Saturday Second XI Results 2018

 

Date  Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II Game) Result
05 May 2018 
The Belmont 
 160 all out
161 for 2 wkts 
Whitstable CC II XI 
TWCC Won by 8 wkts

   The Second XI 2017 Champions trekked over to the Belmont where they repeated the formula from the previous summer which had brought them well-founded success as a chasing unit. The toss was won by skipper Sam Watts on his leadership debut, and he asked the home batsmen to take first knock as the sun beat down on a recently damp surface.

    Opener John Butterworth came within a few overs of carrying his bat through the whole innings, notching an invaluable 158-ball 70 (2 fours and five sixes), without which the Whitstable side would have cut sorry figures as wickets fell steadily at the other end. Isaac Bepey (3-29) and veteran Nigel Keess (2-39) led the way, although precious contributions came from Hugo Williams (2-5), Raj Sharma and Callum Preece. Watts had things all his own way as the innings meandered from 32-2 to 91-6 before Butterworth found some lower order resistance to help him. Eighth out at 137, Butterworth had scored more than half of the total, although Mr Extras, in line with specialist IIs tactics, came second best with 38 runs, 32 of which were wides. The ball did elude the stand-in ‘keeper at times, but the legside profligacy continued as the Umpires enforced the new stringency. The target for victory was set at 161 as the innings closed with just three deliveries unused.

   The home bowlers did not allow the Wells openers any time to settle, and two wickets quickly fell as the tally rose to 19 from the opening seven overs; former Wells star, Dr.Julian Thompson, showed that he had lost little fire in the elapsed time, but the third wicket held, and indeed went on to clinch the points and the game as yet another century was hit up by Sam Stickler. This was his third score of three figures taken from this attack in three consecutive games, one at home and two away, which very possibly is unique, certainly from Whitstable’s viewpoint. Annals are being seriously searched for the true place in history of this achievement, and detail will emerge shortly.

    Back to the chase, Stickler was partnered by James Madgwick (40*) as the surge to the win took shape, a third stand of 142* developing at gathering pace as the landfall neared. The two not out batsmen needed no more than 29 overs to complete their demolition of the home bowling, as Stickler raced gleefully toward his third hundred in a crescendo of boundaries, the final 18 coming from four deliveries of Butterworth’s eighth over as a capping coup de grace. All told, Stickler faced 121 balls for his 104*, and he stroked 16 fours and 2 sixes in that time; Madgwick was content to motor along in the shade of his partner’s incandescent success, gathering six fours. The win came with 13.2 overs to spare, and the XI are joined by Lordswood II at the head of the Table; Wells will next meet Bexley II on May 12 at The Nevill.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
 19 May 2018  Morghew Park 205 for 9 wkts 
206 for 8 wkts 
Tenterden CC II XI 
TWCC Lost by 2 wkts 
   The current Champions, TWCC Second XI, journeyed over to Morghew Park to take on the new League leaders Tenterden II, where the toss was won by the visitors who opted to bat first on a fine day for cricket. The home bowlers quickly seized the advantage, however, as the total toppled to 31-3 from the opening 14 overs, whereupon Hugo Williams joined James Madgwick in a crucial and  necessary recovery, which saw to the addition of seventy runs for the fourth wicket in a partnership which endured through 18 overs. 

   Williams (38) was at his fluent best, striking four fours and a six during a stay of 67 deliveries, and Madgwick provided the ideal foil as the duo repaired the initial damage; with the stand broken, the attack broke back again at once, before Jorge Ehren took the long handle to smite 18 out of 21 in boundaries. There followed a belated eighth stand which saved the run-in from total collapse, with Josh Weller supporting Madgwick as the latter raced past his half-century, but little more was achieved after the two hundred came up. Madgwick carried his bat for an invaluable and undefeated 79, resisting for 138 balls while stroking 7 fours and one six. Set 206 for the win, the game was still evenly poised, and hearty praise was due to opening Tenterden bowler Jamie Bristow-Diamond for his spell of ten overs in which he took 2 wickets for just 18 runs.

   The reply started off in a manner impossible to have imagined beforehand as Callum Preece sent down 20 wides in an opening over which lasted for quite an inordinate time; granted such a welcome if unusual start, the home line-up was doubtless encouraged, yet a wicket went down straight away before Paddy Collins (59 with 8 fours) stabilised the chase in a grand knock which set up the ultimate result. Assisted by Ben Daking (23) in a second stand of 58, and skipper Alistair Burge (26) as the third wicket added 38, Collins kept the tempo at a helpful rate as the tally reached a high point of 123-2. Suddenly Wells burst back into the match with four wickets tumbling for just ten runs but still Collins held firm; and all the bowlers used were leaking wides as if the score needed help in moving towards the target set. 

