Our 27 run win at Kew included the a splendid maiden Jesters hundred for Chris Smith and an Andrew Short five wicket haul which turned the game in our favour. Skipper Sahil Kher's match report follows...
Blue skies! A lovely London ground! Charming pub opposite!
The MET office and Kew CC promised a lot as Sunday approached. It was inevitable then that the Jesters were greeted by grey skies, a soggy pitch and a grumpy umpire insisting on a team sheet as we returned to Kew Green after many a year. "Bridders must be champing at the bit to bowl on this deck" they said. Lucky then that the skipper won the toss... and decided to have a bat in a 40 over game.
Andrew Short's pre-match message couldn't have been clearer: "I have a game on Monday, so I am perfectly happy to bat 11 and not bowl". He therefore walked out to open the innings with Oscar Howie. It was (predictably) an inspired decision. Howie unfurled a series of lovely drives both through and over the cover fielder to kick-start the Jesters innings, but once he was trapped in front for 26, it was Shorty who took over the run-scoring duties. A patient start was followed by a series of boundaries as he moved the Jesters to 115 off 20. His departure for 41 was met with groans - a fine innings cut short in its prime. What it had also done was give Chris Smith the opportunity to get himself in. Joined by the skipper, the sedate knocking around for ones and twos was replaced by drilled drives and punches down the ground as he went past 50. With the fourth and fifth bowler in operation, the runs started to flow on a dry and fast outfield - the next 10 overs bringing 106 runs. Thirty overs, 221 on the board. Only a rash shot was going to end this juggernaut. Cue a reverse sweep to point from the skipper (44). Lovely stuff.
The Kew bowlers sensed an opportunity to squeeze. A batsman in his 90s and a new bat. But that wasn't going to stop Smudge. A single to cover bringing up a maiden Jesters ton - a glorious innings on a slightly tricky deck (rumours of him nearly getting out 3 times in the 90s are entirely unfounded). However, around him, acceleration proved difficult. Despite the best efforts of late innings specialist Shorbo Nag, 59 runs off the last 10 meant the Jesters ended with a whimper not a bang. Still, 280 off 40 - a great effort.
Post a potato and cold meat heavy tea - a good one at that - the Jesters took to the field. It was all going swimmingly for a (very short) bit. A lovely controlled over from Bridcut brought two fortuitous boundaries through the slips. We were going to walk all over them. We were going to be in the pub in an hour. No bloody chance. The ball was soon spending more time on Kew Bridge than it was on the lightning fast outfield. 94-1 off 10 overs and 151-2 off 18 with their first team opener finding the boundary every other ball and good balls being met by even better shots. With only Mumbers exerting any control, the game was slipping away very quickly.
Enter Andrew Short - still mildly grumpy about being asked to open up. A wicket in the first over caught at long off, a wicket a few overs later, bowled off a Snape-esque moon ball, a wicket in the sixth... you get the drift (and turn and bounce). In one of the finest spells of Jesters bowling seen in a while, Shorty single-handedly changed the game. 5-42 off 7 overs the figures as he hauled us back into the contest. Nick Mumby (1-43) and Ron Banerjee (2-44) also rallied around him quite brilliantly. The boundaries were replaced by dots, and the rate was soon too much for the Kew batting line-up. Despite some late efforts from the Kew lower order as the light faded, the Jesters closed out the game 27 runs ahead. What were you worried about?
All in all, a wonderful day of modern-day cricket. 533 runs at 6.66. Smudge's maiden ton, Shorty's all round heroics, contributions all round. Hopefully a fixture here to stay.
Jesters XI: Kher (c), Nag (wk), Howie, Short, C Smith, Chak, Hillyard, Travers, Banjeree, Bridcut, Mumby