Following Saturdays eventual win against Kegworth, we had a trip to Peterborough and the Area finals day. Difficult as it was to stay focussed on the job in hand, you would suggest the way that we chased down a low score having bowled well on Saturday, that there were some minds thinking of coloured kit and pink balls! Perhaps gently guiding the first ball of the game into slips hands would make Craven more determined the following day!
With the outside chance of a league title still in play following Saturdays win, the squad assembled on Sunday morning, many tucking into a KCC breakfast special before climbing aboard the bus. Memories jogged of a mass of pink shirts climbing on many buses with coolboxes full of beer which would be confiscated at the lords gates.
Although not quite on the same scale it would be strong kcc contingent off to Peterborough and maybe if we could play 40 overs of great cricket, we would then only be 20 overs away from a repeat of those days again.
The bus sat nav took us straight there, well if you count a shopping centre as straight there. Infact about 2 miles away from where we were playing, but we all arrived. In progress was the opening game of hosts Peterborough and wollaton (aka can we sign your really angry hairy bowler cc). It did look a bit men vs boys as Peterborough not only looked the part but it was evident were a decent outfit. The PTCC (no charlesy doesn’t have his own cricket club!) but hosts, had done an excellent job in setting up the day. Live music T20 style for wickets and boundaries, a BBQ in full swing and a solid crowd and a Hockey tournament also in progress.
Kit wise wollaton in all blue and PTCC in a lashings style black and yellow kit, our opposition staying in all white and the KCC in green and gold courtesy of LCCC. The LCCC kit man i guess must have left it on a boil wash, as even kate Moss would have complained of the lack of room in the shirts.
The KCC supporters camped at backward square leg from the hockey end and chairs and picnics unpacked in the sun. An adapted warm up chip shop style then back to the changing room as we watched the PTCC knock off the wollaton score convincingly. Wollaton perhaps lacking that belief and the body language suggested they felt the result was already out of their hands. As we shared a changing room with them, it was clear to see that having come so far, to go out was a real wrench. Huge credit to them, they stayed for the whole day and entertained the crowds in the interval with a mass game of slip catching with a genius invention, which elvis claimed he would make for the following weekend. Having been beaten by PTCC, they would lend their support to their victors later in the day.
Selector opted for an unchanged line up to that of Saturday, meaning Bails, Peel and Fido would miss out on game 1, Fido of course being the worst drinks man ever, claiming peely as senior squad man should do it. Cue spray from brought, FK and plenty others. Fido would though, manage to eat his own bodyweight in one of the best teas to ever be consumed by FK in his 26 year career.
Selector won the toss and stuck by the formula of batting first and putting a total on the board. The badger or “tripod” as he would be known as from the player profile in the matchday programme would open with his regular partner muscles ghuman. As all reader will know, craves is called tripod for a very obvious reason! (he is of course a keen amateur photographer and always brings his tripod with him to ensure he can take the perfect shot)
After a very patient first 3 overs where both were getting used to the pink ball, which did swing late and a lot, the dugout of KCC squad wondered if the opening pair had fully understood the requirement of 20 over cricket isn’t to meerkat around.
After 3 overs of boring off the assembled kcc supporters, craven came to life and can then only be described as swinging from his bum. Anything remotely in his arc just disappeared, and in most cases even where he was actually aiming. Ram continued to play his own game and batted nicely, and cravo just showed what a clean hitter he can be and the rolls Royce boys didn’t have an answer to his hitting and power.
Not many centurions in t20 cricket and with some late flourish from burty with 4 successive fours, we had 188 on the board and felt up for it.
The rolls Royce boys had some other ideas however and after the first few overs and a wicket, they had 1 batsman who found the boundary with regularity. Unfortunately his team mates weren’t on his wavelength and with broughts snaring them in the outfield, and FK stumping and some tight bowling all round with Dazz finding the pink ball working big swing, they closed well short with selector tasking the opportunity to see how aadil and ram bowled if more spin needed.
So part 1 done and time for tea. With just 40 mins to eat and get back out, a light tea would be needed. Unfortunately the spread that lay inform of us was pretty damn good. Chicken tikka chunks, 2 types of pizza, 2 types of pasta, carved gammon ham, roast beef, egg salad, pork pies, 2 types of quiche, potato salad,, it was a serious feast.
Back to the cricket and selector won the toss again, something that he has been rubbish at amongst many other things this season. PTCC claimed in the pre-match interview they would want to bowl anyway and selector managed to get the word meerkat into his interview on the PA system with the matchday host.
