The 1st team travelled to nearby Nonington this week in search of revenge for the early season home defeat.
In very windy conditions and a tacky wicket from the overnight rain, Captain Matt Hardy lost the toss and surprisingly was asked to bat.
The home side fancied getting us out cheaply and as the early overs showed, runs were very hard to come by. Nathan Fox and Jay Basu found it tough to score with just one slip and a ring of fielders cutting of any chance of just a single. Jay did take advantage of some short bowling from Glynn Williams in the sixth over, pulling a maximum into the clubhouse followed by another boundary two balls later. However, in the next over Nathan (3) was bowled by Betts, the ball coming back sharply into the off-stump.
Harry Carter (5) in at three also found runs hard to come by but was showing good concentration until he was the next wicket down. Jay hitting the ball hard back to the bowler who dropped it only for the ball to then roll onto the stumps with Harry out of his crease. 46-2 from the first 15.
Jake Benfield joined Jay at the crease and with the introduction of the spinners, runs seemed to be easier. Jake launching McLennan over the top early on for a boundary, all of a sudden, there seemed to be one boundary an over. Jay (37) was next to go, attempting to hit the final ball of the 20th over, he only managed a thick inside edge and the catch was taken at mid-wicket.
Matt Frewin joined Jake and the two set about building a total, the home side seemed happy to give Jake plenty of singles to rotate the strike. Frewin hit a couple of good cover drives to the boundary while the field was up, and they saw us through to the 30th over with 105 on the board. A decent total looked to be anything above 180.
McHugh replaced McLennan and he struck in his second over, Frewin (17) fell LBW and Hardy joined Jake, reverse sweeping straight away and whilst not quite connecting, it made changes to the field. Jake then hit one of the cleanest maximums you're ever likely to see, picking up McHugh sweetly, sailing over the trees by the pavilion and probably landing in the old Royal Oak pub. He followed this with another boundary and the next over brought up his half century from just 49 deliveries. After 35 overs we had moved onto 140-4 and were now looking at 200+.
Knowing they needed a wicket, Betts brought himself back on and struck in his second over, Jake trying to pull one into the legside ended up skying it and the keeper took the catch. It was a brilliant 58 on a tough track.
George Kidd joined Hardy and with ten overs remaining we were still nicely placed at 167-5. The pair moved along, taking ones & twos keeping the scoreboard ticking over. Hardy (39) was adjudged LBW in his last innings before his honeymoon and the remaining 4 overs produced 16 runs and 3 wickets. George (14) caught reverse heaving at cover, Olly Skelton (0) bowled, Ben Allinson (7) run out and Flint 3* and we had totalled 207.
Certainly something to bowl at, we knew the Nonington overseas was class and could win this, so we had to bowl well and after seeing what the home side did, we followed suit. One slip, midwicket, cover and extra cover to ensure runs were kept at a minimum and it worked, the first 7 overs producing just 8 runs.
Flint & Ellison were bowling well, and it was Flint who struck in his fourth over, bowling Pilbeam and in his eighth over finding the outside edge of McLennan’s bat and Hardy with the gloves took a great diving one handed catch. The next over Ellison bowled Dawkins through the gate with an inswinger. The only flaw was a dropped slip catch; that aside, we had fielded superbly for the first 20 overs and the scoreboard read 45-3.
George Kidd and Matt Frewin replaced the two elder seamers, Kidd greeted with a boundary and Frewin a maximum in their first overs, George eventually getting into his stride and managing a decent line and length, Frewin also tightened up, but the odd boundary kept the Nonnies interested.
After 30 overs the score had moved onto 82-3 and we were now in a T20 match. This suited us, it wasn't that kind of track to be able to hit through the ball and so it proved when Kidd frustrated Burrett who tried to hit out and only found the hands of Skelton. Jake replaced Frewin and Jay soon replaced George, Van Dyk reached his half century from 108 deliveries, showing just how well we had bowled and fielded against him. At the end of the 40th over Nonington required 81 runs. It was still game on, all the while Van Dyk was at the crease.
The spin from Jay wasn't working out as planned, George and Matt were brought back into the attack and George struck straight away, bowling McHugh, the next over Frewin had Betts caught by George at mid=on and at 152-6 after 44 surely we had this game now.
Frewin then forced Di Cicco to hit one out to long-off with Harry Carter taking the catch and when Benfield then bowled West with his final delivery it meant Van Dyk was facing the last over needing 27 to tie. The first delivery went for 2, same with the second. The third produced a contested boundary, Jake fielded, his leg over the line but in the air, however it was right in front of the pavilion and a boundary was given. All Matt had to do now is not bowl a wide or no ball. Two dot balls followed, and the last ball was hit for 4 meaning we had won by 15 runs, Van Dyk had batted all through for 95*
This was a great win, very good team performance especially in the field and from the bowlers.
This week’s MoM is Jake Benfield, a superb half century and tidy spell with the ball
G. Kidd 10-1-28-2
M. Frewin 10-0-54-2
Next week we welcome Gravesend to Park Avenue ; they have strengthened recently and beat Kings Hill convincingly at the weekend. Skipper Matt Hardy is away for a few weeks on Honeymoon around Asia but Tom Marshall & Chris Kidd will be returning. Our match sponsors for next week will be Home Instead - Professional Home Care Services