Sevenoaks Vine 1st XI welcomed Bickley Park to The Vine on Saturday in their league opener, and the first time they have played at the ground since 2019.
The start was delayed due to heavy morning rain, and the visiting side would elect to field first after winning the toss. Usual openers Chris Vernon and Ben Price made a decent start putting on 33 for the first wicket before Vernon chipped to mid off for 20. Club talisman John Bowden strode to the crease and looked to score quickly, playing spin particularly well, making use of the conventional, slog and reverse sweeps.
Price would be next to depart after a battling 21 and Luke Schlemmer would soon follow shortly after. Brief cameos from Mike Barber and Mike Cowdrey alongside Bowden, who scored a fluent 51 from 57 balls would take the Vine to a decent position to hit quick runs in the final few overs.
Enter Miles Richardson who would bludgeon 31 from 17 balls, including four fours and a six into the trees. The Vine finished on a respectable 180-6 from their 35 overs, with Bickley Park’s Elliot Hooper the star bowler with figures of 3-28.
The Vine’s defence started in excellent fashion with Richardson removing Alex Fullarton and Alex Darroch in successive balls, the latter thanks to an outstanding one handed catch by keeper Ben Price, diving to his left.
A wicket for Schlemmer and two for Tom Coldman (2-39) hindered the Bickley Park chase as the visitors fell to 83-6. Elliot Hooper and newcomer Jason Benn offered stubborn resistance, with the former building an innings that focused on hitting boundaries against the Vine spin attack. The pair put on 45 for the seventh wicket before Benn fell victim to Schlemmer (2-28) for 22.
Hooper was now the main man and continued to strike the ball effortlessly to the boundary. The left handed batsman got the visitors within touching distance of a seemingly impossible win, needing just seven from the last over. Hooper (78) needed to find a boundary. Instead, he would only find John Bowden on the third man boundary off the bowling of Richardson who finished with figures of 3-22. The end of Hooper marked the end of the Bickley Park chase as the Vine came out winners by three runs.
Next up, a trip to Blackheath as the 1st XI look to continue their winning ways.
Highlights of the game can also be found on Sevenoaks Vine’s YouTube channel! Simply got to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ehJoeRyYToQ.
Kent Cricket League Premier 2nd Division: Bromley Common 2nd (156/8) lost to Sevenoaks Vine 2nd (159/5)
Sevenoaks Vine 2nd XI started off their league campaign with a convincing win against Bromley Common, on a day where any sort of cricket was looking unlikely due to heavy morning rain. Nonetheless, after a short delay, a 35 over game commenced with Bromley Common choosing to bat in an uncontested toss, a decision which raised eyebrows after Matt Dalton took a wicket with the first ball of the game. Dalton, supported by left arm seamer James Carslaw, bowled a fantastic opening spell continuously beating the bat on multiple occasions; Dalton finishing with two wickets and Carslaw a single scalp at under three runs an over. Harry Robinson followed with an exceptionally disciplined and economical spell, supported by Tom Harvey who picked up two wickets in a heated spell of bowling. Joe Banks also picked up three wickets, showing great fight and resilience on a tough wicket for the spinner.
The Vine needing 157 to win, flourished in the first 20 overs of the run chase, with James White and Thomas Harvey putting on a century partnership. With the score at 136-1, the Vine looked set for a comfortable victory. However, James White and Tom Harvey fell in quick succession for 62 and 57 respectively, and a further two wickets left the Vine with work to do to finish the game off, which Ben Anderson and Arj Sharma did with two overs to spare. 18 points and the perfect start to the league campaign.
The 2nd XI look to continue this onto next week in their first home game against Hayes.