Saturday, June 22, 2024
HomeCRICKETConvincing win for Holmesdale over Hartley

Convincing win for Holmesdale over Hartley

Holmesdale arrived at Hartley on a glorious May morning, and both sides had plenty to prove having been relegated together from the premier division at the end of last season. It has not been easy for visiting teams at the country club in recent years, but Holmesdale did have fond memories of the ground, recording the highest ever premier league run chase in their win there in 2017. So there would certainly be an edge to the game as the teams look to start well and bounce straight back the prem.

Having won the toss Hartley decided they would again bat first, on what looked like a perfect day for batting – a rock hard surface and enticing short straight boundaries. This game was not however to be the run fest that the history and conditions promised.

Hartley started cautiously, the batsmen immediately noticing that the ball wasn’t quite coming on as they had hoped. The dale opening bowlers Blackaby and Miller (3-37) offered nothing loose which would alleviate the pressure, and it was Miller who made the breakthrough. He had Hickford trapped in front for 5 to get the ball rolling, a habit the young Aussie will hope to continue throughout the season. This brought the Hartley overseas to the crease, and Holmesdale were convinced they had their man first ball – only the standing umpire seemed not to hear the thick edge through to the keeper as Mogotsi wafted outside his off-stump. The visitors were not though to feel too aggrieved, as Miller knocked back his off stump two balls later for zero.

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More tight bowling followed this as Harbig (2-19) and May (2-19) were introduced to the attack. The lack of easy scoring options finally told as Hutson managed to pick out the man at deep backward square when trying to release the pressure. This brought Thompson (56) to the crease and he joined Shelvey-Clinton to form a partnership that has taken many a Kent league game away from teams in the past. It was not be this time however as Shelvey-Clinton was on his way back to the pavillion just two balls later. Thompson pushed in to the covers and called for a single, Galpin though quickly covered the ground to his left, swooped down to collect the ball and fire a rocket throw in to the keeper Brabham’s gloves. He whipped the bails off with the batsman well short even with a dive, and Holmesdale’s tails were well and truly up. This epitomised the fielding performance which was faultless to a man and enjoyed greatly by the travelling support.

Thompson batted well for his 56 but was never truly allowed to get in to his stride as the bowling continued to be tight and he ran out of partners. Cramp feathered one through to the keeper as Harbig managed to extract some rare lift from the surface, and then May bowled Johnson with a very full ball at the other end. Redwood (22) played well to offer support but the scoring was very slow. Fawcitt (2-30) took the crucial wicket of Thompson with an in-swinging yorker, the young seamer impressing with his control and skill in bowling his 10 over spell straight through. East also bowled a miserly spell of 5 overs for 11 to support Fawcitt in building the dots which ultimately led to wickets. Miller came back in to the attack and helped to clean up the tail to leave Holmesdale only 131 to chase.

Holmesdale got off to a steady start, with Epps stroking a couple of nerve settling boundaries. This didn’t last long however as Roffey was trapped LBW by Redwood (2-25) and Thompson (1-14) uprooted Epps’ leg stump. Bissett quickly followed as he didn’t get forward to to a straight delivery from Redwood and lost his middle stump – suddenly 131 looked a long way away at 17-3.

Thankfully for the visitors these would be the last wickets to fall as Blackaby (56*) and Galpin (52*) showed everyone that there were no demons in the pitch. They were very watchful early on as the bowlers managed to keep their lines straight, and were supported by some high quality fielding. However as they settled the scoring rate increased, Galpin looking particularly assured against the spin as the field had to stay up and he took advantage over the top. Blackaby never looking troubled at the other end as he played low-risk cricket to see his side over the line with 16 overs to spare.

Holmesdale will take great confidence from this performance, if they can bowl and field like that for the rest of the season teams will find it very difficult to get away from them. Linden Park visit Montreal Park next week in what is always a well contested local derby, with Holmesdale looking to keep their spot at the top of the league.

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