Thursday, June 13, 2024
HomeCRICKETThe 2024 cricket season has started - where to watch and play...

The 2024 cricket season has started – where to watch and play this year

The Kent Cricket League, Kent County Village League, and the Smash are all underway, so we though we’d guide you through the start of the 2024 cricket season.

In 2023 the Kent Regional Cricket League’s (KRCL) amalgamation with the Kent Cricket League (KCL) was a complete success, and many of the clubs in West Kent took up the challenge and swung into action with multiple titles up for grabs.

At the pinnacle of the KCL is the Premier Division, however this season we will only see one club battling for the top spot after Sevenoaks Vine and Holmesdale were relegated to the Championship. Our sole representatives this year are Tunbridge Wells who enjoyed a great season in 2023 and they will be hoping for more of the same, even without their nearest rivals in the competition.

Clubs who will be looking to put a dent in their title hopes this season include Bexley, Bickley Park, Blackheath, Canterbury, Hayes, Lordswood, Minster, Sandwich Town, and St Lawrence & Highland Court.

Lordswood and Bexley were the only teams to finish above Tunbridge Wells last season, however a good start to the campaign will be needed to challenge for the trophy once again.

The Nevill Cricket Ground in Tunbridge Wells aims to bring County Cricket back to the town soon.

So to the KCL Championship, where this season we have Holmesdale, Linden Park, and Sevenoaks Vine all competing for a sacred place back in the top division. Each team will no doubt be looking at the fixtures against each other as pivotal points in the season.

The KCL rarely disappoints its fans, and it will 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.

Linden Park Cricket Club in the middle of Tunbridge Wells hope to see more spectators making use of their fantastic facilities this year.

Kings Hill will do battle once again in the KCL Division 1, whilst Sevenoaks Vine 2nd and Tunbridge Wells 2nd are set to go in Division 2. Cowdrey are in Division 3, and Holmesdale 2nd stay in Division 4 for another year.

Last year the KCL structure got a little more complicated with no less than 24 divisions to incorporate the KRCL. This year it’s grown to 30 divisions. Divisions 5, 6 and 7 are once again split into Hurricane (East) and Spitfire (West), reflecting the close connection the league has with their sponsors Shepherd Neame.

This was done to reduce the distance each cricket club has to travel, and with the cost of living crisis still around, it is a welcome approach to a growing issue from a league committee with sport at the heart of its organisation. Tonbridge are placed in Division 5 Hurricane, whilst Linden Park 2nd are in Division 6 Spitfire.

The picturesque setting of Kings Hill Cricket Club will only get better as the years pass.

Kings Hill 2nd hold the fort in Division 6 Spitfire and Cowdrey 2nd do the same 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.

The KCL took these names from three of Kent’s finest and legendary cricketers. All-round superstar John Shepherd, master of containment Derek Underwood, who we lost earlier this year, 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, New Ash Green, and Tonbridge 2nd are all in Division 8 Knott; Snodland Community in Division 10 Knott; Holmesdale 3rd in Division 11 Underwood; Cowdrey 3rd in Division 11 Knott; Kings Hill 4th in Division 12 Knott; and and New Ash Green 2nd in Division 13 Knott.

Sussex Cricket League
The Sussex Cricket League (SCL) is just as important for fans of local cricket as teams from Edenbridge, Linden Park, Tunbridge Wells, and Tunbridge Wells Borderers are all set to give it a go in 2024.

It starts with Tunbridge Wells 3rd in Division 6 East, and Edenbridge remain in Division 6 Central, finishing a promising third place after their promotion the season before.

Linden Park 3rd are the sole representatives in Division 8 East, whilst Edenbridge 2nd go one more time in Division 8 Central. They are bolstered by Tunbridge Wells Borderers in Division 9 East; Linden Park 4th and Tunbridge Wells 4th in Division 10 East; Linden Park 5th in Division 11 East (North); and Tunbridge Wells Borderers 2nd and TW Superkings in Division 12 East (North).

Kent County Village League
The Kent County Village League (KCVL) is the breeding ground for youngsters setting out on their cricket careers and a number of clubs, if not all, will welcome any newcomers to the game. 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 75 teams taking part in the league this year from a total of 44 participating clubs.

West Kent cricket clubs playing in the KCVL in 2024 are: Bidborough, Chevening Amblers, Chiddingstone, Eynsford, Farningham, Fordcombe, Four Elms, Hadlow, Halstead, Hartley Country Club, Horsmonden, Horton Kirby, Ightham, Kemsing, Knockholt, Leigh, Pembury, Penshurst Park, Plaxtol, Sennocke, Shipbourne, Shoreham & Otford, Sissinghurst, Southborough, St Lawrence, Stonehouse, Stonewall Park, Underriver, and Weald.

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

The Smash 2024
No sporting summer is complete without Kent’s premier 100-ball midweek cricket competition, The Smash! Now in it’s fourth year, there are 40 teams taking part in this years 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, who will then be placed in the quarter-finals of either the Cup, Plate or Bowl depending on their placing at the end of the group stages.

Holmesdale Stallions will once again be the team to beat and they will be looking for revenge after relinquishing the Cup competition after a hattrick of titles. The Smash finals day will take place on Sunday 28th July at Sevenoaks Vine Cricket Club from 10.00am.

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