Kings Hill 2nd XI won by 5 wickets
Holborough Anchorians 155 all out in 34.1 overs
Ryan Ambanpola 3/6, Matt Blewett 3/37
Kings Hill 157 for 5 in 36.2 overs
Kevin Ambanpola 78, Marc Kimpton 34
With four fixtures remaining in the season Kings Hill 2nds were still top of the table and fighting hard for consecutive promotions. The unfortunate withdrawal of Dartfordians from the league brought the teams closer together in the top four and meant performances (not just results) could impact the final table.
This visitors batted first on a dry but good-looking track and got off to a fast start. Holborough’s skipper and opening batsman was aggressive from the start, with a lot of his shots going aerial and just evading the Kings Hill fielders. Ben Jackson and Roy Goodman bowled well but with the wicket offering a bit of grip Matt Blewett decided to take the pace off. Was good to see Roy back bowling and he picked up the first wicket with a beaut of a delivery that cut back to clean up the opener.
Magic Mick Saul lived up to his growing reputation, getting his first delivery to jag back from outside off and knock back middle stump. Matt got the team together and refocussed the efforts to bring things back under control after a fast start. That began with a good call to put Alex Chapman out at cow corner for the new batsman, who duly lofted his second ball straight down to him…
MVP Matt started tidily as usual, with a few dubious wides along the way and the odd controversial decision. Kev Ambanpola took a good catch off the edge to go with his always reliable work behind the stumps (let’s keep it one side of the wicket lads!) and Matt took a steepling catch off his own bowling too.
After Chappers took a good catch at long on to give Mick the opener’s wicket it was down to the number six to post a target. He started picking up boundaries but KHCC kept picking up wickets at the other end. Ryan Ambanpola took just two or three deliveries to find his length and barely bowled a bad ball after that, getting plenty of turn. His first wicket was a peach, pitching outside leg and turning past the edge to hit the top of off. The one full toss he did bowl was turned around the corner where Ben Jackson took an excellent tumbling catch at square leg to dismiss the number six.
A lovely yorker from Dave Wardle along with a sharp caught and bowled from Ryan brought the innings to a close at 155. It was one of those days when a lot went in the air just out of reach, but some committed fielding helped to reign the scoring in – great work from Marc Kimpton and the effervescent Adam Lowing stood out, along with the vociferous encouragement from Chappers.
After tea, Kev opened with Chris Bryant and the pair got a solid start with the odd delivery gripping in the pitch. Kev didn’t let a bad ball go to waste and started picking up boundaries – the score soon approaching fifty at more than six an over. Chris’s dismissal brought Marc Kimpton to the crease – a batting pair comprising two of KHCC longest serving loyal members.
Holborough were finding some good lengths and their opener was a bit unlucky. Their spinner was bowling all sorts of deliveries, keeping the batsmen guessing, but Kimpo knuckled down while Kev kept hitting boundaries to reach an entertaining half-century.
Marc started finding gaps, playing a few lovely back foot punches through the off side to warm applause and encouragement from the boundary. The partnership kept growing as the visitors’ attack toiled in the heat and when Kimpo was eventually bowled for 34 the job was almost done.
Kev decided to try and get it done in style but after a few lusty blows skied one to be caught and bowled. It did allow him to walk off and absorb some well-deserved acknowledgement for an excellent 78 – a classy knock that stood out on the day.
A couple more wickets fell but KHCC eventually picked up the winning runs to collect the full points on the day.
Kimpo’s knock was cracking but this really was the Ambanpola Show. After Ryan’s 3 wickets for 6 runs, Kev took charge of things in his calm, classy style.
The Twos are a step closer to the league title, but if anything the resolve is stronger to keep improving their performances and end the season on a high. Three fixtures to go and everything to play for!