Kings Hill 1st XI lost by 6 wickets
Kings Hill 197 for 6 in 50 overs
Neil Scott 71*, Majid Sialvi 31
Staplehurst 198 for 4 in 46.1 overs
Shaun McMurray 2/9
Kings Hill welcomed top-of-the-table Staplehurst on another hot and humid day in Kent. The match was the first of the return fixtures after the halfway mark for the season, and the home team were looking to avenge a frustrating loss in May.
Kings Hill won the toss and chose to bat, as Dave and the Hangar team started setting up the clubhouse ahead of England’s World Cup quarter-final. Rob Whitfield and Neil Miller opened the innings against a disciplined Staplehurst attack. Although the parched outfield was lightning quick, the pitch showed a few demons right from the start, making scoring difficult.
Rob managed a few lusty boundaries, but after 20 overs KHCC were 36/4 with a few in-form batters back in the shed and there was a lot of work to be done. Mohammed Cowdhury went on the attack and struck five fours before he was out for 28. KHCC were 60/5 with half the overs gone. Neil Scott joined Majid Sialvi and the pair worked hard to get the innings back on track.
They batted excellently for a 50-plus partnership in 14 overs, taking advantage of the rare loose deliveries while running hard to pick up every run available. Majid fell for 31 and Chris Bryant joined Neil with 11 overs to go as the temperatures continued to rise. Chris managed to pick up a few singles to give Scotty as much of the strike as possible and the pair kept up the quick running between the wickets. Into the last five overs Scotty started opening up, hitting a big six to go along with boundaries and twos, raising a well-deserved, gutsy half-century in the process.
KHCC collected 76 in the last 10 overs to end on 197/6, below par but something to bowl at after a tough start. It was a fantastic effort from Scotty, who took some much needed recovery time between innings to deal with the heat.
The pitch was tricky when the bowlers hit the right length, and Kings Hill would need to do the same.
After his long, sapping knock Scotty bowled 10 very good overs on the trot upfront and Shaun McMurray gave nothing away bowling first change, completing 10 overs for just 9 runs and picking up two wickets (including a fantastic one-handed caught and bowled). But overall the KHCC attack had an off day, and were not consistent enough in line and length, conceding 28 extras along the way. Although the home team’s fielding was not bad, it was not up to the high standards set by Staplehurst and there were a few too many soft runs allowed.
Having said that, KHCC fought hard. It was soon apparent that the visitors were relying almost entirely on their skipper Tom Davey’s knock, with a lot of dot balls from the other end. The home team picked up a few wickets and tight bowling from Scotty and Shaun built pressure, with the required rate climbing to almost 6 an over at one stage.
But Davey played a very good innings and Kings weren’t able to draw many mistakes out of him (aside from a tough caught and bowled opportunity off Josh). He paced his chase well and found some run-scoring support in the number 6 as the two soaked up any pressure. Davey accelerated as he neared his century and took in some well deserved-applause when he reached it, ending unbeaten on 107 as the visitors picked up a 6 wicket win.
It was a frustrating day for KHCC against a good side that deserved the win. The visitors were more disciplined with the ball and patient with the bat. Their fielding efforts in tough, hot conditions not only saved 25 to 30 runs but also kept the team focused.
Kings Hill did well to take the game into the last five overs and a top all-round effort from Neil was a highlight. It was always going to be tough to recover after the first 25 overs. But with the recent form of a number of batsmen, increasing experience for some promising juniors and a few regulars to come back into the side they will be optimistic about the second half of the season.