Chris Johnstone writes:


Kensington 185 a.o. (40.3 ov)

WCC 187-7 (40.1 ov)



Another glorious Autumn day saw the early arrival of seven Weekenders at the always hospitable Telegraph Inn.  As the early arrivals sat in awe of the season that was, and the season that could have been for our original Professor, Ray d'Inverno, the Telegraph's bar manager welcomed him back in her own special way by flatly refusing to serve lunch.  Those who know Ray, as well as those who can tell the time, were sure that sense and logic would win out in the end, and as nine Weekenders went through their now famous pre-match warm up, each was secure in the knowledge that a plate of bangers and mash was receiving the respect it deserved.


On a ground which over the years has rustled up its fair share of unusual spectators, the Weekenders themselves played spectator after PJ Harvey quite selflessly pointed out one of Putney's sirens having some difficulty with some sun-cream just beyond third man.  But Douglas has seen it all before and the experienced seamer let his balls speak for themselves removing Kensington's first few without trouble, edging closer to his own club record of 41 wickets in a season.  Skip rotated the bowlers evenly giving each a start at third man.  But this doesn't explain how in the twentieth over Graham Hogben was seen striding like a gazelle around the boundary.  Indeed, somewhat fortuitously for Kensington, most of them had a viewing at close range, either substituting until new boy Vickery arrived or searching at length for missing balls.


After tidy toads from PJ and Tom, Ray made a seamless transition from where he left off a year ago, apparently.  His testing nine overs yielded 2 which should have been three but for a shocking incident in which Chris Ledger, Kensington's skipper who was subbing at the time, in a bold bid to draw the focus of the nubile spectator, called confidently for a skied shot, strode in, chest out like a raging bull only to discover his chest was puffed out too far and his arms couldn't get anywhere near the ball.  After backing up next ball by letting it though his legs for four, he substituted himself realising no-one could accept his efforts as credible.  Some fighting knocks from Kensington lifted them to a useful total before Webster in what was a seasonal triumph of body over mind, and Douglas in a triumph of mind over body, unleashed a devastating final spell.


Hogben and Mike Harvey set off after the total with a roar.  Hogben was obviously looking to capitalise on his fine work at third man, which he did in style as the ruggedly handsome southpaw surged passed 7,500 runs in his career for the Weekenders.   Meanwhile Harvey hit 36 in nine scoring shots at the other end but following his out, the Mule and Johnstone fell quickly.  Johnstone getting the nod from Webster for the curious dismissal of leg before fine leg.  The sooner the MCC drops this rule the better.  Indeed it was cold comfort when Kensington's own long-on helpfully added later that it looked plum from where he was standing.  But there was method in the sultry actor's madness as the beefy Queenslander took it on the chin, left the field with quiet dignity and shouted a round for the team. 


Equally beefy and no less of a Queenslander, Vickery on debut came to the crease having replaced his Bobby Brown trainers with something decidedly more James Brown and smacked a stylish innings bettered only by his very stylish admission that he had a full pack of fags in his bag.  After Graham and Andy returned to the smoky pavilion, some late order jitters and vigorous appeals brought the warhorse Douglas in who decided the bar was a better place to be and in fading light and shovelled one over point for four.  Tragically it was too dark to see if anyone remained to watch the final overs from the bushes.  


The Weekenders won the game with five balls to spare but Kensington won our hearts by sharing a case of their sponsor's delicious  product, Cobra Beer.


"Real pretend cricketers drink Cobra Beer"


Douglas 13-2-53-3, P.Harvey 7-0-33-0, Vettickat 5-0-29-1, R.d'Inverno 9-1-42-2, Webster 6.3-1-26-4

catches: Johnstone 2, P.Harvey 2, Webster 2, Hogben, M.d'Inverno, Vickery 


M.Harvey 42, Hogben 82, Desmeules 0, Johnstone 2, Vickery 32, Webster 0, Douglas 4*, P.Harvey 0, Vettickat 0*

M.d'Inverno, R.d'Inverno dnb