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No stopping Hockley for Hartley

Hartley increased their lead at the top of the table to 33 points as they thrashed second placed Bickley Park at Culvey Close.

Bickley invited their hosts to bat first and with the sun making a rare appearance, James Hockley and Dan Stickels made hay. Stickels raced to 53 whilst James Hockley continued the onslaught reaching a fine 122.

In the end, Bickley did well to restrict Hartley to 275 for seven. The total could have been higher had Dan Coles and Sam Billings been available for selection.

Bickley's response was lack lustre and they were toppled for just 94 thanks in large part to a fine spell of 7-64 by Dan Redwood. Whilst the half way stage has not quite been reached, Hartley are going to take some catching this season with the win/lose format just around the corner.

The mid table is cluttered with the next seven teams all within 21 points of each other. Bickley still lead this pack but the gap on them has closed to just one point as Blackheath leap up into third place after a comprehensive win over Sibton Park at the Rectory Field.

Skipper Chris Willets had little hesitation in electing to bat and Blackheath began well, Daniel Bell-Drummond leading the way. Chris Willets 28 and Aiden Blizzard 20 chipped in then Dipayan Paul, 45, built a useful partnership with Bell-Drummond as the total rose.

Paul departed with the score on 193, soon followed by Bell-Drummond, three short of a well-deserved century, and Blackheath ended on 241 for eight from their 55 overs.

Sibton Park made a solid start with an opening partnership of 54, Andy Allon, 40, but the introduction of Callum Haggett and James Hands caused a dreadful collapse.

Haggett bowled ten overs, eight of which were maidens and took 5-7 and Hands supported well with 3-18 as Sibton were reduced to 106 all out, losing all ten wickets for just 52 runs.

Lordswood end the day in fourth spot after victory in a high scoring game at Bexley. Bexley may rue their choice to ask their visitors to bat as Fabian Cowdrey opened up with a fine 144 and subsequently Lyndon Lockhart scored 104 as Lordswood piled on the runs.

Despite three wickets apiece for Min Patel and Jason Benn, Lordswood reached the formidable total of 318 for eight. Bexley lost three early wickets but Jimmy Peirson scored 100 and Mehdi Abbas 62 and Bexley gave chase.

With those two dismissed, the Bexley hopes disappeared as their lower order lost their way. Chris Piesley took 4-53 and Dan Masters 3-55 and Bexley ended on 247, a 71 run victory for Lordswood.

Wins for both Bromley, over Beckenham, and Sevenoaks Vine against Whitstable see both move away from the relegation spots and opens a 15 point gap to Beckenham who tumble to ninth.

Electing to bat at Plaistow Lane, Bromley, a depleted Beckenham batting line up struggled against the Bromley attack. Chris Isles made a useful 59 and Jason Bilmoria battled hard for an unbeaten 46 but the remainder of the Beckenham line up disappointed.

James Butterfill proved a handful and his 5-28 was a major factor in Beckenham being bowled out for 159. An opening blast of 6-26 by Will MacVicar had Bromley on the ropes at 35 for six and Beckenham would have hoped to win the game.

However two patient unbeaten innings of 42 by Miguel Barbosa and 65 from Nick Bluett saw Bromley home without further loss, and ten overs to spare. Bromley rise to seventh place.

Fifteen wickets tumbled for just 73 runs in an extraordinary low scoring game at Sevenoaks Vine. Whitstable chose to bat first but Tom Parsons ripped them apart returning excellent figures of 7-9 from 6.4 overs as Whitstable capitulated to 35 all out.

The Vine made heavy weather of the chase losing five wickets in reply. This win sends the Vine to eighth place, one point behind Bromley and fifteen points ahead of Beckenham, whilst Whitstable remain ten further points behind at the bottom.

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