This week Broadstairs welcomed Division 1 champions Leeds and Broomfield to Park Avenue, a team we have struggled to compete with over the last few years, but we had to today to join them in the Championship next year.
We were at full strength with the return of Chris & George from Florida and after some overnight rain and a heavy dew, Matt Hardy won the toss and decided to bowl. Brad & Chris shared the new ball as they have done majority of the season, an opening partnership that has produced 55 wickets and 72 maidens so far this season and one that struck 4th ball of the innings when Brad found the edge of Mitchinson’s bat and Matt Hardy took the catch at second slip.
It was ideal conditions for the pair as they consistently beat the bat and made life hard for the batsmen. Ellison struck again, trapping Creasey in his crease right in front of all 3, an easy decision for the umpire and we had 2 wickets before Leeds had reached double figures. Flinty then dismissed Tulia, bringing one back and bowling the overseas player through the gate and in his next over he trapped the dangerous Scrivens in front.
27-4 after 12 and the whole team was buzzing. Flint was on one and grabbed his third soon after. Semmens finally nicking one through to Tom Marshall to make it 35-5. But try as they might to get more wickets the pair finished 3-34 and 2-30. Brad ending the season with 32 wickets and Chris 28.
Kidd junior & senior replaced the ageing seamers and it was senior who struck first, bowling Czabaniuk and when drinks were taken at 25 overs Leeds were 82-6.
We regrouped and the skipper had some words, we needed the win, we couldn’t afford to let the game drift and expect the batsmen to just give their wicket up. George claimed his first a few overs after drinks, Roberts finding Harry Carter at mid-off and then we all know what happens when Chris bowls to the tail. Firstly, Swart edging to Hardy at slip, then bowling Dibble with a full straight delivery. Jake had replaced George and his extra pace hurried the batsmen but he couldn’t get the last wicket. He was then replaced by Matt Frewin and when Chris had finished his superb spell 3-9, George switched ends and eventually found the edge with Hardy taking another catch at slip to leave us chasing 121 to win.
Slightly more than we wanted when we had them 35-5 but we’d have taken that before a ball was bowled.
Out walked Jay and Nathan for the last time this season. A maiden first over to Jay who was determined to get us up into the championship next year. Natty struck the first boundary with a glorious cover drive. Jay was being very cautious at the other end, in fact it took him 13 deliveries to get off the mark, highly unusual for him but at least he was being sensible. He then started to get into his stride, a couple of boundaries put nicely away. A pull for 6 from Mustil came out of the blue but it was when Scrivens and Semmens came on that Jay got boundary happy. Farming the strike he was licking his lips at the chance of hitting the spinner into the shorter boundary and he did just that. It may have been 13 deliveries to get off the mark but he brought his 50 up in 46 deliveries! Nathan was also enjoying the bowling when he got a chance to face it, despatching one short delivery into one of the cars parked on the roadside. Andy will be waiting for that claim to come in!
After 15 overs we were 89-0, the next over went for 26, Jay was in party mode and the pair brought up the 100-partnership but it was Natty who decided to end the game with just two deliveries of the 17th over. First a boundary struck over mid-off followed by the same shot but for a maximum sealing our promotion as runners up.
Nathan finished unbeaten on 33 and Jay 88. Jay yet again gaining MoM and I believe also winning the 6 competition beating Jake (some work to do next year Jakey)
And so our season ended with a massive high after previous years of disappointment. Having Matt Frewin and Jake Benfield back in the side is a big bonus, but at the same time we have lost players, Alex Hogben with a back injury keeping him out all season, Andy Bailey was also missing majority of the season but other players stepped up. Chris Flint and George have been immense with the ball and it’s been a pleasure to share the new ball with Flinty, whilst others have stepped up when required. Jake picking up 4 against Bromley Common, Matt Frewin picking up a few, Harry Carter, Natty and Oli Frewin also getting important wickets.
And then the batting, not as prolific in recent years but certainly more reliable and sturdier. We were in trouble against Kings Hill but Harry and Matt Frewin stepped up to get us out of trouble, Jake is devastating when he gets going and takes the game away from the oppo and who could forget Kiddy’s match winning 6 against Old Wills! Lets also not forget Tom’s keeping, he may have dropped a few off me and others but he’s a better keeper than I’ll ever be! Hardy is an ok back up but Tom, you have to cut down those summer holidays!
I’ll probably write a very long end of season conclusion at some point in the next few weeks. But for now, it’s been a pleasure playing for this group of lads all proudly representing the best team in Thanet and playing as a team each week. Our spectators who come to every home game. Dave Ellison for supporting us every week at every ground, walking round with a big cigar on the go, David Fox for the superb photos you take throughout the season and Pedro who takes his life into his hands each away game when he gets on that minibus! Thanks for scoring Pedro, we do appreciate it.
Our sponsors who are a huge help each season. Jeremy for providing a decent track each week, everyone who cleans the club house, serves behind the bar and cooks food during and after the game.
I know there are 2 friendlies left to play, but lets winter well and get ready for next year, a step up in standard and we’ll need to be ready for it!