Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
GHS Dartford (20 pts) 221-6 (46 overs)
New Ash Green (6 pts) 152 all out (42.4 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 69 runs
There is usually one day in a season where nothing seems to go right, and hopefully this was it. Already missing almost their entire first choice bowling attack and two top order batsmen New Ash Green were further hindered by the very late drop out of Sam MacNeill, leaving them unable to get a replacement player to the game and having to play with ten men. Add to this the revelation that the game was played on the back pitch at Bexley Park, several hundred yards away from the pavilion, changing rooms, water sources and any available seating and a hard day's work looked on. Olly Cooper and Fernando did a reasonable job at the start, but GHS's batsmen all looked to put bat to ball, and on a pitch where the ball was tending to stop the power approach was probably the most effective. Cooper took an early wicket, but nothing else quite went to hand despite the best efforts of the fielders. Paul Sumner kept some control in the middle overs, partnered by Joe Elisak, who was the pick of the bowlers, getting plenty of turn and being unlucky not to take more than the two wickets he did pick up. With wickets in hand GHS went on the attack as the opening bowlers came back for the end, and their figures suffered accordingly, particularly with one man missing in the field. They each picked up a wicket, ensuring all the bowlers had some reward for their efforts, and the fielders who were present continued to try their hardest despite the wilting humidity, outstanding catches by James Gegg and Karl Bartlett highlighting the fighting qualities of the side.
221 was considerably more that New Ash Green have conceded so far this season, but GHS have been involved in several high scoring games, suggesting their strength is in their batting, and it was soon evident this was the case. Matthew Quantrill and David Baker had little difficulty with the opening attack, forcing a number of rapid bowling changes. In the tenth over GHS turned to spin in the shape of Victor Singh, and when he fired his third ball way outside off stump for five wides the fifty partnership was brought up and the run chase looked very much on. This was not to be New Ash Green's day, though, and bad luck intervened again when Quantrill pulled a short ball but managed to catch it again in the stroke, the second contact taking all the pace off the shot and spooning it up to square leg. Baker and Karl Bartlett initially carried on solidly enough, but the introduction of a second spinner, Jasdeep Singh, saw the run rate slowly fall. Although neither spinner got anything like the turn Elisak had extracted the batsmen began to lose their heads slightly and a series of injudicious shots saw wickets begin to tumble. The two Singhs took 5-33 and 3-35 respectively, and it wasn't until the last wicket pair of Olly Cooper and Matt Bushe came together that some sort of sanity was restored. They saw off the spinners, and played resolutely, trying to see out the overs and notch up as many bonus points as possible. Their season leading ninth wicket stand of 35 eked out three bonus points, which may prove invaluable at the end of the season, and it was only a ball out of the setting sun which eventually ended their partnership, Cooper prodding blindly just getting an edge on it before it dribbled onto the stumps. Not a day to remember, but at least the fighting spirit in the field and the last wicket pair limited the damage, and the extra points garnered as a result may prove invaluable at the end of the season.
Kent Regional League Match - 40 overs per side
New Ash Green (4 pts) 40 all out (20 overa)
Blue Star (20 pts) 41-3 (10.5 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 7 wickets
Despite the numbers missing in the first team the second eleven were reasonably optimistic, with most of their regulars being available and the opposition being near the bottom of the league. Unfortunately the batting, which has not been setting the world on fire but has generally been solid enough, let them down today, failing to cope with gentle swing and accuracy. A collapse to 15-7 was slightly ameliorated by Derek Mole making 15, and Keith Bushell also got 8, but New Ash Green failed to test the depth of Blue Star's bowling, the last wicket falling to the last ball of the opening bowlers' spells.
Keith Bushell struck early, and took another wicket, then John Harley got one to provide some hope at 21-3, but the next pair saw out the innings comfortably enough to end the game after less than 31 overs. A day best forgotten for both sides – time instead to look forward with hope to next week, when both teams seem to have large numbers available and there is real hope that things should improve….
Friendly Match - 40 overs
Locksbottom 109 all out (28.4 overs)
New Ash Green 110-2 (27.1 overs)
New Ash Green won by 8 wickets
Having inserted Locksbottom on a hot day John Harley may have feared the worst as the opening pair looked sound and put away bad balls well, a full toss from Harley flying over fine leg for 6. Kieran Poole, in his first game of the season, looked tidy enough, and Harley himself recovered to remove both openers LBW, one probably a good enough decision, the other less convincing. The rest of the batting looked less secure, Harley getting the next two, but having to remove himself before he could get a fifth due to the agreed limit on bowlers. Dan Lewsey, having started with an awful full toss which was smashed for four, tightened up and ended up with 3-10, and with the home side reduced to 67-7 it was time to give youth a chance, eleven year old Felix Quantrill and ten year old Joe Chapelhow coming into the attack. If the batting side thought things would improve, though, they were mistaken – Quantrill's third ball bringing him his first adult wicket as the batsman tried to step inside and pull him, and was bowled round his legs. There was brief relief when Quantrill lost his bearings somewhat in his second over and bowled several wides, and Keith Custis launched some big hits at Chapelhow, but the youngsters struck back, with Quantrill getting a second wicket courtesy of a low catch clutched between his legs by Kieran Poole, and Chapelhow wrapping up the innings when the number 11 got a leading edge trying to flick him away on the leg side.
109 was a relatively small target, but the wicket was low and slow, and the game was still very much open. New Ash Green were greatly helped when Locksbottom's second bowler had an attack of the yips, allowing Joe Elisak to take several easy boundaries as well as picking up several wides. After this the batsmen didn't have it quite so easy, but despite one or two minor alarms Elisak and Mark Chapelhow mostly played with authority until Elisak went back to another youngster, 13 year old Tom Custis, and was pinned right in front of his stumps. With the usual solid support from Matt Bushe Chapelhow continued to bludgeon loose balls to the boundary, and reached his fifty before holing out. Michael Gallagher initially looked nervy, but then struck a good four through the covers to get off the mark for the season and was suddenly transformed into the very useful looking bat he had appeared to be in the nets in the winter, and he and Bushe saw the game home with little further difficulty.