Holmesdale 1st XI took their unbeaten streak into double figures against Broadstairs on Saturday, yet it was far from comfortable for the second-placed side.
Being asked to bat first on a very green wicket, the Dale got off to their usual fast start with Dom May (28) taking 11 off the first over. However, when he fell in the sixth over with the score on 38-1, the scoring immediately began to slow down as the Broadstairs’ bowlers bowled with excellent control. Brabham (21) was the next wicket to fall as he was bowled by Dewell and Epps followed shortly afterwards. The score was now 56-3 and this brought Holmesdale’s big guns, Blackaby and Miller, together at the crease yet again. Both looked comfortable as they moved the score moved into the 80s, but then Miller (15) was bowled by Fox. Blackaby, knowing that his side needed to set a score around the 200 mark, started to be the aggressor as he was joined by Harbig and the pair had put on 55 when Harbig fell for 22. The lower middle order of Fawcitt (10) and Bissett (26) supported Blackaby very well but it was the Holmesdale skipper who was in scintillating form, carving anything over pitched through the covers and punishing anything remotely short. Blackaby (114*) brought up his hundred in the penultimate over and then switch hit the last three balls of the innings for a combined 14 runs: 4, 4, 6. This meant that Holmesdale finished on 247-8; a score with which they were very pleased.
Broadstairs came out to bat in the required aggressive manner, taking 36 off the first six overs. However, once Hulston had removed Hogben (25), the scoring rate slowed down to under three an over thanks to some superb bowling from the Dale attack. Dom May assisted Hulston in removing Broadstairs overseas player, Basu, by taking a screamer a short-extra cover. Harbig (2/22) then took two quick wickets, having Frewin caught by May as well, before trapping the dangerous Wheeler LBW. May (1/21) then took a wicket of his own, removing Narraway (26), and this was quickly followed by Bissett (1/36) bowling Jamie Dewell without scoring. At this point in proceedings, Broadsatirs were 75-6 and staring down the barrel of a monumental defeat. However, what happened next, nobody quite expected. Elliot Fox, batting at six, was joined by the long-levered Matthew Hardy and the latter proceeded to sweep his way to 76 off 61 balls, while Fox picked up singles and twos, rotating the strike well, for 53. Whatever Holmesdale threw at the two batsmen, they seemed to have an answer. The two players took Broadsatirs up to 195 before Hulston had Hardy caught by Epps at long on. However, with only 53 runs required for the win off 7 overs, the game was right back in the balance. Then, up stood Dom May yet again, producing a catch rivalling Joe Denly’s at Lord’s on Sunday as he leapt and plucked the ball out of mid-air with one hand to remove Fox off the bowling of Blackaby (1/36). A few knicks past the keeper later from the lower order and Broadstairs only required 18 off the last over. But, Hulston, finshing with superb figures of 4/50, held his nerve and ensured that Broadstiars only managed 13, resulting in a Holmesdale 4-run win.
Holmesdale 1st XI take on Tenterden next weekend, knowing that two more wins from the final three games will seal promotion back to the Kent Premier League.