Saturday First XI Results 2016

 


 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier Game) Result
30 April 2016
 The Nevill
188 all out 
131 all out 
Bexley CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 57 runs 

   Wells entertained Bexley in the sole game displaced from the Premier Division due to the July County Week, with dire forecasts of showers and cold for the end of April; in fact, however, the match was played out fully with just a sprinkling of drizzle close upon the tea break. The structure of the contest brought immediate comparison with the previous Nevill encounter between these two teams, as an apparently under-par target total eventually proved to be enough, despite home advantage and an approachable task.

   Kent’s Adam Riley won the toss for Bexley and batted on what was expected to be a good batting surface, which in fact provided some traction for both attacks, and put a premium on crease-occupation to maximise the chances of avoiding defeat. Indeed, the visitors’ best individual score came from Australian Aryan Jain who stayed through 56 balls in making a hard-fought 45 (4 fours) without which the Bexley total would have been scant indeed; the four-pronged medium pace contingent consistently gave the home fans cause for optimism as no batsman truly found progress straightforward, while crucially the top seven all made it to double figures, and batted time to ensure that they could fully occupy their overs. Just three deliveries remained when the last wicket fell at 188, and skipper Alex Williams came away with a trio of wickets, to join Paddy Sadler who netted 3-32 from his allocation of ten overs.

   The chase began with a flurry of boundaries from Chris Williams, accompanied by Michael Waller who looked as impregnable as ever, and thus the opening stand raised 40 runs from 34 balls, and this was followed by the captain reining in his aggressive game in order to set up the win. Both sides had posted 72-2 in competitive starts, but the Bexley effort was improved through a third wicket partnership of 44, the highest of the match, whereas Wells floundered from this point as the game slipped inexplicably away. Only the Williams brothers were able to reach double figures in both the 2015 and 2016 Nevill games, yet Waller now batted for 77 balls in a highly responsible knock of 31, but the run-out mix-up involving Rob Sehmi was a tragic waste; George Haley was prowling ever closer in the infield and his throw beat the home gloveman to his ground to keep Bexley interested. And yet, at 94-4, the equation still required just four-per-over, plus the determination to bat through, despite the difficulties posed by the scheming Riley and his cohorts. Instead, the middle order was brushed aside as five wickets tumbled for the addition of a mere thirty runs, and suddenly the visitors were in the driving seat. Will Stickler, a noted player of spin and seam, remained, nevertheless, but he had just the tail left to support him in attaining the last eighty runs needed for success. In the event, the lower order tried to assist but were no match for the movement generated by Mehad Khan and Usman Jan, as Bexley romped to the win by 59 runs. It was a case, almost, of déjà vu.
   This was a typical early season game, with rusty showings and unforced errors, while both XIs gave away rather too many extras as they strove to follow their radar. It was written last year that Wells “can regroup with their Coach and prepare for the … (remaining) contests with a refreshed approach and a brief tactical overhaul.” And that could well apply once again; it was thought that Bexley had under-achieved with 188, and the same was said in 2015 about their 189, and each was wrong, for slightly differing reasons, on the day. Wells held seven smart catches and set up the game with 189 to chase; it could be argued that they missed one or two key players, one thinks straight away of James Madgwick, and the spin twins Meddings and O’Riordan, but opponents would add that you can only play what is in front of you, and that too remains a truism. This was not the desired start to the campaign, but the XI will be in far better shape after generating a win, and the sooner the better; Wells are home to Lordswood on the upcoming Saturday, and a minor heatwave is forecast.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier Game) Result
07 May 2016 
 The Nevill
280 for 7 wkts 
237 all out 
Lordswood CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 43 runs 

   A marvellously warm day welcomed Lordswood to The Nevill, where they won the toss and took first knock on a surface ideal for batting, leaving the home bowlers an unenviable task in keeping the score to acceptable limits. In the event, Fabian Cowdrey played one of the finer innings seen at the Ground, threading the ball superbly through the ‘V’ with a touch that was almost lyrical during an opening partnership that gave rise to notions of a target beyond three hundred.

   Wells entered the contest knowing that they needed to start taking serious points from these May matches, but there were mis-fields and the odd missed chance, plus far too many wides given away, and for a while the majesty of the opening stand surpassed their direst fears. By the time that Oliver Lea (55, from 89 deliveries) was caught at 164 after 33 overs, Cowdrey had delighted the crowd with imperious drives and sweet placements netting him an undefeated and ominously accelerating 94* with every chance of creating a new record score, so quickly was he accumulating runs. Linden Lockhart joined him at this stage, and he, too, no doubt, watched in awe as the inexorable barrage powered on, with Cowdrey adding 59 to the skipper’s 18 as the tally reached 243-1 when suddenly the party ended, moments after another landmark had been reached, and the opener was caught in the deepfield for a mellifluous 153. The home attack now proceeded to capitalise, snapping up five more wickets for 35 as the score was kept to more customary proportions, and, notwithstanding a late surge, they kept the target total to 281 as the overs ended, which would give the line-up encouragement on such a track.
   Cowdrey batted in all for 144 balls, caressing 19 fours and cracking two maxima en route to only the fourth one-fifty of the Premier Era at this venue, leaving abiding memories of the consummate grace of his stroke execution.

   The chase set off positively, as it had to do, with Chris Williams and Mike Waller unfurling their range of skills as the score passed the eighty mark at the required run-per-ball rate, before the visiting attack broke through. Williams had just posted another half-century when a sharply-turning spinner from Ranjit Singh found the stumps to bring the home skipper into the fray. Waller, meanwhile, was supplying his trademark unyielding capability when a mistimed deflection resulted in a legside catch, and the task ahead was made that much tougher. Alex Williams partnered Rob Sehmi in a luxuriant third wicket partnership of 73, rich in stroke play, which unfortunately promised more than it fulfilled, for Jack Laraman split the pair at 172, and a middle order collapse then followed which completely upset the direction of the game; the total now showed a fitful 203-7, with the required objective still far away. Cowdrey (3-29) and Laraman (3-49) had tipped the scale back to Lordswood, and it remained for the home lower order to show defiance.

   The first goal was to ensure maximum batting points at 225, and this, despite some scares, was achieved with the last pair together, directed by Dave Smith as he rallied the tail to the bitter end. The bowlers completed the victory shortly afterwards, and the gap was a tantalisingly narrow 43 runs as the dust settled. For Wells, this was defeat without dishonour, for many positives emerged from the encounter to point to better things. The tireless work in the outfield by Sam Stickler, and the restoration of the batsmanship of the top four, stood out and hinted at successes to come, with Bexley away at Manor Way as the next game to galvanise the unit.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier Game)

Result
14 May 2016 
Manor Way 
166 for 9 wkts 
167 for 3 wkts 
 Bexley CC I XI
TWCC won by 7 wkts 

   This match, the second in a little over two weeks between the two teams, promised to have importance for both, as for Bexley it would mean a very strong start should they win, but a mini disaster for TW if they lost again; and the visitors were once more without several key players. In the event, midweek rain had rendered most Kentish wickets difficult to manage, and the toss thus became a dubious factor for the winner, nevertheless Bexley batted first after the call went their way.

