Dramatic KCC collapse helps Risinghurst snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.
By Kamran Ramzan
A decent bowling performance was in vain as we lost 7 wickets for 21 runs.
This Saturday was our first home game of the season and after much anticipation, we had a bit of an unpleasant surprise at first site of the wicket. Edd Willmot lost the toss and bizarrely Risinghurst chose to bat. After the initial confusion, we understood why they chose to bat as half their team were still on the way to the ground! Will Thwaites and Kamran Ramzan started off with the new ball, Will feeling slightly better after his injury from last week (or so we thought). It wasn't long until the first blow when Kamran had one of the openers nicking behind off his very first delivery to stand in keeper Craig Woods. The opening spells were very interesting with many balls doing bits off the surface. Will got his first with jamie stothard holding on nicely and a third wicket fell with Kamran getting an LBW appeal in his favour. Edd joined the fun taking a great low catch at first slip to gift Will another wicket. Risinghurst were looking in huge trouble at 24-4 with Kamran and Will bowling but unfortunately the latter looked uncomfortable by his 5th over and it was very clear that he was in discomfort. To prevent further damage, he was replaced by Michael Tippet with Kamran bowling out his 7 over quota. Chris Graham was on next to swap shifts with Ramzan. The batsmen were still cautious however the umpire was keen to get them settled in and called a no ball off Chris to a ball which was below the batsman's waist and still dipping. If a free but wasn't already bad enough, Chris also ludicrously received a warning, much to the annoyance of our team. We tried to move on but the partnership was building in confidence. Something special was needed such as something inspiring in the field and this is exactly what happened. After flicking a ball towards deep backwards square leg, the 2 at the crease set off for a couple but Kamran chased hard and threw it in to get a direct hit at the strikers end and catch him short. We believed that a score below 100 was truly on the cards if we worked hard. Samuel was trying to destroy our hopes, somehow surviving many slog attempts and playing across the line. To halt our progress, it started to rain at the drinks break, reducing the innings to 43 overs. After the break, Edd brought himself on and started very nicely. He removed Samuel for 33 and pulled the projected total lower. At the other end though, Chris had to be taken off after receiving another warning for a high beamer and Andy Oliver did well to control the free hit and tidily finish of the over. This mishap brought Kamran back for a spell earlier than intended. Straight away he had his 3rd wicket with his second LBW. Edd was bowling well on the slow low wicket and had 2 more wickets. A series of poor attempts in the field granted Ramu multiple lives and additional runs, which would prove to be as valuable as gold later on. Tippet had John Thompson's stumps shaken up to end the innings on 132, a total that should calmly be chased but was still more than it should have been.
We were treated to a delicious tea, and a new opening pair consisting of Sahil Kalyan and Andy Oliver strode out to the middle. The were nice and cautious, while also playing some stylish shots which didn't receive full reward on the slow outfield. The spells of the quicks had been tackled but an even bigger challenge of facing some spin at one end and Thompson at the other was now the threat. Our first wicket fell at 70 with Sahil out LBW attempting a paddle on which he might have had some bat. We seemed on course for a convincing win with less than half the runs left and 9 wickets in hand but we still had to bat properly. Craig Woods fell sooon after on 0 with the spinner taking his second wicket. On 45, Andy looked set for a big one and then he felt like smashing Thompson out of the ground, only to see that he had been bowled. We were feeling a little nervous now but with our long batting line surely we couldn't mess this up right? Debutant Simon Palmer was with jamie stothard at the crease and they both stuck together for around 8 overs and then Simon missed a straight ball. We only needed 27 with 6 wickets left when Edd came in, but it felt like more. Jamie hit a few nice shots and then misjudged going for another, only 17 to win now with Tim Rodway out in the middle for the first time this year. Edd became the 4th batsman in the innings to be bowled and then the panic levels rose. If any team could lose a match from the position we were in earlier, it is us but we just needed a few sensible decisions in strokeplay and we would win. Kamran Ramzan and Tim knew that nudging the ball around would be safe and then Tim hit one to a fielder. Tippet was in next and we were gifted with a wide ball that went to the boundary. Only 6 runs were left with wickets and 13 balls when Tippet went against the game plan and hit one high in the air to be caught and a mistake was made with the batsmen crossing, meaning that the new man would be on strike in the next over. Chris Graham blocked one then slashed at a wider ball to point leaving us barely hanging on with still 6 left. Injured last man Will hobbled to the crease and the Risinghurst players felt that they had already won. One ball later they had, as Will got bowled for a golden duck - the fourth batsman in our innings to go for 0. Once again we had lost a game to Risinghurst by the slightest of margins, a bit of an annual trend now. It was extremely disappointing to lose today and in this manner but with the positivity from last week's win and an opportunity to learn from this next week, we could only hope to get back to winning ways.