3rd July v Bidborough CC
Another Friday night monsoon made Bidborough’s second ground, Vizards, a damp affair. The decision to bowl first was looking good when we had the opposition 3 wickets down with not many runs on the board, for perhaps the fourth time this season. It was a shame therefore, that we didn’t take another wicket until the penultimate over, again, for perhaps the fourth time this season. A sharp, controlled opening 8 overs from Siraj Deane was the highlight and a very sharp run-out from Owen Fowler.
The batting looked good for a while without ever getting ahead of the rate. A short double-Flemington partnership provided mid-innings stability, but after that partnership was broken wickets fell at alarmingly regular intervals. A youthful stand between Arthur Plunkett and Sam Mercer gave hope and, with 25 needed from 5 overs, only wickets stood between us and victory. In the end wickets won, and we fell 11 runs short. A bright 21 from young Plunkett included the biggest six anyone on the team had ever seen, and upon measurement we confirmed it would have indeed been six at every single cricket ground on the planet. At least the football is coming home (it didn’t!)
10th July v Bearsted CC
Match cancelled for rain
17th July v Farningham CC
The 2s were asked to field at a warm Farningham, and it quickly became clear why. The pitch was hard and flat, and wickets were hard to come by, especially if you drop five catches before the first drinks break! The breakthrough came through a suicidal run out, and a retired “tired”. We did take some late wickets through Owain Withers but plaudits go to the middle-overs squeeze provided by ‘spin twins’ Mark Flemington and James Greenidge.
Batting came second and came easier. M Flem and Ed Wesson opened proceedings, both looking good until Ed missed one. Mr Greenidge then came to the crease with the full weight of his name and heritage behind him. He did not disappoint! The highlight of his fabulous 93 being a flicked six into the pavilion – the lowlight was him being out with 6 still needed to win. Despite a late collapse (of course) we got there. With overthrows! Fiery Farningham were audibly disappointed.
24th July v Pembury CC
The 2s travelled to 2nd-placed Pembury on Saturday, and, with rain on the horizon, a 30-over match was negotiated. The hosts batted first, but our ‘express’ opening bowling partnership (Harrison jnr and Roche snr) claimed just the one victim – a “youthful” caught and bowled from Pierre Roche on his first appearance of the season – but both bowlers did their very best to miss the timbers with regularity. A bowling change saw young Will Plunkett’s best performance with the ball, recovering from a wayward start to compile a lovely controlled six-over spell. But in the end, spin twins Chris ‘Calypso’ Pannell and Adam Nash claimed four wickets for not too many, meaning that a score of 127 was much lower than it could have been.
Despite pinch-hitter Harrison Snr being demoted to number 10 after a match-altering “tweaked calf”, all 9.5 of us felt quietly confident. Things started poorly however: Sam Mercer chopped on and Iqbal Sidhu was trapped LBW in short time. Calypso (41) and Arthur Plunkett (21) steadied the ship, Calypso providing the touch, Arthur the battering ram. Another two quick wickets brought the skipper (22) to the crease and all still looked rosy. Cue the Speldhurst collapse: 4 wickets fell for just 12 runs! Suddenly we needed 14 runs to win with 1 wicket remaining, Younger Plunkett, Harrison the Broken, and Harrison the Runner all at the crease. A boundary each and some quick running brought the scores level. Fingernails bitten. Nerves shredded. An emotional rollercoaster! Then – Harrison bowled! Match tied! One for the ages…
24th July v Penshurst CC
Another wet weekend was promised as the 2s hosted Penshurst – top of the league, and responsible for our infamous 29 all out earlier this season. With sweet revenge on our minds, and a shortened game of 35 overs per side agreed, our openers calmly negotiated the opening bowlers to leave us 63-0 from 18 overs – not many times this season has our number six batsman been able to umpire overs 10-20, without having already batted! When wickets did fall, they fell in neat batches of three, but this did not distract from two classy knocks: 51 from James Flemington, which lifted him coolly to the summit of the 2s top run-scorers list, and a brutal 46 (26 balls) from Arthur Plunkett which saw him try to hit most deliveries into his own back garden!
With 149 on the board, we knew we were in with a good shout. SCC newbie Gary Humble acquitted himself excellently in his first three overs for the club, conceding just four runs. His next four balls however, saw him pick up an arm injury and then go for 17! In the end just 10 overs of tight bowling and fielding were managed by a high-energy, high-quality Speldhurst side hell-bent on retribution! Whilst the rain ultimately won the day, the team can reflect on the past two undefeated weeks against the top two sides in the division, as a job well done.