   From the outset, Wells looked to have a relative edge, with their skipper Alex Williams immediately to the fore, leading by example as he had a hand in three important dismissals. The comparative want of a second strike bowler was absorbed by this effort, strongly supported by Chris Williams and Dave Smith (2-22), while the opening skirmishes began to favour the attack as the score slipped to 60-3 after twenty overs. Min Patel (29) was involved in a middle order rally which threatened briefly to take the game away, yet the multiple shuffling of the bowlers, combined with incisive and timely interventions from both spinners, plus two immaculate stumpings by Rob Sehmi, reduced the innings to 148-6 with just three overs remaining. Progress had been slow of necessity on the Manor Way deck, although George Haley, Chris Laas and Aryan Jain had shown what was possible to achieve although none was able to go on to play a decisive knock; credit must reside with the bowlers for a significant overall performance, capped as Williams (C) docked the tail to end matters at 166-9, after Usman Jan had been compelled to retire hurt with ligament trouble. The direct hit from mid-wicket by the skipper to run out Laas (33) was simply sensational, and a big team effort had brought Wells a great chance to pull off their first League win of 2016.

   The chase began with a couple of boundaries and a played-on wicket in the first over, whereupon Mike Waller and William Stickler displayed dominant and secure cricket in taking the score up to and beyond the one hundred mark, in a second partnership which bristled with excellence and a determination to succeed. It was a sensible move to promote Stickler, who has seldom played better as he stroked ten fours and a majestic mid-wicket six, the latter to bring up his fifty during the long and flourishing stand; Waller lost little by comparison with his partner, and is in a rich vein of form, duly reaching his own fifty shorty afterwards before finally the bowlers broke through. The match-decisive second wicket had held for 121 runs, and no praise could be too grand for the effort made by the two players involved, yet the job needed completion. Stickler (79) saw the score on to 163 with Sehmi before he too gave a catch to Jasdev Bassan, whereupon the skipper stepped in to crash the boundary which brought up the win and the first 18 point haul of the campaign. There were as many as ten overs to spare in a convincing victory by seven wickets.
   Just as a fortnight before, the 2015 pattern persisted, and Wells moved up to fourth place in the Table, a matter of seven adrift of the leading pack; they will entertain newly-promoted Dartford at the Nevill on 21/5; Tom Baxter, on first XI debut for the TW side, clearly enjoyed an unforgettable day at Manor Way.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier Game) Result
21 May 2016 
The Nevill 
225 for 7 wkts 
229 for 4 wkts 
Dartford CC I XI 
TWCC won by 6 wkts 

   A grey, overcast day heralded the return of Dartford to The Nevill for a Premier match, for the first time since 2001 at this venue, and at this lofty level, since 2002; Ross Allen was in both XIs, spanning sixteen seasons, and a few others were still playing, if no longer at the highest echelon. (These were the times of two-day cricket, set in an English climate). Rain and storms were forecast for the early evening, so that, when the toss went with the home skipper, who elected to field first, there was an expectation that an early chase might have been in his mind; the benign nature of the track soon dispelled any such hopes, and a full game was eventually played out, although a light shower took the players off for some fifteen minutes when Wells needed just seventeen runs for a well-crafted victory.

   Dave Smith secured a wicket in his opening over, and thereupon a somnolent mood overtook proceedings as the second and third stands looked to build a platform, even though the runrate only barely exceeded three per over for the first half of the innings. Drinks were taken at 79-2, however the appearance of Charlie Hartley at the crease signified a busier intention, which was fulfilled explosively with the advent of Howard Powell at 96-4, sending the tally into a better place as he smote seven fours and three sixes in a 72-ball 86. The sleepy first phase was replaced by this increased tempo of aggression, yet the home attack was never truly collared, steadily taking wickets to control the break-out. Powell headed the charge which managed a run-a-ball right to the very end, and Dartford attained their fourth batting point of 2016 from the final delivery; ominously, the previous hour of play had continued throughout a sporadic light drizzle.

   Set 226 for the win, on a track typically playing low-and-slow, the home batsmen had a great chance to improve their position, and the opening partnership between Chris Williams and Michael Waller gave them an ideal start before the latter was first to go at 42-1 after twelve overs. The target implied a requirement of slightly more than four per over, and this scoring rate was kept up despite the restraint of the visitors’ attack and the weather, as the partnerships came and went. Williams (C) played a confident and fluent innings which kept his side on track, while Robert Sehmi gave the third partnership a pugnacious vitality as the pair posted 86 vital runs from 16 overs; Williams in particular was in marvellous form, striking eleven fours and a six en route to his maiden Premier century from just 109 deliveries, meantime Sehmi kept the intent alive with deft placements and smart running. Moments after reaching his landmark, Williams was caught off a skied drive, but his contribution to the game had been immense, with a wicket and two splendid catches along with his batsmanship, but by now the drizzle had become persistent, and the light poorer, as the skipper joined Sehmi for the run-in. Alex Williams raced to 25 not out, having seen Sehmi reach 50 exactly from 62 balls before holing out, when the Umpires took the players from the field and the covers were run into place. A tense wait followed, but happily the shower ceased, and play could continue with Wells poised on the brink of their victory; Williams (A) once more led his side home, crashing several boundaries to come in undefeated on 42, and he too could be delighted with the outcome and his own contribution, as his winning XI was still short of a couple of key players.

   The victory propelled Wells into third spot in the Table, behind early leaders Beckenham and Blackheath, and the side travel to Bromley on 28/5 for another interesting tussle. There is a forecast of sunnier days in the week ahead, and it will be in the interests of everyone if the Summer can finally get under way, for the cricket is always the better for it.

 

Date  Venue

TWCC Score

 Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier Game) Result
28 May 2016 
Plaistow Lane 
258 for 9 wkts 
231 for 9 wkts 
Bromley CC I XI 
TWCC won by 27 runs

   Wells made the journey over to Plaistow Lane where the customary de luxe batting surface awaited them, however Alex Williams called wrongly, and Bromley asked the visitors to set a target; still unable to select their putative optimum XI, the TW team which played gave a confidently cohesive performance overall, with the in-form batting line-up given an early opportunity to shine.

