Kings Hill 2nd XI won by 40 runs
Kings Hill 109 for 8 in 40 overs
Mick Saul 24, Dave Sutton 16, Chris Bryant 16
Bexley Park 69 all out in 32.3 overs
Paul Clifton 2/5, Matt Blewett 2/10
Beautiful sunshine welcomed the players to the first home game for 2018 at the Kings Hill Oval. Peter and the team had done an amazing job to get the ground in playable condition after the deluge earlier in the week. But the wet weather and soft ground meant that the outfield was longer than usual and pitch was not going to offer a lot of pace.
Bexley Park won the toss and put Kings Hill in. Dave Sutton and Kevin Ambanpola opened and it was soon clear that run-scoring was going to be tough. The visitors’ bowling was disciplined and, combined with the slow pitch and long grass in the outfield, the run rate was slow and steady throughout the innings.
Most batsmen got in and then got out trying to push the rate along a bit, with a few deliveries popping and a few staying low – typical early season conditions. Mick Saul looked the most comfortable, playing a couple of lovely straight shots down the ground to put together an attractive 24, while Dave batted most of the innings for his 16. After 40 overs KHCC reached 109, but knew it was worth more than that, given the conditions.
After a few sarnies (and once Rob Howard had made sure his alice band was secure) the teams were back out.
KHCC pulled together well in the field, motivated by Alex Chapman’s enthusiastic encouragement from short cover. Defending a low total, the bowlers picked up regular wickets to keep control and only one opposition batsman reached double figures. Rob mixed great deliveries (two wickets in two balls) with the odd one that got away from him. Mick bowled straight through his ten overs and took the opportunity to try all of his variations on a pitch that suited him perfectly. He picked up the first wicket to get things going for KHCC and later added another.
Ryan Ambanpola bowled well to the right-handers and skipper Matt Blewett was accurate as ever (Wide? What wide?). Both picked up two wickets. After a few visiting batsmen were back in the hut, Bexley Park looked to defend and the game slowed down. Ben Clarke was unlucky not pick up a wicket in his first Saturday senior match, clean bowling one player off a no-ball. Death bowling specialist Paul Clifton came on to finish things off and the Kings boys kept their focus to get the job done and collect full points again.
KHCC effort in the field was the difference. They held their catches – Dave Wardle made a sharp low chance in the gulley look simple, Mick took a one-handed blinder at slip and Chris Bryant managed to hang onto a couple. Rock solid Kevin Ambanpola also collected two sharp stumpings while Sutton and Chappers patrolled the square.
Special mention for a great all-round performance from Mick – top scoring, picking up 2/11 off ten consecutive overs in the sun and taking a cracking catch. And not to mention putting the rest of us to shame, looking fashionably dapper within 10 minutes of the end of play!
Always good to win the first home game, and defending a low score is great motivation for next week. Thanks to Roy for umpiring (let’s have a few more drinks breaks next week please) and to Sonia in the clubhouse and the supporters who came down to enjoy the sunshine. Two from two for the twos.