Holmesdale’s 2nd XI pulled off a brilliant victory against promoted Hayes in a thrilling Premier League game at Montreal Park.
The team showed just one change from last week’s win against Blackheath with youngster Alec Martin coming into the team. After winning the toss, the visitors elected to bat and got off to a flying start, reaching 55 for no loss after 10 overs. The usually incisive David Hudson drew a blank in his opening spell despite causing the Hayes openers a number of issues with a short-pitched barrage. At the other end Pete Grove pulled up lame with a hamstring niggle after just four overs, leaving the home bowling attack looking thin.
Skipper, David Roffey, now turned to last week’s bowling hero, Will Harby, but he was unable to provide a breakthrough either with a lack of swing on offer. The spinners fared no better and Hayes reached 120 off just 22 overs without having lost a wicket with a platform for a huge total.
The first wicket finally came thanks to Will Dickinson (2/56) as he had Alfie Peck (53) bowled leaving an arm ball. He soon struck again thanks to a sharp catch from Richard Holliday behind the stumps however the boundaries also continued to flow due to some poor discipline from the home attack. Joel Kovoor removed the obdurate Sam Davis (78) and Hudson (3/47) made inroads into the lower order but Hayes still ended up on an imposing 303-7.
Normal convention chasing such an imposing total would be to look to get a fast start. However, skipper Roffey pulled off a masterstroke by reshuffling the batting order and chose to open with Kovoor, up from seven last week, with the plan set to build a solid base. Unfortunately, Roffey (5) fell early bringing Kent youngster Harby to the crease. The two juniors proceeded to put on over 100 together with Kovoor showing excellent technique and a solid temperament. At the other end, Harby was unleashing an astonishing assault on the Hayes bowling attack hitting boundaries all around the ground, reaching his 50 off just 42 balls.
Kovoor (37) fell in the pursuit of keeping the run rate in check bringing Michael Brown to the crease to join Harby. At the halfway stage the home team were 140-2 and well in the game. Harby found another gear at this point and reached an incredible hundred off just 70 balls, bringing it up with a massive six down the ground into the brand-new sightscreens with a resounding thud. In the end, it was cramp that was his downfall as he chipped a return catch to Dammika Silva (1-38) after being down on the floor the ball before for a magnificent 113.
Two more wickets fell as Joe Hart (19) and Jatinder Luthra (2) perished. This left 86 needed off the last 10 overs however Holmesdale had an ace up their sleeve with usual opener Holliday coming in at seven. Brown had been circumspect up until this point but now took the attack to Hayes and Holliday kickstarted his innings with a massive six over long off. Two key overs brought about 35 runs leaving just 11 needed off 3 overs before Brown (71) fell trying to finish the game in style. This was left to Holliday (45*) who hit two fours to tie the scores, before sealing a memorable victory with a six over extra cover.
Chases of over 300 are rarely seen in club cricket and the style in which this was executed by a young Holmesdale team made it all the more impressive. They continue to top the Kent Premier League 2nd XI and play third placed Sandwich this weekeend, looking to keep their early season hot-streak going.
1st XI snatch defeat from the jaws of victory at Hayes
Holmesdale’s 1st XI lost by one wicket to Hayes in a thrilling game on Saturday afternoon; a result which could have easily gone the other way.
Winning the toss on a warm day, Luke Blackaby had no hesitation in batting first. Yet the first few overs did not go as planned with first Mark Epps (2) and then Ben Fawcitt (3) losing their wickets inside the first ten overs. Luke Blackaby (39) and Dan Brabham (40) rebuilt the innings, mixing elegant stroke play with some dogged defence. When Brabham perished to the off-spin of Sheen (2/25), picking out the man at deep midwicket, Blackaby was joined by Nick Miller (41) and both looked comfortable against the opposition bowling attack, taking the score to 118-3 at drinks. The pair looked set for big scores until they were both stumped off the bowling of Couldrey (2/37) as they looked to take the attack to Hayes. Wickets then began to fall at regular intervals with only vice-captain Rupert Harbig (26) and Mike Bryant (13*) showing any sort of real resistance. This led to Holmesdale being bowled out for 197 in 46.3 overs – a score they considered well-below par.
Knowing that they needed to make early inroads into the Hayes batting line-up, the Dale entered the field with an intensity which had been missing for the first two weeks of the season. This resulted in a great start as Blackaby (1/34) and Ben East (1/16) removed the Hayes opening pair within the first 6 overs. Dom May (2/50) and Jack Hulston (2/23), the pick of the Holmesdale bowlers, then got in on the act as Hayes were reduced to 98-6. Bryant (1/26) and Nathan Fawcitt (1/44) continued to apply pressure but Hayes’ wily number four, Jamie Askew, had begun to compile a match-winning innings. He was ably supported by the lower order batsmen, Eddicott (27) and Byrne (20). Despite the late order hitting, when the ninth wicket fell, Hayes still required 17 to win. However, some powerful striking from Askew, who ended up on 95 not out, meant Hayes reached the target of 198 in the 49th over.
In truth, Askew’s innings was worthy of winning any match. It was an excellent bowling and fielding performance from Holmesdale, but ultimately, the side did not score enough runs; something the squad is determined to change as they enter the month of June.
First up is Upchurch at Montreal Park, a game which already looks like a must-win if the side want to be considered serious title-contenders.