Knebworth Park kicked off their season with a comfortable win over Bessborough – the club that many years ago discovered England batsman Mark Ramprakash.
With heavy overnight rain and the ground still badly affected by the consistent rain through the winter, both teams did well to play in what proved a good pre-league season workout for both clubs.
Guy Warman, the Park’s new captain, won the toss and chose to field first which proved a crucial decision.
Bessborough batted well but struggled for runs in the early over’s in the damp conditions against the bowling of Warman and Matt Hutchinson. It was only in the later half of their innings that they stepped up the run rate to declare on 180 for 5. Warman managed to get most of his bowlers into the action.
South African newcomer Keagan Foley on debut found the conditions totally alien to those of his native Johannesburg.
In the bitterly cold conditions, the Park’s fielders struggled, dropping a hatful of catches. It was only in the last few overs that wickets fell with veteran Graham Fisher bagging 3 for 29.
Openers Josh Roseberry and Tom Liversidge provided a sound start, Liversidge being the more aggressive as they added 57 for the first wicket before Liversidge fell lbw for 28.
Roseberry built on his patient start and as the wicket dried, he opened up, driving strongly and freely before he fell for a fine 78.
Foley struck a quickfire 19 and with victory in sight was caught on the boundary for what would have been a six before skipper Warman, 10 not out, came to the crease who within a few deliveries pushed the Park over the finish line with five wickets and five overs to spare.
The seconds’ home game against North Middlesex succumbed to the wet conditions.
This Saturday the first team travel to St Albans while the second host the Saints.
The night before the club held its first social of the season, a welcome night, which included a demonstration by bat-maker Charlie French and a chance to meet new pro Keagan Foley, who stepped off the plane at Heathrow at 6am.
Charlie, a former coal miner who used his redundancy money to set up as a bat-maker, turns out about 300 hand-made bats a year. He is part of a well-known Nottinghamshire cricketing family and brother of Bruce French, who played Tests for England and is now the national side’s wicket-keeping coach.
With the help of samples from various stages of manufacture, he explained how the wood was chosen, how a bat was made and how it was shaped and finished off.
Several members took the plunge and bought one of the bats he brought with him – a bargain for under £200, considering each takes hours to make and is produced by hand in a small workshop.
Meanwhile, Keagan, a young all-rounder with a great reputation in Jo’burg cricket, was introduced to members and handed his team shirt. Thankfully, given the icy start to the season, it was a long-sleeved one.
|Bessborough v Knebworth Park|
|KPCC won by 5 wkts|
|Bessborough innings||KPCC bowling|
|I Shah||lbw||Hutchison||10||G Warman||11||1||35||0|
|K Rameez||c J Orchard||Foley||40||M Hutchinson||5||1||11||1|
|B Kakkad||st Sergeant||Fisher||54||S Robinson||5||1||22||0|
|I Barrie||c J Orchard||Fisher||44||R Courtney||4||1||17||0|
|S Shah||not out||21||K Foley||8||1||33||1|
|S Patel||lbw||Fisher||0||J Orchard||3||0||27||0|
|Extras||3b, 3lb,4w, 1nb||11|
|KPCC innings||Bessborough bowling|
|T Liversidge||lbw||Barrie||28||J Mathy||6||1||20||0|
|A Sergeant||c||Bowler 5||14||I Barrie||5||0||22||1|
|K Foley||c||Rameez||19||K Rameez||10.4||0||30||1|
|J Coulson||st||Bowler 5||2||Bowler 5||4||0||23||2|
|M Hutchinson||not out||8||Bowler 6||2||0||23||0|
|G Warman||not out||10||Bowler 7||1||0||5||0|
|Extras||15b, 3lb, 2w, 2nb||18|