Cricket: Captain Williams mixes aggression and caution with perfect ton

CAPTAIN Chris Williams led from the front with a superb unbeaten century to see his side home on a bowler-friendly track at Canterbury’s Polo Farm.

But while he received little support from the rest of the top order in the run-chase, his bowlers had been impressive – particularly teenage left-arm paceman Isaac Bepey, who is staking a claim to a regular spot in the first team.

Williams won the toss and asked Canterbury to bat first but his front-line bowlers were initially unable to make an impression despite the helpful conditions.

The home captain Isaac Dilkes (35) and Bradley Goldsack (29) defied them in raising an opening stand of 69 in 14 overs before Dave Smith finally broke through.

Bepey returned for a brief second spell in which he grabbed 2 for 4 as the total slipped to 81 for 3, but Elliot Lewis (28) and Justin MacVicar (35) steadied the ship again and the score rose to 142 for 3 after 33 overs.

The visiting attack now shuffled its resources to great effect and dominated the second half of the innings, as the last seven wickets fell for 37 runs.

Bepey came away with 4 for 27 while Ari Karvelas, Smith and spinner Marcus O’Riordan each took two wickets.

Canterbury were suddenly all out for 179, leaving four overs unused as their resistance was abruptly swept aside.

Despite an early loss, opener Williams was at his attacking best and found decent support from Christian Davis as they added 51 in eight overs.

Once Davis departed, however, the rest of the top order fell away alarmingly to be 69 for 5, with Ben Rutherford (3-19 from ten overs) the chief architect of this collapse.

But Williams showed the sternest resolve, and found a willing partner once again in Ian McLean (23), as the sixth wicket brought a combative and vital stand of 74.

After his brisk start, Williams now presented an immaculate defence while neglecting no opportunity to punish the bad ball.

When Karvelas walked out to join his captain 37 runs were needed, and the tail was exposed.

But Williams guided his side home in a steely, unbroken seventh-wicket partnership.

He reached three figures and then immediately scored the winning boundary at 181 for 6 with 12.4 overs to spare.

His innings of 104 not out off 121 balls with 11 fours and four sixes was an exceptional knock of rare skill, determination and ingenuity.

The victory meant Wells maintained their fourth place in the Kent League Premier Division.

They now take on Lordswood at home on Saturday (July 13).

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