   Chris Williams led off for Wells with a dazzling 48-ball 62 while Michael Waller again delivered the solid impenetrable display now his trademark; Williams was once more in splendid touch, striking eight fours and two sixes as the first wicket posted three figures at a run-a-ball, when Matt Smit got one past him on his return after having been unceremoniously removed from the attack a good while earlier. A miserly spell of cultured spin from James Butterfill stood out, but had been unable to stem the rapid scoring, although a second wicket followed reasonably quickly when Rob Sehmi departed at 125-2; the third partnership prospered gainfully as the contrasting styles of skipper Williams (A) and Waller produced a 16-over stand worth 71 runs, so that the two hundred was passed with just three wickets down, and a tall total seemed to be in prospect. Butterfill (2-26) and Smit (4-49), strongly supported by their bowling colleagues, now interrupted the one-sided advance when six wickets went down for 56 runs as the allocation came to an end, and Bromley were doubtless somewhat relieved to be facing a challenging yet manageable 259 for the win. Waller top-scored with a resolute and responsible 80 (6 fours), falling to Butterfill at 224, after having seen his side into a powerful position, and some vital late runs from Will Stickler and Sean Griffin set up a tantalising chase. Alex Williams struck two sixes in his otherwise sedate 35.

   The reply began with a succession of boundaries, such that the tally raced to 62-1 from the first ten overs, but Griffin had already removed danger man Smit at 27, and the bowlers soon reasserted themselves as they began to apply the brakes. Nevertheless, captain Miguel Barbosa (37) and Shavawn Cunningham (39) took Bromley into the relative comfort of 150-4 with eighteen overs left to attack the residual 109 runs needed; Wells now showed depth and spirit, led by the example of their skipper, as Bromley in turn suffered a critical haemorrhage of wickets, which proved to be the decisive phase in the game. The Williams brothers between them grabbed six wickets, of which the 4-33 from Alex, in two spells, was key, as the home innings subsided to 208-9 with 21 deliveries remaining; gloveman Sam Smith (31) and Mahi Mahfuzul (21) had added a rapid forty for the sixth wicket before Griffin removed the former, and his captain did the rest.

   The requirement was by now effectively out of reach, and Wells had closed out the game to reel in their third win of the campaign, thereby emulating five other teams, however, by a quirk of arithmetical fate, they moved to the top place in the Table as a result of dogfight tussles elsewhere in the division; thus Wells go into June heading the Premier Division, and will welcome Champions Hartley to The Nevill on June 4 for a further encounter of significant importance.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier Game)

Result
04 June 2016
The Nevill 
216 for 8 wkts 
174 all out 
Hartley Country Club CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 42 runs

   The Premier leaders met the current Champions on a soft Nevill wicket which was two-paced throughout, with the ball holding up at times in a disconcerting fashion. Batting was never easy, although James Hockley (88) made it sometimes seem so, and his effort was head and shoulders above others in the contest; nevertheless, he was missed several times, and might have departed to the very first delivery of the match. The often magnificent home catching was frequently at fault in an unaccountably flawed display, and yet the damage done was limited to a target of 217 which ordinarily would be well within their compass.

   Hartley steadily lost wickets after Hockley crashed 42 out of 62-2 from 14 overs, and his survival was at all times vital to the visitors’ interests; Richard Clinton (32) assisted the opener in a key third partnership of 82, which spanned twenty-two overs, and although the runrate had initially surged, the Wells attack fought back strongly, and constrained the batsmen whose attempts to break out were generally met with dismissal. Richard Coles (20) was comparatively successful at the close as the overs were running out, and he had some late support from the tail, but six wickets fell for the addition of a somewhat laboured 84 runs in the final overs, and the in-form home batsmen had secured a chance to atone for their earlier failings.

   Sadly, the reply was characterised by freak dismissals and some injudicious shots, which resulted in an early eclipse that saw the score slide to 57-5 after 21 overs, which could be explained only in part by the vagaries of the wicket. The first breach involved the ill-judged run-out of Michael Waller, whose habitual longevity at the wicket could have been so important, followed by the cheap removal of the cream of the top order to bowlers who merely kept tight lines and provoked uncontrolled aerial play. Marcus O’Riordan, who watched in dismay from the other end as this procession evolved, showed precisely how to combat such bowling on a helpful track, and finally found resistance in number seven Jamie Baldwin. These two embarked upon a recovery which saw seventy runs accrue, without undue alarms, for the sixth wicket partnership, even accelerating towards the end as the prospect arose of a renewal of the victory chase. Disaster struck when O’Riordan (38) failed to survive an extremely close run-out appeal, and the impetus for a turn-around floundered, for the number three had spear-headed this last-ditch rally. Somehow, Baldwin kept going, but the varied Hartley bowlers were not to be denied, and the ninth wicket fell at 157; the last wicket got within a single of a second batting point, but the number eleven succumbed, leaving Baldwin high and dry a single light of a valiant fifty.

   Wells had lost by just 42 runs, which, considering the frailties on show, was almost honourable, while serving to show how near the prize actually was; they sank back to fourth place in the Table as a result, although one extra game has been played, along with Bexley CC, in this leading group of six. On the day, there had been an epidemic at The Nevill, and it wasn’t catching. The XI will need to re-group smartly as they face the surprise side in the division, Tenterden Town, whose success so far has been well-founded if unexpected, and a fine tussle is thus in prospect at the delightful Morghew Park on June 11.

 

Date  Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier Game) Result
11 June 2016 
 Morghew Park
122 all out 
73 for 2 wkts 
Tenterden Town CC I XI 
Incomplete Match 

   Although this match came to a premature conclusion, unfinished at about two thirds through, a remarkable captain’s innings merits recall, as it contributed significantly to the outcome. Alex Williams’ XI had been hit by unavailabilties which could not have been foreseen, and the side was under-strength going into an important KL Premier game; Tenterden Town, who entertained Wells on the day, at their splendid Morghew Park HQ, had been the surprise team of 2016, having planned well for their campaign, and they had humbled several good sides already.

   Williams won the toss and chose to bat first, knowing full well that bad weather was a strong possibility sometime during the afternoon; what happened next must have been unnerving to say the least, as the makeshift top three were dismissed in short order for 19, and, within moments of the captain reaching the middle, another duck befell the number five. Sam Weller had snapped up 3-12 in his first 24 deliveries, while Tom Richards had figures of 1-11 in the same span. Just eight overs into the contest, and Wells were 23-4.

   Williams drew deep, and determined to bat time, and he found a resilient partner in Dave Smith as the fifth wicket held, first setting up a recovery and then looking to consolidate. The pair had just posted 52 for the stand, from fifteen overs, when Smith edged to the ‘keeper, and Tenterden had broken through; still Williams batted on, not yet on thirty, as his side needed him to bat through. Sean Griffin (10) defied the rampant home attack awhile, but it was the skipper who lasted out. The tail tried their best, and occupied crucial overs, yet it was Paddy Sadler who stayed long enough for Williams to reach a dramatic and valiant fifty. Shortly afterwards, he was last out for 54 and the home target for another win was just 123; barely thirty-six overs had been required to dismiss Wells, although there was no real sign of the weather changing.

