Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
New Ash Green (20 pts) 195 all out (43 overs)
Snodland Community (5 pts) 50 all out (23 overs)
New Ash Green won by 145 runs
Heavy overnight rain left a visibly damp wicket at Manor Field, though it still felt firm underneath, and looked likely to improve as the day went on. Clearly a wicket to bowl first on, and Snodland obviously thought so, as they chose to insert New Ash Green on winning the toss despite having several players still struggling to find the ground. They ended up starting with seven, and through late arrivals, injuries and attempts to phone the missing players and guide them to the ground, varied between that number and eleven for most of the day, though even when supposedly at full strength at least one was barely mobile. Opener Aaron Page was over excited by the bounce in the wicket and rather wasted the new ball by aiming it nearer his own toes than the batsmen’s, allowing Matthew Quantrill and Andy Mayers to make another solid start. Page’s early decision to remove himself from the attack soon left them with the harder task of taking on Jason Nye and Nathan Waller, statistically and in reality Snodland’s two best bowlers, and probably two of the better bowlers in the division, both well suited to the conditions. Quantrill departed to a tired waft, an unusual lapse in concentration for him, and although David Baker looked in good touch he put one in the air before he really got going. Glen Freeman took a risk with one of the less mobile fielders, and was beaten by a direct hit, but Dean Freeman gave Mayers support until having reached his fifty Mayers got a thin edge to Waller and was caught behind. When Karl Bartlett was caught in Waller’s final over the score was 124-5, and New Ash Green still had plenty of work to do, but with Waller gone Page returned, while at the other end Adam Flynn didn’t look too dangerous, despite having 15 league wickets in the season. Dean Freeman and Paul Sumner took advantage, scoring well and putting on another fifty for the 6th wicket. Both got past 30, but Snodland captain James Rothwell, replacing Flynn, tied them down bowling round the wicket, and when Freeman was caught at square leg there was a bit of a collapse. Page, having been very expensive, finally found that pitching the ball up at the tail was more productive, getting Matt Bushe and Mick Sumner in successive balls, and Paul Sumner was bowled by the returning Nye, but Dan Lewsey survived the hat trick ball and he and Joe Elisak added another 19 for the last wicket before Lewsey was beaten by Page, leaving a final total of 195 in 43 overs. Even allowing for the fact that Snodland now had 3 extra overs that was a more than respectable total in difficult batting conditions against a strong bowling attack.
Indeed the total proved to be far more than sufficient. Snodland’s batting hadn’t looked too impressive in the opening game of the season, and there was not much sign of improvement in the intervening weeks. Add to that the addition of Mick Sumner to the New Ash Green bowling attack since then, and they never looked in the hunt. Adam Flynn, their top scorer in the league, didn’t help the cause by a moment of madness in the fourth over, when having driven a ball straight back at Dan Lewsey he set off for a run when Lewsey parried it into space. That space, though, was right in front of a rapidly advancing Joe Elisak, and with his partner entirely sensibly unmoved, Flynn was left stranded half way down the pitch as Elisak’s rocket arm and direct hit left no room for doubt. Flynn dived back into his ground some time after the stumps had been demolished, and lay still for some time, though whether in frustration or hoping that a bit of ‘home’ umpiring might help him somehow survive wasn’t clear. There was, though, nothing the umpire could do to help him, a not out verdict when he had been a good 20 feet from the crease when the stumps went down being very hard to justify, and eventually he walked off, his bat taking its own path back to the sidelines. From the banging and crashing sounds as he entered the pavilion he may have been lucky not to be facing a bill for damages to really round off his day. From there on the innings followed a familiar pattern, Mick Sumner beating the bat, and batsmen seeing Dan Lewsey as the easy option, trying to take him on and hitting an occasional four off him, but also giving chances as a result. The variation on the pattern, though, was that Sumner also took a significant number of wickets himself. Whereas in his record breaking haul at Wrotham he had pitched the ball up at speed, here he slightly reduced his pace, but managed to swing, and most significantly, cut the ball back in. It was the cutters that made the real impact, a succession of batsmen finding their stumps out of the ground as the ball cut them in half. As at Snodland one or two tried to hit their way out of trouble, with even less success here than they had had there. Sumner took his fourth wicket early in his final over, and with the help of a no ball that gave him an additional ball managed to find one last fast cutter to remove the number 11 with his last ball, giving him final figures of 5-18, all bowled, to go with Lewsey’s 4-26. Another outstanding bowling performance as a pair, bowling Snodland out for 50 and a win by 145 runs, though final mention must go to Snodland’s other opener, Ben Mills. Amidst the chaos he stood resolutely firm (as he had done for the run out…), batting through the entire 23 overs to carry his bat for 7 not out.
