Friendly Match - 40 overs per side
Farningham 187-7 (40 overs)
New Ash Green 161 all out (30.4 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 26 runss
Second game of the season, same opposition – good practice for the second team at least, as they start their league season with the same team two weeks running. As ever a full report or highlights, gossip and rumours from anyone actually present at the game are more than welcome, but in the meantime here are the bullet points, based purely on the score card. Joe Elisak won the toss and elected to bowl first. The captain was inspired in the field, with 3 catches and 2 run outs, and Dan Lewsey made a welcome debut with a miserly spell of 2-12 in 8 overs. A wide variety of other bowlers had mostly respectable figures until the end with no outstanding successes, and Farningham seem to have accelerated a bit at the end to reach 187-7 in their 40 overs.
In reply New Ash Green lost Mark Chapelhow early, but Fernando, given a chance to open, has fired his way to 64 with 9 fours and 3 sixes. He so dominated that the usually free scoring Martin Ives made only 4 in a partnership of 81 for the second wicket. Glen Freeman fired three fours in making 12 before getting out, and having reached 97-2 with plenty of time in hand New Ash Green looked good for the win. However a hideous middle order collapse saw them fold to 98-7, with three ducks. Elisak and Olly Cooper steadied the ship, making 38 for the 8th wicket, before getting out in quick succession. A stand of 20 for the last wicket, with ten overs still remaining, gave some hope, but John Harley couldn't hold out and the game ended in a 26 run defeat. Not a bad result, though, against a side who have only just been relegated from the Kent League, and will be playing in the Premier division of the Regional league this year, some three divisions above New Ash Green.
Friendly Match - 40 overs per side
New Ash Green 62 all out (15.4 overs)
Eynsford 64-3 (10.4 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 7 wickets
A gloriously sunny Easter Sunday saw New Ash Green making their first visit for many years to the picturesque riverside ground at Eynsford. With one of their strongest batting lines ups for some time John Harley persuaded Eynsford to bowl first, and Matthew Quantrill and Fernando set off with some confidence. By half way through the 4th over they had rattled up 25 with some ease, and Fernando had lost the match ball in the river. Then Fernando found a fielder in the covers, and the game was transformed. Quantrill gloved an attempted pull, Andy Mayers played on and even Scott McKechnie found a fielder in the covers, who juggled but held on. Numbers 4-7 managed 1 run between them, all of them getting out bowled. Sadly it wasn't that the bowling had improved, although Jack Atkins bowled more good balls as time went on, but mostly mistakes in the batting that left New Ash Green on 41-7. A bowling change came too late to bring much relief, although Mark Chapelhow struck some good blows to top score with 17 before being last out with the total on 62.
After an early and very pleasant tea New Ash Green took the field in the heat without the apparent enthusiasm needed to defend such a small total. A nine ball first over didn't help. Nor did Dan Lewsey's groin strain which caused him to retire after two overs, the last three balls of which had been struck straight down the ground for 14 runs. There was a moment's hope when the openers fell in successive balls, Reynolds miscuing John Harley, and then Honeygreen doing the same to Andy Mayer's first ball of the season. Mayers was unlucky not to pick up another when a nick behind didn't stick, but that aside New Ash Green had only one more consolation, and that possibly a little lucky when given an LBW which might perhaps have been going over the top. The game was wrapped up in less than 2 ˝ hours, including the extended tea break, and there seemed no appetite for a beer match of any sort, perhaps due to the sapping April heat. It was a disappointing result, but one that mustn't be allowed to put the dampeners on the early season enthusiasm.
Friendly Match - 40 overs per side
New Ash Green 296-3 (40 overs)
Eden Park 196 all out (35.1 overs)
New Ash Green won by 100 runs
From famine to feast – a very similar batting line up to that which had crashed so spectacularly on Sunday, similarly good conditions, though the pitch was perhaps less helpful to the batsmen, a bowling attack that was not substantially worse, but an utterly different result. There were probably two significant factors – the very short square boundaries, on the pavilion side in particular, and the inability of Eden Park’s fielders to hold on to chances offered. Following Sunday’s game Dan Lewsey had decided to bowl first, but his replacement as captain, Karl Bartlett, didn’t get the opportunity, losing the toss and being inserted. There was a slight re-shuffle at the top of the order, with Scott McKechnie opening with Matthew Quantrill, and Fernando dropping to number 3. After McKechnie played out a maiden and Quantrill pushed a single McKechnie ensured that Sunday’s game did have something in common with Monday's by getting off the mark with a six, finding a gap in the netting and losing the new ball in the second over, just as Fernando had done on Sunday. It was the first of numerous lost balls, as both batsmen deposited short balls over the short boundary into the bushes around the railway line, and McKechnie added a couple hit straight over the trees into the gardens for good measure. Various ball parties recovered numerous tennis balls and one or two cricket balls, as batsmen and bowlers had to regularly adjust to a variety of balls in varying states of repair. Neither batsman really looked in complete control, and there were some (mostly difficult) chances given and not taken, especially as the batsmen became more carefree later in the partnership, conscious of others waiting on the sidelines straining at the leash to get a bat. Eventually McKechnie reached his century, played a few trick shots and hit one high in the air where a fielder finally held onto a chance that was by no means the easiest that had been given. McKechnie left with 115 runs and 6 sixes to his name, and a partnership of 187. With his departure Quantrill accelerated, racing towards his own century before being cruelly cut short on 97 when LBW on the front foot, having made 5 sixes of his own. Fernando had found a fielder early in his innings, but Karl Bartlett, 36*, and Ross Mole, 18*, put on another 61 in the final 9 overs to take the total to an imposing 296-3.
Eden Park were certainly having no luck, as the second ball of John Harley’s first over bit into the pitch and looped off the hapless batsman’s gloves for a simple catch. They soon lost two more wickets to a father and son combination stumping for the Quantrills, and another bowled by Edward Quantrill, and then a fourth to a breathtaking catch by Scott McKechnie, who managed a staggering leap to get a hand to a ball that seemed clearly over him, giving Michael Gallagher a first wicket for the club. They had something of a revival for the fifth wicket, with wicket keeper Wayne Dowding being particularly aggressive and making 53, but they were always behind the required rate, and inevitably wickets started to fall again. Derek Mole picked up two wickets on his first bowl for the club, and Joe Elisak and Andy Harrington mopped up the rest of the wickets. Eden Park never stopped trying, and were particularly adept at playing shots to the short boundary, where John Harley had a torrid time, but with such a huge score on the board New Ash Green never really had any concerns and ended up with, probably, a 100 run victory. I say probably because the Eden Park scorebook was, to put it mildly, all over the place, and John Harley’s best efforts to add the scores up came to a variety of different conclusions, but 196 had a nice round feel to it, so that was the total settled on.