   The home reply was damaged early by Sadler, while Griffin removed Kiwi ace Bharat Popli, but the score moved along to 73-2 from sixteen overs when suddenly the heavens opened and a torrential downpour fell from a darkened sky. No further play was possible, although much waiting around was to follow; importantly, however, Williams’ defiant 83-ball fifty had materially helped to save his side from defeat, and it should be noted that this was his longest innings by balls faced since he scored a ton against the Mote in 2014. And so an extraordinary encounter reached its unfortunate and unsatisfactory conclusion; the ‘incomplete’ result handed Wells six points whereas defeat would have provided rather less than that.

 

Date  Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier Game) Result
 18 June 2016
The Foxgrove 
 201 for 9 wkts
202 for 9 wkts 
Beckenham CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 1 wkt 

   The Tunbridge Wells XI which travelled to the Foxgrove was still awaiting the return of several key players, and looked a different side from that which might have otherwise been expected, yet for all but the final session in darkening dusk, they had rather the best of an out-of-sorts home XI who had suffered three batting failures on the spin. The toss went with the home captain, who asked Wells to take first knock.

   A provisional opening partnership between Tim Luckhurst and Michael Waller laid a steady platform which produced 52 from some fourteen overs before the latter was dismissed, bringing Alex Williams to the crease for yet another crucial effort. The skipper made a spirited 43 at virtually a run-a-ball, but the left-arm spin of Peter Walters was introduced with telling effect, notwithstanding his being greeted with an immediate strike for six; Williams saw the score on to 118 before becoming the second of five successive wickets for the spinner, and the innings reached a crossroads at 156-6. Walters had snapped up 5-32 in his ten over stint, but James Madgwick (21) had seen the score on to 170 before Sean Griffin (23* with a six and a four) piloted the tail just beyond the 200 when the overs came to an end, one wicket still being intact.

   Set 202 for the win, a quick-fire trademark 50 from Chris Isles set the tone for the chase, but the frailty of the line-up was exposed as the visiting attack reduced a healthy 75-2 to 149-7 with ten overs left in which to make 65 for the win but with just three wickets standing. Isles had notched 4 fours and 3 sixes in a whirlwind prelude, but Griffin induced an edge to the ‘keeper moments after the half-century had arrived, whereupon a wonderfully miserly spin offering from James Meddings, with 1-18 from his ten overs, had the middle order floundering; Williams, (3-34 from his ten), cleaned up the noted trio of Alex Blake, Oli Howick and counterpart Johan Malcolm, but throughout this phase Raza Ali Dar had quietly been building towards his own fifty. Surely the game belonged to Wells, so well had they played; yet 24 runs were still needed from twelve balls with Ali Dar on 52*, and Dave Smith having just taken two lower order wickets. The penultimate over came from Griffin, yet Ali Dar somehow managed ten while securing the strike for the final over; the light was fast fading, and a fine crowd of onlookers had gathered for the climactic last over, to be bowled by Smith from the Summer Pavilion End, with fourteen now needed for a sensational win.
    Ali Dar was facing, and he flicked the first ball very fine on the leg side for four, but missed the second; the third ball was wristily guided behind on the off so straight as to beat third man on the fence, and then, in deepening gloom, Smith produced two dot balls. Junaid Nadir narrowly survived a run-out from the first of these, being sent back by the calm and commanding Ali Dar although it was millimetres from disaster; and so it came down to six or bust from the last delivery.
    70 not out, Ali Dar backed off to leg and swung through the line, and connected straight, with the ball rising out towards long on, where a lone fielder wheeled back to secure the victory catch. Somehow the ball just beat him over the line, and the six was signalled, and a wonderful game of cricket had the most dramatic of endings; rare enough a six to win, but from the last ball too, although one only needs to enquire of Ben Stokes how that must feel. And thus it was that Beckenham took the eighteen points, leap-frogging over Wells into fifth place, with their opponents of the day dropping to sixth; the next TWCC game features Sevenoaks Vine at The Nevill on June 25.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
25 June 2016
The Nevill 
186 for 6 wkts 
184 for 8 wkts 
Sevenoaks Vine CC I XI 
Incomplete Match 

   Wells faced local rivals Sevenoaks Vine at the Nevill on a day which was severely hampered by bad weather, as rain-laden thunderstorms rolled over Kent in mid-afternoon, leaving waterlogged outfields and abandoned matches in their wake. The determination of the home skipper and his side, allied to the goodwill of the Umpires running the game, meant that every effort was made to finish the contest over many hours, and finally a most enthralling chase rewarded them, coming within an ace of success in a nineteen-over thrash.

   The Vine lost the toss and were asked to bat first, and a noon start removed the option of reduced overs as the rain clouds gathered. After some fifteen overs the score had crept to 23-3 when showers drove the players from the field, and half a dozen times thereafter the covers were rolled on and off in serial attempts to re-start the game. At length, at around 16.30, the skies cleared and a real prospect of play arose, and the game at last could continue, with Sevenoaks batting out their fifty overs and using up vital time. The innings was tottering at 76-5 after thirty overs, as Sean Griffin (3-16) made headway, but Miles Richardson and Harry Levy stood firm, adding a pulsating 109 from the ensuing twenty overs; odd chances arose to break the stand but were spurned, and the end was reached at 186-6, with 23 extras gifted in this total. Richardson (78*) struck four fours and three enormous sixes as the partnership, by necessity, accelerated, with fifty runs coming in the last five overs, while Levy gave his partner every support; there would be ten minutes between innings because an early tea had already been taken, during which the pitch was refreshed and marked anew, and there were sixteen minutes of play for the reply, plus sixteen overs to be delivered in the last hour.

   The pursuit commenced and was played through with no further interruption, but nineteen overs from which to score 187 was always going to be a tall order. Wells gave chase merrily but lost three wickets quickly as the tally drifted to 44 after six overs; the equation had narrowed to 143 from thirteen overs, which meant a rate of eleven per over was now required, however the next seven overs rightly set the game alight. Alex Williams found a belligerent ally in Griffin, and, astonishingly, between them, these two now posted 78 at the required tempo to bring the win back into focus; crisp fours and huge sixes cascaded from the bats of these two players as the target was whittled away, and several overs were hit for twenty or more as the chase took shape. The pair collectively notched five fours and seven sixes in the onslaught, but, even when they were parted, 57 runs still had to be found from the remaining six overs. Somehow the rate was maintained as the lower order added precious runs until the last over arrived, as in the previous week, with fourteen to get for a remarkable win; Richardson bowled it, and the dismissal of Michael Waller, on the boundary edge, going for a maximum to follow a leg-glide for four, did enough to disturb the rhythm. The innings ended two short of the tie in a thrilling climax, and the teams therefore shared the points and the honours in an Incomplete Match. Williams (A) crashed a 46-ball 69, aided by 27 in 19 from Griffin, and an extraordinary contest was completed on a day when play was curtailed or abandoned generally.

