What must have seemed a very long week after the defeat to Bowden, Saturday rolled around and the chance to bury some demons.
Team news would welcome back FK and with a duet of Lodge’s and Asif as Johhny B and Luke Spence made way in differing directions to try and get back on winning ways.
With sight screens in the sort of shape we normally find Driver on a Sunday morning, the 3rd team departed for Old Northamptonians and left a blustery overcast Kibworth for Northampton Boys School. As the cars closed in onNorthampton, the clouds loomed and a few spots of rain fell. The ground is open to one end and with the school buildings on 2 sides. It’s a pleasant looking facility but without covers and just a sheet to cover the wicket it looked like rain could end the day if the square couldn’t be got into shape.
Old Northanptonians is a sizeable club, its 1st team in the premiership and its second team in Division 1 much like us so it should be a fairly matched event. Also for a big club you would expect them to be looking for a win and to show the young lads in the club what league cricket is all about. I am sure competition for places must be similar to KCC and so we would expect a skipper leading by example.
As the KCC boys warmed up, skipper Greeno proceeded to lose the toss and ON’s must have fancied chasing down a score and knocking off the runs and so asked us to bat on a greenish deck. It’s normally the best and surest way of victory to bat 2nd, so we clearly had to get a decent total to give us a chance of bowling them out.
Simmo Jnr is now firmly in the openers chair and with the cultured Luke Spence departed, the captain himself fancied the task and with wise Rubenesque middle agers FK and Wilko to provide experience mixed into the order there was a confident feeling in the camp.
Greeno wasted no time at all and mercilessly used both his shots in the early overs. Anything loose or wide was dispatched in vaguely the direction the skipper was aiming and with Simmo giving him the strike the score was piling along nicely. Too much short stuff sat up and was clubbed away from someone who can actually claim to be in the murder squad, unlike Pedro.
With a few breaks on and off for rain, the KCC boys soon realised that the level of enthusiasm from the opposition was perhaps not the same as ours as it did seem like more green and gold was going out to put the covers on and off.
Simmo lost a bit of concentration which was hardly surprising due to several rain breaks and clipped one to midwicket so Asif the left hander went to join the captain, who had plundered 50 by now.
The pair looked comfortable and with a couple of bowling changes the score just kept moving along with Greeno into the 90’s. With 98 to his name a French cricket style front press rapped him on the pad and the skipper almost walked to as he left for an excellent knock.
FK clubbed a few quick runs but later uncovered that the ball that bowled him without making a sound of ball on stumps, was more likely the keepers gloves knocking off the bails. At this stage Asif was stroking the ball around majestically and passed 50 looking in no trouble. Wilko chipped one to mid off. What he was doing on the off side we don’t know but it was true. Loz looked steady but was caught and then Monik was asked to join Asif and ensure no wickets would fall and an extra 25 runs would need to be scored and nothing silly.
That’s what his skipper had said but Monik must have heard incorrectly in the wind. What he must have heard was “swing as hard as you can as if you are trying to hit a golf ball a mile”, throw in “and to every single ball”
Greeno was pacing around like Craven waiting for a couple of his batters to come back from the shops and it was quite funny. Eventually Monik began to connect and as the score went passed 225, captain Greeno stopped walking around like a man on a hot sandy beach with no flip flops.
Asif climbed into a few and Monik went large and as we reached 266, with some consultation with the Hairy Hagrids FK and Wilko, Greeno decided to declare so that both sides would have 49 overs in the rain effected game.
Tea was taken and as the rain started to fall, it was the KCC boys who were running out to put the sheet on the wicket as most of the ON’s boys ate their tea and watched the football. It was clear that there was one team here to play cricket and win a game.
After a delay, Kibworth boys with the help of a couple ON’s players took the covers off.
The ON’s captain opened with himself and the young keeper, who showed great promise early in the game with good hands.
With 267 to win and on a good batting deck we fully expected the ON’s to have a look and then push on. What was evident after 4 overs was that they had decided it was too many runs and that they would look to block or leave everything. After 10 overs of some pointless batting, there was clearly nothing that was going to entice the ON’s batters into doing anything and that they as one of Northampton’s biggest clubs were happy to return less points than they would have if the game had been called off on Wednesday.
In our weekly day to day most of us relish the weekend for cricket and beers and banter with your team mates and a hard fought game. With only 1 member of their own team even watching the innings the other 9 ON’s players sat inside watching the football. Tej, Monik and Jai bowled really well, but the block leave strategy continued. Some good natured encouragements from the Hagrids didn’t seem to work from behind the wicket and despite some wise words, the ON’s skipper and opener was not going to be encouraged to make any effort in chasing a score.
Credit must go to the young keeper who did seem to get frustrated at his captains strategy and at least tried to put bat on ball. Only 14 years old he blocked out the suggestions from the Kibworth fielders and batted well.
In the 30th over the skipper reached his 30th run and the Hagrids congratulated him thoroughly on a performance that would surely get him into his 2nd team next week.
There were a load of other overs and Olly Lodge bowled with Zip and pace and in great areas with FK standing up as both Keeper and opener got on famously well, enjoying the close proximity to really get to know each other. Ben lodge and Asif tried some spin but with the game just turning into a farce, it was hard to DTRT and keep focus on the game.
A run out took place and then after one of the slowest innings witnessed, the ON’s skipper was plumb in front although he felt hard done by. He and FK bid each other goodbye and wished each other well. What he failed to realise on his way back to the pavilion was that at KCC we really do live the DTRT. What he thought was sarcastic applause for his innings was a genuine round of applause as that’s the right thing to do.
During one of the rain breaks the ON’s skipper was overheard hoping that the rain would come down and finish the game so that we had a wasted journey. To be fair we had one anyway and so his wish was granted.
The last 7 painful overs dwindled past but at least the last couple of batsmen had a dip and a slog.
The sightscreen blew over which was exciting.
We have all had to bat out for a draw in league cricket and it isn’t much fun. However I don’t think I have ever played in a KCC team that has batted out a draw from the 1st ball of an innings before.
A cracking knock from skipper Greeno, a lovely innings from Asif and some solid bowling all round and a return to KCC for Pounds see in his second half century of the day, back to back 50’s!
A home fixture next week against Rushton and hopefully a game worth getting out of bed for.