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Hockley ton keeps Hartley ahead

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The final month of the Shepherd Neame Kent Premier League season looks set to be a tense affair at both ends of the table with Hartley at the top squeezing a three point lead over Sevenoaks Vine.

Both Clubs won their latest games and a small gap of nine points has now opened to third placed Blackheath who lost in a high scoring thriller against Canterbury at the Rectory Field.

Wins also for Bickley Park over Bromley and Beckenham against Lordswood brings Bromley into the relegation battle.

James Hockley

James Hockley scored a fine 101

Hartley made light work of the 219 set for them by Bexley. Bexley chose to bat at Manor Way but despite 50 from Jack Bell, 46 by George Wells and Adam Riley 35, they never dominated the Hartley attack with Sam Weller sweeping through the order to finish with 5-52.

James Hockley scored a fine 101 off 124 balls which put Bexley on the back foot and a breezy 40 from Charlie Hemphrey put paid to Bexley’s hopes.

Sevenoaks Vine kept the pressure on Hartley with a 17 run victory over Tunbridge Wells at the Nevill. The Vine elected to bat and made steady progress with a workmanlike innings of 68 from Fabian Cowdrey and a half century from skipper Karl Pearson.

Simon Cook and Chris Hammond added 40 off 24 balls between them to add some impetus and the Sevenoaks side reached 248 for eight off their allocation, Stephen Boyd taking 4-63.

Tunbridge Wells looked well set at 190 for four with 57 from Will Stickler and 62 for Evert Bekker, but the run rate had increased and wicket began to tumble. They were finally bowled out on the last ball of the game for 231 with Simon Cook and Fabian Cowdrey both taking three wickets apiece.

Canterbury continued their run of good form and shocked Blackheath by successfully chasing down 250 in a highly exciting contest.

Mohammad Ashraful was the highest scorer for Blackheath with 54 but a good few others chipped in with twenties and thirties to take them up to a useful total of 250 for nine at the close.

Benedict Kemp with 4-59 was the mainstay of the Canterbury bowling. Tim Bishop with an impressive 113 from 129 balls saw Canterbury through to 179 for three when Stuart Sinclair took over the reins with 48 to see them to 245 for seven and they nudged home to win by two wickets with two balls to spare.

Beckenham, looking to climb out of the relegation zone, had an impressive win over Lordswood. The Beckenham batting is beginning to fire after some disappointing performances earlier in the season.

Choosing to bat, Beckenham piled on the runs. Alex Blake scored 70 and Raza Ali Dar 38 but the most impressive knock came from Will MacVicar who scored a fine 104, his maiden Premier century, as Beckenham closed on 257 for four.

Lordswood were in immediate trouble at 1 for two and never recovered. Johan Malcolm took 5-36 and Raza Ali Dar 4-17, and despite a useful unbeaten 48 from Shaun Pieslely, Lordswood were bowled out for 139 in the 39th over.

At Bickley Park, the home side completed a successful run chase against local rivals Bromley. Bickley invited their visitors to bat and despite a positive 78 from Wayne Morgan, 65 not out by Richard Clinton and 52 from David Smith, Bromley never dominated the attack.

James Lincoln masterminded the chase with a well-made 84 and with assistance from Chris Coulson, 33, and an unbeaten 32 by Alex Darroch, Bickley crossed the line with only four down and 15 balls to spare.