After the monsoon rains on Friday, it was with trepidation that the Kemsing groundsman arrived at the picturesque ground early on Saturday morning. However, the amazing draining properties were in evidence, as the square was merely damp! After a good roll, the wicket had two hours to dry in the sun and, by the start of the game, was pretty hard on top.
However, the toss was important, with both skippers keen to bowl first. The Luddesdowne skipper called wrong and Martin Green of Kemsing happily announced his decision.
Kemsing were missing their top three batsmen and were hoping to bounce back after the shocker at Meopham last weekend. Stuart Barnes was back, but his pace was negated by the slow wicket and the obdurate batsman. At the other end, Mark Cooper soon settled into his groove and, in his second over, tempted Peter Baldwin to give Nizam at mid-off some catching practice.
However, Chris Skilton was joined by Sean Eastwood and they put on 50, mostly from the bat of Skilton, before Roger Shaddock turned one past his bat to give Paul Bean a smart stumping. Chris had scored an entertaining 55.
After that, apart from Sean’s 33 and Sam Porter’s 18, there was little resistance, as Damien Saville spun out the middle order and Nizam took the last two wickets in the space of three balls to restrict LCC to 137. Skipper Green took three spectacular catches, including one whilst leaping like a salmon at cover!
In the absence of the two Woods, Kemsing had the two Ians to open the batting: Martin and Wise. Maybe not so quick between the wickets, but both looking for a ball to hit! And this they did, with gusto… They scored at four an over, without taking risks, other than a slightly dodgy quick single, which saw Ian Martin dive for the line like a slow motion replay, as he went down in instalments, to much hilarity all round.
After an entertaining 87 run partnership, Ian Wise, who had been driving exquisitely through the off-side and picking up over mid-wicket with power, was undone by a surprise full toss!
Damien joined the remaining Martin at the crease and dominated immediately, pinging an early six and biffing 37 from 32 balls, as they put on 51 runs in less than eight overs, enabling Kemsing to win comfortably with nine overs to spare. Martin does not play much league cricket these days, but underlined what a useful player he is, with some deft shots and immaculate timing.
Roger Shaddock said after the match: “The Luddesdowne boys and spectators stayed for the BBQ after the game, confirming their status as Kemsing’s favourite opposition! If every game was as enjoyable as this one, playing numbers everywhere would be increasing, rather than declining… The KCVL really is the most enjoyable league to play in”.
Kemsing remain in second place and need to win two of the last three games to guarantee another promotion, the third in four years.