Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
Leybourne (3 pts) 96-7 (46 overs)
New Ash Green (18 pts) 100-2 (27.2 overs)
New Ash Green won by 8 wickets
Another week, another opposition without an umpire, another slow wicket following rain and another chance to bowl first. Mick Sumner and Dan Lewsey again had the chance to pin the opposition down, and took it, bowling with good discipline, giving little away, but having little luck. It took 12 overs for the run rate to rise permanently above 1 an over, and ultimately 38 overs for it to get above 2 an over for the first time. However when there were edges and mis-hits they seemed to refuse to go to hand, or on several occasions were put down, though few were easy catches. In a slight role reversal it was Lewsey who had the least luck but was the most economical, taking 0-16 in his 12 overs, while Sumner picked up one when Leybourne skipper Nigel Bacon completely mis-timed an attempted pull and lobbed the ball up gently to Dan Lewsey. By the time the openers finished the score had advanced to only 43-1, but the batsmen found the change bowling of Vic and Andy Mayers not much easier to deal with, Vic in particular maintaining his miserly league form. It was Andy who struck first, though, when the need for runs tempted Tom Smith into trying to punch away a short ball and only finding Joe Elisak, safe as usual despite apparently not paying attention at the time. Vic Mayers quickly followed up with as plumb an LBW as you will ever see, and took his second when Chris Jones, who had been the beneficiary of most of the spurned chances, found a fielder who could catch when Mick Sumner leapt and plucked a smash down the ground out of the air in his favourite style. As the Mayers twins tired Ian Mellor took over from Andy and then Joe Elisak from Vic. Leybourne tried to launch an attack against Mellor, taking 14 from his first two overs, but they had to take risks to do so, and paid as he responded with 3 consecutive maidens, two of them wicket-maidens, while Elisak also picked up a wicket with a further catch each for the Sumner brothers. The fact that the final over was a wicket maiden pretty much summed up the innings, and in the end Leybourne couldn't quite muster 100, finishing on 96-7.
Whilst the wicket had had a lot of rain on it, so that the ball didn't come onto the bat and there was occasional variable bounce, the batting conditions were actually still reasonably good, and from the moment the fourth ball was dropped short and crashed over backward point for four New Ash Green were always ahead of the required rate. There was a brief setback when Ben Cooke, having looked very solid, was bowled for a duck in the fourth over, Leybourne's star bowler Matthew Webb starting by keeping the ball right up and straight. However Karl Bartlett joined Matthew Quantrill and immediately showed the benefit of making runs in the second team, looking full of confidence, particularly in attacking anything outside off. There were inevitably a few alarms – there was still too much juice in the wicket for the batsmen to have it completely easy - but only one more setback when Quantrill carelessly prodded a leg-side ball straight to the youngest fielder, who juggled it but held on at about the fifth attempt. Joe Elisak didn't look in his best form, but needed to do no more than stay out there as Bartlett continued to score freely, and in the end he cruised past his fifty and took New Ash Green to a comfortable 8 wicket win with nearly 20 overs to spare, the only disappointment being that no one got to see the eagerly anticipated return of Lee Saunders. Bartlett's rich vein of form carried him into the leading 25 run scorers in the whole league this season, and also in a single innings into the top 25 in the 1st team's division.
With Bexley having withdrawn from the league enough players wanted a weekend off to mean there were not enough numbers to be worth chasing a replacement fixture.
With both sides struggling for players, for various reasons, and the weather forecast dire, the game was called off on Saturday night.