Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
Sevenoaks Vine (6 pts) 146 all out (36 overs)
New Ash Green (20 pts) 147-4 (29.3 overs)
New Ash Green won by 6 wickets
Without an umpire New Ash Green were once again condemned to field first on the perfect batting pitch at Otford, in beautiful weather, but unlike the shambles last year when they conceded nearly 300 runs, they had a full eleven players and a proper bowling attack, with so many options that Keith Bushell wasn’t required. As in the previous week Mick Sumner’s pace and Dan Lewsey’s accuracy had the opening batsmen in trouble, but this week luck was with Sumner as a leg side edge was well held by Matthew Quantrill diving to his left, and then a much more routine edge went straight to hand. Lewsey picked up one LBW as well, but potentially the key moments came when he bowled to Vine captain Sebastian Walker, who has scored a shed load of runs against New Ash Green in the past, including a century in the same game last year. Knowing his penchant for the straight drive New Ash Green put men back, and Walker took on the challenge. The first was a huge skyer which Keith Bushell struggled to pick up in the sky and eventually couldn’t get under. The second was a very flat drive which Joe Elisak allowed straight through his hands and dramatically onto his head, somehow managing not to suffer serious injury. (Opinion varied on whether this was because of the deflection or the lack of anything inside his head to be injured.) Another field change put Fernando in the firing line, and Walker went for it again, this time getting under the ball and not timing it so well, giving Fernando the chance to safely pocket what was probably the easiest chance of the three. At 51-4 New Ash Green could be justifiably pleased with themselves, but the next two batsmen, David Carr and John Harkin, demonstrated the quality of the wicket by playing some aggressive shots, hitting across the line in a way they probably could not hope to get away with on most wickets in this division, but here were able to hit a number of fours and a big six, spoiling Sumner and Lewsey’s figures at the end of their spells. Andy Mayers had a go himself, initially with even less success as he struggled badly for accuracy in his first over, but once he found his line and length he started to pin the batsmen back, as did Joe Elisak coming on at the other end. Once the fifth wicket partnership was broken by a sharp slip catch by Mayers off Elisak the game quickly turned back in New Ash Green’s favour. Aside from a few blows from Stephan Brutti the remainder of the batsmen showed little stomach for the fight. Mayers and Elisak picked up three wickets each, the innings losing all momentum once Carr was out caught at mid wicket by Glenn Freeman off Mayers for the top score of 47. The final score of 146 in 36 overs was well below par on this batting paradise, and New Ash Green’s bowlers can be justly proud of their efforts.
With 56 overs to get 147 New Ash Green were hardly under any pressure, but even with neither Matthew Quantrill or Andy Mayers at the top of their form they got off to a quicker start than their opponents, with enough loose balls to mean they didn’t need to take any risks. Mayers did use up some of Quantrill’s traditional birthday luck, dropped three times and missed once on a fairly straightforward stumping chance, and Quantrill was himself dropped on a difficult chance at point towards the end of his innings, but mostly they progressed serenely towards a win, adding 115 for the first wicket before Mayers, having made his fifty and feeling tired after his exertions with the ball, danced down the track and made no effort to get back. Quantrill’s birthday ended slightly disappointingly a few balls later when he played across a full toss trying to reach his fifty, and was bowled for 48. The game seemed in the bag, but as so often New Ash Green managed to make hard work of finishing things off. Fernando should have enjoyed the batting conditions, but couldn’t find the bat at all, let alone the middle, and was soon stumped as well. Matt Clark hit one big six over mid-wicket, but then sliced one to point, but Glenn Freeman and Olly Cooper then played sensibly to see New Ash Green safely home to a six wicket win and twenty points. Next week sees them take on unbeaten Petts Wood, and will be a big test of any ambitions they may have to be in contention for promotion.
Kent Regional League Match - 40 overs per side
New Ash Green (3 pts) 134-9 (40 overs)
Hartley (19 pts) 137-2 (26.2 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 8 wickets
For the seconds it seems again to have been a case of hope, but not yet realisation. Mark Chapelhow was out early, but Dave Harley (14), Karl Bartlett (37) and Martin Ives (24) all made respectable scores, and there were no ducks as the rest of the team batted out the full forty overs to deprive Hartley of maximum points, but were not able to really score fast enough or build enough big innings to really make a challenging total.
There were again two early wickets, both for John Harley, and Derek Mole was again economical, but there was a shortage of bowling options to put pressure on the Hartley batsmen. Ryan Harley bowled a tidy spell, but no one else was able to make a breakthrough, and ultimately Hartley’s third wicket pair were able to cruise to victory relatively untroubled. Again, though, there was a feeling that the team were more in the game than they usually have been in recent seasons, and that with a little more experience for some of the newer players and a few more players available they should be able to start winning games at some point this season.
Friendly Match - Proper Cricket
Cobham 221-9 dec. (41.5 overs)
New Ash Green 162-6 (39 overs)
Cobham’s usually youthful Sunday second team looked as if they were mostly getting a little older and stronger, and given that they chose to bat first on winning the toss they obviously had some confidence in their ability. Nonetheless they initially had some difficulties, with John Harley and Dan Lewsey each having one caught behind by Dave Harley, both batsmen surprisingly having to be given from what looked very clear nicks. John Harley added three more, aided by good catches from Matt Bushe and Karl Bartlett, and with five wickets down it looked as if there might be an early finish. However the elder statesmen of the team in the middle order proved more adept and were soon hitting the bowling all round the ground, Martin Corden in particular striking some very good shots. Lewsey and Harley were both hit out of the attack, and Joe Elisak fared little better, the surprise package being Ryan Harley who managed to bowl his 6 overs for just 15 runs, the only bowler not to concede a boundary. At the other end Fernando did tighten things up a little, and made the breakthrough when he bowled Cobham’s skipper, but Corden continued to plunder runs as the tail were slowly whittled away. John Harley returned to take a fifth wicket, but with Corden approaching his century Cobham ended up batting on perhaps slightly longer than they might have done, declaring on 221-9 when he did reach three figures.“Do not go gentle into that good night,
An apposite quote for Matthew Quantrill, who’s increasing frustration at his inability to get his body to do what it once could turned briefly into rage as he was very well caught at gully to end a first wicket stand that had promised to make a good game of it. At the other end Mark Chapelhow looked in complete command, putting away bad balls much more consistently than Quantrill, and with support from Karl Bartlett and Joe Elisak, did make a good effort at getting New Ash Green into the game. Elisak lost patience against the very young and promising Josh Corden, swinging at a decent ball and being bowled, but Chapelhow reached his first fifty for the club, the third person to achieve that landmark in two Sunday games. Having reached the mark, though, he was bowled playing a tired shot and hopes of victory realistically rested with Fernando. There was plenty of potential support for him, but only he looked to have the firepower to make the necessary runs, and when he went for 14 the chances of victory probably went with him. Matt Bushe had played a few lovely drives, showing his scoring potential, before reverting to the more defensive role for which he is famous, as he and Dave Harley saw off a variety of bowlers, returning openers and joke bowlers alike, as Cobham tried to winkle them out. They ended up comfortably breaking the 7th wicket stand jinx (the combined total of all 7th wicket stands for New Ash Green this season until this one was not into double figures) and seeing New Ash Green to a comfortable, if slightly dull, draw.