turn for the third run. San behind the stumps abandons his post to retrieve the loose ball but is beaten in the race by Shahzeb who, instead of holding on to the ball, flings it at the batting end to where Matt, now alert to the danger, has run to cover for San, but again fails to collect cleanly. The batsmen have now already run 3 to tie. With nothing to lose Tabby and Waj set off for the 4th, winning run. Atul picks up at cover and first runs with the ball, then shies at and hits the bowler’s stumps but a diving Tabby just makes his ground. An all-run four to win for the Youths.
A Triumph and Disaster in equal measure!
Scorecard – at Barnes, Saturday 22 September 2012
|Mark Oppe #||Griffiths||K.Khan||0||(1)|
|Matt Marshall *||Tahir||11||(11)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||13|
|Extras – wides, no balls||32|
|Total||for 12 wickets in 39 overs||262|
|Tabrez Khan *||Setia||Setia||39||(41)|
|Pete Griffiths #||N.Nayar||7||(10)|
|Extras – byes, leg byes||12|
|Extras – wides, no balls||14|
|Total||for 10 wickets in 40 overs||263|
18 Year Series Result: 11 to 6 for the Youths, one tie
Sat 24 Sept Veterans WON by 3 runs with 2 balls to spare
Report by Jon Pickles
Veterans: 237/12 in 39.2 overs (Pammi Chaggar 44, Chris Ledger 42, Ben Goldschmied 30, Regan 2/18, James Pickles 2/25)
Youths: 234/11 in 39.4 overs (James Pickles 65, Tabrez Khan 30, Bharat Gorasiya 28, Akhi Shailendra 28, Pammi Chaggar 2/16, Jon Pickles 2/18, Mark Oppe 2/22)
The Youths-Veterans annual challenge match in 2011 was a vintage game in an ongoing series of evenly fought contests (at least, if you look at the odd-numbered years).
Cunningly winning the toss, Matt Marshall of the Veterans had no hesitation in choosing to bat, knowing that Tabrez Khan of the Youths would struggle with the challenge of organising the necessary bowling changes to get all 11 players to bowl the requisite overs in reasonable time, and thus should end up chasing down a total in September evening darkness.
After a slow start against tidy bowling, the Vets started to open up, with skipper Chris Ledger, Ben Goldschmied and Pammi Chaggar all getting the chance to retire at 25 and return later to boost the scoring in the closing overs. David Behar narrowly missed out, so surprised by waking up in the morning and discovering himself to be a veteran (it happens to the best of us, David) that he holed out for 24 off the bowling of the youngest youth, Stefanos Nayar.
A final score of 237 all out in just short of the allotted 40 overs looked eminently gettable. But despite James Pickles being gifted four runs off the mark from a pea-roller delivered by his kind elder brother, early wickets stung the Youths’ chase, and even the diminutive young Stefanos Nayar, Tendulkar-like in determination and stature, could not keep out a Ben Goldschmied lifter that fizzed past his nose and thwacked into middle stump halfway up.
James Pickles (inset) was improving all the time (after all, he was the oldest youth) and kept the young guns in the hunt with a gloriously attacking run-a-ball 65, but holed out to Ben Goldschmied off the bowling of Mark Oppe (yes James, read it in the scorecard and weep) in the final over – handing victory to the Vets by the slender margin of 3 runs.
Ben Goldschmied wrote: “Great game gents. I can still feel that ball thudding into my hands… Definitely makes it into my top ten highlights on a cricket field, still feels WONDERFUL.”
Neeraj Nayar blogged:
“Spare a thought for Tabrez Khan. From hero to zero in 12 months. Hailed as the all conquering superstar in 2010 and then it all must have changed. Margin of defeat a mere 3 runs but DEFEAT it was… Matt Marshall has a full calendar of Dinner invites. Pubs are being renamed after him. An open bus ride has been promised through Primrose Hill and Bayswater. Beer is available on tap. A cult has been suggested with Marshall as ultimate supremo. Tabrez Khan, on the other hand, was reported missing. However we have just learnt, he has booked a room on a quiet island in the North Pacific. Winning or Losing should be treated as the same evil imposters. Really?”