Hartley build on success

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A well-drilled Hartley outfit took maximum points at Beckenham to keep them at the top of the Shepherd Neame Kent Premier Division.

Nicely crafted innings of 68 by Sam Billings and 51 by Charlie Hemphrey set a good platform for an aggressive 78 by Hilio De Abreu and led Hartley to a useful total of 269 for seven.

Beckenham’s batting disappointed and bar a determined 78 by Raza Ali Dar the others made little impression as they were bowled out for 187, David Thompson taking 3-25, the other wickets shared around.

Hartley's lead is now twelve points over Blackheath who also had a confortable 113 run win at Bickley Park. The Blackheath total of 240 for six owed much to a fine century by Mohammad Ashrafal, 102, with a few other batsmen chipping in with twenties.

Bickley conceded an expensive 33 extras. Dipayan Paul then returned figures of 3-15 from his ten overs as the Bickley batting floundered. Ben Leale-Green and Terry Howes both scored 30 but the rest failed as Blackheath cruised to victory, Bickley ending on 127.

Wayne Morgan raced to a fine 126 and with good support from David Smith 57 and an unbeaten 57 by Richard Clinton, Bromley posted a most impressive 312 for four from their 50 overs against Bexley at Manor Way.

Greg Bane responded well with an excellent 116 and Sandeep Bains reached 40 but the sizeable total required was to elude them. James Butterfill returned his second successive five wicket haul (5-41) as Bexley were bowled out for 243.

This win draws Bromley level on points with Beckenham who are in seventh place, both now just four points behind Bickley in sixth.

At Sevenoaks Vine, visitors Canterbury, seeking a fourth successive win, failed narrowly, losing a thrilling game by just four runs to maintain their challenge, just sixteen points off the top.

Canterbury invited their hosts to bat and John Bowden and Fabian Cowdrey set the Vine off to a fine start with a partnership of 129 when Bowden was dismissed for 49.

Cowdrey continued to his second century of the season, 102, steering the Vine to a final total of 247 for eight. A brave chase by Canterbury followed.

Paul Steer scored 59 and Dominic Chambers 51 as they set about their chase. They ended agonisingly four runs short with eight down. Canterbury are just eight points behind Bromley and Beckenham.

Tunbridge Wells have closed the gap to 18 points from safety with a much needed victory over their visitors Lordswood. Electing to bat Matt Greenwood 81 and Dan Masters 35 apart, Lordswood were in poor batting form.

Rob Ferley and Stephen Boyd took three wickets apiece and Lordswood will have been disappointed to be bowled out for 172 on a Nevill track. Alex Williams 58 and Gregor Patterson began the chase with a partnership of 111 and Patterson saw it through to the end, unbeaten on 69 as Tunbridge Wells romped home in the 29th over just two down.

Wins for Bromley and Tunbridge Wells make matters even tighter at the bottom of the table. Just 22 points separates the bottom five leaving much to play for over the last three weeks.