1st XI match reports – August/September 2022

Sissinghurst 1st XI (A)

6th August 2022

After a Flemington wedding, there was a decidedly throwback feel to the 1st XI, with Messrs Danby, Hanson, Green and Hughes all lining up together to travel to Sissinghurst in a battle of the bottom. A scorching hot day awaited and yours truly lost a toss no one wanted to lose, and was rapidly put into the field.

A wild opening spell from Dunmall resulted in several boundaries and one wicket in which neither batsmen, bowler or fielder knew quite what they were doing. Sadly this was the last impactful contribution Hanson made due to a footballing injury rearing its ugly head, and was relegated to slip all game. Price’s opening spell was tight but no luck, and so Pat was brought on to replace Dunmall rather quickly, and struck instantly with an outside edge to Muddy at gully.

After this, Pereira got Sissinghurst came to the crease and looked dangerous and fluent, striking boundaries and singles easily and drumming along at 6-an-over without too much trouble. Barkhan, Green and Muddy bowled well and picked up a couple of wickets at the other end, before Pereira finally hit one to Hughes at long on off Muddy, Hughes taking an excellent full stretch catch to a ball that looked destined for 6.

Sissinghurst crumbled from 180-5 with 11 overs to go, to 192 all out thanks to some straight death bowling in a much better Dunmall spell, and Muddy enticing a few loose shots from the other end. Given 300 was on the cards, we were chuffed at not even having to chase 200 on a good pitch and rapid outfield.

Crees and Danby opened up, and aside from one boundary Ollie never got in his groove and was out for 8, bringing Hughesy to the crease. Sissinghurst must be a bit fed up of long partnerships when playing us, as the year prior was the Waters and Crees 200-0 occasion, and this year was the turn of Danby and Hughes. Both looking largely untroubled, some glorious lofted cover drives from Danby, and flamingo flicks from Hughes meant the result was never in doubt as they put on 150 for the 2nd wicket. A few quick blows from myself at the end after Danby fell, and 20 much needed points were in the bag against a relegation rival. Top work all.

Bearsted 1st XI (H)

12th August 2022

Where do I start here? What a game it was, going down to the last over, greenhouses were accidentally smashed and the sweltering heat.

Luckily, unlike last week, I won the toss and chose to bat, and whilst the progress was steady we were not lighting up the scoreboard and reached 47-2 off 13 overs, Crees falling to an ill-judged cut and Hughes receiving a rather dubious LBW decision: one appeal only…

I joined Roche at the crease who showed flashes of exquisite timing in his cover drives, but sadly fell to their leggie who bowled several outstanding deliveries, and then one that wasn’t that did for Roche. Muddy joined me at the crease but soon departed after a very tidy caught and bowled by the aforementioned leggie, bringing young Adam Nash to crease at 81-4 off 20 overs.

With not many recognised batters left, Nash played a great innings, steady in defence and ensuring I had a regular partner to keep the bowlers frustrated. After some rather generous bowling at myself, including one over where I received 5 full tosses on my pads to a 40 yard leg side boundary, I departed for a gut-wrenching 98 being too greedy and bowled playing across the line.

Sadly the innings didn’t finish explosively, but we did end up with 204 off our 40, a respectable and defendable score.

Bearsted’s openers got off well reaching 50 without loss despite a fee half chances here and there, but with Dunmall and Price having no luck, the ball was thrown to Siraj the Deane Machine. He struck first ball, and 2nd over, and again to remove three good batsmen in an excellent spell that combined accuracy, movement and consistency. Their number 5 came in and bashed some rather large 6s, and quick 4s, taking the game back into Bearsted favour but a superb catch from Hughes (again!) Down the hill off Dunmall and we were right back in it. A wicket from Muddy and another from Dunmall meant they needed seven an over with four wickets in hand for the last few overs. Price now struck, 3 wickets left, but their captain struck a few crucial boundaries needing 15 to win off the last 2 overs.

