MBCC Sunday XI v Kensington 25th May 2015

28 May
Posted by: Mat Armstrong
Year: 2015

M & B came out on top of a high scoring encounter with regular opponents Kensington on Bank Holiday Monday, when over 500 runs were posted. In the end M & B prevailed by a mere 11 runs, 260 versus 249. Skipper Armstrong had no hesitation in batting upon winning the toss, not surprising really with a top 4 consisting of Billington, Dixon, Ball & Rodger.

Brian Dixon and James Billington soon built up a useful start despite the wily medium pace of the veteran Sunil Amar. Rather surprisingly Dixon scored the first 15 runs but Billington soon caught him up with his eye catching driving, notably through the on-side. Dixon was quick to pull, cut and drive but not that quick between the wickets, probably due to the long Church side boundary! Dixon gave the deserving Amar a wicket as he didn't get to the pitch of the ball and was caught at extra cover, for a well made 35, to leave M & B at 66-1 in the 11th over. The 12th over brought the introduction of Rishad to the attack, the usual opening bowler, who was late arriving. Rishad bowled with great pace from a slingy action but was keen to bang it in short of a length. His first 2 balls were cut to the long Church boundary, thereby easing Simon Ball in with two 3's, oiling the hip nicely. 4th ball to Billington was a taste of his own medicine, a beamer which went for 5 no balls. Next over Bally was quick enough to play a hook for 4, one of two hooked 4's he took off Rishad. When you expected Aussie James to hook he simply played the ball with a bent elbow back down the wicket, with ease. According to Bally Aussie Jim has put the hook away as he was dismissed paying the shot the previous day, on this basis he will be strokeless in a couple of weeks.! With Billington seemingly nailed on to get a ton he inexplicably didn't get to the pitch of friendly spinner Thomas and spooned an easy catch to the fielder to leave a distraught Billington to walk dejectedly from the field for a mere 51 and an hour's soul searching on the bench.

Billington's demise brought, Chairman of Selectors, Charlie Rodger to the wicket to partner in form treasurer, Bally. Together they cemented M & B's position with a partnership of 123 in 19 overs of controlled batting. Bally carried on where he left off at Boyne Grove, on the first day of the season. Quite why he is batting as low as 5 / 6 in the 2's when he's seeing he ball like a beach ball and scoring quickly is beyond me. As always Bally was punishing all round the wicket especially strong on the drive. Although feeling under the weather Rodger played with great ease and care, placing the ball well and running well between the wickets. As always he was keen to play the whip off his legs, indeed one such shot resulted in a leading edge and 3 through the point region ! In the end Rodger departed for a well made 56 , which included 5 boundaries. From a long way out M & B were always going to get 250+ the question was could Bally get a well deserved century before the innings finished. Alas the answer was in the negative as he was run out as Le Clerq ran through, correctly, for a sharp single to give Bally the strike in the next over, unluckily for Bally it was a direct hit. Never mind 98 is still a fine innings, featuring 15 4's. In the end M & B posted 260 for 6 which represented a good fight back by Kensington, courtesy of a fine slow bowling spell by Chaturvedi at the end.

After a leisurely tea M & B set about defending their large total. Possibly due to complacency and certainly due to poor bowling, Kensington got off to a fast start. The normal new nut purveyors were not up to their normal standards, Gunbarul dropping too short on a number of occasions, albeit he did beat the bat on a number of occasions as well. Phillips did not seem to find his rhythm, which all resulted in Kensington skipper, Tim Kelleher, scoring a quick 42 until Gunbarul, possibly fortuitously, got him lbw. Despite this Kensington reached 70 after 10 overs, meaning they were ahead of the required rate. Armstrong decided to try the slower variety of nut purveyor, the red squirrel (Thomas Allen). For a change he hit his lengths straight away and slowed the scoring rate to a certain extent. That said a four ball begging to be hit for 6 was somehow top edged to leave Billington back peddling at slip to take a fine catch and leave Allen looking despondent again having snared a victim with a ball of utter filth. The wicket brought to the crease Rohan Ghosh, who scored fluently from ball one, driving very elegantly around the wicket. At 146 for 2 M & B were under the cosh, however a fine catch by Armstrong at mid-on,(even if I say so myself !) who just managing to get his fingers under the ball off a drive from Syddall off squirrel, started to turn proceedings. Syddell departed for a well compiled 51. At 160 Ghosh was run out after a fine display of energetic fielding by Callum Phillips, who managed to keep his glasses on, as he stopped the ball and got it back to keeper Dixon, who whipped off the bails in the nick of time. From that moment on M & B were in the driving seat although Kensington kept up the pursuit. The demise of Kensington also coincided with the introduction of the slippery medium pace of Benjamin Zakrzewski, quicker off the wicket than his name is off the tongue ! Who garnered three wickets courtesy of castling two and a catch to Dixon. He undoubtedly benefitted from the Kensington batsmen desire to keep the scoring rate ticking over. In the end Zakrzewski finished with figures of 8/0/45/3. The red squirrel finished with a tidy analysis of 8/0/48/2, bearing in mind the overall scoring rate for each side was over 6 an over. Skipper Armstrong bowled another six fruitless overs at the end and was hit for yet another 6. Phillips finished off proceedings at the Road End delivering 2 tight closing overs.

As is the tradition of Kensington, who are sponsored by Diagio, makers of Johnny Walker whiskey, a bottle of whiskey was presented to M & B for hosting the day(coming to the next raffle at the club !) as well as man of the match for M & B. Not surprisingly treasurer Bally picked up the bottle of Johnny Walker, no doubt easing the pain of his missed century and his wonky hip.

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