Hartley play out with win

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League Champions Hartley completed their season with a comprehensive win at Lordswood with victory by 10 wickets, but it was the three games involving the sides fighting to avoid relegation that stole the limelight on Saturday.

Bickley required seven points to be safe if both Tunbridge Wells and Canterbury were to win. They managed only six and had an agonising half hour at the conclusion of their game listening to live ball by ball commentary, of perhaps the match of the season, provided by the author, kindly fed by mobile phone from Steve Crawley at the Nevill.

Daniel Bell Drummond blasted an impressive unbeaten run a ball 129 and with 55 by Joe Kerridge and 41 not out from Warren Lee, Blackheath set Tunbridge Wells the stiff challenge of chasing 271 as it turned out, to retain their Premier status.

Chris Williams departed for 40 with to leave the score at 141 for four with 20 overs remaining, when Rob Ferley joined Will Stickler, who had just reached his fifty. The two of them kept the scoreboard ticking but with 10 overs to go, Tunbridge Wells still required 80 for victory. The pair continued and reached 224 at the end of the 44th over, now 47 required off 36 balls and the match finely balanced.

Warren Lee returned to the attack and dismissed Ferley for 43 with the score on 242, just 29 to win. A run out followed and then Lee also accounted for Stickler who had made a fine 115 with the score on 250.

It was left to Simon Routh to guide Tunbridge Wells home. Ten were required of the last over, then down to four of the last ball. Silence fell in the Bickley camp as Jahid Ahmed bowled the final delivery. Routh returned a catch to the bowler. A spectacular advertisement for cricket but a cruel end for Routh and Tunbridge Wells.

Thus, despite a win for Canterbury, Bickley Park were safe. They invited Beckenham to bat first at Foxgrove Road. A fine maiden Premier century by Raza Ali Dar, 115, and 47 by Adam Senn saw Beckenham to a par total of 232 for eight, Julian Ramsay taking 4-52.

This provided Bickley with only three bowling points so they must reach 225 for maximum batting points to be sure of safety. James Lincoln scored a fine 51, Chris Coulson 35 and Julian Ramsay 28, but none went on to bigger things and they closed on 210 for nine, man of the match Raza Dar taking 4-28. The uncomfortable wait for Bickley was now to follow.

Title holders Hartley destroyed Lordswood at Martin Grove. Lordswood elected to bat but Daniel Redwood 6-45 and James Cramp 3-12 tore their batting to pieces and 134 was never going to prove competitive as Dan Stickles 78 and David Thompson 46 cruised to a ten wicket victory in just 16.2 overs. A fine win for worthy champions.

With three points safely in the bag for Bickley Park, Canterbury’s fate was sealed but they finished on a admirable high, despite their relegation. They visited Bexley where the home side set them 195 to chase. Tim Bishop scored 81 and Paul Steer an unbeaten 73 as they sailed to victory in the 39th over.

Sevenoaks Vine, chasing the runner up spot, were soundly beaten at home by Bromley. Fabian Cowdrey was the mainstay of the Vine innings notching up his third century of the season as the Sevenoaks side set Bromley 246 to chase. Wayne Morgan emulated Cowdrey’s feat with also his third century of the season and with assistance from David Smith 64 off 40 balls Bromley raced home with seven overs in hand.

Whitstable took the title in Division 1 and will be joined in the Premier next season by runners up Sibton Park.