A day of scintillating cricket with mixed fortunes, upsets and some outstanding individual performances made for a memorable week in the Shepherd Name Kent Premier League.
To begin at Foxgrove Road, in a match which many of those who observed would describe as 'possibly the most exciting game of cricket I have even seen', Lordswood tied with Beckenham off the last ball of the match. Beckenham began cautiously against an excellent opening attack of Dan Masters and Adeel Hussain. They reached 67 when Chris Isles was dismissed for a well-made 37.
Alex Blake then began to accelerate the run rate with a rapid 56. James Evans made a valuable 53 but Beckenham rather fell away towards the end with the return of Masters and Hussain to head for tea with a modest total of 222 for six.Fabian Cowdrey departed off the first ball of the Lordswood reply to a spectacular slip catch by Alex Blake off the bowling of former test player Brent Arnel. Arnel then took three more wickets and just after the half way stage Lordswood looked down and out at 95 for seven. Skipper Lyndon Lockhart had other ideas. Supported well by Dan Masters, 23 they took the score to 159 when Masters departed to another extraordinary diving catch by Waheed Ali running in from deep mid-wicket.
Their 9th wicket followed soon after to leave Lordswood on 171 for nine, but still only requiring just under five per over. Lockhart was joined by James Murphy. Lockhart continued his excellent innings and Murphy supported him superbly, both batsmen playing sensibly, just pushing the ball around, running well between the wickets and putting away the bad balls.Come the start of the 55th over, Lordswood had gone from rank outsiders for much of the match to red hot favourites, now requiring just three runs for victory. Jonathan Darke returned for the final over. Murphy took one off the first ball, Lockhart pushed the next for another single. Scores level, four balls remaining. Darke then pulled off a superb stop following through. He then delivered two yorkers which Murphy could only dig out straight to the ring of close fielders. The final ball was another good yorker.
Murphy dug out but it went straight to short mid-wicket. They had to run and Murphy was narrowly run out at the bowlers end. Lockhart ended on a fine unbeaten 84 and the game ended in a tie.
A truly magnificent game and a second tie in consecutive weeks for Beckenham.
League leaders Hartley were toppled at home by visitors Sevenoaks Vine who had begun the day in ninth place.
Invited to bat, the Vine began well, openers Oliver Durell scoring 72 and Luke Blackaby 33, but the rest of the line-up fell apart as there were bowled out for just 168, James Hockley taking 4-35.Dan Stickels made a useful 58 in reply but the show was stolen by Tom Coldman as his 6-50 saw the Hartley batting to unusually fail as they collapsed to 145 all out to provide a 23 run victory for the Sevenoaks side and a much needed 20 points. At Bickley Park, the home side boosted their points tally, by also bagging 20 points at the expense of Blackheath, who had another dreadful batting collapse.
Electing to bat, Bickley made slow progress early on reaching just 91 for four off 43 overs their top order unable to score freely against Warren Lee and James Hands.
Chris Coulson made useful 38 but it was James Watson 40 not out and Phil Browning 32 not out who upped the tempo at the end to steer Bickley to 184 for six at the close. The Blackheath reply was dismal as Richard Horner 4-19 and Daniel Magin 4-25 ripped them apart, only one batman reaching double figures, top scoring with 12, as Blackheath imploded to be bowled out for just 51.At Manor Way, visitors Bromley invited their hosts to bat. The Bexley innings was built around the only century of the day, George Wells who made exactly 100 as Bexley meandered their way to close on 176 all out, James Butterfill took 3-11. Bromley also found batting conditions difficult and Miguel Barbosa, 52, apart, none could build a substantial innings and with Jason Benn taking 4-38 Bromley were all dismissed for 130 to suffer a 46 run loss. In the match between Whitstable and Sibton Park, Whitstable elected to bat at the Belmont and were bowled out for 153. SIbton Park knocked these off with just four down to secure 20 points and move second in the table.