On the back of a ton, cravo felt invincible. No changes to the semi final side, so he and ram would open up again. The PTCC opening bowlers did not have the same sort of pace as elvis and angry but ajaz the skipper made up for it in swing and great line and it wasn’t an easy start. Craves did start to fire and a few lust blows kept the crowd on its feet as a repeat of game 1 threatened. In an effort to loft over the infield, craves just got to much on one taken easily at mid on. In hindsight he said he should have just gone the whole way as was working for him. It was evident to see that this was the catalyst for PTCC. In his pre match interview skipper ajaz said that it was craves wicket that they were targeting and by the celebrations that took place after the catch was held, it visibly lifted them and had the opposite effect on the kcc dugout.
It didn’t work for aamir and then the following meerkats as with 3 very strong spinners taking the pace of the ball, it didn’t work to the meerkats strengths of running the ball around and we started to seize up and lost all momentum and boundaries just weren’t happening.
Left and right handed combinations were mixed up following Aadil and burtys and daz’s departures and with FK clearing the front leg for a few swipes and drives targeting a 120 minimum score, with 3 overs left, we then managed to reach 118. Way short and a bit deflating.
What we had failed to notice was that the Rolls Royce boys had taken a bizarre liking to Broughts. Cannon had become their new hero and soon every mention of him on the tannoy and every catch, run up to bowl was greeted with a cheer louder than the one when charlsey produces his own packet of fags.
Cannon relished this additional support as the new hairy gay icon of asian cricket in Derbyshire. This fired him up and selector and ledge pointed out in the team talk that we have been here before, maybe not this 11 on the field, but as a club we have pulled a few rabbits out the hat, even this season against Loughborough in the national, so you never know.
Having batted like dogs, we then bowled like gods! Elvis was unlucky when a few stray edges found the boundary and having had a slow start, selector ensured the batters could not settle into the pace and bowling styles, by chopping and changing the bowling, switching ends and generally pulling off some tactical master strokes that unsettled the PTCC batters. They are a serious side and a long bating line up, so we had to keep taking wickets. Luck just wasn’t on our side and a number of aerial shots failed to land in the right places and their edges did find the ropes when ours found a hand.
Cannon was pumped up and he bowled some genuinely unplayable deliveries as did drives, but then we have all year had more catches behind than any other team in our prem
The ball just stopped swinging for daz and only his clever mix of pace and line would compensate for that, when the ball had hooped for him in game 1. As the temperature dropped, the ball stopped swinging. Cannon continued to be the crowd favourite and he rewarded then with his safe hands as did selector from a chip of spiro and it was edging our way. The KCC support was immense and vocal and the PTCC home crowd was quiet and a little concerned that the small total was proving hard to chase down. There was a serious intensity to the KCC boys on field efforts and the pressure started to tell as PTCC lost wickets regularly and boundaries dried up. Another wicket brought former England under 19 skipper and key man mcmahon and lewis bruce together and they changed the game plan by rotating the strike again. Bruce was given a let off as a straight drive looked to go straight down rams throat at long on, but he looked to have crept in too far and could only palm the ball for 6. A cut from mcmahon raced past drives and he would have done well to get anything on it. Some little bits that we had no luck on.
However we were still out there and we just needed another wicket. With McMahon and Bruce together they were still favourites and we kept fighting to the end. Some superb bowling from Aamir in the 19th over with at least 3 slower balls that totally foxed Bruce and we still had a crack at it.
Drives had been the hero at Loughborough in the NKO and his first 4 ball were unplayable. Bruce admitted after the game nerves got to him and he tried to smash the first 4 balls. After a word from McMahon, they scrambled a 2 down to 3rd man and scores were tied. At this stage they had won the game due to losing fewer wickets and our journey was over.
On the positive side it was probably a fitting final for PTCC the hosts and for the spectators for a tight well fought game that went to the 2nd last ball of the game. It was gutting to get so close and to sit in the changing room listening to the celebrations, knowing that they are 1 win away from a big finals day.
Excellent hosts and our thanks to PTCC and best wishes to them for the next round, I think they are in with shout of going all the way to the final.
A big thanks from the players to all who came along and supported and cheered us on, it would have been lonely without you and sorry we couldn’t just get over the finishing line.
The cup journey in 2011 has been a long and interesting one. A few more runs against Wycombe and we might just have edged through in the NKO. We gave away to many runs in the county cup semi against Loughborough and we read common sense into the challenge cup semi instead of the rules and rightly conceded. So the cup action is over for 2011 and a lot of lessons learnt. Valuable experience for the younger lads gained in 2011 and hopefully 2012 will see us make the final hurdle.
Barring any twists or turns its a straight fight between us, Harbro and Loughborough now in the final 5 league games. Maybe we are destined to wrestle the title from Harbro as the reward for some good and at times frustrating cricket and performances.
Our youngsters continue to progress and develop as the 2nds have had a tough final quarter of the season but again will only come back better next season, the 3’s and 4’s look to bounce up a league after a promising season giving themselves and the club better standards of cricket again next year.
Thanks for getting behind us and you just never know!!!