Hayes CC 13th of May (GP2 W1 D0 L1)
For Kew 1st XI's second game of the season saw an away trip to newly promoted Hayes CC. Founded in 1794, Hayes have undergone a revival in recent years earning multiple-consecutive promotions to rise from TVCL Div 5 to Div 2 in 4 seasons. This meteoric rise meant this was the first time in recent years the club's premier XIs had faced off, although Kew had played them at 3rd and 2nd team level during this time.
A rare won toss by skipper Shaw saw Kew batting first. Mike Outar got Kew to an Outar-this-world start bringing up an unbroken 50 run opening partnership with a slapped 4 through the off-side off just the 69th delivery of the day. He later bought up his personal 50 from a destructive 43 balls (no one remembers any of them through the leg side but presumably some of them must have been).
Opener Rhys and capt Shaw departed before Kew could reach three figures and when Abbott joined them in the pavilion the game was evenly poised at 103-3 from 25 overs.
SVE was sent in with firm instructions to build a partnership with the still dangerous Outar. The two batted studiously before SVE departed with the pair having added 49 from 12 overs for the 4th wicket. Despite the departure of SVE a firm platform had been built for Kew’s lower order to worry some windows. Sam Booth set the tone for the next 15 overs with a massive six over the long leg-side boundary into the thick brambles beyond the advertising hoardings.
Unfortunately Kew’s ambition was pegged back by regular wickets produced by good straight bowling capitalising on an ever more challenging wicket.
One nervous moment came for Outar on his otherwise inexorable march toward three figures. Looking to reach his century in style, Outar tried and failed to plant the ball somewhere into the M25. He was reprieved after Hayes formed a committee to nominate the fielder to catch the ball but failed to find a suitable candidate before it thudded into the turf from a significant height.
Outar was finally removed, bowled for 111 - however blame for his dismissal goes to his team mate for pointing out he was on Nelson during the bowlers run up - cricket is a strange game.
A good spell from Hayes reduced Kew to 188-7 from 42 overs and the game once again swung back towards a balanced picture. However, Kew’s batting line up proved just deep enough with Darwin and Malik gaining momentum and pushing Kew up and beyond 200.
Bold strokes by Malik and some enthusiastic running by Darwin looked to squeeze every l run possible out of the rejuvenated Kew innings. At times Darwin, ever the athlete, looked as though he may have to physically push Malik into his crease before making his own ground, it was somewhat reminiscent of watching a teacher coax a brooding teenager into 'trying' at cross-country: there were moments of inertia; moments of fully committed running but ultimately some running did happen, which is better than none. Finally Kew crossed the line on 245 from their 50 overs with no further wickets incurred - not even a runout.
The interval was spent reflecting on the merits of chicken nuggets for tea...empty trays indicated a firm and positive consensus was found - matched only by the glowing admiration for Outar’s innings.
Darwin and Kiddy took the new ball and the signs were ominous when ball 1 leapt off a length passed a floundering outside edge. Kew didn’t have to wait long when another fiery delivery from Kidron dispatched the opening batsmen with a length delivery finding some extra bounce. The batsman cowered has the ball found his glove and then looped off his helmet and over keeper Sam Booth into the grateful hands of SVE who showed “great feet for a big man” to make up the yards.
This brought Hayes dangerous #3 to the crease who showed his intent with some big shots square of the wicket.
However, Darwin and Kiddy maintained a steady stream of wickets with a catch for Sam Booth off the other opener. This was followed by a rather bizarre sequence when Darwin picked up another wicket for Kew during a 14 ball over in the 7th. This left Hayes struggling on 30-3 with the dangerous #3 still at the crease and looking threatening.
Then followed what we hope will be the worst piece of cricket of the year…Kidron, fired up and more than a match for the attacking batsmen forced a mistake only to see literally the simplest of catches put down at midwicket by the hapless Boardman. Kidron stayed remarkably calm given the potential significance of the moment. This was underlined when, two balls later the Hayes batsman launched into a straight drive that looked set to join the Boeing 747s in the holding pattern above Heathrow. It cleared the long straight boundary. It cleared 4 lanes of practice nets. It cleared the 10ft fence behind the nets. It was so big it could have easily cleared the application process for a Black AmEX. It was a clean strike.
Shaw bit his lip, Boardman avoided eye contact, Ed Taylor thanked the lord it wasn’t him and Kidron…was seen moments later receiving moral and physical support from the nets as he reflected on what had brought him to spend his Saturday afternoon with such a cretin as to drop a chance like that.
Fortunately, the following over by Kidron saw revenge for the big man. Finding an extra yard of pace (who knows from where) he smashed the Hayes’ batsman’s stumps and with them, any real chance of Hayes winning the match.
Ed Taylor and Malik bowled well to reduce Hayes lower order. Boardman came on to try and take some credit from the game but a burgled 3-26 (caught long-on, caught long-on, LBW) did little to avoid an absolute mauling at the following fines session. Hayes finished on 110, 1 shy of Outar’s individual effort.
All in all a very good day for Kew CC with the first century of the year and a good bowling performance to out-match a dangerous, unknown quantity in Hayes. Onwards to Maidenhead and Bray next week.