3rd July v Locksbottom CC
The 1st XI produced another come-from-behind victory on Saturday, this time against Locksbottom. It was a surprise when our visitors chose to bat first on a helpful pitch, spiced up by an early morning downpour, and our bowlers maintained consistent control for the most part with Mark Utting returning the best figures (4-37). The fielding was also excellent, highlights being a direct-hit run out from Charlie Barkhan and a wonderful running catch from Ollie Crees in the deep, but some sensible batting from the tail pushed Locksbottom up from a dicey 84-7 to a respectable 149 all out.
Some loose shots from our top order and a few good balls then put Locksbottom firmly in control. At 34-4 and then 71-6 we looked beaten but Jo Price (26) played a dead bat to whatever came his way whilst skipper Ben Brandt (64) moved the score along with a series of leg side (obviously) boundaries. The turning point was Jo’s first attacking stroke – a pull shot that passed in the air through the hands of the mid-wicket fielder and ran away for four. From then it was all Speldhurst as both batsmen plundered boundaries almost at will and even the most vociferous of the visiting fielders was silenced. The terrific unbroken partnership of 80 brought the win by four wickets, with overs to spare, well in time for the football, and maintained our third-place position in the league. A true captain’s innings from Ben and a gem of a support knock from Jo!
10th July v Bearsted CC
Match cancelled due to rain
17th July v Outwood CC
The 1st XI hosted Outwood who had defeated us home and away in 2019 and again in our only match against them in 2020. This summer we gained our revenge by completing a comprehensive win double from which Outwood gained only 5 points (we got 40) and, just as in May, it was Mike Jeffreys who played the decisive role with the ball.
Having won the toss, our batsmen posted a respectable 208-6 on a pitch which was dry but just soft enough to give all the bowlers help. Ali Wood, playing only his second game for the club, anchored our innings with an excellent 75 not out, and he was very well supported by skipper Ben Brandt who made 43. MJ then bettered his 4 cheap wickets earlier in the season by taking 5-28 as our opponents were skittled for exactly 100 in just 26 overs.
24th July v Bidborough CC
On Saturday our 1s hosted Bidborough – always a tough fixture but one which we have generally had the better of in recent meetings. This was not the case this time however as Bidborough took advantage of three early dropped catches (none straightforward) and some other very narrow escapes to post a challenging total of 236-3 in 40 overs. Not for the first time this season, having only 10 men didn’t help our cause!
Our run chase started strongly, despite losing an early wicket, but a few tight overs in the middle of the innings put us behind the rate, and inevitably wickets started to fall. As on Friday nobody was able to score the big innings we needed to chase down a demanding target and we fell 43 runs short.
31st July v Penshurst CC
Match abandoned due to rain