Sadly one of the balls was deposited for a rather large 6, meaning Jo Price’s last over had to go for 3 or less for us to win, 4 to tie, and 5 or more for the loss. Dot ball, dot ball and the tension increased. A slightly wayward fuller ball was timed through the field for 4, leaving them needing 1 to win off 3, with them finding the gap for the victory to leave us feeling devastated. A few misfields, a few more runs on the board or even one tighter over somewhere and we would’ve won it, but alas those are the fine margins we play with.

A top effort from everyone, a brilliant game and an annoying nice opposition to not even be mad at.

Marden 1st XI (H)

20th August 2022

Thanks to bazball, the team on saturday was signicantly more numerous than at 12pm on Friday, and so optimism was high playing a Marden side that haven’t won away all year, whose players are mostly based in London, on a day of train strikes… safe to say fortune was favouring us this weekend.

When they turned up sans an umpire and with only half a regular 1st team that confidence grew, but after choosing to bat first we realised we needed to temper the confidence on a trickier wicket than it first seemed. Crees batted well looking close to his fluent best in a well made 35odd, and with a few classic Spokes shots in there, along with the rare-seen Muddy behind-the-back leg glance leaving Marden in a mixture of shock, awe and confusion, we were going along well at just over 5 and a half an over through most of the innings climbing to over 6 thanks to some 5 wides and a few short balls at yours truly which were gratefully deposited over the short leg side boundary.

Wickets fell semi-regularly but a good team effort keeping the score moving combined with some efficient rapid scoring from Blake at the end set us up with a very strong 270-8 off our 40 overs.

As we went out to field I was mulling my options, rarely do I have the luxury of deciding that my 2nd change bowlers would be anyone from Pat, Barkhan, Fitz or Booth. The return of MJ must’ve had Harry slightly nervous for the bowling cup, with two early wickets on their keeper and skipper setting the tone for the innings. Aside from a very fine knock from their 67 year old opener, not quite scoring his age with a well made 64, wickets at regular intervals from booth, Fitz, Barkhan and Green, along with a few suicidal run outs to dave booth meant we ended up bowling them out for 103, a top fielding and bowling display from the team.

Hopefully this result is enough to keep us up, but in a shock result Meopham defended 144 against top of the league Outwood to stay 1 point ahead of us, with Outwood missing the chance to secure the league title. Let’s hope their batting display is similar next week!

Outwood 1st XI (A)

27th August 2022

Two weeks in a row we had 9 players at 12pm on Friday, and two weeks in a row we managed to put out a strong 11, this time thanks to Blake and Ali wood for coming through at the 11th hour.

In a drama filled week we travelled to champions elect Outwood, who had won the title midweek after Cudham Wyse fielded an ineligible player 2 games in a row vs 1st and 3rd in the table, lying 2nd themselves, under a fake name and this got both games rescinded and awarded to the Outwood and Eynsford respectively. Thus the scene that greeted us upon arrival was a mixture of confusion, celebration and marvel at the absurdity of that week.

On a suspect looking pitch we lost the toss and were unsurprisingly put into bat against a very solid seam attack. Unfortunately Pat fell in the first over to a full wide delivery, and ali wood joined olly crees in the middle, who was back to his destructive best. Some good defending, combined with crisp foat batted off drives over long off for 6 resulted in his 50 after only 10 overs. Sadly he fell shortly after, bringing myself to the crease, where the going was tough early on. Several exclamations and appeals to various deities and figures in the sky followed as ali and I played at missed at many, followed by a few 4s and 6s to any loose deliveries.

Luckily I managed to get hold of a few looser deliveries from their slow bowler, propelling the score along quickly until I forgot to hit up on one and was caught on the boundary for 70, leaving me 8 agomsizing runs short of Olly for the season. Muddy joined a now fluent ali at the crease, and as overs were running out some aggressive batting and attempts meant wickets started to tumble leaving us 8 down with 2 overs to go and the score on 227. Ali wood making a fine 80 in the process. A few choice shots and the odd inside edge propelled the score to a very competitive 248, which would be tough score to chase although the ground wasnt terribly big.

