Holmesdale 1st XI travelled to reigning champions Beckenham for the opening fixture of their Premier League campaign. Despite the damp conditions of Saturday morning, the ground drained well and play was able to commence at 1.30pm – in what would be a 40 over match.
Beckenham won the toss and elected to bat first. Opener, Finan Bryan (58), was the main enforcer for Beckenham, punishing anything over pitched or slightly wide and Beckenham had moved to 80-2 from 17 overs by the time Mike Bryant (1-36) had removed him. The Dale then proceeded to tighten the screw with Dom May (2-31) and Rupert Harbig (1-27), alongside Bryant, bowling with excellent control, making it difficult for the Beckenham batsmen to score. Only Beckenham skipper Johann Malcom (36*) was able to hit the boundaries that took Beckenham up to the score of 179-6 from their 40 overs.
In reply, Holmesdale lost Anthony Bisset (6) early, but Ben Fawcitt (14) and Carlos Maynard (24) took the score to 47 before the former fell caught behind. Kent youngster, Will Harby, joined Maynard, but the left-hander quickly fell LBW and suddenly two new batsman were at the crease: Blackaby and Harby. When Harby fell for seven with the score at 61-4, Blackaby needed somebody to stick with him. Mark Epps did just that and the experienced pair took Holmesdale to 126 before the latter fell for a well made 20. At 126-5 with six overs left, victory was in sight. However, a mixture of some good Beckenham bowling, along with some poor execution of shots when they needed to be faultless, meant that the visitors ended up 18 runs short of their target. Skipper, Luke Blackaby, was the penultimate wicket to fall for a well-made 50.
Overall, there were a lot of positives to take from the game for Holmesdale, but they will need to learn quickly and bounce back strong when they welcome Bexley to Montreal Park next weekend.