On an unforgettable weekend for English cricket, Holmesdale’s 1st XI made it five wins from five games in Kent League Division 1, thanks to a second consecutive Luke Blackaby hundred and an outstanding bowling performance against Bromley Common at Montreal Park. The win means the Dale have leapfrogged Common into third place and they are now breathing down the neck of second-placed Hayes with eight games still to play in the league.
The day, however, did not get off to the best of starts, as Bromley Common skipper Leigh Walker won the toss and had no hesitation in opting to bat first on a lifeless pitch. The Dale opening bowlers, Callum Gallagher (0/15) and Luke Blackaby (0/40), showed excellent control during their first spells but, despite creating chances and going past the outside edge on numerous occasions, were unable to remove Walker or Finzel. Jamie Monkhouse (0/28) and Rupert Harbig (0/44) bowled without luck too, as they created catching chances, but nothing seemed to be sticking. Harbig’s figures, in particular, not showing a true reflection of how he bowled. By the time Blackaby turned to his spinners in the 20th over, the Bromley Common opening pair had brought up their hundred partnership and the home side were staring down the barrel of chasing a score of over 300.
However, with the introduction of Holmesdale’s matchstick spinners, Bryant and May, Bromley Common wickets started to fall. First, Bryant had Walker (61) caught by Epps at mid-on and then Finzel (50), who when looking to ramp the ball, could only balloon it to Harbig at square leg. May then got in on the act, having Hickford (39) caught at backward point by Fawcitt and then enticing McGruer (8) into a lofted drive, only for it to go miles in the air and be snaffled by Epps in the deep. Yet the innings defining moment was actually delivered by May in the field who, with one and a half stumps to aim at, ran out Common’s talismanic overseas player, Kanishka (19). Following this outstanding piece of fielding, there then proceeded to be a procession of lower order wickets, two more each for Bryant (4/39) and May (4/51), which saw Bromley Common limp to a score of 245-9 when a score of 300 looked more likely half way through the innings.
Holmesdale could not have got off to a better start with the bat as Dom May took the attack straight to the Bromley Common opening bowlers, smoking fours and sixes on his way to a blistering 31 off the first five overs. The introduction of Common paceman, Sam Stuart, halted this attack however, as he bumped out both May and Dan Brabham (16), and he also forced Ben Fawcitt to retire hurt, hitting him in the helmet with a vicious short ball and drawing blood.
This meant that, once again, Luke Blackaby and Nick Miller were at the crease together at a time of Holmesdale need, with the score at 69-2. After negotiating some tough overs from Stuart, the pair did what they have done all season, smartly accumulating runs with sharp singles and ensuring that any bad ball was put away to the boundary. When Miller departed for a score of exactly 50, finding mid-off with a mis-timed drive, the score had raced along to 155-3 from 27 overs. Unfortunately, Ant Bissett quickly followed Miller back to the pavilion as he was the unlucky recipient of an expertly directed yorker from Stuart (3/68) second ball. This brought Ben Fawcitt back to the crease, and he showed good heart as he fronted up to his nemesis Stuart and ensured, with Blackaby, that the total continued to diminish as the pair put on 70 runs for the fourth wicket. Before the partnership was broken, Blackaby brought up his second consecutive hundred in the league in the coolest and calmest of fashions, glancing a ball off his legs for a single. It was typical Blackaby, as the Riverhead local gobbled up anything short and punished anything overpitched, leading by example and showing the less-experienced batsmen in his side exactly what needed to be done in the situation. With 8 runs still required at this time, Fawcitt (20) was caught off the bowling of Clarkson (1/51), but the game was already up, and Harbig ensured that there were no more wickets lost as Holmesdale knocked off the 246th run in the 42nd over, with Blackaby finishing on exactly 100 not out.
Five wins from five games is a great run of form, and the Dale will be looking to make it six from six as they seek revenge on Linden Park on Saturday, as they make the short trip up the A21 to Tunbridge Wells.
