Kensington CC– 163 all out
Headley CC– 163-7 (W.Midmer 71)
6:30pm on Headley Heath. In front of a packed crowd, five and a half hours of competitive cricket had come down to one ball. Headley’s debutant- famed ex Epsom closer Ali Murrell- needed two to win and one to tie. As Kensington’s nippy returning opener Barua began his run up, Murrell focussed, took two steps down…but could only find cover and Headley had to make do with a scampered single that tied the scores and the game. However, the result mattered little. This was the second consecutive cracker played out against thoroughly nice opponents and the fixture has fast become a fan’s favourite.
Headley’s early evening chase of 164 had been marshalled by a superb 71 from Will Midmer, who had emerged at No.5 and silkily laced a succession of cover drives and late cuts through Kensington’s tight field. As the final 20 overs ticked down, Headley felt in with a shot, with Midmer going well supported by Lee Dickinson, James Midmer and Ali Murrell. However, a superb late spell by Kensington’s sole slow bowler Neeraj Nayar had always kept the brakes on, and as the final four overs approached the asking rate had climbed to 8 an over. A superb penultimate over from Nayar then both removed Will Midmer and left Headley needing 15 from the last to be bowled by the impressive Barua. Headley had the perfect man to create drama in situ, Grant Waller, who duly struck one miles over cover, the next one through cover, before losing his middle stump. The next few balls saw a wide, a single, a dot ball and the last one faced by Murrell. It was quite simply an epic.
Earlier in the day Kensington had batted first and grafted their way to 163 against a disciplined Headley bowling attack. Kensington’s innings was chiefly built on two good partnerships- the first for the third wicket between skipper San Gore and opener Chris Ledger (who top scored with a good 45) which took them from 20-2 to 80-2, and the second for the sixth wicket which took them from 90-5 to 150-5. The end of both of these brought mini collapses, the first instigated by Waller (3/30) and the second by Andy Pickering, and Headley were relieved to wrap up the innings for 163. This seemed to be honours even and that was (exactly!) how it proved.
The fixture was classic village cricket, played in great spirit, in blazing sunshine and in front of a packed house. Kensington were once again the most charming of visitors, donating the club a bottle of Johnny Walker Black Label, and awarding a similar bottle to Will Midmer, who they voted as their man of the match for a 71 which almost took Headley home. Headley’s own award went to Nayar, whose status as Kensignton’s ‘go-to’ bowler is surely justified. Headley entertain the Woodpeckers next week and will hope for similar weather and drama!