On the hottest day of the season so far, Kemsing arrived at the fabulous new Marden ground for a top of the table clash. Marden were top after winning all three games, with Kemsing equal second, unbeaten, but with one abandoned game.
To the amazement of the Kemsing players, skipper Grahame Wood called right at the toss and they were batting, which pleased his team greatly.
A solid first 15 overs, when drinks were taken, saw Kemsing on 64 without loss, but things moved on apace soon afterwards with 15 runs coming from the 19th over and 25 from the 20th, with the skipper smiting a four and three sixes from consecutive balls to really get some impetus!
After that, there was no stopping him, even against the very decent pace of the Marden quicks, as he and his son Jake Wood put on 173 for the first wicket, until Jake got himself out in the 24th over to give the belligerent middle order a chance to shine. He scored 27 in pretty good time, but his dad was hogging the strike and the boundaries! As it turned out, Jake managed his teams second highest score.
However, the middle order under-performed, with the run rate slowing, as they found various ways of getting out, taking too many risks too soon against the good pace attack. Wood senior was still going, though, finally succumbing to fatigue having score a blistering 148 in 116 balls, with 23 fours and five sixes. The lower order managed to last out for the whole 40 overs, scoring some valuable runs to get the side to 283-8, probably 50 short of what could have been scored and around par for the ground.
Stand-in wicket keeper, James Walkling, started the innings well, with a good catch from the fairly rapid bowling of debutant Dale Stocken, who opened in tandem with Stuart Barnes, neither giving much away. Barnes made way for Senior Pro, Roger Shaddock, who bowled a good deal slower, but eventually got one past the bat of skipper, Alex Newport, for Walkling to take a smart stumping. Soon afterwards, he also bowled the number four (136-3), allowing the aggressive Sam Tomkinson to be joined by his brother Ben. These two set about the bowling until, with the score on 220, Ben was astonishingly caught by G Wood at point, from a full-blooded cut from the bowling of Stocken, as he dived full-length up and to his right, to take the catch with two hands. That was probably the pivotal moment of the match, although there was one more crucial incident to come…
G Wood then had to bowl, even in his rather fatigued condition, but he didn’t disappoint, as he castled the new batsman and had the next one caught behind by Walkling. However, he then had the courage to hand the ball to 17-year-old Nizam, to bowl the 37th and 39th overs! Niz was on the money from ball one, inducing Tomkinson to edge to Walkling for 137, for the other crucial moment in the game! He completed his two overs without any mishaps, leaving G Wood to take two more wickets, to finish with 4-28, in what was probably the best day he has ever had on a cricket ground. Kemsing won by 15 runs!
It was a great game of cricket, played hard, but fair, and in good spirit. Spare a thought for Marden’s Sam Tomkinson, with 137 runs, 4-63 and a catch, who also had a really good day and could reasonably have expected to be on the winning side nine times out of 10!