Some excellent early bowling from dunmall and aside from a loose first over, from Pat, and an astounding catch at gully from Muddy, resulted in Outwood being 2 down for 40 odd and going at about 10 overs. However their 2 best bats put on a big partnership, looking mostly assured aside from a few edges and aerial shots into gaps here and there.

The introduction of charlie barkhan before drinks almost produced a wicket first ball, narrowly missing the stumps after turning past them, and his spell along with the re-introductiom of ali wood started to put some scoreboard pressure on as the required run rate was now at 7s. A big breakthrough from ali wood broke the partnership thay could have saw them home, and after that some tight bowling from barkhan, wood, green and dunmall meant wickets fell regularly as Outwood tried to match the run rate.

Speldhurst eventually managed to bowl them out for around 200, giving us a much needed victory and with Meopham losing, a 15 point gap to 9th and relegation, meaning 6 points against Cudham this week will ensure the Great escape and safety in Division 1 for another year.

A superb team performance, and anyone that can make it to the Rec this weekend would be hugely appreciated for the last league game of the season.

Cudham Wyse 1st XI (H)

3rd September 2022

WE DID IT!!! The 1s STAY UP!

(Apologies to those of you unaware of the result, but wanted to get that out the way early.)

The 1s went into the last game of the season knowing 6 points was enough to stay up, and with a strong team confidence was high. Pre-match drama seems to be a common thing nowadays, and this was no exception. Not only did Cudham turn up with a noticeably different team than earlier in the season, missing a lot of their 1st team players in protest at being docked points, but they also turned up without an umpire, forfeiting the toss. Normally this would have been an advantage, but thanks to a golf match, and Dave Booths inability to realise that driving through the middle of Tunbridge Wells on a Saturday lunchtime might take longer than normal, I had to bat first due to there only being 7 eligible players available 5 minutes before the start of play.

A rapidly kitted up Pat opened up the batting with Creef, who has saved his best form for the time it really matters. Much like last week, he blistered his way into a rapid 50 inside the first 10 overs, but unlike last week he soldiered on to score a quote brilliant 111, our first century of the season. A superb innings that I’m sure wasnt fuelled in any way by the tense duel for the batting cup.

In addition to Ollys superb ton, there were great contributions from everyone, including a rapid 29 not out from harry fitz which featured one of the biggest 6s seen at out ground, a late cut to a Yorker for 4, and even a reverse sweep off their opening bowler. A top team effort got us to the biggest total I have ever been a part of at Speldhurst, 324.

Knowing such a massive total would be virtually impossible to chase down, and needing only 2 wickets to clinch the crucial final point for safety, the 2nd innings felt rather anticlimactic in parts. Dome excellent opening spells from MJ and Harry dunmall kept wickets falling, along with some good fielding from Booth and Andy Eames, some nice spin bowling from Charlie Barkhan, and wickets from Fitz, pat Green meant we bowled Cudham out for 131, a margin of victory of 193 runs. Also the largest I have been involved in at Speldhurst.

A terrific day was capped off by some beers at the George, followed by a curry night raptuously enjoyed by all, though Adam Nash in particular struggled with over confidence after having one of the chillies, the 2nd reducing him to tears…

A topsy turvy season for the 1s, bit thoroughly enjoyable and the finish where we won 4 out of the last 5, goes to show how good a side we could put out if we had everyone available. Hopefully next year we can challenge for the title, and if our availability is similar to the last few weeks of the season, we should be right up there come this time next year.

Final special thanks to Muddy for his hard work off the field chasing everyone and their dog for the majority of the season and for being a source of advice and ideas on the field, and thanks to all those who jumped in last minute to put together a team: blake, ali wood, paul eames, adam nash, paddy to name a few.

See you all at the presidents game in a few weeks, or later on at the EOSD.

Scorecard: https://speldhurst.play-cricket.com/website/results/4994891