Kent Cricket League Premier 2nd Division: Bromley Common 2nd (310-9) beat Holmesdale 2nd (209 all out)
Holmesdale’s 2nd XI were winless in six games before Saturday’s away fixture against Bromley Common on Saturday in the 2nd XI Kent Premier League, and this unwanted streak had extended to seven games by Saturday evening. Winning the toss on a hot day and flat track, the home side batted incredibly positively making use of the short boundaries to three sides of the square. Freddie Brushett (1/31) was the first to take a wicket for the away side, getting the opener Taylor caught behind. Youngster Harby, following shortly after taking the other opener, Burke, for 21.
Common’s batsmen Underwood (87) and Mannall (22) batted together, playing steadily until swing bowler Holliday (1/49) removed Mannall, caught by Brushett. This next partnership was a destructive one for the away side as Underwood, joined by Marffy (60), played their shots all around the ground. Some inexperienced bowling showed through and a lack of consistency and it made the me home side feel very comfortable. Holmesdale’s Surguy broke the partnership, dismissing Marffy caught and bowled, then later Underwood who was going for another huge six. Again, Brushett got underneath a skied ball to take the catch. Gallagher then sprang into action freeing his hands to the mixture of deliveries he faced. Harby eventually managed to take his wicket, as he was caught by Holliday for 56. Some hurried batting in the final overs brought the score past 300. Harby taking another wicket, again caught by Brushett, ending with figures of 3/66. Opening bowler Hudson chipped in with the wickets at the end too, giving him tight figures of 2-39.
Holmesdale batsmen had a target of 310 to beat. Unfortunately, Marr-Johnson and Holliday were out quickly, shortly followed by Harby, bringing the score to 15-3 as Brown stepped to the crease with Roffey shortly after. They both batted positively, freeing their hands to the bad balls. Just as they had started to get going, Brown was hit on the pads and given out LBW for just 22. Roffey was then joined by McCann who looked to bat positively also, but fell as the first of four wickets to Rasool. Surguy unfortunately couldn’t provide much resistance to the Common bowlers, and was caught behind, by the first of three catches to wicket keeper Mason, for one. Roffey and Hudson together played their strokes, recognising they had to bat positively. After some punching boundaries, Roffey only managed to feather a wide ball from Mannall (1-41) and was caught by Mason standing-up to the stumps. Unfortunately, Nathan Fawcitt could only maned one run, meaning Hudson was running out of partners. He was joined by Brushett, and together they made a stand. Brushett only scoring nine runs, batted for a long time, providing a supporting role to Hudson who was now freeing his hands, hitting four sixes way over the ropes into the horses’ paddock. Together, they managed to get past 150, 175, then 200, each time earning the Dale an additional batting point. Brushett was unfortunately then also caught behind off the bowling of Archer (1/51). East at number 11 looked to play some shots, but was the final victim, falling to Humm’s bowling for two. Rasool was the pick of the bowlers with figures of 10 overs 3 maidens, 4 for 29. Unfortunately, the settled Hudson ran out of batting partners earning him only a 84 not out when a maiden hundred looked on the card. Holmesdale final score was 209, which was 101 runs shy of what they were aiming for.
The 2nd XI hope to do better against Blackheath next week at home, in a relegation crunch match.
Kent Regional Cricket League 1C Met/West: Holmesdale 3rd (117-1) beat Sidcup 4th (115 all out)
Holmesdale’s 3rd XI made it two wins in a row for the first time this season, securing a comfortable 9 wicket victory over Sidcup. After losing the toss for the second time in a row and being asked to bowl first, Holmesdale started on the front foot with two slips to the very impressive Grove and Luthra. Following some fiery and accurate bowling from the openers, Grove made the first breakthrough with Blackaby taking a diving catch at second slip. This standard never dropped with Grove picking up a further two wickets and change bowlers Loughnane (2/18), Lindsay (1/28), Hobson (2/7) and Kovoor (2/10), all chipping away at the away side, as Sidcup were bowled out for 115 in the 39th over.
In reply to the under par total openers, Hart and Kovoor saw off the new ball as they put on 35 runs for the first wicket. This was only halted by a stunning one handed slip catch that removed Kovoor for 8. However, that was as good as it got for Sidcup with Hart (64*) and Blackaby (28*) knocking off the remaining runs in the 24th over, without giving a chance.
Holmesdale’s 3rd XI will look to get their third win in a row when they travel league leaders OD CUACO on Saturday, hoping to continue their ascent up the table.