Hailsham CC had a once in a lifetime opportunity to play at one of the most famous grounds in the country, if not the world, the Kia Oval. They won a competition in the Cricketer magazine after proving they are a club that has the ‘power to surprise’.
After an early start, they got a guided tour of ground, followed by an excellent chance to have a net session with Women’s World Cup Winners Charlotte Edwards and Lydia Greenway, as well as former First Class cricketer, broadcaster and analyst Simon Hughes.
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After lunch, they had the opportunity to play a T20 match on the hallowed turf against fellow competition winners Caldy CC. Being put into bat first, useful knocks from Rob Wilkinson (14), Scott Pearce (19), Varun Khullar (8) Aaron Norwood (12), alongside an excellent 31 from Ciaran Peacock and 57 not out from Matt Dawber, who reached his 50 with a six into the stands over extra cover. Hailsham posted 154-5 off 20 overs.
Candy CC’s run chase started slowly. Some tight bowling from Varun Khullar (0-3) and Andrew Anthony (0-30) kept it tight at the top, before Tom McDonald came into the attack and blew away the Caldy top order, with three wickets in his first two overs, with McDonald ending on 3-12 from four overs. Shankar Bala (0-21) and Shibin Abraham (1-39) also bowled well, with cameos from Paul McDonald (1-1) and Ciaran Peacock (1-6). Caldy got up to 116-6 from their 20 overs, meaning Hailsham emerged victorious with a 38 run win.
Tom McDonald was awarded the Player of the Match award for a fantastic spell of 3-12, as chosen by analyst and former first class bowler Simon Hughes.
Director of Cricket Rob Wilkinson said, “Today was a fantastic opportunity for everyone to play in the middle at the Kia Oval. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity that will stick in the minds for years to come and caps off an extremely successful season for the whole club. A massive thank you to Kia and The Cricketer Magazine for the chance”.