   Ehren and Weller each bagged two wickets in this fightback, but Collins kept his head until being castled at 180-8 by debut man Oliver Daniels, however this was the last success enjoyed by Wells as Bristow-Diamond (17*) saw his side over the line with Harrison Pack to reel in a two wicket win with more than ten overs to spare. Exceptionally, 33 further wides came from the five other bowlers used, yielding, in all, 53 out of an extras total of 56, which greatly lessened the work required by the home batsmen. By virtue of their win, Tenterden added to their lead in the Division while the 2017 Winners need to resolve some unwanted issues and return to winning ways; they can make a start in this when they take on Holmesdale II at The Nevill on May 26.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
26 May 2018 The Nevill 188 for 9 wkts
183 for 9 wkts
Holmesdale CC II XI
TWCC Won by 5 runs

   Wells Second XI, dented by their narrow defeat at Tenterden, bounced back well but again by the closest of margins; the vibrant, youthful Holmesdale side, fresh from achieving promotion to the Premier IIs Division, gave a wonderful, all-round account of themselves, as one of the most enthralling and exciting finishes at The Nevill held observers on the edge of their seats to the very last ball. By way of contrast, the home side fielded three of the more senior members of their squad, all worthy of their places of course, alongside some vital power players, and the balance of the two sides therein showed how the manner of the contest could evolve. The conduct of the game was also a tribute to both captains, and it was pleasing to note how rapidly Sam Watts had re-jigged his leadership skills after the rude awakening of the prior week.

   The Holmesdale skipper won a useful toss, and, seeing how damp the wicket was, even after two days of baking sunshine, asked the home batsmen to take first innings; conditions were tricky at the outset, but, while the varied attack took a little while to focus its radar, an opening stand of 67 from 22 overs was produced by Tim Luckhurst (31) and James Madgwick (34). Soon it was realised that the game would not be a high-scorer, however another marvellous effort from Sam Stickler, who took out his bat for a priceless 71*, set the contest apart and allowed the home total to be closing in on a third batting point when the overs ran out. Stickler was again in imperious touch, stroking 7 boundaries in a stay of 89 deliveries, but the importance of the knock was that it was 59% of the runs scored while he was at the wicket, without which the game would surely have been lost. The visiting attack was mostly accurate and disciplined, backed up by much athletic groundwork, with Richard Holliday (3-42) and Nathan Fawcitt (3-38) taking chief plaudits; the batting, after the first stand, was weak, only two men making double figures after the steady start, each yielding a 30-plus partnership with Stickler as the score rose in fits and starts. Indeed, from 116-2, Holmesdale took seven wickets for 72 runs, of which Stickler contributed more than half; Watts struck two sixes in a cameo performance,  either one of which could be said to have been crucial by the end. The target for victory was set after fifty overs at 189 as the wicket gradually became easier to bat upon.

   The reply featured the cultured opener James Crawforth (37) and Holliday (27), who consolidated after a double strike had reduced the score to 20-2 from seven overs; the third stand prospered to the extent of 56 melodious runs off just 73 balls before a mix-up caused Holliday to be run out, whereupon veteran Raj Sharma snapped up two quick wickets while the tally slid from 76-2 to 85-6 as the chase floundered. Michael Brown had watched all this from the other end, and, despite a seventh wicket falling at 108, he now found an ally in Fawcitt at number nine, and the eighth partnership unexpectedly but happily flourished. The attack began to look threadbare as the fifty partnership was raised, and the equation worryingly for the home side had become 38 from five overs. Brown (48) and Fawcitt (39) nervelessly added 27 of these runs so that the last over, from Josh Weller, required eleven for the win. The tenseness as these two batsmen had run like hares and taken every scoring opportunity, was simply gripping, and the result was open until the third ball castled Brown, and the tail could not quite keep up the momentum. Nevertheless, the game was only completed with Weller having Fawcitt caught going for the six that would have won the match, and thus the spoils went to Wells in a hectic dénouement. A great cricket match had been witnessed by all who saw it, which was a huge credit to everyone concerned, and the expectation of a fine encounter at Montreal Park is now on the ‘to do’ list. Wells face Beckenham II at The Nevill on June 2 in their next instalment of a dramatic Summer.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
02 June 2018 The Nevill 156 for 5 wkts
157 for 4 wkts
Beckenham CC II XI
TWCC Won by 6 wkts

   This was a welcome return for Beckenham II, whom Wells had last met, also at The Nevill, on BHM 25 May 2015, owing to relegation and bad weather; the visitors won the toss, and, seeing the County Ground in fine fettle, opted for first innings, despite the heavy rains of the prior week. The outfield could have been dryer, but the deck would surely play better first up, or was the plan perhaps too optimistic : time would tell, however the openers found the home attack unthreatening and posted a steady start that raised 32 from 14 overs.

