To loosely borrow a phrase from the worlds of politics and football: “a week is a long time at Kidmore End Cricket Club”. This time last week the 1st XI were licking their wounds. This week the players can walk about town and in their places of work with their heads held high; the 1st XI won and won comfortably! The foundations of this victory were laid on Thursday night when there was a good attendance at practice; clearly the players were determined to improve their fortunes.
On Saturday 26th May the KECC 1st XI travelled to Sonning to take on their counterparts. With a number of new players Sonning’s recruitment policy had clearly focused upon strengthening their bowling. This was evidenced by Zubhir Khan’s fine spell of bowling. If the bowler were a car he was good value for money as he was both inexpensive and impressive with good control. However, he could not bowl all afternoon, for it was oppressively hot and Kidmore End were grateful that their captain had won the toss and chose to bat. Despite losing an early wicket Joe Dixon and Jeff Sheldon
applied themselves with determination; in the knowledge batting would become easier as the fielders tired. Dixon left the ball well and played some stylish shots, the highlight being a cut shot over cover for six! However, when he was bowled by Choudry there was a brief collapse as 3 wickets fell for just 23 runs. Paul Harper
drew from his vast well of experience and helped the team with nudges and nurdles, batting for three quarters of an hour to score 25. With 20 overs left in the innings Kidmore End had managed to keep wickets in hand, this is something the side had struggled to do for a while. The platform was crucial for it allowed the team to accelerate in the last hour. This is very important for it gives the batting team momentum going into tea, whilst the fielding team starts to lag in the heat. Crawford and Frost had played Bowles throughout this time. There had been a number of close games but a couple of stunning comebacks by AC had crunched Frost’s morale; however both players were convinced that their change of direction around the field, going left for luck rather than right for runs had been very important in helping the batsmen concentrate and sell their wickets dearly. Crawford and David New
both struck some stylish left handed boundaries but the real star of the innings was centurion Jeff Sheldon
. His presence in the Kidmore innings loomed as large as W.G.Grace’s might have been when playing for Gloucestershire in the late 19th century. His innings was beautifully paced. Sheldon’s first 50 was a lesson in patience taking 108 deliveries, but once he passed this milestone he then unleashed a vulgar attack upon the hapless Sonning bowlers, striking 8 fours and one huge 6 as his second 50 was scored at a run a ball. When he was out off the final ball for 105, Kidmore End had reached 200 for 8. As Sheldon left the field to the applause of his team mates grinning like the cat that got the cream the Sonning fielders trudged from the field with a forlorn expression on their faces.
This sense of inevitability was well justified. Frost and Crawford opened the bowling with the old ball. Whilst Frost bowled with luckless aggression beating the bat with regularity Crawford bamboozled the batsmen. Crawford’s languid style beguiled the Sonning top order. His control was remarkable and Sonning simply had no answer. Crawford bowled unchanged for 18 overs of which half of them were maidens and he justifiably finished with 5 wickets and on another day he could have had many more. In fact if Crawford’s last 2 visits to Sonning were combined he would have sensational figures, bowling 40 overs of which 20 have been maidens! Wickets fell at both ends with regularity, Joe Dixon bought 2 wickets with his leg spin bowling, no doubt the vice grip Crawford had applied at the other enforced the Sonning batsmen into desperate measures at the other. And with 20 overs remaining in the innings Sonning found themselves 98 for 8. This had been the exact score line in the corresponding fixture last year when Sonning had managed to hold out for a draw. This was not going to happen again. Sheldon was a wiser captain this time around for he had rotated his bowlers thus keeping them fresher. Frost returned to bowl at the tail with energy and he made quick work of the tail with 2 in-swinging Yorkers. Sonning were finished off for 102 and Kidmore had won the game by 98 runs, bagging themselves 25 points.