1st XI v Sevenoaks Vine | Match Report - 01/06/19
On the hottest day of the summer so far, the historic Vine ground looked a picture as Beckenham prepared to do battle with Sevenoaks Vine. The pitch was not as hard as one might have expected, given that the footpaths of the North Downs Way walked by this scorer the previous day had been like concrete. It was obviously the ‘give’ in the surface that made up home skipper Luke Schlemmer’s mind when he won the toss and he duly put Beckenham in.
Again the innings started badly with both openers back in the pavilion for 22. With the ball not coming on, Will MacVicar and Alex Blake had to work hard to get the innings moving. The latter had managed a couple of boundaries before he gave himself rook to cut a widish delivery from Tom Coldman and got an edge to keeper Ben Price. Worse was to follow as Stuart Binny drove at one that didn’t come on from Chris Vernon’s medium-pace and Adam Rouse took a simple catch. The welcome return of Dan Hardy provided MacVicar with a solid partner and the pair added 40 before MacVicar holed out against the left-arm spin of Andy Reid-Dick for 40. Hardy didn’t last much longer before Reid-Dick lured him a long was down the track for Price to make an easy stumping for 23.
At 97-6, the visitors were in dire straits with most of a strong batting lineup gone but them Johan Malcolm treated the sizeable crowd to a demonstration of his vintage power. He found a staunch ally in newcomer Mahi Mahfuzul and the pair started to bring Beckenham back into the game. The run rate gathered momentum nicely with Malcolm scoring almost off every ball, blending sharp running with savage hitting as his fifty came up in 52 balls. Tragically, Mahfuzul was run out when batting well but trusty wingman Rob Clements continued where he left off the previous week. When he was trapped in front by Karl Pearson for 10 in the 48th over, Beckenham were still short of 200 but Malcolm rectified this with a brutal display of hitting that realised 20 from the final over to close on 205-8 with his share being a brilliant 80*. The Vine bowlers performed splendidly on the surface which had give in it and which took spin with the target being a real test for Beckenham’s bowlers.
Stuart Binny got the visitors off to a great start with Jon Bowden surprised by one which left him sharply to find the edge, Malcolm doing the rest at slip. He then trapped Vernon in front to leave Vine on 10-2. At the other end, Will MacVicar had bowled accurately for no reward when he was replaced by Johan Malcolm. Mike Barber had settled in well and drove one back at Malcolm who expertly managed to deflect the ball onto the stumps with skipper Luke Schlemmer backing up to make the score 26-3. Kent’s Adam Rouse settled in immediately on what was, by now, a very flat batting surface. Visiting skipper Alex Senn tried all manner of bowling combinations to no avail as the Vine pair batted imperiously and the Beckenham fielding became more ragged.. Both batsmen reached their fifties at almost a run-a-ball but Rouse began to move serenely through the gears to dominate the partnership and set Vine on the brink of victory by reaching a superb century from 89 balls. This magnificent stand of 171 was ended by Shojib Ali finally bowling Rouse for 106 leaving Barber (73*) and Price to see their side home by 6 wickets in the 43rd over.
This was a disappointing result for Beckenham with the ongoing worry of the innings not getting a good start. Cricket has always been a game of ‘ifs and buts’ but one is left to wonder on what might have happened if the result of the toss had gone the other way.