   The initial breakthrough owed nothing to the bowlers as a mix-up caused a run-out, which simply made Duncan Spencer more determined to bat through; maker of 42 in 2015, Spencer made two more on this occasion, which got the score on to 75-3, yet progress had been painfully slow, using up 32 of the fifty overs allocated. Harry Jones (44*) used his reach to counter the miserly length of the Wells bowlers, although the tempo remained stuck at under three-per-over almost until the end of the innings, Jamie Baldwin and Nigel Keess following the opening pair in giving little away. Veteran Raj Sharma (3-34) was top rank, as he belied the years with a splendid ten-over stint, and a target total of 157 seemed luxurious after so much profligacy in the past two seasons. For Beckenham, the fourth wicket stand was their best, producing 45 runs as the skipper James Evans joined Jones, while still the attack held sway with controlled lines to keep extras at a normal low.

   The reply was hit at once when the home number two went first ball, and conditions continued to favour the bowlers; Baldwin at three was central to the successful chase as he slowly overcame the pace of the wicket in a commanding effort which took his side to within nineteen of the win. Support came from Tim Luckhurst, Ed Harwood, and the captain, Sam Watts, as the score rose to 138-4, with Baldwin having just reached a battling half-century when the ball stopped on him for an lbw, the fourth partnership with Watts having made 71 telling runs at a calculated pace. Watts (47*) guided his side over the line with Hugo Williams, reaching the target with some twelve overs to spare, showing that knowledge of the required run-rate simplifies the pursuit when other conditions are stable. Thus it was that Wells pocketed the 18 points, which saw them back into third place behind Hartley and new leaders Bexley, but having played an extra game; County Week will see that game caught up, and the true work needed for the Title will be clarified. Wells travel to Sandwich Town on 9 June for a key contest, where both teams will be looking for the chance to shake off, to whatever degree, the chasing pack.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
09 June 2018 The Butts 179 all out
181 for 8 wkts
Sandwich Town CC II XI
TWCC Lost by 2 wkts

   The Second XI drove out almost to the English Channel for their encounter with Sandwich Town, as the top five in the Table jostle for eminence, and a strong contest was anticipated; a re-jigged XI saw the return of Anandkumar Ganesan and a debut for Jim Harwood, and the visitors won the toss, choosing to bat first on a fine, hot afternoon.

   Tim Luckhurst and Ed Harwood set off carefully, and after nine overs, the score stood at a steady 31 for no wicket; three overs later, the home attack had turned it round to 34-4, and the partnership between Jorge Ehren and Joe Shamash suddenly took on importance. These two were not found wanting, and posted 87 for the fifth wicket from 119 deliveries before both departed at the same total; each man struck the ball well, and Ehren reached his maiden KL fifty, notching 6 fours, while Shamash was the ideal foil, with a defiant 20, but the tail needed still to work for the team. The impact from Ganesan (16) and Oli Daniels (24* with two fours and a six) was just what was required, and, aided by a burst of wides, the tally reached 179 when the last wicket fell, setting the home side a fair total on a good surface; Jake Smith (3-40) and Oli Nedderman (3-25) were the pick of the Sandwich attack.

   The reply also proceeded in fits and starts, as the Wells bowlers, led by Harwood (J), with 2-16, and Isaac Bepey (2-30), reduced the score to 58-4 after 16 overs. Gary Burgess had appeared at 54-3, and he played the innings of the day for his side with a determined, unbeaten 42 without which the game was surely gone; the fifth stand with Daniel Evans (31) produced 51, yet back came Wells with a double strike before Smith (J) helped Burgess to put on 45 for the 8th wicket. Ganesan (2-43) now returned, and with Harwood (E), had another brace of wickets in the 150s before Nedderman joined Burgess to narrowly squeeze their team over the line, with two wickets in hand and just eight balls left in the contest. By dint of the winners’ points, Sandwich leapfrogged Wells into third place as the top five begin to pull clear, but the games played will even out over County Week meaning that Wells could slip back again. Their next match will be ‘home’ against Sevenoaks Vine on 23 June in Otford.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
23 June 2018 Otford 210 all out 212 for 4 wkts Sevenoaks Vine CC II XI TWCC Won by 6 wkts

   Owing to the mysteries of TWCC County Week arrangements, the Wells ‘home’ game with Sevenoaks Vine was played off at Otford, and the sides met there only for the toss to go by default to the Wells skipper, Tim Luckhurst, who at once elected to field first on a day of hot sunshine. His attack was to some degree veteran or rusty, and a good number of wides was given away; because this had been a feature of winning the League in 2017, it was no doubt accepted philosophically, nevertheless, it was one of those oddities, and added to the eventual target total required.

   Greg Adams, a former TW Colt from way back, opened up for the Vine and played the anchor role as the score rose to 147-4, of which he had made a steady, pathfinding 75 (9 fours and 1 six) from 124 balls; Chris Lawrence (2-8 from his ten overs) had put in a remarkably miserly opening spell, during which he reached a career milestone of 350 wickets, and by the time Adams was caught off Raj Sharma, the innings was into its 41st over. Piers Robinson (29) duly gave it the long handle after a lengthy accommodation, and, joined by James Boudville (23), the score rapidly arrived at 200 but ran out of wickets at 210. Sharma had picked up 2-57 in an important contribution, whilst Ed Harwood had closed out the tail with a single over netting 2-7.

