Following two consecutive Kent League Premier Division defeats, Bexley returned to winning ways in a high scoring thriller.

Having won the toss, visitors Tunbridge Wells elected to bat first and started in a hurry romping to 100 in just fifteen overs. Chris Williams dominated the bowling and scored a spectacular century. His knock ended when he lofted Harry Dowling to Jas Singh who took the catch. His 104 came off just 81 deliveries and included six sixes and eight fours.

By the time that Williams was out, Sam Smith was going well and he took control although the scoring rate slowed slightly as wickets fell at the other end. The former Kent second XI wicketkeeper who came up through the age groups at Bickley Park before playing for Bromley, completed his first century since 2020, succumbing to the penultimate delivery of the innings off the bowling of Shaun Evans. Smith’s 109 was scored from 133 deliveries and included eight fours.

Evans ended with 2 for 52, Dowling 2 for 54 and Ahmed Jamal 2 for 75 as Wells ended on an imposing 298 for 7.

After Bexley had tumbled to 31 for 2, Aiden Griggs was joined by Hugo Burdon and the two of them brought the hosts’ hundred up from 16.2 overs, slightly slower than their visitors, but just ahead of the required run rate. When Griggs top edged Chris Williams to fine leg where Hugo Williams took an excellent catch, they were halfway to their target on 151 for three. Griggs trooped off disappointed despite having scored an excellent 75.

Burdon was joined by Matt Stiddard and they put on 50 before opening bowler Matt Barker was brought back and he bowled Burdon for 90. Ben Aldred didn’t last long, then Harry Turner was run out. Ahmed came in and went on the attack hitting two straight sixes on his way to 27 off 21 balls before being adjudged LBW off the bowling of Alex Williams.

At that point, 14 were still needed but with Stiddard still in, either team could have won. Foster was run out with five required, and Singh dismissed making Bexley 297 for 9. Dowling came in and smashed his first ball to the boundary to take Bexley to a one wicket victory with seven balls remaining. Stiddard finished on 58 not out while Barker was the most successful bowler with 2 for 55.

Despite their defeat, the eight bonus points that Tunbridge Wells claimed took them back to the league summit on 112 points but there are only thirteen points separating the top six with the halfway point of the season approaching.