   Wells will travel to the Rectory Field on July 2 for a League encounter against high-fliers Blackheath CC, after which preparations will commence for the 2016 Annual County Week when Kent CCC will play Sussex CCC in the Specsaver Championship at The Nevill from 17 July for four days. The Week opens on 15 July with a NatWest T20 Blast game against Surrey CCC. Vice Presidents’ Day will be on July 30 at the home game against Bromley CC, so the coming month will be a busy time for the Club.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
02 July 2016 
 The Rectory Field
201 all out 
202 for 5 wkts 
Blackheath CC I XI 
TWCC won by 5 wkts 

   Wells journeyed to Blackheath to take on the side lying in second position in the Table, having just experienced two hair-raising matches which each went to the very last delivery. The weather remained clear if at times overcast but the contest was played out with no interruption as the visiting attack efficiently disposed of the home batsmen in exactly fifty overs.

   The omens were not looking good for TWCC when George Wells (34) and 2016 signing Alex Roberts steadily opened with a first wicket partnership of 89 from twenty overs; a neat run out broke the stand only for Roberts to partner Tanweer Sikandar (35) as the score rose to a daunting 126-1 before the visiting attack struck back with several telling blows. Michael Churchill sent down ten overs off the reel to dislodge the powerful home middle order, with notable assistance from Dave Smith and Fred Florry, whose spells paralleled Churchill’s effort of penetrative spin, which undid much of the fine work done at the outset; a score line of 142-5 represented a big turnabout, with just twelve overs remaining. Jahid Ahmed (31) now rallied the tail and saw to the occupation of the full allocation, although Wells disposed of the last five wickets for 23 runs after a passing home fightback. Roberts batted through 101 deliveries for a valiant 66 (6 fours and one six), but support for his effort was generally sporadic, and a target of 202 was set for the visitors to chase.

   The reply was led by Chris Williams in a match-defining innings which took much of the labour out of the task in hand, yet first the wasteful run-out of Dave Smith gave the Blackheath attack a bonus breakthrough, only for the skipper to enter the fray and help his younger brother in a major partnership that sent the tally on to 118-1 from all but half of the overs due. Alex and Chris Williams added 101 from 129 balls in their maiden KL three figure partnership (they had put on 60 once in a Cup game), which set up an ideal platform from which to attack the remaining 84 runs required. The captain was dismissed four short of a fourth half-century for the League Summer, having struck up five fours and two sixes to maintain a crucially positive tempo. Chris was no less vigorous, and carried on at a healthy pace before he too was found in front of his stumps with the score having advanced to 159-2, leaving 43 needed for a remarkable victory; ten short of a second KL hundred in 2016, he played a vital innings for his side, notching fourteen fours in a stay of 107 deliveries which was instrumental in turning the tide that tilted the game.

   Rob Sehmi (24) extracted enough help from the lower middle order to bring up the win, duly settled by Sean Griffin hitting two consecutive boundaries to wrest the eighteen points that had been so narrowly missed in the two prior engagements. There were some seven overs unused when the winning hit was made, and Wells moved to sixth spot in the Table, a mere nine points from second place, 18 behind Hartley, in a chasing pack closely bunched together. The Championship is far from a done deal for anyone at the halfway stage of the campaign, and there is much to be played for in the back nine; it is to be fervently hoped that the weather will finally turn for the better, as the forecasters look back upon the wettest June in living memory. Wells play Lordswood away at Martin Grove on 9 July as preparations near completion at The Nevill for the 2016 County Week.

 

Date  Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)
Result
09 July 2016 
Martin Grove 
187 for 7 wkts 
190 for 6 wkts 
Lordswood CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 4 wkts 

   The Wells team travelled over to Medway to do battle at Martin Grove, where Alex Williams won the toss and chose to bat first; he was quickly able to reflect upon this choice as Lordswood’s bowlers had the innings in disarray at 25-3 after little more than six overs. Robert Sehmi and Marcus O’Riordan began to rebuild the effort, but they were both gone by the time the score had reached 58, to be followed soon after by Brough Cooper, who had executed a couple of solid blows both to and over the fence.

   The surface was lively, and now and again the ball kicked from a good length, but the lower order were to show enormous resolve as they battled to see out the fifty overs. For the attack, James Anyon (2-16) and Jack Laraman (2-37) did the early damage, supported, as expected by the Masters clan and the classy penetration of former England star Amjad Khan. Batting was anything but straightforward, and the start was hardly what had been expected, nevertheless, Will Stickler, courageously playing down some alarming deliveries, showed battle-hardened skill in withstanding the rampant bowlers, at one time taking the rearing ball on the helmet; He found a resolute partner in Dave Smith, and, slowly these two took the score beyond the one hundred mark, when the latter was castled by the only Danish Test Match player in the world after adding a useful 37 for the seventh stand. Sean Griffin now joined the embattled yet defiant Stickler, and, wonderful to relate, these two batted out the allocation while adding a priceless 72 in an unbeaten eighth partnership which occupied some sixteen overs; both men came in having hoisted the tally to 187-7 in a remarkable rearguard. Griffin (43*) struck up three fours and a six in his newly-developed role of batsman, while Stickler, who had held the innings together, came in with an invaluable not out 49 (5 fours), which had taken the score on by 131 runs for the loss of three wickets in the most arduous of circumstances.

   Wells struck back immediately, but Khan swashbuckled a fiercely-struck 72 from just 68 deliveries to safeguard against any potential threat of collapse; altogether he blitzed twelve fours and a six, at one point having made 48 out of 53-1 in a mere nine overs. The visiting bowlers withstood this assault and counter-attacked with five further wickets, but home skipper Linden Lockhart (68*) took over where the dominant Khan had left off, and guided his side over the line with a fearsome certainty. Wells had needed to secure all of the wickets if a long shot win was to be achieved, and they came near to this aim had the two key innings not denied them; the run-out to remove Khan, a tracer bullet throw from extra cover by Griffin, showed the necessary commitment, but Lockhart closed out any chance of a Wells riposte, even though the result was closer than he might have liked.

   The target was reached with six men down, although Wells in fact improved their position in the Table as they moved to joint fifth place alongside Bexley. The County Week now provides these two teams with a rest, and the next fixture for the flagship XI will be away on 23 July at Hesketh Park, where they will meet Dartford CC, who have just had their maiden Premier victory of 2016 at the expense of Beckenham CC.

 

Date  Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
 23 July 2016
Hesketh Park 
298 for 7 wkts 
144 all out 
Dartford CC I XI 
TWCC won by 154 runs 

   The TWCC First XI returned to Hesketh Park after a gap of fourteen summers, where they found a brand new pavilion of high quality, and, winning the toss, chose to bat on a sweltering afternoon with temperatures passing 30 degrees. The home attack removed an opener immediately, as Charlie Hartley was still adjusting his radar, whereupon the Williams brothers firstly rebuilt the innings, and then consolidated, during a vital second wicket partnership; the stand posted 120 which came at close to a run-per-ball from twentytwo overs and set up the platform for a vigorous display throughout the afternoon. Alex was first to go, having produced a dashing 53 (4 fours and 2 sixes), but Christopher, already past his own half-century, serenely swept to a second hundred from the Dartford bowlers in 2016, adding 64 with Marcus O’Riordan at a robustly healthy tempo while the tally neared the two hundred mark with overs in hand.

