Vine on the back foot after superb Bexley make use of green wicket

KENT CRICKET LEAGUE PREMIER 1ST DIVISION: Sevenoaks Vine (183/8) lost to Bexley (252/3)

On the first weekend of the season where Mother Nature didn’t rear her ugly head, Sevenoaks welcomed the Bexley to the Vine. The Vine, looking to get off on the right foot where left reeling when James Carslaw evidently landed on the wrong one and rolled his ankle in the warm up.

Losing the toss, Bexley made first use of a green wicket and started slowly with bowling all rounder Chris Vernon (1-41) and Miles Richardson bowling a tight opening spell. However, just one early wicket saw Calum Basey (74) and Shaun Evans put on 112 for the second wicket and set a solid base for Bexley to post a decent score. The ever patrolling Neil Reid Dick with figures of 1-29 from his ten overs, ensured Basey was a swift two man job, when he and price combined to have him removed stumped.

Shaun Evans, ably supporter by ex-Kent professional Adam Ball (26) and Matthew Stiddard was unlucky to fall short of a league hundred, ending on 98* with Bexley setting an imposing 253 from their 50 overs.

The Vine got off to a reasonable start with gloveman Ben Price and Chris Vernon adding 26 for the first wicket before both fell to the impressive Jas Singh (2-39). The evergreen John Bowden, operating in his 5th decade of league cricket was once again the pick of the Vines batting, top scoring with 39. Useful contributions from Mike Barber 20 and some lusty blows from muscleman Mike Cowdrey 32 gave the Vine some hope, however the spin of Bexley skipper Adam Riley (2-24) and Freddie Foster (3-37) left the Vine innings in tatters. With the game gone, the curly haired James Carslaw joined senior statesman Karl Pearson to guide the Vine to 2 extra batting points with the innings finishing on 183-8 from the 50 overs.

Another disappointing performance from the Vine, one they will hope to bounce back from in time for the trip to Tunbridge Wells for the ‘Invicta Derby’.

Bexley 2nd (222/5) beat Sevenoaks Vine 2nd (175 all out)
The Vine 2nd XI suffered their first loss of the league season, away to Bexley 2nd XI on a day where for the first time this season, the weather looked to be set fair. The Vine were asked to field on a good batting pitch, after not having an umpire meant conceding the toss.

Bexley got off to a great start putting on 70 for the first wicket before Thomas Harvey bowled an exceptional spell of 10 overs 2-26, a great diving catch by Guy Bevan-Thomas behind the stumps for the second. Freddie Young picked up a single wicket, ably assisted by Joe Banks who bowled a probing spell and was unlucky not to end with a wicket.

Opening bowler Matthew Dalton came back at the death and did pick up a wicket however, meaning Bexley finished on 222-5. The Vine’s run chase didn’t get off to the best start with both openers falling early on, leaving Thomas Harvey and Will House a tough job of rebuilding the innings. Harvey went on to pass 50, supported by Cyrus White who departed for 48. Unfortunately a collapse ensued and the Vine quickly lost wickets in successive overs.

A late cameo of 25 off 15 balls by Joe Banks batting at number 11 (due to an injury whilst fielding ) wasn’t enough for the Vine, who ended up finishing 47 runs short. The 2ndXI will look to bounce back quickly in the A21 derby against Tunbridge Wells at home next weekend.

Sevenoaks Vine 3rd (162/9) beat New Ash Green (139 all out)
The Vine 3s hosted New Ash Green and having won the toss elected to bat. The New Ash Green opening bowlers proved hard to score off and the pressure they built got them some well deserved wickets.

The Vine found themselves on 55-5 after 24 overs and in deep trouble. Sam Harvey (68) and Nick Bryant (51) then led a brilliant counter attack adding 100 in a little over 13 overs driving the Vine to a competitive score of 162-9 off their 40 overs.

New Ash Green got off to a solid start and Neil Howick scored an enterprising 42 as they reached 72-2 at the half way stage. However the required run rate crept up as the Vine bowlers slowly but surely gained control. Carl Nightingale picked up a couple of wickets in an excellent spell , Nick Bryant bowled a decent spell and skipper Hugo Tudor was economical but it was the Smith brothers who were the stars.

Fred ended with 4-17 and brother Henry 3-26 as New Ash Green were dismissed for 139. Keeper Andy Akerman took three good catches and Arj Sharma despite his first ball exit when batting crucially got the ninth wicket with a direct hit run out.

Town Malling (160/7) beat Sevenoaks Vine 4th (159/6)
Town Malling hosted a youthful Vine 4th XI that won the toss and elected to bat. Conditions were much improved from the previous weeks on a lovely Malling ground, and the Vine made a steady start with the opening two Town Malling bowlers keeping the run rate down with some tight bowling. Josh Haworth and James Thresher then upped the scoring into the half time turn before a leading edge from Haworth gave Town Malling the breakthrough.

Steve Bezuidenhout and Zac Schaeffer both looked to hit out but were well caught by a TMCC team that fielded well throughout. Leo Bezuidenhout made an enterprising knock of 31 before Tom Edge, Alec Schaeffer and Andrew Schaeffer played a cameo to the excellent Thresher who carried his bat and made a chanceless 74. 159/6 off the 40 overs looked competitive and so it proved.

