1st XI v Lordswood | Cricket Report - 24/08/19

A glorious hot late summer’s day with Foxgrove immaculate as Beckenham entered the final stages of the season with the visit of Lordswood, a potentially tricky encounter as, like the French Rugby Union side, on their day they can beat anyone.  Having inspected the squash building works and given an interim seal of approval to the alterations in the scoring position, the umpires were greeted, lunch taken and the arrival of colleague Kevin awaited.

Visiting skipper Jack Laraman won the toss and asked Beckenham to bat first.  Colleague Kevin arrived shortly before the start and was soon in place as Alex Senn and ‘Disco Dan’ Hardy faced the opening salvoes from former Sussex seamer James Anyon and Taylor Chandler.  The innings started promisingly with both batsmen opening their accounts with crisp boundaries.  Chandler was having trouble with his line and was withdrawn after two overs, his analysis resembling the American cemetery at Omaha Beach and Linden Lockhart introduced, much to this scorer’s amazement, never having seen him bowl before!  Senn was looking solid at one end but then lost his partner, bang in front to Anyon at 25.  A short revival and then Will MacVicar departed, leaving one that took out his off stump, 37-2.  Enter Alex Blake with the off-spin of Chris Piesley now having been introduced to the attack.  It was not to be one of Blake’s pyrotechnical days today as the talismanic Kent T20 specialist was Piesley’s first victim, pinned in front for just 5.  Johan Malcolm, having such a fine, vintage season, now joined his captain who was playing the percentages beautifully and showing his best form of the season.  With Malcolm off the mark swiftly and in typical style with a couple of crunching fours, the recovery was under way.  Senn, anchoring the innings expertly, was happy for Malcolm to provide the impetus which he began to do in fine style as Lordswood were forced on the defensive.  The score mounted at a fine rate with Malcolm notching an excellent fifty from 75 balls which was then quickly followed by Senn’s first fifty of the season to the great relief of the Beckenham captain.  As the century partnership came and went, Senn was gone, bowled by Piesley for and splendid 50.  This was the start of a collapse as Stuart Binny and then Malcolm for a superb 61 were dismissed with the score 167-6 and well short of the par score.  Rithik Hari again gave a glimpse of his rich promise before falling to the returning Anyon but then an important stand developed between Mahi Mahfuzul and Rob Clements.  The former batted with great purpose and, with his partner playing a full part, 30 runs were added to take the score past 200 before Clements and Balmforth fell at 205, the innings closing on 215.  Chris Piesley bowled splendidly for his 4-45, as did Anyon (3-29). 

The Lordswood reply got underway at a fine rate with Will MacVicar having radar trouble until Stuart Binny made the first breach as Ed Taylor holed out to Rithik Hari.  Radar restored, MacVicar struck next shortly afterwards when the safe hands of Johan Malcolm closed around a slip chance offered by the prolific Lockhart, suffering a lean spell of late, the information imparted by trusty colleague Kevin.  The innings was pulled round somewhat by French and Kent’s Sean Dickson until Binny castled French to make the score 48-3.  The MacVicar struck with the important wicket of Dickson who was trapped in front for 11 and the visitors were in a spot of bother at 57-4 from 14 overs.  Skipper Senn now employed an all off-spin partnership by bringing on Malcolm from the pavilion end with Blake at the other and the pair began to bowl the important middle overs.  Chris Piesley is always a danger being an excellent batsman with a fine technique and it was Malcolm who obliged with his removal giving James Balmforth his first stumping of the season with an excellent piece of glovework.  Visiting skipper Laraman was then joined by James Anyon with the ex-Sussex man taking the fight to Beckenham with some powerful drives.  Just after the second drinks break on 112, Blake enticed Laraman into driving at Alex Senn who took a smart catch low down and then followed that up with clinging onto a stinging return catch from ex-Beckenham player Paul Richards, flinging the ball skywards in delight.  Anyon was now joined by keeper Naeem Amin who was quickly into his stride as the visitors went on the attack.  The run rate increased ominously until, with Blake now bowled out, Stuart Binny was recalled and, from his first ball, Anyon was brilliantly run out by MacVicar’s direct hit.  Tragedy was soon to follow with the former Indian Test player suffering a damaged finger which resulted in a hospital visit.  As Amin continued the charge, it was the trusty Rob Clements who started an excellent spell from the pavilion end, having replaced the ‘bowled out’ Malcolm and he duly dismissed the now-dangerous Amin from the last ball of his fifth over when he bowled the little keeper for a fine 38.  The end wasn’t long in coming as Will MacVicar returned to have Chandler holing out from the first ball and Beckenham were home by 28 runs after another magnificent game of cricket.  It was a great effort by the home team with skipper Senn marshalling his troops superbly.  With two games to go, the title is within Beckenham’s grasp but it looks as if Stuart Binny will miss both games with a tactical rethink required.