On Saturday, Holmesdale 1st XI lost a close encounter with Bickley Park in the Kent Premier League.
Batting first on a warm day in metropolitan Kent, Holmesdale lost Will McDowell (2) early as he was trapped LBW by Bickley skipper, Daniel Magin (1-44). Anthony Bissett was joined by Kent Academy youngster, Will Harby, and the pair nullified a hostile opening spell, turning the strike over well and taking the Dale to 65-1 at the 18 over drinks break.
After drinks, the pair pushed on until the score was 89 and Bisset (52) was adjudged to have snicked Patrick (3-35) behind. Harby was joined by Carlos Maynard but even though the Dale batsmen tried to up the run rate, the Bickley bowlers continued to bowl with good discipline. Harby (41) was the third to fall when the score was on 116, struck on the pad trying to sweep Patrick behind square. Luke Blackaby joined Maynard and, sensing their opportunity, Bickley brought the opening bowlers back. However, the pair weathered that storm, taking the score to 160, and just when they were looking to take the attack to the spinners, Maynard (29) fell to Patrick, again to the sweep shot.
Blackaby was joined briefly by Mark Epps (2) who got a beauty from Elliot Hooper (1-39), and then David Roffey who provided a more than able ally. The pair were able to up the run rate considerably in the last five overs, putting on an unbroken 47 for the sixth wicket, helping the Dale to 213-5 from their 50 overs. Blackaby finished on a run-a-ball 56 and Roffey with a useful 16 not out.
In the field, the Dale did not get the early break throughs that they had done in the previous weeks, despite a couple of close shouts, meaning that the Bickley innings got off to a great start. It wasn’t until McDowell threw down the stumps at the strikers end in the 12th over, with the score on 58, that the Dale got their first wicket. This was closely followed by Bryant (1-53) trapping Singh (44) LBW to reduce the hosts to 69-2. However, Imitiaz and Patrick were able to rebuild the Bickley innings as the Dale bowlers didn’t bowl with enough consistency in the next overs. The score was 115 when Bickley lost their third wicket: a smart return catch by Ben Fawcitt (1-44). Patrick (47) was joined by former Sussex pro Elliot Hooper and again, another 30 runs had been scored before the former was caught by Fawcitt off the bowling off Roffey (1-35).
Another runout, this time from Epps, and a sharp catch by Maynard off Blackaby (1-30), had the hosts 200-6 from 45 overs, but still in control with Hooper at the crease. Darroch (4*) and Hooper (50) batted sensibly and brought the scores level in the 48th over, only for Hooper to lose his wicket, caught and bowled by Bisset (1-27). However, Bickley Park passed the total in the 49th over, winning the game by three wickets and taking 18 points.
Holmesdale took six points away from the game, and will be pleased with another strong outing against an established Premier League club. Next week, they travel to the coast to visit table-toppers Sandwich, looking to bounce back and cause an upset.