KCC II v Kennington
An unforgiving day for the 2’s
After the first rainfall in living memory last night, the morning after presented the two teams with a wicket that had bowlers licking their lips and a rather slow outfield. Openers Aman Kalyan and skipper for the day Tony Launchbury raced out of the blocks, with impressive back to back maidens from Tony and only 3 runs being conceded from the first 4 overs of the innings. It was promising to be a very economical day for the team, and an early wicket played into that nicely, with the skipper dismissing batsman number 1 with only 4 runs on the board. Kennington were scraping a handful of singles together but Kidlington were on top, and Aman bowled a magnificent inswinger which bamboozled the Kennington captain, taking the bales right out, unfortunately the umpire had called no ball against the front foot of the youngster. This would prove a regrettable missed opportunity, as the batsman would go on to play a vital part, demonstrating the fine margins that be in the game of cricket.
From then on the Home team captain started to go through the gears, and the first boundary of the day was followed by a foray of runs, as Kennington started to seize the initiative and dictate play. Kidlington were struggling for wickets and brought on Baiju and Ajay. Ajay enjoyed some remarkable turn on the wicket and Baiju made the break through we needed with his ever-consistent bowling lulling the batsmen into a false sense of security, with number 3 hitting one right up into the air which Jack Launchbury caught, keeping his cool impressively. The pair chipped away at the Kennington batting line up with wicket 3 and 4 going to Ajay with solid catches from Harry Brock and Jonah Clarke behind the stumps.
Kidlington kept up the attack well but were robbed of a clear wicket when Aman bowled a peach of a delivery which the batsman nicked behind and Jonah gobbled up. Cue vociferous appealing from Jonah and Aman, shortly joined by nearly everyone else in the field, even the square leg umpire was shouting, but the umpire was unmoved. The team were disappointed but respected the decision of the umpire and kept at it. Shame for young Aman though, who bowled splendidly to no avail, with what must have been one of the best bowling performances ever, to not yield a wicket.
Kennington were slowly and painfully racking up the runs, and Kidlington started to tire, many close calls ended with a short burst of wickets in the final few overs, with Ajay picking out middle stump with yet another vicious delivery and Jonah running out the captain for a very impressive 86 on the very next ball. The boys were on for a team hat-trick with the last ball of the innings, which would have also seen them bowl Kennington all out, but a mediocre defensive shot was the batsman’s only contribution with the bat of the day.
After a much appreciated tea, Kidlington were quietly optimistic going in to bat, despite the lack of many real recognised batsmen, we knew that around 17 runs each and a calm performance would see us take the victory. Nick Jeacock got off to a great start hitting a lovely four off the first delivery, and it was a shame for Kidlington to see him dismissed shortly afterwards. Baiju came on and fell victim to a good delivery from the opening bowler who was on a hat-trick, but Ran sured things up nicely, developing steadying partnerships with Josh and Harry, but luck was not on our side as all three lost their wickets in quick succession and things were looking bleak for the 2s.
The often fruitful partnership of the J. Launchburys: Jed and Jack, proved valuable as the two delivered a solid job helping to steady the team but the wickets continued to fall with Jack going and fellow Launchbury, Tony replacing him, hitting a brutal four and shortly after getting caught, unfortunately off a similar shot. This left the tail-enders with what could only be described as an uphill struggle at best. But Ajay looked assured in the middle, playing his favourite shot to great success, and just guiding to ball to the off-side many times. Unfortunately, his promising innings came to an end when the slip took a proper naughty catch low to his right-hand side, and things were all but over as the Kidlington players and supporters looked for a safe and reliable batsmen to come in and rescue the innings, unfortunately, we had Jonah walking to the crease and you could be forgiven for assuming there would not be much more movement on the scoreboard from that point on. But Jonah established firm partnerships with Jed and Aman, with ball after ball being bludgeoned to the boundary for four. Eventually, Aman got on strike and batted admirably, hitting a few smooth drives and blocking solidly. Jonah greedily hogged the strike, denying Aman a couple of definite singles, but this was all okay, considering Kalyan’s earlier actions, running one short off another smooth drive from Clarke and denying him a valuable run. In the end, it was clear the game was getting away from Kidlington as Jonah started swinging wildly for every ball, with a couple of lucky escapes as the ball went shooting straight up in the air, only to drop kindly on the grass. But eventually, this unorthodox batting proved fatal as one too many balls went up in the air, with Jonah being caught easily for a personal best of 21 runs.
Ultimately, the scorecard will say that we lost by one hundred odd runs, but that doesn’t tell the full story, with close calls and fine margins not falling the way of the Kidlington boys, who faced a tough and demanding day out, fielding hard for 45 overs in exhausting heat. An altogether admirable performance saw us fall slightly short, but lots of positives will be taken into the next game, with youngsters all over the place making fine contributions and another fantastic innings from Jed (26) and great efforts all round in the field. Unlucky, boys we will take this performance into next week, and well done to Kennington who were well deserved winners and pleasant hosts.