Holmesdale old guard shine in resounding victory over Tenterden

Kent Cricket League Division One 1st: Holmesdale (237-8) beat Tenterden (145 all out)

Holmesdale’s 1st XI beat Tenterden comprehensively on Saturday at Montreal Park with club stalwarts, Luke Blackaby and Mike Bryant, shining in the victory. 

Winning the toss on a pitch that would ‘do a bit early’, Blackaby decided to bat first against a Tenterden side without a win in five games, hoping that runs on the board would exert even more pressure of the away side’s batting line up. Last week’s hero, Dom May (23), started as he left off last week, smashing two sixes and two fours in the first 3 overs.

However, in the fourth over he had his middle stump knocked back, searching for another maximum. Harry Galpin, returning after a four-week absence, quickly followed as he left a ball from Bristow-Diamond (3/54) which jagged back sharply into his stumps. Skipper, Blackaby, joined a more circumspect Dan Brabham and the pair proceeded to play out the Tenterden opening bowlers, taking the score to 60-2 at the 17 over drinks break.

Unfortunately, Brabham (18) fell straight after, and Blackaby, who had yet to get into gear, was joined by overseas star Nick Miller. The in-form Australian immediately looked to speed things up and when he fell the score was on 101, a partnership of 41, in which he had scored 30. Ben Fawcitt (19) then entered the fray and Blackaby decided to up the ante. When Fawcitt fell, caught in the ring off the bowling of Richards (2/42), the score was 150-5. At this point in the game, the innings could have crumbled away but Blackaby was ably supported by Bissett (19) and then Joe Shamash (23*).

When Blackaby finally fell for a fantastically well-constructed 80, the Dale had passed 200. Mike Bryant (16*) joined Shamash, and a few powerful strikes and streaky edges led to the home side finishing on 237-8 off their allotted 50 overs – an over par score given the surface – and mainly thanks to Blackaby’s dogged determination and skill.

Bowling second for the first time in four games, Holmesdale got off to the best of starts as young gun, Callum Gallagher (1/24), knicked off danger man Dan Stickles (6), caught in the slips by Dom May. Tenterden captain, Andrew Crawford, was joined by James Cramp, and the pair saw off the Dale opening bowlers. Blackaby turned to his trusty spin twins, Bryant and May, as early as the thirteenth over and the pair started well, immediately tying down Crawford and Cramp.

However, they could not get an early breakthrough in their spells and the Tenterden pair took the score to 55-1 by the 17 over drinks break. Straight after drinks, Bryant struck, somehow managing to cling onto a ferocious straight drive from Cramp (18). This brought Tenterden overseas player Gabriel Gad (6) to the crease, but he was quickly removed, holing out to Harry Galpin at deep mid-wicket, in which some are calling ‘catch of the season’, off the bowling of Bryant.

Anthony Bissett replaced May from the top end and started to create havoc immediately, first having Jamie Drewe (3) caught by Blackaby at short extra-cover and then inducing the run out of Daniel McDonald (2) – a direct hit by Dom May. At this point, the Tenterden score was 83-5 and all that seemed to stand in the way of a Holmesdale victory was their skipper, Andrew Crawford. However, Crawford (38) was soon bowled by a ball that rushed through him from Bryant, who finished his ten over spell with figures of 3/20, removing three of the Tenterden top four.

Kent Cricket League Division One 1st: Bromley (271) lost to Linden Park (272-8); Bromley Common (139-3) beat Folkestone (138 all out); Holmesdale (237-8) beat Tenterden (145 all out)Dom May (2/35) followed Bryant from the bottom end and immediately struck with two wickets in two balls, dispatching Richards and Bristow-Diamond, both without scoring. A brief spell of resistance from Fattore (20) and Pack (24) was in vain as Bissett (2/32) and Fawcitt (1/12) took the final two wickets and condemned Tenterden to 145 all out, giving Holmesdale victory by 92 runs. 

In truth, it was Holmesdale’s finest performance of the season so far, as both the bowling and batting departments fired in equal measure, led by the mature performances of Blackaby and Bryant. The 1st XI now sit sixth in the table, but importantly only 20 points off the top spot in Division 1. They travel down to Folkestone next Saturday, looking to make it three wins from three. 

