Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
Gravesend (20 pts) 187-8 (46 overs)
New Ash Green (9 pts) 138 all out (43 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 49 runs
Once again as the only team with an umpire New Ash Green had the choice of what to do first, and with the overnight rain adding some spice to the pitch they again decided to bowl first. It was soon obvious that for the first time for a while they were going to be up against batsmen who weren't intimidated by Micky Sumner, but after going for 9 in his first over Sumner responded well, tightening up and beating the bat on numerous occasions, but as so often with no luck. Dan Lewsey was revelling in the conditions, bowling at the end where the bounce off a length was distinctly variable throughout the match. He bowled almost immaculately, varying his pace and flight well, and picked up three wickets, which could have been more with better luck and sharper catching. At the halfway stage Gravesend were under pressure, but had managed to lose only three wickets, and they were able to raise the pace a bit, and take a few risks. Unfortunately for New Ash Green in a week where Paul Sumner was away Vic Mayers had pulled a muscle early on in the innings and wasn't fit to bowl, which left the burden of bowling through the second half of the innings on the captain and vice-captain. Joe Elisak responded with possibly his best spell of the season, taking the next three wickets and reducing Gravesend to 112-6, but they had enough depth to keep pushing on, and Andy Mayers, though working manfully, couldn't avoid the occasional loose ball which the batsmen pounced on gleefully. He did pick up two wickets, including a beauty to bowl Huelin who had been controversially not given out run out when he seemed a long way short of his ground, but the final total ended up as a more than respectable 187-8 thanks to a very vigorous 9th wicket stand of 24 in the last couple of overs.
Facing their most challenging target for some time, New Ash Green also faced faster bowling than they had for some time, but Simran Singh, though quick, did little with the ball and was easily seen off. At the other end Bilal Farooq, though much more medium pace, was more of a handful as he moved the ball in, and he soon accounted for Andy Mayers, adjudged LBW to one that cut in to him. First Glen Freeman and then David Baker kept Matthew Quantrill company in stands that were steady and seemed to be setting the foundation for acceleration, but each partnership was ended just as they seemed to be settled. With Gravesend having now turned to the slow pace of Lee Culpeck New Ash Green tried sending in Micky Sumner, usually one who likes to have a go at the slower bowlers, and luckily enough Gravesend immediately brought on a second spinner. Unfortunately, though, the ploy failed when Sumner played back and was bowled off his pads for a duck by one that hurried through. Dean Freeman also kept Quantrill company, and the game still seemed in the balance as Quantrill passed his half century with a six pulled into the road, but soon afterwards he dragged a lofted straight drive into the hands of deep mid-wicket, and 91-4 quickly became 93-8 as Freeman prodded on to cover and James Gegg and Joe Elisak were both bowled. With the game lost and no bonus points yet secured things were looking grim for New Ash Green, but some pride was restored by a remarkable 9th wicket stand between Vic Mayers, and his brother Rudi, visiting from Leeds for the weekend and playing his first game in 10 years. Perhaps it was that that gave him the freedom to play without restraint, but he swung the bat merrily, and spoiled both the slow bowlers figures before they were replaced. Gravesend showed considerable depth with a more than useful 7th bowler in Collard, but were also forced to return to the pace of Chand, and eventually it was he who ended the stand at 40, Rudi Mayers having made 29 at a run a ball. Dan Lewsey maintained his record of not scoring a run the season, but managed to stay with Vic Mayers long enough for another five runs to be scored and a fifth bonus point gleaned before he was beaten for pace by Chand and the game ended in a disappointing 49 runs defeat. Nonetheless although Gravesend were deserved winners on the day New Ash Green can take comfort from the fact that they didn't look outclassed in the way they did in many of their games in this division two years ago, and can still feel they clearly belong at this level.
Kent Regional League Match - 40 overs per side
Sidcup (17 pts) 199-6 (40 overs)
New Ash Green (8 pts) 153-5 (40 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 46 runs
For the second eleven it was another slightly frustrating day – but the very fact they might find it frustrating is a sign of their progress even in defeat. Having an umpire in the form of the injured Dave Harley they were able to put Sidcup in to bat. Again no one batsman was able to get away from them, but they couldn't quite keep the total down as low as they would have liked, with a few catches going begging. Derek Mole led the way with 3-31 in his first league game of the season, and there were wickets also for Kieran Poole, Ryan Harley and Edward Quantrill, with Harley being the most economical of the bunch. The final total was kept under 200, something that in the past would have made even bonus points virtually out of reach, but after the performances of the last couple of weeks no one was giving up hope.
Chris Bartram and Olly Cooper opened the innings and got New Ash Green off to a solid start, and after Cooper had gone for 16 and Kieran Poole (needing to leave early) and Derek Mole had come and gone, the man in form, Karl Bartlett, joined Bartram. They were never quite up with the rate, but again gave the innings a good base, Bartram falling just short of his half century on 48 and Bartlett eventually caught for 25, making him the division's leading run scorer. From 104-5 things might normally have been expected to fall away, but instead an unbeaten partnership of 49 ensured that more bonus points were gained, with Matt Bushe unbeaten on 24 and Ryan Harley completing a very good day with his highest ever score of 28 not out to be New Ash Green's man of the match. Given how many people were missing this was another hugely encouraging display, and with this level of performance wins will surely follow sooner rather than later.