   Set 211, a makeshift opening pair was soon back in the pavilion, however James Madgwick had made an ominously good start which had brought him 28* out of the 49-2 produced from the first nine overs. Jorge Ehren, fresh from his role of change bowler, played a forthright knock to match Madgwick shot for shot in a critical third stand of 83 from 117 deliveries faced, and this formed the basis of an ultimately successful chase. By the time Ehren departed, Madgwick had passed fifty and was unbeaten on 62, and was now joined by the belligerent Joe Shamash (26), who soon had the ball going out of the ground. The fourth wicket was worth 62 runs when Shamash was castled by the persevering Alex Christie (3-38), although, by now, only 17 runs were needed for the win. The not out batsmen included Madgwick, who was closing in on a well-merited hundred, and, with Jasper Stockley, the runs were duly obtained and the century was passed amid much cheering from the Wells stalwarts.

   The win took Wells out of the chasing pack up to fourth place in the Table, however they will need to string together a few victories if they are to challenge runaway leaders Hartley Country Club II, who have enjoyed a remarkable summer thus far; Wells can make an immediate start in this endeavour, as they are away to Hartley next weekend on 30 June.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
30 June 2018 Culvey Close 277 for 6 wkts 278 for 5 wkts  Hartley Country Club CC I XI TWCC Won by 5 wkts

   Wells II travelled to Culvey Close where the small Ground promised heavy scoring, and much hard labour in the searing heat of a flaming June; Sam Watts won the toss and fielded first, and asked a lot of his mixed age-group XI as they fielded out a gruelling total. Indeed, 555 runs would be scored on the day for just eleven wickets, such was the dominion of bat over ball, and wisdom in batting second was eventually demonstrated. The home innings was given a fearsome start by David Thompson (82, with ten fours and 2 sixes) as the century was posted inside 16 overs before veterans Nigel Keess (2-46) and Raj Sharma (2-38) began to restore some equilibrium; Thompson and George Reynolds (33) had put on 105 before the score slipped to 164-3, then Joe Chapelhow (48) and Ross Allen (46) blazed along in adding 47 for the fourth wicket and the score comfortably passed the 250 mark. Alex Karvelas (2-43), on debut, made his mark as the innings looked to accelerate, and, with extras contributing 38, the tally came to an end at 277-6 asking Wells to make a major effort.

   The reply featured a wondrous, buccaneering tour de force of extraordinary power and range from the new man Karvelas as he found a way to deposit both speed and spin across and over the boundary ropes; in his maiden KL innings, he carried his bat for a not out 164* which included 22 fours and four sixes, batting in all for 131 deliveries. Keess it was who accompanied Karvelas during the opening stand, which put up a relatively calm 60 from 12 overs of which the number one had made 47*; the second partnership with Ed Harwood was worth 55 with the opener moving on to 78*. The bowlers came back into it for a brief moment and then the runfest picked up again : the fourth wicket held for a blitzing 101 with Joe Shamash (28) keeping pace awhile as Karvelas reached and overhauled his hundred, and then the crescendo grew stronger as the target drew closer. The win was achieved with three overs unused, the final 47 with Wes Bryce-Borthwick (20*) taking just five overs while Karvelas went from 137* to 164* and had the presence of mind to see the game through before returning to an ovation after an unbelievable innings.

   Wells took the 18 points from the den of the League Leaders, which allowed the visitors to jump back to third place, behind Hartley and Bexley who are tied at the top after Whitstable conceded their game; the back nine will be all the more interesting now that the battle for the Championship has widened to include the top five for sure. For those who have a historical view, TWCC II have had two others who have tonned up on debut, Matt Richardson with 101 back in 1994, and Rob Sehmi with 137 in 2015, but nothing should detract from the majesty of the performance of Karvelas on this June day as he swept all before him in a virtuoso effort for his team; those who witnessed the knock were fortunate indeed. Wells will meet Whitstable II at The Nevill on 6 June where local supporters may have a chance to see the new star on home turf.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
07 July 2018 The Nevill 313 for 8 wkts 114 all out Whitstable CC II XI TWCC Won by 199 runs

   Whitstable made the journey to The Nevill on yet another fiercely hot afternoon, where the visitors won the toss, and, motivated perhaps by some Association Football contests in a faraway land, opted to field first and work through the heat which flickered about the 30 degree mark for the remainder of the day. Wells set off rather well, thanks to a liberal sprinkling of wides, and the total actually reached 30 from three overs of which the extras made over half; Ali Karvelas started with a backward cut to the fence but played back when forward might have been better and heard the wooden rattle as Charlie Vant broke through.

