The Kent Cricket League Premier Division title race took a significant turn this weekend with Hartley and Sevenoaks Vine overhauling previous leaders Blackheath.
After sinking to a damaging defeat last week, Hartley (248-9) bounced back with a crucial victory against Bickley Park (189), who will be playing Division One cricket next year after enduring a dismal season in the top flight.
A characteristically reliable batting display from Hartley, combined with an ill-disciplined bowling performance from Bickley, allowed the hosts to post a sufficient total.
Jake Hutson (52), David Thompson (44) and Scott McKechnie (33) contributed with the bat, and it was only a fantastic spell from Jos Siddall (6-41 in 10 overs) which prevented Hartley from amassing a huge score.
Siddall was also influential with the bat, scoring a fluent 61 before he was trapped lbw off the bowling of Jack Laraman (1-40).
Mick King (38) and Adeel Shafique (31) also played nicely, but Hartley’s attack proved too strong as Bickley fell 59 runs short.
With two fixtures remaining Hartley are just four points behind leaders Sevenoaks Vine, who they face on the final day of the season.
Blackheath’s inconsistency woes continued as Marnus Labuschagne (114) fired Sandwich Town to an impressive 93 run victory.
The Australian is enjoying a wonderful season and hit yet another century as Sandwich surpassed 250.
In reply, an exceptional collective bowling effort reduced Blackheath to 61-6.
Shavawn Cunningham (45) and Joe Kerridge (29) restored respectability for the visitors, but they were still bowled out for just 166.
Bromley’s relegation fears intensified after they were convincingly beaten by Lordswood (323).
Quick-fire half centuries from Mohamad Jaleel (62), Lyndon Lockhart (54) and Matt Greenwood (53) took Lordswood past 300, with only Matthew Horder (4-66) able to trouble the hosts’ batting line-up.
The chase was beyond the struggling side’s capabilities, though, as no Bromley batsman could make a substantial score and the relegation fighters fell 118 runs short and now sit just five points above the drop zone.
Due to rain delays and an unforeseen medical incident, the fixture between Beckenham and Bexley was incomplete.
Beckenham inserted the visitors and three quick wickets from Raza Ali Dar (3-35) saw Bexley collapse from 67-1 to 68-4.
Innovative and powerful knocks from Robert Sehmi (53no) and Adeel Malik (42), however, stabilised the innings and elevated Bexley to 234-7.
William MacVicar (73no) and Ali Dar (71no) looked set to guide the hosts to victory, but Bexley all-rounder Mehdi Abbas required medical attention after he received an almighty blow to the head from an incoming throw.
An ambulance was called but failed to arrive in time for the match to be resumed with Beckenham 218-3 after 45.4 overs.
Saturday’s fixtures (12pm start): Bickley Park v Lordswood, Blackheath v Beckenham, Bromley v Sevenoaks Vine, Canterbury v Bexley, Hartley v Sandwich Town.
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