1st XI report
The 1st XI has settled back into Division 1 of the KCVL and is in the process of putting together some form. Day one (Bidborough) was chastening with the team bowled out for 70 odd runs. An excellent opening spell from Mike Jeffreys helped reduce Bidborough to 26-4 but thereafter Charlie Harding steadied the ship and the match was lost by 4 wickets.
We were also in some trouble against Four Elms who posted 261 at the Rec. Perhaps fortuitously the rain arrived at tea time and with an abandonment (we took 9 wickets and dropped 10 catches), 14 points were gained. Nevertheless our 230 against Meopham the following week was unassailable, as was our 199 at Horsmonden. Against Meopham, Mike Hanson starred with a sparkling 60 on the Rec; in both games Mike Jeffreys scored 50, Tom Hinton ran into form at Horsmonden. Our bowling throttled the opposition who struggled to get near our totals. MJ and Pat Green bowling particularly well at Horsmonden.
Net results: we are currently 5th in the league, just off the Champions League places.
2nd XI report
First league game of the season versus Marden. Hopefully winning the toss was a sign of things to come and we asked Marden to have a bat. We didn’t have a recognised wicketkeeper, so Huw did the first 20 overs with Bomber the second half. Adam opened the bowling with a good steady over before he sadly injured his finger fielding when he threw himself to try to prevent a boundary. Unfortunately, it is broken so Adam is out for a while and will be sadly missed, he has become already a solid reliable opening bowler. Fortunately, we also have three more youngsters who are developing into good reliable bowlers and the more overs they can bowl the better they will become. Owen bowled 8 overs for just 32 which is an excellent economy rate at this level. Jo bowled his 5 overs at 1 for 18 and was being kept back to bowl out at the end but wasn’t needed. Similarly, James “Woody” was a revelation. I haven’t seen him bowl for a while, but he bowled really well with his 5 overs going for 12 with a wicket. Mark Flemington, as always, bowled steadily and went for just 17 off his 7 overs taking a good return catch off his own bowling. Nick Fowler completed the bowling needed and got 1 for 32 off his six overs. The fielding was top-notch with three run outs by Mark Flem, Woody and a direct hit at one stump from Jo. Matt Harman on his debut proved very reliable in the field. Overall a good effort to limit Marden to 141 off 32 overs. In our response, we lost Francis and Mark early before Iqbal (42) and Jo put on 60 before Iqbal was stumped. That brought in Matt Harman who opened his Speldhurst account well before his dismissal. Bomber and Jo then got us to their score with 8 overs to go, before some tight bowling and nerves meant it took 3 overs to get the one run, including Jo running Bomber out before we got home with 5 overs left. Don’t worry Jo, everyone does it! A good start to the season for us with a new team, all of whom brought something to the game. Marden were as always, a good sociable and friendly side and due to the quirks of the fixtures, I don’t think we play them away this year meaning we won’t get to see their great new ground and facilities!
Our second game was against Withyham and the weather didn’t look promising and despite a forecast that it might improve, it didn’t and both sides showed great fortitude to stay out as long as we did.
2nd toss-win in two weeks but we were still hoping for an improvement in the weather or the pitch would deteriorate. We batted first against the sharp opening bowling duo, who were navigated really well with some tremendous attacking shots and solid defence from Mark Flemington (45) and Nick Coffin (32) who got us off to a great start before Chris Pannell got a fantastic and almost faultless 98* – a fantastic effort in the most ‘uncalypso-like’ conditions! Paddy and Jo chipped in with a dozen or so each and it was good to see Matt Harman looking good in such difficult conditions and good for Woody, Will C and Sam H to get a bat, gallantly trying to push us up to a maximum batting points, but the innings closed with 4 balls left. A tea, followed by a lot of hanging around trying to work out which direction the clouds were coming from and whether they looked marginally less dark than the other direction. In the end, Withyham went out for six overs with Woody (3 overs, 0-4) and Nick bowling before we packed it in. Maybe in our other two fixtures against them, we will get the chance to repeat and improve on the batting performance shown by Chris, who will hopefully get that richly deserved debut club century.
Next was a nice trip up to a lovely ground at Bearstead which surprisingly we all managed to find parking spaces at! Good to welcome back Owain L-J and to welcome James F’s uni friend Ed Elliot.
I won a third toss on the trot and asked them to bat which initially went well and we had them to 90-4 before two of them cut loose against our bowlers toiling in the heat. Owen bowled a good spell and is developing into a reliable bowler, taking 2-44 off his 8. J Flem was unlucky to be bowling when their batsmen had got their eyes in, but still picked up two wickets. Ben Roberts bowled well and is working hard on developing his consistency. In the end, Nick Fowler helped peg them back with 1 for 45 off his 7 overs. Owain was straight back onto his line and length but like James, their batsmen were going for it, and he still limited them to 55 off his 8 overs. Good catches taken by J Flem, Ben and Owen and solid ground fielding from all including our newest player Ed. Paddy showed the value of a proper keeper and kept well. They finished on 307-6. After tea we knew we had a mountain to climb and their two openers, especially a young lad from the top end who made it even steeper until we got to the point where it became a chase to get the maximum batting points, rather than the total. Francis batted bravely with a damaged leg for 21 and Iqbal went for 10 before James Flem steadied things with a solid 60 and had a nice little cameo partnership with Ed Elliot who got a nice looking 15. If we can turn that hockey style into a cricket one, he is going to be a useful player.
An entertaining partnership between Bomber (37) and Owain (47) gave us a glimmer but too much was left for Nick and Huw, although the former did hit some mighty blows including the shot of the match into a garden to give us the maximum batting points we desired. In the end, we lost, but there were several positives to take from this including some good individual performances from youngsters, new and returning players and a score of 245, a winning score in many other matches!
Our last match of May was sadly called off due to lack of players.
National Village Knockout
An extraordinary first-round defeat on the Rec to Eynsford means that we won’t be taking an open top bus to Lord’s for this year at least. On a damp pitch, Speldhurst struggled to post a target but 36 in the middle order from Ed Wesson and some late blows from Ollie saw us to 160.
It should have been enough, and with Eynsford floundering at 112-9, it was enough. But a chapter of accidents befell the hosts: two (unnamed) bowlers were removed from the attack for bowling (rather gentle and unintentional) beamers, we dropped at least 4 catches – 2 with the oppo 9 down – and skipper-for-the-day Wesson lost count of the number of overs left meaning that the 40th over fell to Hughsie to turn his arm for the first time in over a year. It didn’t work and we were beaten by Frodo…
Junior Cricket report
The first full month of Saturdays in the Junior Cricket season has been blessed with dry weather and fantastic attendance across the age range from 4 to 13, with up to 120 young cricketers under the watchful eye of about 20 coaches.
64 youngsters signed up for All Stars Cricket this year (53 in 2017) making a total of over 80 new younger members since the launch in May 2017. The U9 group has also grown as 2017 All Stars move up a level to continue the development of their cricket careers.
Age groups from U9 to U13 have been well attended and the first League match played (a win for the Under 13s). More League cricket for Under 11s and 13s is arranged for June, please visit the fixtures page for details.
On Sunday 17th June, the Club will host its first Family Day to celebrate our young cricketers. A small group of parents is working on the details of the day which will be announced in early June. Keep your eyes peeled!