An excellent opening spell by Pete Thresher and Will Ansell had the Town Malling team 14/1 after eight overs with an Thresher excellent cutter taking one of the openers cheaply. Town Malling then fought back strongly and at the drinks break were 84/1 (18 overs). Drinks however proved to be the turning point with Leo Bezuidenhout and Monty Thompson both bowling a heavy ball and after 24 overs Sevenoaks had Town Malling 102/4 with the two top scorers out.

Needing 57 of 15 over Town Malling went into their shells and the Vine continued to chip away with James Thresher and Alec Schaeffer combining to remove three more wickets – including the opposition captain caught behind by Alec’s brother Zac standing up to the stumps!

The Town Malling number five however marshalled the lower order well and 19 off 18 became six off six and then four off two with him hitting the winning four off the penultimate ball. The opposition were very complimentary of the spirit in which the game was played and were delighted with the competitive match – a good days cricket all round.

Old Oaks (132) lost to St Michaels (142/8)
At last it felt like proper cricket weather on Friday and a reasonable crowd gathered at the Vine to watch their heroes take on St Michaels. The School teachers and parents negotiated to bat first in a 20 over match. 

Brown and Filmer got the Old Oaks off to a good start with excellent bowling, and wickets fell fairly regularly. Leo Wood, a new left armer, looked a little concerned when his first delivery for the Old Oaks was last seen heading towards Knole Park, but bounced back with a wicket with his very next ball. The run rate was about five an over for much of their innings but a couple of loose overs at the end meant they finished on 142/8, with three retired. 

Sam Harvey got the Old Oaks off to a great start, reaching 25 quickly. Scott Mosely, also on debut, looked solid but struggled to get the ball away, with Sevenoaks falling a bit behind the required run rate. Sykes then came to the wicket and struck the ball very well, clearing the short boundary a couple of times, before top edging a full toss into his face.

With a fractured cheekbone, Sykesy joined a growing list of Old Oaks who have ended up in hospital. The skipper, in next, quickly snuck back to the changing room to retrieve a helmet. 

After that the Old Oaks innings petered out, Compton and Tudor needing 18 off the last over and falling about 10 short. A bit disappointing as it felt like a winnable game, but best wishes to Sykesy for a swift recovery.

Tonbridge and Castle Hill U15 (167/6) beat Sevenoaks Vine U15 – Premier League – (137/6)
The Vine travelled to Tonbridge to face a combined Tonbridge and Castle Hill side, including a number of county players who would not look out of place in the senior ranks! Having lost the toss, Sevenoaks took to the field first and were quickly on the back foot due to some excellent and aggressive batting, but also some wayward bowling at times.

In the end the Vine pegged them back, however they still posted an imposing 167/6 from their 25 overs. Will H was the pick of the bowlers with his left arm orthodox spin, also taking a wicket, Archie chipped in with a wicket whilst Jack and Hugo took two wickets apiece.

In reply Milan batted very well at the top of the order with an excellent 31. Harry took after the bowling in pursuit of the large target, with an aggressive 35 (retired), however Sevenoaks became bogged down again in the middle overs and the task soon became 10+ per over. Toby struck the ball nicely towards the end for 22, however the Vine ended up comfortably short with 137/6, a loss by 30 runs.

Sevenoaks Vine U15 – West Malling League – (105/6) lost to Kings Hill U15 (106/8)
Sevenoaks Vine U15 hosted a strong Kings Hill “A team” at The Vine, which included a number of District players in their side. The boys made an excellent account of themselves, scoring 105/6 from the 25 overs, with Lewie top scoring with 29 plus a very handy 15 not out from Thomas s’J towards the end.

In reply Kings Hill chased down the total eight wickets down, in a nail biter… 106/8 in the 23rd over. Wickets from Ben C (2), Milo (2) George and Lewis, as well as a run out by Lewie. A loss by only two wickets.

Sevenoaks Vine U13 lost to Tunbridge Wells U13
Having been put into bat on what was, for once, a fairly dry wicket Sevenoaks Vine got a great start through George Lythgoe and Ben Warburton who both looked in command against a tidy opening attack. A partnership of 30 at five an over set the base for the innings and the Vine appeared to be set to post a challenging total.

Unfortunately a brilliant run out sent George back and sparked an major collapse with five wickets falling in the space of just three overs. Will Deacon, batting at three, steadied the Vine ship and got the scoreboard moving again while wickets continued to tumble at the other end. Tristan Petersen offered some resistance to keep him company but was ultimately left stranded on 39 not out as Vine posted what looked like a not very competitive total of just 82.

To the credit of the whole of the Vine team the Tunbridge Wells batsmen were immediately put under pressure. Jaison Ramchandran and George van der Westhuizen bowled excellently and Vine quickly had the opposition two down and struggling to score runs. Some keen and aggressive fielding backed up the bowlers and first and second change attack Lythgoe and Max Blincoe chipped in with wickets.

A tight finish looked on the cards especially after a Ramchandran run out and another wicket from a Warburton slower ball. Tunbridge Wells middle order batsman Zane Malik had other ideas, however, and guided his team home with a well crafted 25 not out. 

The Vine batting collapse had unfortunately been the game changer so despite a great effort in the field and with the ball Tunbridge Wells took the majority of the points in a four wicket win. There is loads of potential in the squad and results are bound to improve with the efforts shown by the whole team in the second part of the match.