   The home attack broke back now with three more wickets, yet Will Stickler joined Sean Griffin to prolong the runfest as they put on 46 in even time, only for Dave Smith to top even this, crashing nineteen from nine balls, and the allocation ended thus on a daunting 298-7; such a total would sorely challenge Dartford, who were looking for a third consecutive victory, but would also give the Wells bowlers the chance to exercise their virtuosity. Chris Williams compiled his exuberant 106 (11 fours and 3 sixes) from just 86 deliveries, whereas Alex took 71 balls to complete his important fifty, both men turning the tide and re-shaping the innings after an awkward beginning.

   The visiting bowlers quickly settled into more pressing matters, as they tore out the top order in the opening fifteen overs whilst the score meandered hesitantly on to 61-5, with only opener Garry Cook (25) exhibiting permanence. The wickets were shared around, although Griffin (3-34) was notably penetrative, and it was a bold move by the skipper to give young Julian O’Riordan’s spinners an early turn, duly rewarded with the wicket of the number three in this period of destruction. The lower order showed grim defiance, however, and hit out where they could, with the result that the remaining wickets required prising out; nevertheles, the deficit was always going to be hanging over them, and more spin from Michael Churchill (2-9), combined with pace from Paddy Sadler (2-44) and Griffin, brought about an all-out total of 144 after just 33.1 overs.

   David Walker (31) top-scored for Dartford from the number eight spot, and nine-ten-Jack had a bit of fun as the score neared a batting bonus point, which narrowly eluded the last pair. The margin was still another such innings away, as Wells took 18 points from the encounter, which moved them into joint fourth position in the Table; they will host Bromley CC I XI at The Nevill on 30 July for VPs Day in the calendar of fixtures. This is a noted local occasion for young and old alike at the County Ground.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
 30 July 2013
The Nevill 
230 for 8 wkts 
212 all out 
Bromley CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 18 runs

   Although the forecast made no mention of the light showers that came with the start of this game, there was no time lost, and the home XI set about entertaining the numerous guests in attendance for VPs day, of whom there were several from the visiting Club. Bromley won the toss and batted on a fine surface for this purpose, upon which the bowlers were also able to apply leverage, and a good contest was thus in prospect.

   Dave Smith, Sean Griffin and Paddy Sadler all struck early on, with the score slipping to 61-3 from seventeen overs, although, ominously, Matt Smit had survived these opening salvos. A fourth wicket, that of the important Yasir Arafat, came at 94, before some semblance of resistance occurred despite a couple of difficult half chances; Smit and Alex Tate ground out 58 for the fifth partnership, but no great acceleration was achieved, and the last ten overs arrived at 170-5. The home attack, varying pace and spin, kept the rate at around four-per-over, although there was an attempt to break out as the allocation neared completion, meanwhile Smit chugged along patiently en route to a maiden Premier century, whose value to his side was inestimable in what seemed to be an under par final tally. The score ended up on 230-8, aided by a late flurry of quick runs, but the home attack missed a trick in gifting their opponents some two additional overs as seventeen extras came from wides and no balls, the profligacy of which was to take on an added significance when the game tightened.

   The target ordinarily looked to be within the Wells’ compass, yet two early dismissals, which saw to the removal of both openers, gave Bromley a dream start; Alex Williams now partnered Marcus O’Riordan in what was to be a critical third wicket stand, and a 79-run recovery was safely built from 97 deliveries with little sign of discomfort. O’Riordan let his colleague and captain take the leading role in the association, with the outcome that Williams made serious progress, largely by sixes and singles, until a second boundary four brought up a crisp half-century for him, and the chase was beginning to take on an appearance which was both secure and well-founded. At 125, however, Williams attempted a fourth maximum, but the shot lacked full distance, and James Butterfill clung on to the chance near the midwicket fence, and from this point the game underwent a shift in balance; much histrionic appealing spoiled the effort in the field, but served to show the heart-felt interest with which the visitors were now collectively possessed. In spite of some steadying runs from Robert Sehmi, Nathan Hill and Butterfill weaponised their canny off spin, and snapped up three key wickets to stifle progress and tempo alike, thereby bringing the reply down to 177-6 with just seven overs remaining.

   The stranglehold was nevertheless tentative while Will Stickler and Griffin notched long sixes, but Bromley now separated these batsmen, and somehow denied the strike to Stickler, which led to the final over arriving with nineteen needed. On strike, the home number eleven was stumped from the first ball, and the win was sealed for Bromley by a nail-biting and unexpected 18 runs. This result took Wells down a place in the Table, but re-ignited Bromley’s distant hopes of Premiership survival, albeit that there is a fair way yet to go; the home XI must look to their best form for the away leg against Hartley, the Champions Elect, at Culvey Close on 6 August, as the jostling for places intensifies in the run-in to the various campaigns.

 

Date  Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)
Result
06 August 2016
Culvey Close 
136 all out 
140 for 7 wkts 
Hartley Country Club CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 3 wkts 

   The Wells flagship XI travelled over to Culvey Close to do battle with Champions Elect Hartley, where they lost the toss and were asked to bat first. Unfortunately, they did not do themselves justice with the bat, and, despite two genuine counter-attacks, one with the bat and one with the ball, they were unable to avert the defeat which the home juggernaut always appeared likely to create.

   Initially, the batsmen made a steady if unspectacular start, reaching 52-2 after thirteen overs before the Hartley bowlers, Calvin Savage (4-30) and Daniel Redwood (2-36) in particular, knocked over much of the top order in a devastating spell which saw four further wickets tumble for the addition of just eleven runs. Mr. Extras had liberally assisted in reaching the half-century mark, although Savage more than made up for that luxury with a series of incisive breakthroughs. Marcus O’Riordan had phlegmatically observed these setbacks from the opposite end, and he now set about a valiant recovery with solid support coming from brother Julian, as 44 runs were gathered against the rampant attack for the seventh wicket partnership. It was stirring stuff as the might of the bowling was defied by these two youngsters, throughout all of twelve overs, with Marcus (34) taking the main burden of survival; eventually, however, the brave stand was broken at 115, and the attack completed the demolition of the innings for 21 further runs, although Dave Smith provided assistance to Michael Churchill who crashed a couple of retaliatory boundaries.