   Jamie Baldwin was now joined by Sam Stickler, who had already brought an extraordinary feat to the game, having hit a hundred in each of his last three matches against Whitstable, a matter of which the Oystermen themselves were only too aware. The score rose to 39 when Baldwin was taken at first slip, again from the lively Vant, whereupon Stickler and James Madgwick put together a match-turning third partnership worth 177 during the following thirty overs. Stickler (16 fours and 1 six) was the dominant player as the stand developed, while Madgwick (7 fours and 2 sixes) played second fiddle to the maestro, for the number three reeled off pedigree strokes all around the wicket as the bowlers wilted in the unyielding heat. Vant (4-31) was the exception, but the young visitors XI was pushed to the limit, and, indeed, injuries began to show themselves. Stickler went to his hundred from 97 deliveries, hit a four and then perished to an undignified yahoo, but Madgwick serenely moved along to his own three figures, which came out of 279-4, and he was also quickly removed thereafter. There were just four overs left in the innings, but the exhausted Whitstable lads took four for 34 in that time before retiring to recharge batteries over tea and the TV.

   Set a massive 314 for victory, and with two players unlikely to bat, the visitors needed miracles, and the opening pair set about crease occupation rather then fluency of stroke; Harrison Legge (33) and John Butterworth spent 12 overs reaching fifty without loss, but then the home bowlers began their intervention. Rhys Joseph (2-36) put in a spirited couple of spells, opening up with Nigel Keess (2-12), and these two were supported by Baldwin (2-20) and Gus Freeman, whose leggies netted 2-25, and, by these efforts, it was all finished inside 36 overs. Butterworth (46) took no risks and batted as long as energy would allow, and his was the penultimate wicket to fall at 114-7, but this stoic effort aside, only young Bart Johnson, who had covered for the injured wicketkeeper earlier, gave signs of permanence. Wells coasted to victory by 199 runs, but the performance of Stickler in making a fourth hundred running from this attack made the game forever memorable; Wells remained at third place in the Table since joint top sides, Bexley and Hartley, both won, and it will be Bexley away for TW II at Manor Way on 14/7 for the next instalment in this intriguing title race.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
14 July 2018 Manor Way 168 all out 169 for 4 wkts Bexley CC II XI TWCC Won by 6 wkts

   The heatwave continued to provide wonderful cricketing conditions as Wells journeyed over to Manor Way in Bexley for the second leg of their 2018 League contests. Sam Watts again won the toss, and again asked his mixed age-group XI to field out the first session, and in fact it once more turned out to be a good decision as the chase later in the day was executed perfectly. Bexley set off securely as opener Aiden Griggs partnered Dan Bygrave in a stand that soon had the scoreboard moving, and, indeed, the visiting attack was dealt with competently as the runs came steadily; a breakthrough shortly after the half-century was posted saw Griggs and skipper Murtaza Abbas resume the dominance, and the former reached a well-worked fifty as the hundred was reached one down after 28 overs. This was the high point in the innings, however, for Wells now dismantled the line-up over the next 95 deliveries to leave themselves just 169 to make for the win; Raj Sharma had Griggs lbw at 101, then took two catches as Nigel Keess, Chris Lawrence and Michael Churchill all had success, while only Simon Williams (24 with 5 fours) showed the spirit to resist for any time. Ali Karvelas (3-26) tidied up the tail, and the Wells batsmen prepared for the reply.

   Bexley struck early, with two down for 28, but Karvelas had already cracked two fours and a six in a cameo appearance before Sam Stickler and Jorge Ehren came together to add a crisp 45 for the third wicket and get the job half done. Ehren (32) holed out at 73-3, although this only brought out the skipper, very sort of runs, to join Stickler, never short of runs; both made headway as the attack was blunted, and the fourth partnership was worth 80 when Watts was undone by Griggs at 153, with Stickler motoring along after having just reached his own fifty. A matter of 16 runs separated the sides at this point, and Churchill ensured that there were no further setbacks. Stickler returned unbeaten on 74* (from 113 balls with 11 fours) as the 18 points were safely hauled in, and Wells took third place a little closer to second in the Table as Hartley maintained their hold on the top spot. There is a long way yet to travel in this Division, and any number of possibilities remain unresolved; winning remains the key to all Championship hopes, with the weather not yet an issue. Wells entertain Tenterden Town at The Nevill on 21/7, and this is perhaps a game to settle scores after the away leg in May.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
21 July 2018 The Nevill 200 all out 201 for 3 wkts Tenterden CC II XI TWCC Won by 7 wkts

   The Second XI hosted Tenterden II at The Nevill with pride and points at stake, and a glorious summer afternoon on which to play out the drama; the visitors called successfully when the coin went up, and Alistair Burge opted to bat first on what looked to be a fine track with a tinge of green. The heatwave continued to provide an almost Australian ambience to the Ground, and the Wells bowlers and fielders once again faced a long session.

