Newenden 1st XI v Langton Green, 20 May 2018
Result: Newenden won by 1 wicket, Langton Green 184 All Out (Smith 3-55, Piper F 2-31, Gutteridge R 3-34) Newenden 188-9 (Browning 67)
Played: 3 Won: 3
Man of the Match: Finn Piper
What a day, what a match, what a result. The NCG saw her first action of the season yesterday, and a record crowd were treated to an absolute cracker of a match.
After the wettest April on record, Peter Bourne had worked tirelessly to get the NCG fit for purpose, and what a great job he had done, as she looked magnificent in the Sunday sunshine. We were also able to use our newly refurbished pavilion for the first time, which looked fabulous following some shrewd negotiating with insurance adjusters by our esteemed treasurer Nicola Holland.
We were playing Langton Green, one of our bogey teams of the past couple of seasons, who had turned up with a strong looking side. JB lost the toss and it proved to be a good toss to lose, as Langton Green opted to bat first. Bradney started brightly from the top end, bowling his usual consistent line and length, beating the bat several times in the first few overs. His opening partner Smith was struggling for his usual metronomic rhythm, but then he did what he does best, take wickets. He drew a shot from their opening bat which looped up to Cuthbert at mid-off, who snaffled it at the second attempt.
Langton Green then began to build a partnership, with their number three playing some expansive shots whilst riding his luck a little, but had taken them through to 85 in 15 overs before Gutteridge Snr finally had the opener caught behind following some very tidy work by Sloane behind the stumps. This then exposed some less competent batsmen, but who were still willing to throw the bat at things, and Langton Green started to build towards an ominous total, reaching 120-2 at the halfway point.
We needed the drinks break to regroup, and this is where the game changed. Finn Piper was in the middle of a very impressive spell of fast bowling from the Top End, and in the first over after the break he had their number four caught behind, then clean bowled their next man, leaving them reeling at 124-4. This opened up an end, and the ruthless streak that NCC now have took over, as we clawed our way back into the game. Browning came on picked up his customary wicket, and Smith returned to finish his spell from the top end, and picked up another couple of wickets, including the set batsmen for 66. Gutteridge Snr returned and pocketed another couple, including a sharp stumping from Sloan and a very athletic caught and bowled. Langton Green's last men fell when Bradney knocked over his leg stump leaving the visitors All Out for 184.
Here is where I must digress, as for a surprise for Winston's birthday, his lovely Italian fiancee, Manuela, had offered to lay on the most exquisite Italian feast you have ever seen, all home cooked and beautifully presented, to call it tea would be to do it a disservice. Manuela also provided over 30 bottles of champagne and wine, which also corroborated JB's toss loss, as it meant we were free to enjoy the fayre for the rest of the afternoon.
The Newenden innings started solidly, with Morris and Sloan taking the sting out of the openers, who were both useful cricketers. Having seen them off with the score at 37-0 after the first ten, the Langton Green skipper mixed up his attack and brought on possibly one of the slowest bowlers to ever grace the NCG, that is barring Harker, but that is a different kind of slow altogether. He soon accounted for Morris who changed his mind so many times that the ball just ending up trundling into the stumps. Sloane followed in similar fashion a few overs later, leaving us teetering at 63-2. Welcome Ben Browning to the crease, who decided that he had quite enough of the this type of bowling and started to dispatch him to all parts, batting nicely with Bourne, the pair put on 60 for the third wicket, before Bourne fell to the returning opening bowler. Gutteridge Snr then followed without troubling the scorer, which left us looking a little shakey at 124-4.
After bringing up his half century, Browning then fell, dancing down the track to the slow bowler, who worked on the basis of 'You miss, I hit'. This left Finn Piper to try and steer us home from 139-5. Each of our lower order batsmen chipped in, young Gutteridge Jnr, played very well for his 9 before being run out to some sharp fielding. Finn was batting very sensibly and keeping us on the run rate, but wickets were falling at regular intervals at the other end. Cuthbert and Smith came and went, after hitting a boundary, leaving Newenden on 170-8, still needing 15 for victory. Holland joined Piper and looked solid, the late night sessions with JB have definitely paid off, demonstrating a forward defence that our very own Tavare would have been proud of. Piper then smashed a couple of boundaries to bring the scores level, then disaster struck, he was clean bowled trying to win the game with big drive.
This brought our incumbent duck trophy winner, Bradney, to the crease. Having played and missed at the first ball he faced, the crowd were on tenterhooks, knowing one wicket or one run would swing it either way. Then, BANG, Bradney stepped down the wicket and smashed the ball over the long on boundary, for the most memorable of victories.
We partied long into the evening, celebrating a great win and a great day, finishing off Manuela's bottles and singing Happy Birthday to Winston and Charlie, who shared the most wonderful cake.
This gives us great momentum going into our big match next Sunday, the Sussex semi-final of the National Village Cup, I hope the report is as happy next week.
