5th June v Linton Park CC 2nd XI
A week of baking sun was ruined by a Friday of torrential rain, meaning bowling first would have definitely been an advantage on Saturday as the sun shone again. Unfortunately the toss was not kind and the 2s were inserted. A experimental opening pair of Sidhu and Fowler was curtailed with the latter exclaiming that “he doesn’t like to think, just swing!” Short double-Flemington, double-Harrison and double-Plunkett partnerships saw a lot of fielders hit without many runs scored as we ended on 127ao.
Early strikes were needed, but with one half of the opening partnership required to don wicketkeeping gloves the odds were always against us. Excellent spells from Siraj (again) and Owen Fowler (unfortunately bowling 20 unplayable deliveries doesn’t get you many wickets in village cricket) meant we always had hope, but wickets were difficult to come by and Linton Park got there with seven batsmen left in the hutch.
12th June v Eynsford CC 2nd XI
Eynsford was hot, the pitch was flat, and the river looked inviting for both people and cricket balls. Batting first and fortunately our approach was more circumspect, trading lusty river-bound blows for measured accumulation. Muddy and Iqbal shared an opening partnership of 67 and both players found the middle of their bats – a welcome break from the usual. Muddy compiled a well made 50, but the middle order rather struggled for fluency and with only 130ish on the board with 8 overs left, we were in danger of squandering a solid platform. The teenage partnership of Jo Price and Sam Harman then took charge, opening their shoulders and propelling us exuberantly to 205 – a maiden fifty for young Price, and a quick-fire 25 from Harman.
At halftime both sides seemed hopeful of victory but Eynsford started the better, dismantling the skipper’s first two erratic overs to get well ahead of the rate. Thankfully James Roche and Harry Dunmall hauled the innings back under control, Roche (3-26) grabbing the wickets, Dunmall (0-17 from 9 overs) not – again! Eynsford then clawed their way back into contention with a 4th wicket partnership of 67 and were confidently placed at 152-3 with 10 overs left. Then the skipper cunningly introduced Price jnr for the first time. A fearsome spell of five overs (4-12) sealed their fate and Speldhurst secured the win by 16 runs – the man of the match award firmly placed in Jo’s hands.
19th June v Southborough CC 2nd XI
Match cancelled, damp.
26th June v Sissinghurst 2nd XI
The home leg of the double-header saw our 2s host Sissinghurst 2s at the Rec. The weather was set fair, if the pitch and outfield a little soft and slow! Sissinghurst batted first and were 60-3 from 15 overs, with James ‘Junior’ Roche (3-15 from 9 overs) in particular being very economical. Overs 20-35 were average in the field, but, despite some terrible mathematics from the skipper, we recovered well, restricting the opposition to 171 from the 40. Young Will Plunkett bowled very well under pressure, but still we wait for 10 opposition wickets!
In response, a celebrity appearance from Francis Booth lasted 21 balls with bat in hand. Unfortunately, no runs were scored! Junior Roche also failed to score, with considerably less time at the crease. When Iqbal also departed we were 26-3 and looking precarious, but James Flemington had other ideas. Small partnerships with Nick Fowler and father Mark got us closer, but still 105 runs away. It wasn’t until he was joined by his skipper that JFlem cut loose. Two very large 6s and a number of one-bounce 4s catapulted us to what had at one time seemed a very unlikely win by five wickets, with nearly four overs left. James finished unbeaten on 76 (65 balls) with skipper ‘Happy’ Harrison on 40 (46 balls). The 2s thereby excitedly rounding off a rare 40-point weekend for Speldhurst CC!