   Chris Lawrence (3-27) was quickly into his best rhythm, and the top order was in some disarray at 72-4 from the opening 22 overs; progress was necessarily laboured as the home bowlers restricted scoring opportunities, although Burge, with 43 (6 fours) made a spirited contribution until Ali Karvelas (3-27) broke through, and a low point was reached at 132-7. Reuben Collingwood (44*) turned the game around as he rallied the lower order, and the final 15 overs brought a recovery with 68 runs coming at a healthy rate, and some untidy groundwork and spilled catches marked out the change in momentum. Tenterden were dismissed with four overs to spare at 200, leaving Wells a viable chase for the win, but nonetheless a challenging target.

   The reply was launched by Karvelas in a whirlwind of blazing boundaries, and the score raced to 72 from just 12 overs, of which the swashbuckling opener had 40 with 5 fours and a six; it could not last, and the onslaught ended at 78-2, ushering in a completely different phase. The bowlers were now able to control the game, and the run-rate dropped to a somnolent level which saw just 59 runs accrue from the next 18 overs. Importantly, Sam Stickler and James Madgwick gave no chances, and so, keeping wickets in hand, the push to victory could be mounted in complete safety, and suddenly both batsmen raised the tempo as the next nine overs produced a rollicking series of boundaries which took each man on to his personal half-century. The surge was worth 63 from 51 deliveries when Madgwick was surprisingly dismissed with the scores level; a wide anticlimactically brought up the win. The vital partnership had added 122 for the third wicket, Madgwick making 54 (10 fours), while Stickler came in with an unbeaten 66* from 88 balls with 9 fours; the attack, so dominant for long periods, was cleverly combatted, and the 18 points taken from the game kept TWCC in touch with leaders Bexley and Hartley as all three top sides keep on winning. The next weekend sees Wells travel to Montreal Park Sevenoaks to tackle Holmesdale in another key game to win.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
28 July 2018 Montreal Park Sevenoaks 200 for 9 wkts 201 for 7 wkts Holmesdale CC II XI TWCC Lost by 3 wkts

   The Wells Second XI took the short journey over to Sevenoaks for an important contest against Holmesdale, with the top three sides still vying for position at the head of the Table. Stand-in skipper Tim Luckhurst called wrongly, and the successful home side chose to field, with their opening gambit bringing two ducks from the first seven deliveries, and a third when the fourth wicket went down. In between the start at 0-2 and the fourth wicket at 95 after 23 overs, Sam Stickler and Jamie Baldwin (31) had constructed a fine third partnership which had raised 83 from 133 deliveries, but the rampant home bowlers were not to be denied for long. Stickler continued to be the mainstay of the Wells XI, having reached 48*, and support came from Ed Harwood (24) in a sixth stand of forty, but, having comfortably passed his fifty, Stickler was heading for three figures when disaster struck; Michael Bryant (3-34) interrupted his progress at 175-7 as the ‘keeper held on to a nick after 90 had been reached, and the innings only just managed to use up the fifty overs as the 200 came up in a cameo last wicket flourish. David Hudson (3-28) had been the chief protagonist at the front of the innings, and the home batsmen were left with 201 to get to overturn the 2017 Champions; Stickler’s effort had brought him ten fours and a six in a stay of 124 balls through 42 overs.

   The reply was not much more successful since, driven by Ali Karvelas with three early wickets, the score slid unceremoniously to 50-4 after fifteen overs. This might have heralded an all-out collapse, but the new pairing of Michael Brown (54) and Charles Surguy (53*) turned the match on its head as a stand of 103 developed for the fifth wicket, and shifted thus the pattern of the play. The veteran attack of the visitors had some belated successes, but the last 48 runs required were hauled in under the competent supervision of Surguy, who was there when the game was won. The margin was narrow, only three wickets, but the success was nevertheless well-earned, and effectively delayed the late run at the Title which the third-placed side had hitherto harboured. The inexplicable lack of penetration from two of the younger bowlers placed a burden upon the senior men, but otherwise the defeat owed more to the lack of runs in the first dig; a target total of 230-plus might well have just been enough for the result to go the other way. Wells will face Beckenham at Foxgrove on 4 August and will be looking to improve on their showing.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
04 August 2018 Foxgrove 197 all out 199 for 5 wkts Beckenham CC II XI TWCC Won by 5 wkts

   Wells II made the journey over to The Foxgrove in Beckenham where they lost the toss and had to bowl first on another sun-drenched afternoon as the batsmen looked to set up a challenging total. Duncan Spencer (36) anchored the effort, and, with the free-scoring Ross Piller (36), promised rather more than they delivered, although the score was taken steadily to 107-2; at this point, Gus Freeman (leg spin) and Josh Weller (pace) broke through in tandem to reduce the innings to 120-5 before the batsmen could generate a recovery. Freeman guilefully collected 2-34, with Weller lending key support as the visitors tore into the line-up; James Evans (36) resisted manfully and received solid assistance from William Northwood and Adam Rowland, until, at 188-6, Weller again started a collapse, this time backed up by Sam Huggett (2-45) and Hugo Williams (1-16); indeed, the last four wickets tumbled for just eleven runs, and the target for victory was set at 198. Weller came away with 4-34 from his ten overs, and he had been a major factor in the reduction of the Beckenham batting; the wicket was still good, and the home bowlers would be trying to lift their side out of the drop zone.

