Kings Hill 2nd XI won by 113 runs
Kings Hill 209 for 4 in 40 overs
Dave Sutton 112, Chris Bryant 47*
Stonehouse 96 all out in 35.4 overs
Ryan Ambanpola 3/7, Jack Cook 2/15
Another beautiful day in Kent as the players assembled for their 6th fixture of the season. The toss went the visitors’ way and they chose to bowl (clearly the enthusiasm of the Kings Hill warm-up fielding drills had intimidated them…)
A slowish pitch, combined with very tidy bowling from the openers made it tough to score runs early on, although Tom Rogers didn’t stick around to find out, falling to a very sharp slip catch in the second over. Jack Cook joined Dave Sutton and the pair looked to play out the early overs. When Jack was out, Smiley Saul too found that runs were at a premium. Dave was looking solid as he has all season and he and Mick knuckled down. At 52/2 at drinks it hadn’t been the most entertaining 20 overs the Kings Hill Oval had seen, but with a deep batting order, KHCC were confident that they would be able to accelerate in the second half of the innings.
Mick soon got started, launching a couple of lovely straight hits over the top. With the sun out and the bowlers starting to tire, Dave started finding gaps and the pristine outfield was providing plenty of reward. Mick mistimed another straight drive to be caught and bowled, but those few shots in anger seemed to have changed the momentum of the innings. Chris Bryant joined Dave at 70-odd for 3 and around 15 overs to go.
With Dave timing the ball all around the ground, Chris rotated the strike and picked up a few boundaries in between. The pair ran well, keeping the pressure on the fielders to pick up every run they could. Once Dave reached his 50, to warm applause from the pavilion, he really stepped it up and scoreboard started to rattle along. The target total moved from 160 to 180 and soon to 200 as Dave fast-approached his hundred, taking 20 runs off an over a couple of times. He was looking pretty knackered by the time another sweetly struck boundary took him to his maiden Kings Hill hundred.
After a few more boundaries (he hit 21 in total) and a sporting reprieve from the opposition after being given out LBW off the inside edge, Dave eventually fell with just an over or so left in the innings. It was a fantastic knock, in tricky conditions initially, and was just reward for the form he’s shown in 2018. The first of many we hope.
Kings Hill ended up posting 209 with Chris unbeaten on 47 despite getting a juicy full toss as the final delivery of the innings. Going at close to 8 runs an over for the second 20 was a great effort, thanks to a top knock from Dave. It also meant that the home players were the more positive as they sat down to Matt’s tasty teatime treats (try the brownies).
Ray Enslin had spent an hour warming up in the nets before he opened the bowling and it clearly had the desired effect. His first delivery was quick and moved away to take the edge, flying just out of reach of the fielder at slip…
Or at least it would have, had that fielder not been Mick Saul – sticking out a big right hand at full stretch to pluck the ball out of the air as it passed him. An awesome catch that immediately lifted everyone in the field as the disappointed captain trudged back to the pavilion.
The Stonehouse numbers 2 and 3 settled in quickly and made the most of Ray’s pace and the slick outfield square of the wicket to get their team off to a quick start – upwards of 6 an over. They also looked to attack Hasham Khan who soon bowled the number 3 with one that jagged back. The opener continued to pick up boundaries but Hash soon had another wicket, hitting the back leg in front of the stumps to raise the finger.
Matt turned to spin with Jack Cook and Ryan Ambanpola bowling in tandem, drying up the runs and beating the bat regularly. Jack picked up the key wicket of the hard-hitting Jack Moyler, who hit a full toss straight to Chris at cover. Kevin took another great catch off Jack, while Ryan got one to spin and take the leading edge to Mick at first slip, as well as picking up an LBW to end with three. His third was a catch to Dave, who took two to add to his century and cap a man of the match performance.
Matt Blewett and Paul Clifton picked up a wicket each to finish off the innings, giving Kings Hill the win to maintain their unbeaten start to the season. Another really good all-round performance to complement a classy hundred from Dave. The fielding was tight and the boys held their catches (ahem, Cliffo…) and the efforts on Wednesday evenings are paying off.
Special mention to young Ryan Ambanpola, who is currently top of the Kings Hill 2018 wicket-taking table, with 17 victims at an average of 8.18 and economy of 2.83!
With most of the 1st XI having returned to the club from their tour to enjoy the end of the match, the Hangar was well supported as the players enjoyed another stunning sunset and a few quiet beverages. Well played boys.