A remarkable century from Scott Narraway saw Broadstairs home with a wicket to spare in a thrilling encounter against St Lawrence and Highland Court. In a match full of twist and turns that would fully test the character of the newcomers to Division 1, a depleted Broadstairs side rose to the challenge to record a famous victory.
Earlier in the day, having won the toss and electing to field, it was looking like plain-sailing for the hosts as St Lawrence and Highland Court slumped to 36-4 with Kent professional Darren Stevens (14) back in the hutch. The pace of Masoud Rangin combined with the pinpoint accuracy of Bradley Ellison seemed to be too much for the visitors who would need to rely on their overseas all-rounder Justin Watson to rescue the situation. When he lobbed a catch to cover with only a handful of runs added to the total, the match looked all but over. However, the simple chance was squandered and despite the loss of his partner and skipper Will Hilton, Watson rode his good fortune and over the subsequent 20 overs, reached a century before eventually being dismissed for 118, bowled by Chris Kidd. With the score at 183-7 and 13 overs still remaining, further damage would be inflicted by the tail-enders and St Lawrence and Highland Court finished their innings on 267-9, a score that looked wholly unlikely 2 hours earlier. Broadstairs took some comfort from the fact that even if they were to be defeated, they would have secured maximum bowling points, with Rangin (3-45), Callum Morgan (2-14) and Ellison (1-22) the pick of the bowlers.
The Seasiders’ reply began in lively fashion with openers Chris Flint and Jack Wheeler appearing to score at will against the bowling attack of Watson and Ben Trott. However, with the score at 21-0 in just the 4th over, both Flint (17) and then Wheeler (8) succumbed in quick succession and it would be down to Narraway and Morgan to re-build the innings. This they did and when Morgan (11) was caught in the 16th over and the score on 71-3, still around 200 short of the target, the home side could at least expect to pick-up some additional batting points. At this stage, the tide began to turn as Matt Frewin joined Narraway at the crease and they quickly established a highly productive partnership, looking secure in defence and punishing the bad deliveries. This partnership would last for 16 overs when Frewin eventually departed for an impressive 64, trapped LBW off the bowling of Trott. Together, they had advanced the Broadstairs total to 165-4 and the prospect of maximum bowling points from what was still looking a likely defeat became a real possibility. As would become clear during the remaining 16 overs however, Narraway had higher ambitions.
In a succession of partnerships with Jamie Dewell (1), Alfie Huntley (4) and most notably Ian Marshall (10), Narraway started to show the hitting power that spectators at Park Avenue have become accustomed to over the years. When Marshall was dismissed in the 44th over, Broadstairs had reached 210 with Narraway on 72. The very slight possibility that the home side might contrive a victory from this situation appeared to be snuffed-out as Kidd (1) and Ellison (2) were caught in rapid succession. A key milestone of 225 for maximum batting points had been reached and this was the trigger for Narraway to shift into over-drive. Rangin (8*) as last man played his part, hitting a 6 with the second ball he faced and then letting Narraway take the lion’s share of the strike. With an exhibition of aggressive play under pressure, Narraway reached his century but there was still work to be done. At 260-9 and just 2 overs remaining, the match was in the balance and there an eerie hush descended on the ground. The pressure started to release when the visitors gifted 5 wides early in the 49th over and then, quite appropriately, Narraway (114*) completed the job with a six through mid-on. The victory that had once seemed nailed-on and then wholly improbable was achieved – a match that will not be forgotten for some time to come.
On the back of this welcome win, Broadstairs return to action next week, travelling to Linden Park where they will hope to build on their success from this week.