   The reply started inauspiciously, with two wickets falling while the score climbed to 43-2 from the first ten overs. The skipper, Sam Watts, was now joined by Jorge Ehren, and between them, they fashioned a crucial third partnership worth 53 runs from the following 14 overs, which brought up the halfway stage of the innings with 102 still needed. Ehren continued to play skilfully, in company with Williams, as the fourth wicket produced a rollicking 59 runs from just 54 deliveries, and the task before them now took on a more welcoming appearance; shortly after Ehren had reached his vital fifty, Mudit Dayal (2-38) suddenly intervened to remove both players. Even so, the margins were too narrow, and some forthright blows from Ed Harwood and Anandkumar Ganesan carried the day; Harwood finished the game with a huge boundary six. The win was accomplished with more than eleven overs unused, such was the batting dominance, and the points gained by Wells served to close the gap on second-placed Hartley, while leaders Bexley now look almost unassailable, barring surprises. Wells entertain Sandwich Town at The Nevill on 11 August in the next instalment of this absorbing title race.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
11 August 2018 The Nevill 136 all out 140 for 5 wkts Sandwich Town CC II XI TWCC Lost by 5 wkts

   Wells welcomed the Sandwich Town IIs to the County Ground on a cooler, lightly breezy afternoon, and the visiting captain won the toss and asked the home batsmen to have first knock. The deck was dustier than usual but the outfield was slow after overnight rain, with many strokes that would normally reach the fence hauling up short. Jamie Baldwin (29) and Will Freeman nevertheless made a steady start as 57 runs came for the opening partnership from 113 deliveries of careful reconnaissance, although subsequent events would later show the importance of this stand. Jake Smith settled in to take 3-7 in the second part of his spell, and the century came up uneasily with four wickets gone after thirty overs. The Sandwich bowlers, led by Lewis Thornby and Phil Rowcroft now grabbed six wickets whilst a meagre 36 runs were added, leaving a deceptively simple target of 137 for the win. Freeman (W) had battled hard for exactly 50 from 99 balls, hitting 4 fours, which in itself was no mean feat on the day, but his dismissal at 121-6 effectively heralded the end of the run-scoring; Wells were all out without batting through their allocation, three overs being unused, and just four runs coming from the final 45 balls received.

   The reply was stolid enough, with Craig Snell (31), long an adversary, one of the key players; he was undone by Gus Freeman at 55-2 with 18 overs gone, and it was hoped that the home attack would now break through. The batsmen, however, had other ideas, and fought hard, if slowly, for their runs, and a battle of attrition developed, punctuated solely by the several calls of ‘Wide’; Nigel Keess (2-23) posed problems as the chase almost accelerated, but only three more wickets fell as the target was inexorably pursued. Lawrence Hills (49) ran himself out going for his fifty from a doubtful third run, being well thrown out by Ed Harwood, but by then just eight runs were required, and the formalities were duly observed as a five-wicket win followed. All told, the 140 runs came from 46.2 overs, although it seemed rather longer; the defeat pushed Wells a little further back in third spot in the Table but lifted Sandwich to fifth place, otherwise little had changed. The upcoming weekend on 18 August sees Wells travel away to Lordswood.

 

Date Venue

Opponents Score

TWCC
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
18 August 2018 Lordswood 280 all out 174 all out Lordswood CC II XI TWCC Lost by 106 runs

   The TWCC Second XI travelled over to the Peter Edmunds Ground, Lordswood, newly re-named out of respect for one of the Club’s founding members, where the toss went with the home skipper, who batted first on what was clearly a deck made for batting. The visiting bowlers suffered a setback when Josh Weller dropped out after eleven balls with a recurrent ankle injury, but he was saved thus from a mauling at the hands of home opener Edward Taylor, who played cavalier cricket from the outset as he raced to a 95-ball 118 with 16 fours and four sixes. Isaac Bepey and Hugo Williams quickly reduced the scoreline to two down while Taylor sent the ball to all parts, reaching 60* out of 75-2 after 16 overs. The rampage continued in a third stand of 85 with Nadeem Amin (27) before Wells struck back with the introduction of veteran slow bowler Nigel Keess. Indeed, three good wickets tumbled as the score stuttered on to 163-5 from 29 overs, but, importantly, Taylor was swept aside after his great knock and the attack had two ends to bowl at. Skipper Bradley Killick (40) and John Williams (38) posted a quick-fire 51 for the seventh wicket, with Williams crashing a further 30 to bring up a challenging target total of 281 as the innings closed one ball short of the allocation. Keess came away with the excellent analysis of 5-44.