Newenden v Staplehurst, 13 May 2018
Venue: Staplehurst Cricket Club
Result: Newenden won by 26 runs, Newenden 207-9 (Collingwood 49, Rummery 36, Browning 32) Staplehurst 181-7 (Jones 3-12)
Played: 2 Won: 2
Man of the Match: Ian Jones
Sunday saw NCC move a step closer to Lords without having to hit a ball, after Hadlow Down were unable to fulfil the fixture. It seemed a shame to not give the cup side a much needed run out so we managed to arrange an emergency fixture with Staplehurst CC.
After a very wet Saturday, an early morning ground inspection gave the green light to the game and we arrived on a beautiful sunny afternoon to an immaculate Staplehurst pitch. The joy of having covers. Skippering Staplehurst for the day was JB's old nemesis George Perry, who seemed a little disappointed that JB could not make the game himself. Having won the toss, Newenden opted to bat.
Morris and Sloane opened up, and started well before Morris fell for 12, guiding one straight to Perry at slip. This brought Browning to the crease, who set off like a steam train, he had rattled through to 32 in no time, but was then given out LBW to Perry, which left us 50-2 after ten overs. Collingwood and Sloane consolidated, with Collingwood in particular demonstrating some lovely stroke play on both sides of the wicket. Sloane then also fell LBW to Perry, which brought Jones Snr to the crease for his first knock of the season. They put on 62 for the fourth wicket, before Jones was bowled for 23. Collingwood followed shortly afterwards, another LBW victim for Perry.
Patel looked out of sorts and fell cheaply to their young leg spinner, which left Rummery the job of finishing the innings, and this is what he did. Taking on the straight boundaries, he smashed 36 in six overs, and put on 44 with Smith, before they both fell in quick s uccession. A useful 13 not out from Finn Piper saw us through to 207-9 from our allocation.
After a beautiful tea, the Staplehurst innings began. Bradney and Piper settled into a decent rhythm, before the first wicket fell after a sharp piece of fielding from Collingwood, chasing the ball down to the third man boundary, he picked up, turned and threw down the stumps directly from about 40 yards, leaving the batsmen stranded half way up the wicket. This brought their dangerous number three to the crease to join Perry, these two settled into a strong partnership, and had steadily progressed to 100-1 from 20 overs before Smith finally had the number three caught behind when looking set. Jones then came on from the top end, and carried on his remarkable form this season, snaring Perry, following a superb catch by Browning, a skier taken over his shoulder.
With these two wickets went the Staplehurst hopes, their other batsmen played solidly but never looked like reaching the target. Jones picked up another couple of wickets, taking his tally to 8 for the season, while Patel and Browning pocketed one each. The Staplehurst innings finished on 181-7.
Langton Green are next up us, our first home game of the season. Then the big one, we take on Glynde and Beddingham in the National Village Cup on May 27th. The dream continues.
Newenden v Goudhurst Gentlemen, 6 May 2018
Venue: Big Side, Cranbrook School
Result: Newenden won by 127 runs (Newenden 207-4, Morris 83, Browning 47) Goudhurst 80 All Out, Jones Snr 5-4, Browning 2-11)
Played: 1 Won: 1
Man of the Match: Ian Jones
Newenden started our rain-delayed season with an emphatic win over the Goudhurst Gentlemen. The NCG is still in need of a lot of drying out, so after high level negotiations had taken place, we managed to secure the use of the Cranbrook School pitch, which very much lived up to its name of 'Big Side'.
After JB had won the toss and opted to bat, Newenden set about their work effectively if not extravagantly. Morris and Waterhouse began to accumulate runs as the sun beat down. Boundaries were hard to come by, as the outfield was particularly slow, much to the dismay of Morris, as all run threes are not his forte. Goudhurst shuffled their pack, but they were only able to break the opening stand after we had reached 104, with Waterhouse departing LBW for 20. This brought Browning to the crease, who looked sharp for his 47, playing some stylish shots on both sides of the wicket. Morris fell for 83,when the score was 168-2, which brought a lively looking Bourne to the crease. These two put on a few more and we ended up on 207-4 from our allocated 40 overs.
After a bring-your-own tea (we had no access to the pavilion) the Goudhurst innings began. Bradney set the tone, with a cracking first over, trapping their opener LBW with his fourth delivery. Then Smith joined the party, picking up the other opener in his second over. These two were then replaced by two of our leading young players, Jones and Bartleet, who both bowled tidy spells against the best batsmen that Goudhurst had to offer. After putting on nearly 50 for the third wicket, Bourne threw the ball to Jones Snr, and that was that. He bowled three overs of class swing bowling, taking 5 wickets for four runs, including a stunning caught and bowled that was travelling. It was a class performance. Browning and Bourne mopped up the tail and Goudhurst were all out for 80.
It was great to get a game under our belt, and get some confidence going into our National Village Cup match next weekend. We are now in the second round, with only six games left til we get to Lords. To quote the great Bon Jovi 'Keep the Faith'.