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HomeCRICKETThe 2023 cricket season is just around the corner and we’ve got...

The 2023 cricket season is just around the corner and we’ve got it covered!

The Kent Cricket League, Kent County Village League, and the Smash all get underway soon, we guide you through the start of the new cricket season.

The 2023 cricket season is knocking on the door, and it’s already looking like it’ll be a classic. With the amalgamation of the Kent Regional Cricket League and subsequent restructure to the Kent Cricket League (KCL), the many clubs located in West Kent will be swinging into action with multiple titles up for grabs.

Let’s start with the pinnacle Kent Cricket and the KCL Premier Division, which will see Sevenoaks Vine CC do battle with Tunbridge Wells CC and newly promoted Holmesdale CC. Three sides all just a short walk away from us, playing in the top flight once again and vying for the coveted Premier title.

Clubs who will be looking to put a dent in their title hopes this season include Bexley, Blackheath, Hayes, Lordswood, Minster, Sandwich Town, and St Lawrence & Highland Court. But not wanting to sound bias, West Kent will already start the season with a 30% chance over the others.

However, among the favourites for this year’s title are the defending champions Hayes Cricket Club, who pretty much swept aside all challengers to lift the trophy last year. But with their rich histories and their passionate fans, each local club will start the season in good spirits and with a clean slate to work from.

The KCL Premier Division certainly promises to be another exciting season of cricket, with plenty of drama, action, and nail-biting finishes on the cards. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or a casual follower, the KCL is a must-watch for any cricket lover. So, grab your sunhat, pack your picnic baskets, and get ready for a summer of cricketing excitement in West Kent.

• You can keep up to date with all the latest news, results, and fixtures at www.localsportsnews.co.uk and by subscribing to our weekly stats report.

Kings Hill CC will do battle in the KCL Division 1, with Cowdrey CC in Division 3, whilst Sevenoaks Vine 2nd and Tunbridge Wells 2nd are placed in Division 2 under the new structure. Holmesdale 2nd will join Tonbridge CC in Division 4.

Kent Regional Cricket League inclusion for 2023
This is where the new structure of the KCL gets a little more complicated with no less than another 24 divisions to incorporate the Kent Regional Cricket League. Divisions 5, 6 and 7 are split into East and West variants and named Hurricane (East) and Spitfire (West), perhaps because of the close connection the league has with their sponsors Shepherd Neame.

However, this has obviously been done to reduce the distance each cricket club has to travel, and with the current cost of living crisis, it is a welcome approach to a growing issue from a league committee with sport at the heart of its organisation. Cowdrey 2nd are placed in Division 6 Spitfire, Kings Hill 2nd and Tonbridge 2nd are in Division 7 Spitfire.

The league pyramid is then broken down even further, with divisions split into East, West, and Central areas, and are called Shepherd, Underwood and Knott respectively.

It’s no surprise that the KCL have taken these names from three of Kent’s finest and legendary cricketers. All-round superstar John Shepherd, master of containment Derek Underwood, and inspirational but unorthodox keeper Alan Knott.

Placements for local clubs are as follows: Sevenoaks 3rd take part in Division 8 Underwood; Kings Hill 3rd and New Ash Green CC are in Division 9 Knott; Snodland Community in Division 10 Knott; Holmesdale 3rd in Division 11 Underwood; Cowdrey 3rd in Division 12 Knott; and Kings Hill 4th and New Ash Green 2nd in Division 13 Knott.

Promotion for Edenbridge in Sussex
Edenbridge CC 2nd XI will start their new season in the Sussex Cricket League (SCL) Division 8 Central after storming their way to the title last year, having lost just one match all season.

The first XI are contained in SCL’s Division 6 Central after finishing the best of the rest last year. Just three points the difference from an automatic promotion place from Fletchling CC (431 pts) and a further three points from wrestling the title from St Matthias CC (434 pts).

Kent County Village League update
The Kent County Village League (KCVL) is the breeding ground for a number of youngsters setting out on their cricket careers.

It is also a weekend retreat for those who are in the twilight of their innings, but who still have what it takes to take part in this wonderful sporting activity every weekend during the summer.

There are no fewer than 29 clubs with a total of 48 teams taking part from the West Kent area across eight divisions in the KCVL this season.

We are undoubtedly sure that we speak for all our local cricket clubs when we say that if you fancy joining a club to either start or to resurrect your cricketing career, then contacting one of your local clubs would be the best starting point.

West Kent cricket clubs playing in the KCVL this season are as follows: Bidborough CC, Chevening Amblers CC, Chiddingstone CC, Cudham Wyse CC, Eynsford CC, Farningham CC, Fordcombe CC, Four Elms CC, Hadlow CC, Halstead CC, Hartley Country Club CC, Horsmonden CC, Horton Kirby CC, Ightham CC, Kemsing CC, Knockholt CC, Leigh CC, Pembury CC, Penshurst Park CC, Plaxtol CC, Sennocke CC, Shipbourne CC, Shoreham & Otford CC, Sissinghurst CC, Southborough CC, St Lawrence CC, Stonewall Park CC, Underriver CC, and Weald CC.

The Smash 2023
It’s back again and it’s bigger and better than ever before! The Smash, now in it’s third year, is Kent’s premier 100-ball competition which was formerly the Clark Trophy. This year there are 42 teams taking part in the competition which are spread over two tiers and
nine groups.

The way in which the tournament has been set up by the organisers means that all teams will play at least three matches during the course of the summer, with the top 16 seeded teams progressing through to the knockout stages and will be placed in the quarter-finals of either the Cup, Plate or Bowl depending on their placing at the end of the group stages.

The team to beat this season, and going for a hattrick of Cup titles, is our very own Holmesdale Stallions. Back-to-back winners of the first two tournaments, they will be pushed hard by teams including Beckenham Bees, Bromley, Tunbridge Wells Royals and Sevenoaks Vine Jazzers.

The Smash finals day will take place on Sunday 23rd July at Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club from 10.00am.

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