8th May v Bearsted CC 2nd XI
The 2nd XI match versus Bearsted somehow managed to escape most of the wet stuff, as a slightly reduced match at a drier venue was negotiated. After winning the toss, the bowling plaudits reverberated around Nick Coffin as we walked off at tea: a very economical 2-29 from his full allotment of overs, including a first-ball-of-the-season wicket. We promised not to tell anyone it was a full toss.
Despite boasting a batting lineup devoid of a few key players, we started well: Iqbal smothering the first two balls of the innings to the boundary. But alas, the run rate slowed despite Junior Roche getting stuck in. We found ourselves with 68 needed from 36 balls, a daunting task if your name is not Nick Fowler, who pumped a very sharp 24 runs (from about 11 balls) to inject some needed momentum. Unfortunately some good death bowling and the loss of a few quick wickets (we are Speldhurst, after all) left young Roche with too much to do in the final over, but an inspiring 80 not out is nothing to be sniffed at in the first game of the season.
15th May v Farningham CC 2nd XI
The second weekend of the league season started much like the first: wet. Farningham dutifully drove down from north Kent so a shorter game of 25 overs/innings was arranged in order to ensure a result and avoid the weather.
Speldhurst bowled first on a damp, but true track. Farningham’s opener clearly wanted an afternoon in the pub, sending skipper Harrison to retrieve his second delivery from atop a storage container. After more lusty blows Siraj Deane held on to a high one and the visitors were 30-1 from 3. Our bowlers did a fine job of reeling the game in: Mark Flemington stood out with a controlled 1-12 from his 6 overs. We were to chase 126 for victory.
Iqbal again started the innings with a boundary, much to the annoyance of the opening bowler. His momentum was important, and at 62-1 from 14 overs we were very much in the game. Then, in true Speldhurst fashion, we lost 3 wickets for 5 runs, and then a fourth wicket with 85 on the board. With 50 runs required from 7 overs, the game was in the balance when Siraj was joined by young Sam Harman in the middle. Whilst big hits found their way to fielders almost exclusively, the running was good (with hearty encouragement from onlookers!) and we needed 8 from the final over to win the game. Despite losing man-of-the-match Siraj in a run out, we got over the line with the help of a wide off the last ball (!) to win by 4 wickets. Our first league win of the season!
22nd May v Pembury CC 2nd XI
In the last match of a frankly boring spell of wet weather, the 2s hosted Pembury at the Rec. Batting first, the going was slow. A nice partnership between Juniors Flemington (22) and Roche (69) kept the score ticking over on a tricky wicket but not much was to come after that. Their opening bowler bowled seven overs, 2-9 as we struggled to 136-7 from a reduced 30 overs.
After a lot of rain, Pembury never looked troubled in their chase. Things were not helped by the Skipper retiring from bowling due to unsavoury underfoot conditions and all bowlers going from between 4.5 and 6.45 runs per over. The chase was a fine one, and victory deserved by the visitors.
29th May v Penshurst Park CC 2nd XI
The month ended badly for the 2nd XI. The 10 men 2s were very much looking forward to their trip to sunny Penshurst on Saturday; unfortunately, the cricketing gods didn’t support their optimism. Winning the toss and bowling looked like a good decision when PPCC’s dangerous top four were sent packing for 40 runs between them. The middle overs belonged to the home team however, and a couple of 50s put the bowlers on the back foot. In the end, tight spells from the returning Peter Colman, Nick Coffin and young Sam Harman stifled what could have got out of hand.
Needing 202 to win from 40 overs, we never looked comfortable in the face of two opening bowlers swinging the ball prodigiously both ways. In the end, we succumbed, and… quickly! As statisticians were scurrying to find our lowest ever score (we think it was 4 v Rusthall in 1902), we subsided to 29 all out in just 14 overs, with Nick Fowler’s 12 making up a substantial portion. There was even time for a beer match! Despite that, the day was enjoyed in the sun by almost all and the opposition were gracious in what was a resounding victory. On to next week…!