Staplehurst won by 52 runs
Staplehurst 156 all out in 43 overs
Joshua Louw 4/34, Mohammed Cowdhury 2/20
Kings Hill 104 all out in 38.2 overs
Werner Laubscher 52, Hasham Khan 22
So the first game on grass for the Kings Hill 1st XI in 2018 (after all three pre-season friendlies were cancelled due to the English weather) was always going to be a tough ask against our perennial foes Staplehurst.
We won toss end elected to field on what looked like a reasonable wicket, if a little soft. Kings Hill had four new members debuting including Joshua Louw, our overseas bowler from Cape Town, South Africa.
Werner Laubscher and Hashim Khan opened the bowling and proceeded to bowl very good lines and lengths early doors. Our first wicket of the year was a run out by Neil Taylor at extra cover who stopped a fierce drive, picked up and delivered a good throw to the new keeper Majid Sialvi following a mix up by the batsmen. Wern then caught out the mighty Tom Davey for a duck – a leading edge off Hash.
Wern’s turn next, bowling Staplehurst’s opener out after a couple of boundaries in succession. This brought in their left-handed number 4 who, whilst unorthodox and not easy on the eye, stuck around with Tom Henson and progressed the score from 18/3 up to 60/3.
Step up Matt Jones (Turkey) who took an amazing one-handed catch on the boundary to dismiss Henson, giving Josh his first wicket in England! Enter Neil (Jonty Rhodes) Taylor again for an even better effort at short mid wicket with a diving under arm at the stumps for his second run out of the day.
Dave Tibbs and Shaun McMurray bowled in tandem to keep the runs down whilst Josh had taken the last of his four wickets in his spell to conclude a brilliant debut in England.
Staplehurst all out for 156.
And then the madness.
Fair to say that the top five batters for Kings Hill all played very average shots and we were effectively out of the game early. Or was we?
Hash and Wern batted together for a good while, hitting boundaries frequently. We discovered that Hash only has one leg, so running singles was not an option! He finally ran out of luck while big Wern continued to bat brilliantly, hitting boundaries all over Staplehurst. Unfortunately he was rapidly running out of partners, though all the time he was at the crease we had a glimmer of a chance. He finally fell to a catch on the boundary after a valiant effort to win the game on his own, giving Staplehurst the win.
There is a lot to reflect on after the first games’ batting efforts. But with four new faces and very little time on grass we can expect a huge improvement for our next game, at home against Bapchild.