After last year’s tour was impacted by a Covid 19 outbreak, this year’s squad was looking to return to France with more than just a cough and temperature. Luckily, they arrived in Kent off the back of some impressive home victories meaning that hopes were high for an upset. The first game saw Standard Athletic CC play the Shepway Stragglers in the beautifully picturesque estate of Belmont House. After losing the toss and being put into the field, the Kent outfit managed to make hay whilst the sun shone scoring 313 for 5 off 40 overs. Plaudits must go to Andrew J whose defiant fielding in the face of a barrage kept the run chase down.
With Alex C, Praneeth and Kannaiah taking one wicket a-piece and Shazib taking 2, the batters had to perform well if SAC were going to get anything from the game. Fortunately, things started very promisingly after a 100-run opening partnership set the tone for a tenacious run chase that saw Standard draw the game after finishing up on 278 runs for the loss of 7 wickets.
The result – match drawn
After Saturday’s battling performance, the squad arrived at the tour’s next venue to face a Band of Brothers team who last year managed to pass the 300-run mark. With the sun shining yet again and the pitch looking good, BoB captain Tom won the toss and, with last year’s result clearly in his mind, unsurprisingly chose to bat. Having taken the new ball Shazib had other ideas, however, and after some probing line and length he soon had the opposition 1 wicket down with only 4 runs on the board. This was to prove one of the few highlights for Standard’s bowlers as the BoB skipper (115 not out), ably abetted by his top order, proceeded to pile on the runs and the opposition finished on 312 for 4.
Having chased so admirably in the previous game, Standard picked up where they left off with Alex C and Aniket sharing an opening 74-run stand. After tea, a promising start was then stifled by the loss of two quick wickets and although the middle order threatened to build partnerships, wickets kept tumbling and with SAC requiring over 10 runs an over, thoughts turned to self-preservation. Despite a breezy 30 from Shazib and Andrew M producing some stoic defence, Standard were bowled out for 168 runs.
The result – a 144-run victory for Band of Brothers CC
Having drowned their sorrows in some of Canterbury’s finest establishments following Sunday’s defeat, the Athletes from Paris were determined to finish the 2023 Kent tour on a high with victory on the Monday. Having been invited to play at Chestfield CC for the first time in their history, SAC were looking forward to the prospect of a 35-over game, more than the customary plate of oysters on offer at nearby Whitstable bay. With the temperature having dropped due to the coastal wind and after two consecutive run chases, SAC opted to bat first on winning the toss and Dilip (29 runs) and Nathan (36 runs) produced a fine opening partnership of 56 before Alex K came to the crease. Having amassed numerous fine innings during a two-year spell in Paris pre-Covid, hopes were high for a repeat performance and he didn’t disappoint. After a watchful start, Alex soon found his feet and a trickle of boundaries soon became a flood as he was soon on his way to a fantastic unbeaten 110. Ably abetted by Kannaiah (43 runs) Standard finished on a formidable 246 from their allocated 35 overs.
After tea, the SAC players knew that with a good bowling effort, a first tour victory was in sight and Edward J struck with the first wicket of the day after opening the bowling. Wickets then began to tumble as Nathan struck twice and Kannaiah three times to leave the opposition 44 runs short of victory on 202. After smiles all round, the Athletes congregated in the bar to savour victory and to reflect on a fantastic weekend’s cricket.
The result – a 44-run victory for Standard Athletic CC