Kent Regional League Match - 46 overs per side
Old Gravesendians (20 pts) 112-8 (46 overs)
New Ash Green (12 pts) 98 all out (35.3 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 14 runs
I can tell you that just outside the family party I was at on Saturday Warminster 4ths, despite a promising start, collapsed and were on their way to a good beating by Bradford-on-Avon 2nds, and had a wicket keeper who looked like he'd never seen a pair of gloves before, much less worn one, but for what happened in Kent I'm reliant on the scorecard and a bit of gossip. With both teams missing key batsmen it seems the bowlers were mostly on top. Pursuing their favourite tactics New Ash Green insert Old Gravesendians and the Micky & Dan show had them in big trouble. Mick Sumner was economical again – he has gone for 18, 19 and 17 in his three league spells this season – and picked up two wickets, and Dan Lewsey benefitted again as batsmen made the mistake of thinking he was the easy option, getting 4-22. From the low point of 47-6, though, Old Gravesendians recovered thanks to some apparently slack fielding and bowling in the second half of the innings, as New Ash Green's change bowlers for once failed to finish off the job the openers had started. Only two more wickets fell, and though Vic Mayers and Joe Elisak were also economical and Old Gravesendians hardly romped away their final total of 112-8 was better than it should have been.
All the same it was a total that should have been comfortably in reach, but the batting mostly misfired, and even those who got going got out without making a big score. James Gegg battled his way to 12, Joe Elisak continued his good form with the bat in making the high score of 22, Vic Mayers continued to look younger with every passing game on his way to 13, and a final flurry from Mick Sumner in making a brisk 18 promised a last hurrah, but he fell 14 runs short of the target, and the missing 11th man proved potentially expensive. Still even in defeat good bonus points were gained, and the feeling gained that it would take much worse performances than this to see New Ash Green in danger of relegation this season.
Kent Regional League Match - 40 overs per side
NatWest (20 pts) 283-8 (40 overs)
New Ash Green (4 pts) 152 all out (27.3 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 131 runs
It was unfortunate for the seconds that with a weak team they should come up against the league leaders on a good quality wicket and a hot day. The Nat West openers took advantage, both making hundreds, as a variety of bowlers tried to make a break through without success. Eventually it was the surprise package of Karl Bartlett who got the first wicket, and once that had fallen more tumbled, though perhaps more in the quest for quick runs at the end than because the batsmen were of much lower quality. Bartlett continued to take wickets, albeit at a cost, and ended with career best bowling figures (I am assuming!) of 4-75, whilst the skipper returned for a second spell to mop up a few wickets himself and finish with 4-47 from 8 overs.
In reply New Ash Green lost John Howland early, but Karl Bartlett and Olly Cooper carried on where they left off last week, making a brave stab at chasing the huge target. The fall of wickets isn't recorded, but it appears they didn't quite make a century stand this week, with Bartlett making 56 and Cooper a richly deserved maiden 50, having fallen just 2 short the previous week, ending up with 65. The remainder of the batting line up couldn't quite pick up the baton, though, and they ended up all out for 152, but scored at a good rate and still equal to their best performances last year. With luck there will be games in the next few weeks when they will have something close to a full strength line up, and should be a match for anyone in the division.
Friendly Match - Time Game
New Ash Green 145-6 dec. (39 overs)
Nurstead 149-3 (34.3 overs)
New Ash Green lost by 7 wickets
More difficulties with late drop outs on Sunday meant that even with the emergency addition of Felix Quantrill New Ash Green were again short, though ten was a step up on the 9 of the previous week. The stand in skipper, Joe Elisak, was unable to persuade Nurstead of the weakness of the side, and on losing the toss New Ash Green were asked to bat first. The Whatman brothers were the first of two pairs of opening bowler brothers for the day, and although they haven't got much quicker over the winter they have grown in consistency, and proved hard to get away. Martin Ives perished trying to do just that, and Dan Lewsey was beaten by one going down the slope in the same over. Matthew Quantrill and Joe Elisak were forced to consolidate thereafter, and with few risks were able to steady the ship but not pick up the run rate. The change bowling featured two bowlers who had not bowled for some time, giving some opportunities to pick up the pace, but they did mix in some reasonable balls, especially Alex Walker, and he made the breakthrough, having Elisak well caught at slip for his third score of 29 in 5 innings this season. Quantrill continued to try and lift the pace, but was bowled for 45 playing a half hearted drive, and whilst the Mayers played some good shots between them it was now too late to really lift the run rate. They both perished, for 24 and 20, and James Gegg and Matt Bushe could only push the score on to 145 at tea, which never felt like enough.
The Quantrill brothers, Edward and Felix, were not only the second pair of brothers to open the bowling in the match, they also had the unusual distinction of having opened the batting together last time they played Nurstead, having had to leave early that day. They both bowled reasonable spells, and neither was expensive, but with no pressure on them to score quickly the Nurstead openers were able to take their time and play mostly safely. There was a missed stumping chance off Edward Quantrill early on, which might have had a impact on the game, but instead they were able to carry on building serenely, taking no risks against Andy Mayers, and after two tidy overs from James Gegg taking his third over apart. It was the ever more sprightly Vic Mayers, off almost his full run, who put the brakes on. Christopher Whatman got to fifty in the streakiest of fashions when an edge just beat the keeper and went inside the slip, but next ball Mayers left nothing to chance, clipping the base of off stump. With Matt Bushe bowling well at the other end New Ash Green made sure Nurstead had to fight all the way. Bushe had Jon Beadle, the other opener, caught in the covers and Mayers forced Alex Walker to retire hurt with an inside edge onto his knee, and then got his second wicket, bowling Olly Wallace, much to the batsman's disgust, for a duck. Adam Whatman struggled for a bit, but Sam Walker (still on Chelsea's books as a goalkeeper) showed the talent of a professional sportsman with a few well timed shots, and when Joe Elisak gave himself a try Whatman, having scrambled off the mark, finished things off with three fours from his first three balls. A disappointing result, but a game played in good spirit and New Ash Green could be proud that they fought well and were never completely out of the game.