A poor Holmesdale batting display cost them in their match against Tunbridge Wells at the weekend. Losing the toss in unfavourable conditions was not ideal, as the hosts put Holmesdale in on a green and wet wicket. As expected, the ball nipped around off the seam and in the air for the whole innings.
However, despite losing Will McDowell early, the Dale top order looked relatively comfortable with Anthony Bissett (18) and Ben Fawcitt (11) looking set. But then, calamity ensued, as first Bissett was run out and then Fawcitt followed shortly after, being stumped after losing his balance. With the score at 42-3, it was once again down to Holmesdale’s big guns, Carlos Maynard and Luke Blackaby, to steady the ship. But, unlike the previous week, they weren’t able to put together a meaningful partnership as Maynard (9) saw his off stump knocked back. Blackaby battled hard with Will Harby (18) and then Luke Budden (20*) but he would eventually be stumped for 22. Budden did a great job in taking Holmesdale up to 139 before they were bowled out in 49th over.
Knowing that they had to take early wickets, Holmesdale came out with purpose when bowling. And they were rewarded, with Blackaby (2-15) bowling Will Stickler (0) and Chris Williams (9) in the first two overs. The Dale were then convinced they had Sam Stickler caught behind when the score was on 23, but the umpire’s finger was unflinching. Then, just like the week before, the rain started to fall. At this point, Tunbridge Wells had moved onto 40-2, with Christian Davis and Sam Stickler looking well set.
After two hours of waiting for the rain to clear and pitch to dry, the umpires deemed the ground fit for play and Tunbridge Wells were given the relatively straight forward task for scoring 45 from the remaining 13 overs. However, the Dale were determined to take as many Tunbridge Wells wickets with them. Fawcitt (2-10) started that ball rolling, bowling Sam Stickler (17) with a beauty. Mike Bryant (1-23) then got in on the act having Alex Williams caught by McDowell at mid-off, and Dave Smith suffered the same fate at the hands of Fawcitt. With the score at 57-5, Holmesdale knew that they had to keep taking wickets if they were to have a chance but both Davis (30*) and Michael Waller (10*) batted well and finished not out when they past the required runs in the penultimate over available.
Who knows what would have happened if Tunbridge Wells had had to chase the full 139 runs. In the end, however, the Dale just didn’t have enough runs to play with in the circumstances, despite a valiant effort in with the ball. This weekend, Holmesdale entertain Lordswood, knowing that 18 points is the order of the day.