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Kenton celebrate 95th anniversary despite threat of relegation from Middlesex County League

PUBLISHED: 11:59 25 August 2016

Kenton chairman Ankit Shah. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Kenton chairman Ankit Shah. Pic: Paolo Minoli

Archant

Kenton CC’s anniversary celebrations should go ahead on Sunday regardless of whether they take place in the shadow of relegation, according to skipper Ashish Karia.

The Middlesex County League Division Three side turn 95 this weekend and plan to mark the occasion with two simultaneous 40-over games involving players past and present.

However, there is a danger the accompanying barbecue could be indigestible if 24 hours earlier the class of 2016 lose to fellow strugglers Bessborough – a result which would see them relegated down to the Middlesex Championship.

Karia, a former Kenya international, disputes such logic though, claiming all those years of club history should be celebrated regardless of success or failure in the win-or-bust clash.

“I don’t think it should put a dampener on the anniversary celebration if we lose on Saturday,” said Karia.

“This is sport, what can we do? It’s league cricket where we have not been good enough, and if we lose we deserve to go down.

“That doesn’t mean we should not celebrate 95 years of Kenton CC. I’ve been here eight years now and it is a great club whose hospitality is amazing.”

While Karia admits his team has fallen short on the field this year, he launched a broadside at the standard of umpiring in the league, which he labelled “pathetic”.

Decisions haunted them again in Saturday’s loss to North London when two of his batsmen, including top scorer Mohibullah Oryakhel (32), received questionable decisions.

It meant their total of 194 posed no real challenge to North London, who chased it down for the loss of just three wickets.

Karia feels the standard has deteriorated to such a degree that anything is fair game now as far as a bowler is concerned.

It is something the club has raised with the head of umpiring at the league and a subject Karia intends to put pen to paper over at the end of the campaign, survival or no survival.

“The umpiring has been pathetic,” he said. “I’ve played international cricket so I’ve never seen such poor umpiring as this and they are paid £40 a game.

“In this division it has become a game where players can appeal for anything and try their luck.

“There is a lot of potential among our batsmen, and while we can say we haven’t been good enough to post or chase totals, if you are given out when you haven’t hit the ball it doesn’t give you a chance.

“Again on Saturday our two key batsmen were given out when they were well set to score a lot more – one to a catch down the leg-side which clearly came off the thigh pad.

“I don’t think I will play in this league again because these sort of decisions put you off.”

Chairman Ankit Shah backed the team to get the results required in their last two games, and confirmed anniversary celebrations go ahead as planned.

The newly-installed supremo, just 29, has been associated with the club since the age of six and says whether or not they go down there are ambitious plans afoot to ensure long-term success for the community club.

“I’m backing our players to get the results they need in the last two games,” he said.

“Of course it will make things difficult if we go down, but we have been relegated to the Middlesex Championship before and the club has always maintained its position in the community.

“We have big plans as a new committee, including developing our net facilities to a level no other club in the county will have.

“I have been here since I was six and will continue to be here no matter what.”

Anniversary celebrations begin on Sunday at 11am.

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