This week Broadstairs travelled to Bromley Common with the winner heading into the last round of matches in pole position to be promoted along with Leeds & Broomfield.
With rain all around and storms brewing, returning skipper Matt Hardy lost the toss and we were asked to bowl. With potential interruptions it was maybe a good thing especially with the involvement of DLS nowadays.
The start was delayed after a downpour and the match reduced to 44 overs per side. When we eventually got out to start, Brad and Chris shared the new ball. Bromley Common do like to come at the bowling attack but this week, the pitch was playing different to normal. Exaggerated bounce from a good length every now and again made life tricky for the batsmen and nearly produced a wicket in the first over, the delivery hitting Sharma’s gloves and carrying slowly through to Jake Benfield at slip but diving forward he couldn’t hold on.
But in his second over he was able to remove the dangerous Leigh Walker who pushed across a ball that took a thick outside edge and Matt Frewin was able to take the catch at point. As he has done most of the season, Chris Flint claimed a wicket the very next over, trapping Sharma LBW.
The next 10 overs produced just 20 runs as the two experienced bowlers made life difficult. Ellison then claimed the next wicket when Logan found the point fielder Matt Frewin and not to be outdone the next over Flint found the edge of Finzel’s bat with Tom Marshall taking the catch. With the maximum overs per bowler reduced to 9, they both finished their spells of 2-17 & 2-18 from their 9 overs.
Thomas Izzard and Jake Benfield were into the attack and Benfield struck with his fifth delivery, nicely taken by Matt Hardy at first slip and in his second over we had yet another hattrick chance. Firstly, clean bowling Patterson and the next delivery Hickford edging through to Tom Marshall who took a good low catch. This was to be our fifth attempt of the season, with only Chris Kidd being successful so far. Jake was unable to join him as the ball thudded into the pad of Goel.
Izzard was getting plenty of carry himself the other end, managing to hit the ridge and go past the outside edge on numerous occasions but there was no further breakthrough when drinks were taken in the 22nd over with the score 51-7.
Bromley Common were now batting for time and waiting for the rain to come, however it was skirting all around with just some light showers falling, but nothing heavy enough for play to be stopped. Jake made the breakthrough claiming his fourth wicket when he bowled Roberts.
Nathan Fox replaced Thomas and claimed the 9th wicket in his second over. Eldridge edging through to Marshall and with Bromley 66-9 we had this game in the palm of our hands. Another 9 runs were added when Nathan managed to bowl Goel and our target was to be 76. Jake’s superb spell of 4-7 from 7 turned the game on its head and gave us a great chance of victory.
Bromley Common insisted on tea being taken, the first of the delaying tactics in the anticipation the game would be abandoned giving both sides 9 points heading into the final weekend with Bromley Common maintaining their one point advantage.
However, we were able to get out and start the innings. Jay and Nathan faced a first over of off spin with a seamer from the other end. The second over brought 9 runs and after 3 overs we had 18 on the board. Some surprising bounce with the new ball caught Jay (10) trying to leave one that got big on him and found the face of the bat, carrying high to slip.
21-1 became 24-2 when the off spinner got one through Nathan (11) and then 30-3 when Harry (0) was unable to keep the off spinner at bay, short leg diving forward to take the catch.
Enter Jake Benfield, whose second delivery was dispatched high and long over cover and into the nets for a maximum. The seamer then pulled-back his length making it near-impossible to lay a bat on. Frewin at the other end was keeping the spinner out.
The 50 came up in the 13th over in the 50th minute! -the home side weren’t subtle in their tactics. when they brought on the captain and elusive wrist spinner Thomas Kabel he was greeted first delivery by another huge Benfield maximum. This resulted in more time-wasting, until the Broadstairs team had gone round to find the ball. Then came the short leg goings on. Firstly they wanted one, so protective gear was requested, whilst this was going on, Jake (18) pulled a short delivery out to deep square leg who took a good catch. Before the next delivery to Matt Hardy, they decided that short leg wasn’t required and so he jogged to the sightscreen to remove all his gear before slowly making his way back to his fielding position as the rain clouds rolled-in.
With one delivery remaining in the over the heavens opened and the umpires took us off 13 runs short of victory. The covers were wheeled-on and we had to sit and wait for this to pass.
When the rain did eventually stop, we were out on the ground with the super soaker, trying to clear the surface water and ensure we could get back out. With about 30 minutes of sun on the ground too, this aided the drying out but the wicket alongside the match track was soaked and extremely muddy, there was no way that Bromley would be happy playing on it.
The umpires made a check at 1840 but with the parts of the ground too wet it was decided that no further play could happen the game would be incomplete.
As disappointing as this is, it did mean that we claimed 10 points with Bromley only getting 7, so the task for us is to beat division champions Leeds & Broomfield next week in our final game to assure ourselves of promotion whether Bromley Common beat New Beckenham or not.
This week’s MoM was Jake Benfield, a superb spell of bowling and a brutal 18 runs getting us within reaching distance of winning this game.
It’ll be great to see as many supporters as possible this coming weekend for the final league game against Leeds & Broomfield, the bar will be open all day and the cricket will certainly be worth watching!