   The chase was soon in disarray as the early order slipped to 28-2 before James Madgwick (38) joined skipper Sam Watts to add 67 for the third partnership and give some substance to a platform for attacking the big score set. Unfortunately, 95-3 soon became 108-5 with Watts and Ed Harwood showing that survival was still possible until the Lordswood men broke through again. Watts (59) reached a notable personal half-century, and helped Harwood to put on 44 for the sixth wicket, although thereafter Burhan Mahmood (3-36) and Arshad Hussain (3-11) finished off the innings fairly abruptly with the last six wickets falling while just 22 runs were added. All out for 174 with 8 overs unused, Wells took just one batting bonus point as they slumped to a heavy defeat by 106 runs; this resulted in Lordswood seizing the third place in the Table as they leapfrogged over Wells, now down to fourth. Bexley are currently the Champions Elect, but the chasing pack will need to resolve itself finally, and Wells will visit Sevenoaks Vine once again on 25 August with this aim in mind, before a final showdown with Hartley on 1 September.   

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
25 August 2018 The Vine 222 all out 12 for 0 wkts Sevenoaks Vine CC II XI Incomplete Game

   The Second Team again visited Sevenoaks although this time they played at the Vine HQ; the home side won the toss on a chilly afternoon, and asked Wells to bat first. As commonly encountered, an early breakthrough occurred, although Jamie Baldwin (26) and the prolific Sam Stickler built up a second stand of 57 from the following 16 overs. Stickler pressed on after Baldwin became the second lbw victim at 61-2, but the innings again stalled at 108-4. The captain now joined Jorge Ehren in posting a decisive fifth wicket 85, but little else came of their work as the home bowlers snapped up the remaining six wickets for a feeble 29 runs, and so the visitors missed out on a fourth batting point by just three. Stickler, with 62, had hit up his sixth fifty of the campaign (plus two centuries), taking up 77 balls with 11 fours, and now lies second in the season aggregates on 646, 39 behind Bexley’s Murtaza Abbas. Sam Watts made 49 from 53 balls whilst Ehren hit up 44 from 65; Henry Proctor starred for Vine with 3-29, but the rain clouds had gathered in, and, despite a brief re-start after tea, the game was abandoned as incomplete. The Vine took ten points to Wells’ nine, and the latter remain in third place with one game to go; their last game will be against Hartley at The Nevill.

 

Date Venue

TWCC Score

Opponents
Score

Opponents (Premier II game) Result
01 Sep 2018 The Nevill 173 all out 174 for 9 wkts Hartley Country Club CC II XI TWCC Lost by 1 wkt

   Hartley visited the County Ground to decide which of the two teams engaged in the match would take the Runners-up spot to Bexley, already the 2018 Premier IIs Champions. The visitors won the toss, and seeing what seemed to be a damp top wicket, asked Wells to bat first, although the makeshift opening partnership actually played rather well for the first few overs. Indeed, both innings were to exhibit very similar traits as the battle developed, with three or four wickets falling cheaply, followed by a major partnership, and then another collapse, ending in an heroic last wicket stand.

   Wells reached 20-0 but this was soon 22-3, before the skipper Sam Watts (37) joined Sam Stickler (35) in a fourth wicket partnership which added a precious 59 before the visiting attack broke back into the game; Stickler was deceived at 81-4, still holding an average of 100+ but just 5 runs short of taking the batting aggregate prize for the second year running in the Division. Watts carried on in apparent comfort, but, on 37, he was caught pushing at spin from the Railway End, and, in short order, the tally disintegrated from 89-4 to 133-9 while Richard Nicol (2-21) and Rhys Morgan (3-23) ran amok against some indecisive or tentative batsmanship. Rhys Joseph had briefly shown what was possible, and several starts had been made, but it was not until the last pair of Isaac Bepey (16*) and Mark Thompson (17) came together that proper progress followed. The tenth wicket held for a sensible and well-played 40 runs which used up eleven of the twelve remaining overs, and all but took a second batting point from an otherwise poor position.

   Hartley too wobbled through the start of the chase, slipping to 50-4 after fifteen testing overs from Bepey and Ali Karvelas, but missed catches and poor fielding did not add to the work. The Hartley skipper, Jamie Green (57) now joined Ryan Carter (36) in a fifth wicket stand of 76 from 13 overs, which exposed the second-string bowlers to some rough treatment and gave the appearance of having turned the game right around. Once more, Wells fought back hard, removing both high scorers and several others as Bepey snapped up three more to have the excellent figures of 4-35; the score thus nosedived from 126-4 to 151-9 with veteran Nigel Keess adding 2-40, but needless extras had given away 28 vital runs, and the margins were looking very tight indeed. David Thompson and John Mitchell, who had earlier had 4-23 when the game began, now took the end phase by nervelessly making the required 23 runs in spite of the best efforts from the home attack. A marvellously entertaining game thus ended by the tiniest margin in favour of Hartley, and Wells in fact dropped to fourth place as Lordswood II overtook them; the campaigns closed in warm sunshine, and preparations will soon commence for the 2019 summer. Young Bepey could be well pleased with his work on the day, featuring both as batsman and strike bowler in a close encounter of the original kind.