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Thompson steers Hartley home

Hartley retained the top spot of the Shepherd Neame Kent Premier League after a thrilling one wicket victory at Lordswood while Bickley Park become their closest challengers after a resounding victory over Beckenham.

Wins for Blackheath, Bromley and Sibton Park changed the bottom of the table with the four bottom clubs now separated by just nine points.

Hartley invited their hosts Lordswood to bat first at Martin Grove and at 127 for three, thanks to a useful 53 by Lyndon Lockhart, Lordswood looked set to post a decent total.

However, Charlie Hemphrey 4-47 and Jack Laraman 3-20 skittled their lower order and with seven wickets falling for just 35 runs Lordswood were bowled out for 162, which was disappointing after such a promising start.

Dan Masters and Matt Greenwood then both took three wickets apiece as Lordswood made Hartley fight every inch of the way. At 104 for six the match was finely balanced, but James Thompson dug in at one end.

Jake Hutson, 24, helped move the total onto 141 for seven and fortunately for Hartley, Thompson stayed till the end making 59 not out, and with support, from his lower order steered Hartley home to win by the narrowest margin of one wicket.

There was another nail-biting finish down at Sibton Park, where the hosts beat Sevenoaks Vine by two runs. In a game reduced to 70 overs, Karl Pearson elected to field first.

Tim Bishop and Andy Allon set off in good style posting 75 for the first wicket when Bishop departed for 34. Allon continued to his 50 but the rest of the Sibton batting was a little disappointing as they meandered their way to 140 for seven from their 35 overs.

In reply, the Vine lost wickets at regular intervals. John Bowden scored 33 and Ollie Howick looked set to steer the visitors home, but when he departed for 35 with the Vine now five down, the tide began to turn and Sibton were back in the hunt.

Michel James and Jake Benfield both too three wickets as the Vine edged towards the target, but with three balls remaining, Benfield trapped Tom Parsons, with the Vine three runs away from victory.

An astonishing recovery by Bickley Park earned them a well-deserved victory as they travelled to local rivals Beckenham. At 73 for five after 30 odd overs, Bickley looked in some trouble.

When the next wicket fell, James Watson departing for a well-made 40 the score was still only 119 and Beckenham looked set to be chasing a modest total when Phil Browning joined a watchful Dan Magin.

They began to up the tempo, but no one expected what was to follow.

Magin moved to a measured 50 then cut loose blasting a further 44 from his next 16 balls. Browning meanwhile moved rapidly onto 35.

Magin blasted Brent Arnel for a massive six over long on to reach his well-earned century in the final over, Bickley closing on 246 for six, having taken 87 runs from the last five overs and gaining all the momentum from the game.

Beckenham struggled in reply, only Johan Malcolm with 65 giving Beckenham a glimmer of hope. Nayan Doshi and Phil Browning took three wickets each as Beckenham began to battle for a draw.

The final Beckenham pair took off for an unnecessary single off the final ball of the 54th over and Bickley accepted an easy run out chance with delight and bagged the full 20 points.

Blackheath's batsmen at last found some form and gained a resounding win over visitors Bexley. Skipper Chris Willetts led the way with 85, Aiden Blizzard scored 79 and Dipayan Paul 55 as Blackheath amassed 299 for seven.

Warne Lee tore through the Bexley line up and his 5-21 with good support from Jahid Ahmed 3-27 saw Bexley tumble to 109 all out in the 28th over and a heavy defeat of 190 runs.

Bromley found the batting conditions at Whitstable to their liking as they notched up the highest total of the day. Invited to bat, Wayne Morgan scored a fine 126 and with good support from Miguel Barbosa 51 and Charlie Walker 45, Bromley chose to declare at 311 for eight after 52 overs.

Whitstable found Dominic Read a handful and his 5-66 was match winning performance. Despite an unbeaten 66 by Piers Richardson and 49 from Sam Denly, Whitstable were bowled out for 221, Bromley thus winning by 90 runs.

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