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Adam Ball - Bexley

Adam Ball (Bexley CC & England U19) plays a straight drive past bowler Ejaz Khan in their win over Gidea Park & Romford

Horsham in West Sussex saw two notable results in the first round of the ECB National Club Championship as Horsham CC knocked out 2009 runners-up Spencer CC - while near neighbours Roffey CC recorded a famous victory over Surrey Championship side Wimbledon CC.

Spencer were bowled out for 157 after their trip to Sussex, and opener Craig Gallagher (85 not out off 54 balls) led the home side’s charge to victory as they only needed 19 overs to romp home with seven wickets in hand.

Wimbledon travelled to Sussex Cricket League Division 2 Roffey on the north side of town for what proved to be a remarkable tie in Group 15, and were invited to bat by the hosts.

The visitors were quite happy with their total of 300 for seven, built around Steven Hobson’s 90 – especially as they had an early scare when reduced to 57 for three. Roffey made a good fist of their run-chase with contributions from all their batsmen - the lowest score from the top eight was 21.

From 251 for five a flurry of wickets fell and at 274 for nine Roffey’s backs were against the wall. Mark Pavlovic (21 not out) was joined by last man Luke Barnard and as they inched towards their target there was high drama as Wimbledon did not complete their overs in time and had a six-run penalty imposed.

This tardiness by the fielding side proved crucial as Roffey scrambled home on the last ball of the match by one wicket.

The majority of the matches in the first round were played on Sunday May 16. Some though were hit by rain, particularly in north London and Essex. Most frustrating experience would have been South Woodford’s visit to Enfield, where the home side won the toss and invited South Woodford to bat. To say the guests needed no second invitation would be an understatement as they scored a massive 371 for four in their 45 overs – and then saw it pur down.

Chester-le-Street, the current holders, have the only bye in the competition and will travel to South Northumberland to start the defence of their title on June 6. South North eased past Richmondshire by a margin of eight wickets.

There were some thrilling matches up and down the country. Scarborough hosted Blaydon and the home side got off to a great start with opener Andy Simpson batting through the innings and amassing 141 not out off 131 balls with 14 boundaries and three maximums.

The Scarborough innings closed on 236 for four. Blaydon then looked dead and buried when their reply had stuttered to 76 for five. But Graeme Bridge (59) and Sumit Puri (76) added 102 for the next wicket.

When Blaydon started the last over with scores level and two wickets in hand it looked all over – then more drama as four dot balls were followed by a run-out which meant that it all came down to the last ball. Gary Stewart batting at 10 then, in the words of the Blaydon correspondent, ‘smoked one over cover for a first bounce four’ to win the match. Simpson had followed up his great innings by taking 4-49 and still finished on the losing side.

In Group 14, Bexley saw off Gidea Park & Romford on run rate after rain forced an early finish. Bexley won the toss and batted first, and the Bexley batsmen started off at a good rate of over five runs an over.

George Wells - Bexley

George Wells (Bexley) hits Donovan Miller to the leg-side boundary on his way to a commanding century (106)

However, when Adam Ball and Alex Pinnock were out with in quick succession the score stood at 63 for four. George Wells was then joined by Paul Sheddon who started brightly including an enormous six over the groundsman’s shed.

Sheddon flattered to deceive and departed for 14. Gidea Park felt they were back in the match with the hosts now on 90 for five. Gavin Pointer came to the crease and provided the support Wells was looking for. Both batsmen played an array of attacking strokes as Wells charged to a very impressive century.

The pair put on 146 before Wells eventually departed with the score on 236. Adam Riley was out in identical fashion very next ball, bowled by Muazzam Ali. The final five wickets fell for 51 as Bexley were dismissed for 287. Pick of the Gidea Park attack was left-arm opening bowler Donovan Miller, who finished with 3-36.

As the players came off it started to rain and although the Gidea Park innings started with a full compliment of overs available the rain brought an end to proceedings after 27.1 overs. At this stage the visitors had struggled to 100 for seven and were comfortably beaten on run rate.

In Group 3, Wollaton hosted Ilkeston Rutland. The host side won the toss and batted first and openers Suman Shrestha (129 not out) and Ian Dodd (113 not out) enjoyed an unbroken partnership of 268 – it would have been interesting to know the thoughts of Scott Elstone, who sat padded up waiting to go in at three for 45 overs and never got the chance.

Elstone did get the chance to turn his arm over in the Ilkeston innings where the visitors never really threatened the hosts score as wickets fell too regularly; and they were eventually dismissed in 40.2 overs for 209.

Group 16 saw a thrilling match at Horntye Park in Hastings where Hartley were the visitors. Hastings & St Leonards Priory batted first after winning the toss and with Jason and Harry Finch scoring 40 and 75 apiece compiled a total of 232 for nine. Darrell Carter (4-37) was the pick of the Kent club’s bowlers.

Hartley, with Paul Underwood (71) and James Thompson (52) leading the way, made steady progress towards their target but with wickets regularly falling it was a tight affair. The decisive innings came from Daniel Redwood batting at nine who scored 26 to allow his side to scrape home by one wicket in a tense finish.

In a rain-affected game Cheam scored 173 for eight at home to Lordswood. The visitors, given a reduced target of 140 in 37 overs knocked off the runs required for the loss of four wickets in only 15 overs! Watch out for them in Twenty20 cricket.

Teenager Adam Hose cracked an undefeated 129 as Ventnor swept into the second round with a nine-wicket win over Fareham & Crofton. Hose hit five sixes and 11 fours in his 129 and shared a double-century partnership with Neil Westhorpe (52 not out).

Fareham produced a plucky display with the bat, Kevin Light hitting 98 not out and Bob Marchant 57 in a boundary-strewn unbroken 116 seventh-wicket stand. But Fareham’s 221 for six was easily within Ventnor’s compass.

The Islanders will now visit Havant in round two – the reigning Southern Electric Premier League champions having received a walkover against Fair Oak, who withdrew. Also through without bowling a single ball are Bashley (Rydal), whose first round opponents Falkland also pulled out.

Bashley now face the might of Surrey Championship club Weybridge on June 6.