The AGM saw one change to the Committee. Raj Patel will be the new Vice-captain replacing Ranjith Charharaju, who did a sterling job.
Minutes will be published in due course.
12.00 - 14.00 Saturdays 2 March, 16 March and 23 March at Teddington SC.
The mats in the hall have worn out and new ones have been ordered. Therefore, the above dates are provisional. No Sunday booking slots were available.
Sixteen are confirmed. The first five are:
Sat 6 April Crossbats (a)
Sun 14 April Hook and Southborough (a)
Sun 21 April Byfleet (a)
Sun 28 April Merton Hawks (h)
Sun 5 May Putney (h)
Summary of the 2023 season
Played 22 Won 12 Lost 8 Abamdoned 2
An enjoyable season of mixed fortunes saw bad weather intervening with three cancellations, and two abandonments in which the Gents did not face a single ball. Under the new leadership team of Sudireddy and Chatharaju 20 games were completed. Between 14 May and 27 August only one game out of 14 was lost, but the campaign was topped and tailed with seven defeats and one victory. Eight losses was the highest since 2015, attributable more perhaps to stronger opponents than to bad play. The support was splendid, Doshi and Francis (sadly injured in the first game and out after that) among others making frequent, very welcome appearances.
The player rota was 25, compared to 33 in 2022 and 40 in 2021. To see fewer, one goes back to the club’s second year, 1989, when only seven games were played. This lent a consistency to selection that enabled the captain to experiment in fairly accommodating many all-rounders. One mysterious no show aside, full teams were fielded every time thanks to the efficiency of match secretary Dubey and A. Ahmed kindly supplied guests to several opponents. The end of cricket at Old Tenisonians required the club to move its home games and pitches in LB Merton were well prepared and cheaper. Administration was good too, with phone access to the groundsman in the event of rain. Wycombe House remained a batting paradise, though bowlers muttered about it, the last two games there yielding 1,029 runs for just 22 wickets.
Kota was superb. His 792 runs (two centuries and four fifties) stands third in the all-time annals and took his career batting average to over 50. Gulati (three fifties) and R. Patel (his first two) had their best batting seasons, Sudireddy missing out by two runs. Puli pushed on with two fifties, Dubey equalled that and A. Ahmed, Chatharaju, Parvathaneni and the captain (one each) scored quickly once they got their eye in. Newcomer Nagpal, Kumar and S. Patel scored vital runs. There were two record stands: 156* Dubey/Kota (second wicket v. Salix) and 120 Sudireddy/Chatharaju (eighth wicket v. New Romney). Opponents matched Gents’ six century partnerships and notched four individual tons.
H. Patel struggled with injury but 26 wickets was his best return since 2011. Chatharaju, 15 of whose 21 wickets were top three batsmen, Dubey (never has he bowled more overs or played as many games), Kota and Nagpal went for under five and Gulati 3.91. Kumar, Parvathenini, R. Patel, S. Patel and Puli delivered some excellent spells. Dhatric showed promise and was the best bowler on the Kent tour. Krishna began well but did not play after 2 July. Dutta showed promise before suffering terrible injury. The bowlers sometimes struggled on true wickets and could not discover a piece of magic to make the breakthrough. Sudireddy’s 18 catches is the highest ever, but the standard of outfielding was down a notch on 2022. Effort was never lacking, as exemplified by J. Patel who despite injury covered every blade of grass in the cause. Parvathaneni and Puli both executed three fine run outs.
Four new opponents were welcomed: Merton Hawks, London Itinerants, John Buckner XI and Hampstead, while a fifth, Chaddleworth, was rained off, as were Byfleet and Hook and Southborough. These fixtures will be renewed in 2024. The wins against Fighting Stars and St Anne’s Allstars, and the loss to New Romney were classics, a happy conjunction of well-matched teams at the top of their form. Gents held off a brave chase from Fighting Stars, the game swinging on a wonderful Nagpal catch in front of the sightscreen by the tennis courts, just as New Romney kept their nerve to shade the Gents after the heroism of captain and vice-captain. The tense St Anne’s clash waxed and waned all afternoon.
The season began with three disappointing batting performances and three losses, the worst start since 2015. The arrival of warmer weather heralded improvement with seven wins and one abandonment. A narrow defeat to Whalers and it was back on the winning trail with four further victories, including a rare double over Northfields, and a further abandonment. The batting of Mpingwe and Millfields then proved too strong. A win against Lydd and an epic loss against New Romney, both games played in draining heat, constituted a relaxing weekend in Kent, the generous welcome being an experience to savour over the winter. There was just time for Salix in a T20 to avenge their earlier defeat.