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Bexley and Hartley turn the screws

Bexley retained the top spot in the Shepherd Neame Kent Premier League with a narrow five point lead over Hartley.

But there is now a fifteen point gap between the leading two teams and the mid table pack of Bickley Park, Beckenham, and Lordswood, who have closed the gap on Sibton Park in third place to five points.

Whitstable invited their hosts Bexley to bat first at Manor Way. With useful contributions of 61 by George Wells, Adam Ball 59, and 50 from Sandeep Bains, Bexley reached 235 for nine at the half way stage, Max Campbell returning the best figures for Whitstable of 4-63.

Campbell was also in form with the bat as Whitstable gave chase, his 72 providing Whitstable with a good base, reaching 80 without loss. However with Jason Benn and Maruf Chowdhury taking three wickets apiece, the latter Whitstable batting disappointed as they were prized out for 192 in the 49th over to provide a 43 run victory for Bexley.

Hartley are breathing down Bexley's neck after securing a 72 run victory over Bromley. Hartley had little hesitation in electing to bat first and with Sam Billings in sparkling form with a fine unbeaten 124 well supported by James Hockley 74 and James Thompson 55, Hartley amassed 295 for five from their 55 overs.

Charlie Walker made 48 in reply, but no one was able to build an innings of real substance for Bromley as they ended on 223 all out in the 50th over.

Chris Isles made a useful 67, Jason Bilimoria 44 and Johan Malcolm 36 as Beckenham were bowled out for 218 at Sibton Park, Steven Rowe and Michael James both taking three wickets.

This was to prove 81 runs too many for the home side as with Brent Arnel taking 3-29 and the other wickets shared around, Sibton Park were bowled out for 137 with nine overs remaining, earning twenty valuable points for Beckenham.

An important twenty points were also secured by Bickley Park as the visited Sevenoaks Vine. The visitors were invited to bat and a batted steadily through their innings to reach 216 for eight at tea.

Skipper Karl Pearson returned the best figures taking 4-36. The Vine set off well, reaching 70 without loss but then paceman Dan Magin took control with 5-55 as the Vine began to lose wickets at regular intervals with 100 for four becoming 137 for seven as the Vine batting fell away, Oliver Durrel with 55, the main contributor.

They were finally all dismissed for 184 with victory secured for Bickley by 32 runs.

Lorsdswood were also victorious and took twenty points at the expense of their hosts Blackheath. Chris Willets made a useful 60 and Blackheath set their visitors 214 to chase. Chris Piesley replied with a knock of 80 as Lordswood crossed the line with five wickets and six overs in hand.

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