Tenterden Thriller Ends in Tie for Holmesdale 2nd XI
Kent Cricket League Premier 2nd Division: Tenterden 2nd (214-8) tied with Holmesdale 2nd (214-9)

Holmesdale’s 2nd XI have had a rather straddled-season so far with two wins, two losses, and two abandoned games. Looking to improve on this, they travelled to the beautiful Tenterden on a hot Saturday afternoon. 

Tenterden won the toss and decided to bat first on a fairly lifeless, and low wicket. However, after some electric support in the field, creating pressure situations early-on, Holmesdale’s opening bowers David Hudson and Freddie Brushett took the two early wickets of Russell (10), leg before wicket, and Collins (8), clean bowled. First change bowler Sam Lovelock wasted no time chiming in on the action by sending Carney’s (24) off stump cartwheeling with the first ball of his spell – pretty impressive for a finger-spinner!

The rampant Holmesdale attack was thwarted by Tenterden’s number 4, Ryan Knight, down from the 1st XI this week, who offered a tremendous display of all-round batting and battled through as his team mates started, and then fell at the other end.

On a lifeless wicket, credit for the wickets should should be shared by the fielders. Despite 50 hot overs in the dirt, Holmesdale’s young side threw themselves around tirelessly and chased every ball to the boundary. Particularly impressive were the teenagers, Will Mersh and Joel Kovoor, who, through their phenomenal fielding efforts led batsmen to play risky and elaborate shots and try to take runs that weren’t on. The bowlers capitalised on the pressure built by the fielders – and following a run out from a Roffey direct hit, the risks were then reeled-in by Knight and his batting counterparts. This allowed Lewis-Davies to bowl a tight spell (1/28). Finger spinner Dickinson has a knack for taking the key wickets, and he ended Knight’s innings on 71 – a vital innings for the home side. Tenterden’s final score was 214-8.

In reply, Holmesdale openers Roffey and Kovoor opted for a steadier start to the innings. Whilst operating a slower rate to the home side, they were wicketless until after drink in the 17th over. When bowers showed signs of fatigue, Roffey freed his hands and hit some crunching boundaries, before mis-timing a shot off Ryan Knight’s spin bowling, being caught for 35. Only three balls later, Knight struck again, taking the poles of Mersh for 0. The score went from a comfortable 62-0 to 62-2 within a matter of balls. Kovoor battled-on with the mercurial Mike Brown; the junior running the singles well, while the long-levered Brown sent sixes into the local farmer’s corn crop, decreasing the required run-rate as a result. Kovoor finally fell for (43) to an lbw shout from Billing (2/23). Despite giving away no chances to the home fielding side, Brown’s fitness couldn’t keep him concentrating to the end and he popped a simple catch to long-off, ending his fantastic innings on 89.

The middle-order batting of Lovelock, Hudson, then Brushett looked strong ticking the score along. Going for a slog-sweep off Knight, Hudson was caught in the deep. The batsmen crossed meaning Brushett was on-strike. The next ball he fell victim to an LBW shout from Knight, meaning Lewis-Davies came out to bat on a hat trick-ball. Unbelievably, Knight managed to find the gap between bat and pad, thus completing his hat trick. It was at that point again that the momentum had swung massively in the opposite direction taking the Holmesdale score from a comfortable 205-5 to 205-8 with the required total in touching distance.

Despite only able to bat with his top hand (following an injury to his other from an injury sustained whilst keeping wicket in the first innings), 16-year-old Paddy Walton showed composure and maturity at the death, alongside Will Dickison.

Walton brought the scores level with a boundary, with one ball to spare. Opening bowler Parker delivered a quick final ball to the youngster, who managed to get his bat on it. Within but a moment as he set-off to get the winning single, the ball was gathered by fielder Daniel Edwards, who then took-off at a sprint. The hearts were in the mouths of all players and spectators of both sides as they watched the sprint race to the bowler’s end. Youngster Walton dived through the air to touch his bat down but was beaten by the pace of fielder Edwards who knocked the stumps over with ball in hand – meaning the game finished tied.

It was a game that truly ebbed and flowed throughout, and no side deserved to lose it. With Knight’s contribution with both bat (71) and ball (6/32) a stinging thorn in the Holmesdale side. Holmesdale 2nd XI continue their mixed season, hosting Tunbridge Wells at home this weekend.