Hockley cranks up pressure
Hartley took a commanding sixteen point lead into the final two weekends of the Shepherd Neame Kent Premier League after a 30 run victory over Canterbury.
Their match against second place Sevenoaks Vine next Saturday will likely be the title decider.
Any one of seven Clubs could still go down as only 25 points separate them and there are still 36 up for grabs. Wins for Beckenham, Bromley and Tunbridge Wells have much improved their chances of survival.
Canterbury, who seem to enjoy chasing, bravely invited their hosts Hartley to bat. They faced James Hockley’s third century in four games.
Hockley amassed 123 from 114 balls and with support from James Thompson 41 and an unbeaten 54 by Hilio de Abreu, Hartley set Canterbury the challenging target of 271 to chase.
Benedict Kemp and Stuart Drakeley both took three wickets apiece. Canterbury chased bravely, led by Paul Steer with 60 and Dominic Chambers 46, but their middle order fell apart, leaving them at 168 for eight.
Kemp 43 and Drakeley 24 added an unbeaten partnership of 73 but had been left far too much to do. Sam Weller returned the best figures for Hartley with 4-32 as they ran out winners by 30 runs.
In the clash between 2nd and 3rd placed Blackheath and Sevenoaks Vine, the Sevenoaks side emerged victorious and put a twelve point gap between them.
Having chosen to bat at the Vine, Blackheath’s batting failed miserably and were bowled out for just 118 in 37.2 overs.
Their blushes were marginally spared by Jahid Ahmed who scored 50 of their total and with John Bowden taking 4-22 to leave the home side is a strong position.
Despite losing five wickets, 44 from Oliver Howick ensured victory.
Will MacVicar tore through the Bexley top order to leave them in serious trouble at 15 for four as they travelled to Beckenham.
Sandeep Bains then scored a fine 71 not out with good support from Min Patel, 44, as they recovered to end on 165, MacVicar ending with 4-14.
He received good support from Henry Jones who took 3-37. Beckenham batted positively but sensibly, Raza Ali Dar scoring 41, Chris Isles 37 with a special mention for Jamie McCulloch, a 17 year old on Premier debut, who made an excellent 29 not out as Beckenham passed the target with six wickets in hand.
At the Nevill, Tunbridge Wells put Bickley Park to the sword, drawing the Bickley side into the relegation battle.
They are now only ten points ahead of Tunbridge wells and Canterbury, who are currently the bottom two. Gregor Patterson 68 and Rob Ferley steered Tunbridge Wells to a total of 260 for seven which proved 53 runs too many, for despite 68 by James Lincoln and an unbeaten 53 by Julian Ramsay, Bickley fell well short.
The Bromley total at Lordswood was also to prove too many for the home side. Led by skipper James Butterfill with 84, well supported by David Smith 38 and Miguel Barbosa 36 Bromley set Lordswood 221 to chase. In reply Wayne Morgan took 4-40 as although Kevin Jones scored 67 and Lyndon Lockhart 31 Lordswood were bowled out for 193, 28 runs short.