Blackheath's tail spares blushes
A lively seventh wicket partnership between Dipayan Paul and Mehdi Abba pulled leaders Blackheath out of trouble and towards victory against visitors Bickley Park in the Shepherd Neame Kent Premier League.
Bickley Park invited Blackheath to bat and despite 42 from Tom Slater and 35 by Jamal Patterson, their innings was in the balance at 123 for six when a century partnership between Paul (67 not out) and Abba (53) set them back on track.
With some powerful hitting towards the end, this took Blackheath to 254 for seven at the close. James Lincoln, returning from a hamstring injury, was the pick of the Bickley bowlers with 3-50.
A spirited 100 by Ben Fulton was the real highlight of the Bickley reply, but with Warren Lee taking 4-42, wickets were falling around him at regular intervals.
Bickley were bowled out for 210 with just over two overs remaining to provide Blackheath with 20 points to retain their two point lead at the top of the table.
Sevenoaks Vine also continued their winning ways with a comfortable six wicket victory at Polo Farm over Canterbury. The Canterbury innings never got going, with wickets falling at regular intervals.
Dominic Chambers scored 32 and Luke Samarasinghe 26 but received little support and battled through their full 55 overs ending on 136 for nine. The Vine shared the wickets around, Fabian Cowdrey the most successful with 3-22.
The young Kent all-rounder then notched up an unbeaten 75 as the Sevenoaks side moved towards their target, reaching it in the 47th over with six wickets in hand.
Having had three of their previous five matches abandoned, and after sterling efforts to mop up, after more unwelcome rain in the week, Hartley defeated visitors Beckenham by seven wickets in a match reduced to 90 overs.
After winning an important toss, Hartley invited Beckenham to bat in bowler friendly conditions. Such conditions are ideal for the evergreen Andy Tutt and he is one of the best at using them to the full.
His fine figures of 5-45 and those of James Thompson 4-22 left Beckenham in disarray and their total of 90 was unlikely to be defendable. Only Chris Isles, with 33, scored runs worthy of mention.
Despite an early stutter, losing three wickets with just 25 on the board, Charlie Hemphrey 38 and James Thompson 31, both unbeaten, steered Hartley home with some aggressive stroke play.
At 50 for six, Lordswood looked in considerable trouble at Martin Grove against their visitors Tunbridge Wells.
Sussex's Amjad Khan then saved the day with a well constructed 57 sharing two fifty run partnerships, first with Nathan Vernon 38 and latterly with John Williams, 24, to steer Lordswood to a final total of 179.
An excellent spell of 5-16 by Matt Greenwood ripped through the Tunbridge Wells top order, with only Gregor Patterson, 21, offering much resistance. Unlike Lordswood, Tunbridge Wells could not recover from 69 for six. Richard Cutts made 33 but on the first ball of the 35th over, the final wicket fell to reward Lordswood with 20 points.
In the final game of the round, Bexley narrowly failed to beat Bromley in a tense game, with Bexley ending with a winning draw.
Only Adam Ball, 59, and George Wells, 39, showed form against a lively spell from Wayne Morgan, 5-42 and the spin of James Butterfill 3-48, as Bexley were bowled out for 192, providing an extra four extra overs for Bromley to reach the target.
As it turned out, it was an extra four overs for Bromley to survive. At 121 for one, Bromley looked strong favourites but the loss of James Butterfill 41 and shortly thereafter Miguel Barbosa for 70 led to a dramatic collapse as Adam Ball (4-45) tore through the middle order.
At 161 for nine Bexley were close to victory but Bromley safely negotiated the last few overs.