Friendly Match - Timed game
Ash 212-5 (47 overs)
New Ash Green 150-7 (40 overs)
With a bye week in the league the second team had been lucky enough to pick up a fixture against Ash, the ideal fixture – local, the right sort of strength and a pretty ground. In a timed game New Ash Green got through their overs with commendable pace, bowling 47 in the two and a half hours before tea. This pace was not matched by Ash’s openers, who could not score quickly against John Harley and Olly Cooper in their opening spells. A change of bowlers failed to break the partnership, and eventually Mark Chapelhow turned to himself, and managed to purchase two wickets at the cost of 22 runs in three overs. Cooper and Harley both returned, Cooper bowling well throughout, but Harley getting two more wickets, while there was also a run out and a couple of ‘close’ calls on stumpings and run outs, the total ending up passing 200 by the time tea finally arrived.
In reply New Ash Green only received 40 overs, though that is not a bad bowling rate, representing twenty overs in the first hour. Michael Gallagher showed his increasing confidence after getting off the mark for the season at Locksbottom, making 32 as an opener, and there were plenty of other small contributions, almost all the batsmen reaching double figures, Martin Ives and Mark Chapelhow in particular showing some aggression, but the game took a course apparently typical for Ash, with no one able to play the necessary winning innings, and no bowler able to rip through the side, the game ending as a relatively tame draw.
Friendly Match - Proper Cricket
New Ash Green 207-4 dec. (36 overs)
Pinewoods 128-5 (43 overs)
Pinewoods are a proper Sunday cricket side, and emboldened by past successes in chasing scores against them John Harley opted to bat first on winning the toss. Although the occasional ball behaved badly when hitting one of the dried out pitch marks from the previous day the wicket was still generally good, and Matthew Quantrill and Mark Chapelhow were mostly fairly comfortable in picking up runs, a couple of difficult chances dropped aside. By the drinks break they were on 47 apiece, having put on 100, but Chapelhow fell almost immediately afterwards, morally and deservedly out LBW, though strictly on the laws perhaps unlucky to be given out to a bowler bowling right arm round who must have pitched the ball outside leg. Quantrill did reach his fifty, but then holed out on the deep mid-wicket boundary having a swing. Joe Elisak, a late replacement for the mysteriously absent Chris Bartram, went into out and out attack mode, while Matt Bushe played a more sedate role, as the run rate was kept high. Bushe eventually fell to a slow, loopy straight one, playing a horrible attempt at a pull to a ball nearly of Yorker length, and Elisak was caught at point, having made 57 from just 32 balls. With plenty of time in hand Phil Steers and Dave Harley were slightly more measured in their approach, but both made double figures with relative ease before the declaration came at 207-4.
The skipper took the almost unprecedented step of giving up his opening bowling slot, letting youth have its head with Ryan Harley and Edward Quantrill opening. Harley went for a four in his first over, but bowled very tidily after that, not conceding another run in his five overs. Quantrill was less consistent, but recovered later in his spell to finish well. Neither could get a wicket though, and nor could Kieran Poole or Phil Steers who replaced them. Indeed the eventual breakthrough came only from a pulled muscle, causing one of the opening pair to retire hurt. With Steers having gone for a few runs and Pinewoods still having plenty of wickets in hand Joe Elisak was given a go, and despite moaning about lack of spin he did eventually get a wicket, though it was to a shot that the batsman himself described as shocking, a wild swing that was nowhere near a simple straight ball. John Harley finally brought himself on before the start of the twenty overs, and by the time they did start the scoreboard was showing 90-1, although it seems it should actually have been showing 80-1. Needing less than 6 an over with wickets in hand Pinewoods should have been looking favourites, but there was no acceleration from them, indeed in the next few overs their score stagnated, and with each of Elisak and Harley gaining an LBW decision, both looking very out, it was clear they were struggling. This was, perhaps, the time for the game to be opened up, but Elisak was replaced by Kieran Poole, who bowled a good couple of overs without making a breakthrough, and the run rate required escalated out of Pinewoods’ reach. Tim Cooper replaced Poole, and had a wicket in his first over, caught by Poole at mid-wicket, but at the other end the two captains, Nick Byles for Pinewoods and John Harley for New Ash Green, were engaged in a stalemate which neither was willing to break, Byles taking no risks and Harley bowling a 12 over spell conceding just 11 runs, but without inducing any further errors from the batsmen. One more wicket did fall when Matthew Quantrill was more alert than the batsman, throwing to the far end and catching him meandering down the wicket and not grounding his bat, but with only five wickets down and more than 80 runs required, it ended up as a very tame draw. Byles batted through 43 overs for 44 not out from 143 balls, making sure his team at least avoided defeat.