   Faced with a target of just 137 for the win, the home openers, James Hockley and skipper Dan Stickels, set off at an alarming pace, running up 49 before seven overs had elapsed, when Sean Griffin induced a nick behind from the former Kent man, and the fight-back had begun. Stickels (45) and Jake Benfield safely took the score on to 80 when the latter was castled by Griffin, and the hundred arrived with two men down. Suddenly Wells snapped up three wickets for three runs and the chase assumed quite different proportions; Alex Williams (3-12) now waylaid the home middle order to back up the work of his strike bowlers, and, although only thirty runs remained to be gathered, the run-in was now in some peril. Savage settled any nerves by withstanding the main threat, but the visiting bowlers grabbed two more wickets before the win was achieved; a few more runs to aim at might even have made a big difference. So Wells slipped to sixth place in the Table, still some way ahead of the relegation zone, although they will need to watch their backs from here to September as the struggle to avert the drop grows ever sharper.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
13 August 2016
The Nevill 
253 all out 
 127 all out
Tenterden CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 126 runs 

   A cool afternoon under cloud cover might well have assisted a home attack founded upon pace after the toss went with Premier newcomers Tenterden, who at once opted to bat first. The away contest had been ruined by rain in the long-ago record deluges of June, and the match then had ended inconclusively; the wicket for the day had a greener look than might have been expected, but the home seamers could get little traction after a lively start during which batting was not entirely comfortable. Tunbridge Wells gave a debut to young Josh Weller in order to bolster their bowling and fielding, and so the U17 skipper added to his laurels from the previous day as Langdale Trophy Cup winner.

   Paddy Sadler came in hard from the Railway End, and was unlucky not to split the opening pair in his second over, the chance breaking through the slip cordon, although he made sure a little later when he found the edge and the ‘keeper hung on to make it 33-1. Progress was otherwise slow, despite a liberal addition of extras, and a second wicket came at 53 when the Kiwi star of the winter hit his own wicket in trying to deflect the ball rolling back. Chris Vernon, unsure yet immovable, was joined by skipper Ben Price, and the latter was extremely fortunate to survive some testing deliveries as he settled in; nevertheless, the partnership steadied, and, fed by a plentiful supply of short and wide offerings, went on to flourish against the run of the play. Price has had a major influence upon the visitors’ scoresheet, and today was no exception, as he made merry with an attack which had little variety in a diet of zippy right-arm over, notching nine fours and two long sixes in an ebullient display of just 61 balls. The third wicket stand took the game away from the home bowlers, and it was not until the thirtieth over that spin was belatedly introduced, and at last, once the big partnership was broken, the innings was reined in.

   Having posted 123 with Vernon, Price (74) was first to depart, superbly held by Josh Weller at long off, and Marcus O’Riordan (3-53) made inroads into the line-up while Vernon inched his way into the sixties single by single. Michael Waller supported the spinner, and had a part in four of the next five dismissals, with two catches, a run-out, and a clean-bowled; in this phase, the score had gone from 176-2 to 250-8 in a matter of 16 overs, and the looming 300+ tally had been cut back. Tidily, the last two deliveries of the innings resulted in wickets, and Wells were set a manageable 254 for the victory they had to get. Vernon anchored the innings with a top-scoring 81 (6 fours), which took up all of 119 deliveries but was a pivotal effort.

   In the reply, Tom Richards (3-25) soon extracted some rapid lift from the deck and generally proved to be a handful, with assistance coming from Sam Weller (4-24) in a regulation display of penetrative bowling; inexplicably, the home score had slipped to 48-6 before any resistance was encountered, and, effectively, the game had gone. Will Stickler was desperately unlucky to be run out backing-up as a touch guided the ball into the non-striker’s wicket, and Waller got an unplayable one, but the suddenness of the demise was staggering to watchers and players alike. A marvellous one-handed catch by the skipper, now wicket-keeper, kept up the pressure, but Rob Sehmi (45) stood firm, and showed what could be achieved, adding 31 for the seventh stand with Julian O’Riordan, followed by 43 for the eighth with Dave Smith. Some record low scores were happily left behind, and the tally passed the century mark, meanwhile Sehmi was powering his way towards fifty with five fours and two effortless sixes in his gallant yet free stroke-play. Sadly even that landmark was not met as the last three wickets fell for a trifle, and a defeat by 126 runs was the outcome; Wells sank to eighth position in the Table, just eleven points clear of Bromley, who are fighting to avoid the drop themselves. The next week sees the side take on the might of Beckenham, fresh from defeating Hartley, at the Nevill on August 20.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
20 August 2016
 The Nevill
 290 for 7 wkts
236 all out 
Beckenham CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 54. runs 

   Wells welcomed high-flying Beckenham to the County Ground on a squally afternoon under cloud cover, with only sporadic sun until much later on, where the toss went with the home captain who asked his guests to bat first. A flying start cast this decision into disarray as Chris Isles crashed a vintage fifty from the opening eleven overs, which were directed somewhat erratically and allowed plunder to occur, along with some freebie extras and even the odd overthrow. Several permutations of pace were tried in quick succession, however it was Marcus O’Riordan who wove his web and spun his side back into the game.

   The opening partnership had raced to 129 from twenty overs when Alex Senn and Kent man Alex Blake were both caught by the skipper off the spinner within eight runs of one another, and a phase of rebuilding began. First, however, Dave Smith snared Isles nine short of three figures at 163 before Will MacVicar (59) and Ollie Robinson rampaged along in a fourth wicket stand that produced a sparkling if fiercely-struck 88 from 94 deliveries during which Sean Griffin received some severe treatment as the pair relished the flat, true surface that they had been invited to use. All of a sudden, Alex Williams removed both in a four-ball double strike which reined in the heady progress, and Paddy Sadler also grabbed a brace of wickets while the lower order looked to raise the three hundred. Wells managed seven wickets in a mixed showing, and they were eventually set 291 for the win on a good, hard surface showing few signs of dusting up in the August summer heat; unexpectedly, two breaks for short, sharp showers interrupted the play briefly, with no other curtailment throughout the game. O’Riordan (2-38) and the captain (2-26) shared the honours with the ball in a demanding session.

   Chris Williams set the reply going with an even faster fifty than that of Isles, his landmark arriving during over number nine, having taken a mere 44 deliveries with 6 fours and a six, and the exciting prospect of a good chase looked highly likely to develop. Michael Waller gave his customary steady support, and the score reached 68 from 82 balls when Johan Malcolm induced a return catch from a checked drive and the stand was broken; the tempo slowed as a consequence, and some diffident play saw two further wickets fall while the score edged along to 109. O’Riordan (M) and Rob Sehmi now added a vibrant 51 for the fourth wicket, but it needed a major innings and more partnerships to keep the chase alive, and these simply did not materialise; meanwhile Beckenham kept chipping away at the line-up thereby thwarting the run-making while bringing their own win closer. Sam Stickler stayed awhile with O’Riordan (42) until his runner unfortunately suffered a non-striker’s run-out, and, in no time, four wickets went down for 32 runs and the target seemed ever more distant. At least a fourth batting point came up during the last wicket stand, although this resistance soon came to an end, giving rise to a defeat by just 54 runs, which served to underline how near the effort had got.

