Kings Hill 2nd XI won by 116 runs
Kings Hill 249 for 7 in 40 overs
Ayden Hurst 57, Chris Bryant 45
Gravesend RFC 133 for 9 in 40 overs
Ayden Hurst 5/20, Hasham Khan 2/10
The Kings Hill oval looked a picture as skipper Matt Blewett tossed the coin to get the 2nd XI’s season underway. He won and KHCC batted first with Neil Taylor and Ayden Hurst opening up.
Both played well, negotiating any potential early-season pitch demons and moving the scoreboard along briskly. Neil kept the ones and twos coming as well as striking a few lovely fours to warm applause. When he finally gave Ayden the strike the Aussie soon got rid of any cobwebs he may have had. After getting himself in, he started striking the ball beautifully, picking up boundaries at will including a lovely pickup six over the nets. He soon reached 50 in his debut knock.
Neil swept the spinner for a classy four, but was caught in two minds on the next delivery to york himself, bowled for 34. Ayden followed soon after for 57, a miscue landing in the hands of mid-off. That brought Nick McGeorge and Kevin Ambanpola to the crease. The two experienced heads steadied things and avoided any collapse, keeping the scoring ticking over with Kevin playing some lovely sweeps to the slower bowlers.
Chris Bryant was in at five and was joined by Dave Wardle after Kevin played too early and skied a top edge. Chris and Dave kept things moving, pushing the fielders hard and collecting a few boundaries along the way. Gravesend captain George Bauckham was the pick of the visitors’ bowlers and bowled a good, full, slower delivery to bowl Dave. Chris looked to accelerate but played across the line to one and was LBW for 45. An aggressive and entertaining 27 from Hasham Khan helped to push to total up, with Kings Hill ending on 249 for 7.
There were good contributions from all the batsmen and after a few more knocks out in the middle we should see more of them go on to bigger scores. But it was a great total for the first match of the season.
Hash and Danny Thomas opened the bowling as Kings went looking for early wickets. The Gravesend openers got a decent start and were finding gaps in the field. Kevin took a sharp catch standing up to Hash to remove the one, while Ayden had come on first change and caught the other on the crease. Once the openers were out there was little resistance from the middle order. Ayden took full advantage on his debut, bowling a tight line to end up with 5 wickets – 3 LBWs, a stumping and a looping catch to Matt at slip that would have landed on Kev’s head.
Ben Clarke bowled some great deliveries and was unlucky not to find the edge. Jack Cook bowled the veteran Jeff Allen and Kings Hill were looking at finishing things off. But it was not to be, as the Gravesend numbers 9 and 10 dug in and didn’t look to play any shots in anger, which was slightly puzzling as they needed to get beyond 149 to earn batting points. Neil picked up a late wicket but Kings were unable to finish things off, frustratingly missing out on the full points for the win.
One point dropped shouldn’t detract from what was a comprehensive win against a team that has pushed our 2nd XI close in the last two seasons. The match was set up by a great opening stand and the Kings Hill batsmen did well to put an intimidating total on the board. A bit more match time will sharpen the skills (and fitness) in the field and the team should be looking forward to building on a solid first performance.
Man of the match was an easy call this week, with Ayden taking his opportunity to show that he’ll be an asset to the club, both in his performance and attitude on the field. A half-century and five wickets on debut is a handy start! Here’s to many more.