Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
New Ifield (4 pts) 81 all out (37 overs)
New Ash Green (20 pts) 83-3 all out (27.5 overs)
New Ash Green won by 7 wickets
Keith Bushell may have been the most vital man in the NAG squad for this game, as a damp grassy and under-rolled wicket meant that winning the toss, which was a given when New Ifield didn't have an umpire, was a huge advantage. The bowlers still had to exploit that advantage, though, and with Micky Sumner his usual accurate self and Dan Lewsey in his element in these conditions they did just that against a decent batting line up. Neither gave much away, and although the batsmen started off resolute the pressure eventually told as very few runs were given to them and they had to try and manufacture attacking shots to lift the run rate above one an over. Lewsey got the breakthrough with one that popped and was gloved to Dean Freeman at slip, and got the next when an attempted drive was dragged to Paul Sumner at mid on. Mick Sumner finally got the wicket his bowling has deserved with a short ball pulled straight to James Gegg at square leg. Reju Joy played two of the best timed shots of the game in a brief counter-attack, but it was a style that could never last on this wicket and he soon spooned up a simple catch to Joe Elisak attempting a repeat, much to Lewsey's delight. Vic Mayers started with two wides, and threw in another three in his five overs, but that was something New Ash Green could live with when he only went for 3 runs off the bat, and he got the next wicket after a stubborn partnership between the Walker brothers had started to drag New Ifield back into the game. Almost immediately after that the remaining Walker made an ill judged decision to run for a misfield as a lob back to the bowler from Andy Mayers went over Joe Eilsak's head, but not far enough away for the run – Elisak recovered it and threw the stumps down with Walker yards away from safety. Elisak was not enjoying as much success with his bowling – although there was turn in the wicket it was so slow that the spinners had no room for error, and the spinners on both sides ended up as comfortably the most expensive bowlers. Vic Mayers was replaced by Ian Mellor on his first team debut, and after his customary short ball first up was pulled for 4 he came back with a vengeance, wrapping up the innings with another LBW, a catch for Paul Sumner at mid on and a well pitched up Yorker that dribbled through the batsman's guard and onto the stumps, leaving Mellor with 3-6 and on a hat trick that he would have to wait for, as there was no number 11.
The collapse caught the tea makers off guard and New Ash Green were forced to go out and bat for what turned out to be three overs before tea, something their openers could have done without. However although the conditions were no easier the New Ifield bowlers never put the same pressure on that New Ash Green's had done, and New Ash Green got to 17 in those three overs, a total that had taken New Ifield 13 overs to reach. After tea Matthew Quantrill and Glen Freeman continued to build a solid first wicket partnership. In these conditions it could never be completely comfortable, and there were always going to be the odd danger moments, but they were never put under the same pressure that New Ifield's batsmen had been and there was a lot less playing and missing as they built up a fifty partnership. In the end it was ironically one of the poorer balls that David Homewood bowled that got the wicket, a short wide one staying a bit low and just touching the under edge of Quantrill's bat as he looked to run it away. There followed a little bit of a wobble as Freeman followed for the top score of 26 and James Gegg, having got off the mark for the season was fooled by a slower ball and bowled, but with lots of batting left, the biggest danger man bowled out and more than two thirds of the necessary runs already in the bank it was never going to be a serious problem for New Ash Green and Dean Freeman and Paul Sumner saw them home with some comfort to a seven wicket win.
Kent Regional League Match - 40 overs per side
Old Elthamians (16 pts) 191-6 (40 overs)
New Ash Green (10 pts) 163-3 (40 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 28 runs
The work done on the wicket in the last few years showed its worth in this remarkably high scoring game. Having looked as if they might have a very strong bowling attack earlier in the week the seconds lost a couple of key members late in the day, and ended up playing with ten in order to have an umpire and guarantee winning the toss. All the bowlers were steady, with Olly Cooper getting the first wicket and Ryan Harley getting the opposition captain, but it was Ashley Woodward who was the star of the show taking 4-36. Nonetheless all the batsmen managed to make a contribution and carried the total to a seemingly impregnable 191, far more than the second team's highest score last season.
Karl Bartlett, as stand in captain, had other ideas though. After the loss of Martin Ives he and Olly Cooper took the fight to Old Elthamians, playing and running aggressively. They rode their luck on the way to a stand of 112 for the second wicket, the first century stand of the season, and the first for the second team for several years. They were making the six an over they needed and a tight finish looked to be on the cards before Bartlett was caught for 70, and the lack of experience in the middle order showed as the run rate tailed off. Cooper was bowled for 48, sadly just short of a well deserved half century and although James Turner and Matt Bushe remained unbeaten and notched up another bonus point they ended up falling short of a stunning victory. It was, though, a triumph in many ways, raising hopes that this team can remain competitive in this division and be able to enjoy some good games even if not in line for promotion. And of course there remains the mystery of Old Elthamians youngest player, who looked and was said to be 12, but now appears on the score card as someone who played under 13s cricket as long ago as 2006, when he must have been a prodigy indeed….there may yet be a twist in this tale.
Friendly Match - Time Game
New Ash Green 132-7 dec. (42 overs)
Cobham 133-2 (26.4 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 8 wickets
Chaotic preparation is rarely the recipe for a good performance, and New Ash Green's preparation was certainly chaotic. Several times they thought they had an eleven, but the combination of John Howland's neck, Matt Lemon's inability to remember saying yes and Dan Lewsey's forgetting to ask Ryan McKivett to play meant that despite gaining Michael Gallagher on the morning they still only had nine. Worse than that three of the nine were in one car, and were still in Sevenoaks as the start time approached. Having only six players on the ground at the start of the game dictated the shape of the game – New Ash Green were left with little choice but to bat first, the prospect of fielding with six men for half an hour not appealing to those who were there. Matthew Quantrill and Matt Bushe went out with the express intention of batting until the remainder of the team arrived, and in that they were successful, surviving with few difficulties on a wicket where the bounce was low but otherwise even. They were able to get value for their shots when the bowlers did stray, but that wasn't often, and eventually when they had added 56 Bushe was caught in the covers looking to push the run rate along. David Baker looked in good touch, and for a while as the total approached 100 with still only one wicket down it looked as if New Ash Green might push on to a respectable score. However Quantrill having reached his fifty succumbed to a tame dab to gully, and Baker was caught on the boundary for 33, and none of the rest could get the tight bowling away especially from Foster who bowled a marathon 15 over spell to take 5-42. Vic Mayers had been lured from baby sitting duties to put pads on and be ready to be an emergency number 10 but in the end he wasn't needed.
132 wasn't a bad score with the wicket staying low, so that run scoring was difficult from accurate bowling, but with only nine men leaving big gaps in the field none of the bowlers were really able to keep things tight enough to build pressure. Ian Mellor avoided his customary short ball to start, but struggling with a badly bruised toe picked up batting he was not at his most consistent, though still the pick of the bowlers. James Gegg had a good spell at the other end, and was followed by Michael Gallagher, having his first outdoor bowl for nearly two years. That is what friendly games are for, and there were flashes of excellence, with some good balls, but with so few runs to play with a few too many where the rust showed. Nonetheless he did take the first wicket, inducing a leading edge and taking the return catch himself, and got more consistent as his spell wore on, doing enough to suggest that a bit more practice might make a decent bowler of him. At the other end David Baker replaced Mellor and also had some excellent balls, getting more swing than anyone else had managed in the match. He got the second wicket, to a catch in the covers by Andy Mayers, and Mayers came on for a spell and caused the batsmen enough concern that they wanted to avoid him, though it was all too little too late by then, Cobham cruising to a comfortable win.