   The side has now been overtaken by Bromley in the Table, as a result of their having got more points out of the two games played between Wells and themselves, so Premier survival may now depend upon positive results from the final two games; on 27 August, Wells are away at Sevenoaks Vine, and their final game is against Blackheath on 3 September at The Nevill; the weather must hold as well.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)
Result
27 August 2016
The Vine 
277 all out 
256 all out 
Sevenoaks Vine CC I XI 
TWCC lost by 21 runs

   The beleaguered TWCC flagship XI visited neighbours Sevenoaks Vine, but the toss was lost, and, on a hot, sultry afternoon, the home captain immediately chose to take first knock, with a view to batting the game into safety. Former Wells skipper Evert Bekker (62) launched the innings with a 65-ball cameo fifty, partnered by John Bowden, and as the twenty over mark hove into view, a quick-fire first wicket century seemed to be a real possibility.

   The visiting attack was punished to the tune of a boundary almost every over, but finally a wicket fell at 93, and the home runrate was reined back as a couple of top order men were removed while the score climbed to 166-3. A crisp vignette from Michael Barber (43) consolidated further, but Wells were hampered by injuries to two of their strike bowlers, and came back into the game when spin from Marcus O’Riordan and Fred Florry was tried; five wickets now fell to the slower men, including the belligerent duo of Miles Richardson and Anthony Shales, who nevertheless had time to dent the figures briefly of both tweakers, so that, with the returning Paddy Sadler snapping up two additional wickets, the tally closed on 277 when 300 had long seemed to be an achievable objective. Nevertheless, a certain looseness in line supplied a surfeit of wides, although the compelling challenge of chasing whatever target was set remained the overriding priority for the Wells batsmen.

   The reply was anchored by a steady and pioneering half-century from Michael Waller, who reached his fifty from 61 deliveries, evincing the need to keep the pace of advance at around five-per-over, so keeping the victory aim in sight. The home attack, led by Nicholas Sale (4-35), gained the whip hand, however, as the score slipped to 124-5 with the top order all gone; supporting starts had been made but somehow did not develop, and an early ending loomed until the lower order showed a welcome and necessary defiance which was to bring about the gathering of vital bonus points.

   Robert Sehmi and Charlie Russell-Vick showed admirable spirit in a combative and vibrant sixth wicket partnership of 68, which restored a vision of a successful pursuit; some all-too-brief pyrotechnics from Sean Griffin and the ebullient Dave Smith brought about a rampaging surge, meanwhile the maximum match points had been taken as the margin narrowed to under thirty. Unfortunately, the tail ran out of steam some twenty runs short in a valiant riposte, and the home bowlers were able to take a narrow win. The luck even so remained with Wells for another week, since Bromley had faltered at Bexley, whose bowlers showed great tenacity and pride in holding off a strong batting charge, and so, although the Championship has meritoriously gone again to Hartley, any one of three sides could still join Dartford en route to Division One.

   And so it will fall to the final League weekend to decide the destiny of this relegation trilemma, and many other issues besides will be resolved; nearby Divisions contain equally absorbing permutations for the statisticians to follow and interest will be maintained to the very end, as it should be. Wells will host Blackheath on September 3 at The Nevill, where a home win would represent an amazing escape after a frustrating and lacklustre run.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
03 September 2016
 The Nevill
177 all out 
179 for 4 wkts 
Blackheath CC I XI 
TWCC won by 6 wkts 

   Needing nothing less than a total victory to be certain of maintaining their status, Wells won the toss at the County Ground and asked Blackheath to bat first on an overcast and almost chilly afternoon; the day for the visitors had already started poorly, with a road chaos triple whammy south of Sevenoaks delaying their arrival to within half an hour of the start time, a serious road accident combining with the long term A21 workings and the M20 bridge damage to make travel a tortuous and lengthy affair.

   Cricket, nevertheless, was underway on time, and Sean Griffin struck in his third over to remove the recently prolific George Wells at 16-1, so sending a signal to his side to keep up the pressure; Paddy Sadler and Chris Williams found an extra yard to follow suit, and, sixteen overs into the innings, the score had wobbled to 45-4. A grittily determined effort from Richard Fleming (80) now foiled the attack, with support coming in a valiant sixth partnership of 78 from Dipayan Paul (36), and, with the weather looking increasingly doubtful, the home prospects needed enlivening. Alex Williams, despite a side strain, finally broke through, removing the obdurate Fleming, and at once threw the ball to Fred Florry, who, after changing ends, snapped up three wickets in nine deliveries, at one point being on a hat-trick. The skipper also had the defiant Paul caught by his spinner, so the pair had wrapped up the lower order for fifteen runs in a matter of some three overs, and suddenly Wells required 178 for the win which would keep them in the Premier Division.

   Chris Williams and Michael Waller gave the chase exactly the start that was needed, the former blazing away as he reached a dazzling fifty from just 29 deliveries with 8 fours and a six, meantime his partner put away the bad balls while keeping a watertight defence. The partnership romped along in this fashion, bringing up the hundred in the fifteenth over, and seeing six bowlers, in all, tried in this time, such was the impact of the onslaught. Williams (C) had not been afraid of the aerial route, but once too often he got under the ball and located the tallest man on the field at long off, and so departed for a rousing 82 from 44 balls after having taken his side more than halfway to the target; he notched, altogether, twelve fours and two sixes, being loudly acclaimed back to the pavilion. With rain in the air and an acceleration intended, the top-order frailty was exposed, and Blackheath grabbed three main wickets in four balls to send the score sliding to a sobering 115-3; Waller, however, looked on unmoved, and knuckled down to the second phase of the innings, which was to reach the required 179 in the safest and swiftest way. Promoted to raise the tempo, Griffin arrived to quell any anxiety and get on with the business of quick scoring, and he was roundly cheered as he smote two vast sixes and a four along with rapid rotation as Waller helped post 56 in ten overs; finally, he ran past the persevering Rishi Roy-Mukherjee’s guileful spin to be bowled with just eight more runs needed. The skies were darkening, but, apart from occasional rain spots, the deluge held off, and Will Stickler completed his 2012 task alongside the irrepressible and reliable Waller, who had moments earlier passed a memorable fifty. Waller made certain of the result with an eighth boundary four, having also hit a long maximum six, and he too returned to a joyous ovation, undefeated on 62 as Wells swept to safety by six wickets: they will play Premier cricket again in 2017. Mukherjee (4-48) took all four wickets to fall, and some twenty minutes after the teams had trooped off the field, the heavens opened and rain poured down.

   The timeliness of the occasion was highly propitious, taking, as it did, a load off the minds of this young side as they prepare for the Finals Day at Derby on Tuesday 6 September, and the Blackheath XI graciously stayed on to join in the post-match celebrations in a spirited act of amity. No doubt the journey back home was greatly less disquieting than that endured on the way down.

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)

Result
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents
(Premier game)
Result