Tunbridge Wells 162 lost to Sandwich Town 164-6 by 4 wkts
TUNBRIDGE WELLS’ hopes of winning the Kent League Premier Division title were dealt a nasty blow when they were defeated by hosts Sandwich Town.
Having been inserted for the second week running, the captain Chris Williams was dismissed in the opening over.
With the pitch offering some help to the seam bowlers, the in-form Christian Davis (22) was the next to depart.
Mike Waller and the returning Alex Williams (38) embarked on a face-saving third-wicket partnership of 36.
But disaster struck in the form of Ashleigh Cox, who snapped up 4 for 31 to wipe out the visitors’ middle order.
The seventh-wicket pair of Will Stickler (39) and Julian O’Riordan managed a stand of 39 to repair the innings somewhat.
The bowling was inspired, however, with Ben Smith (3 for 15) wrapping up the Wells effort on 162 all out at the start of the 43rd over, the last four wickets tumbling for six runs.
The visitors struck back at once, however, led as usual by the belligerent Ari Karvelas, as the home batsmen found conditions equally as awkward.
Two wickets fell with just one run on the board, but a third-wicket partnership between Finlay Beaman (26) and Jordan Cox added a stabilising 61 runs.
Alex Williams (3 for 33) then entered the attack and achieved a triple strike as the hosts stumbled again to 100 for 6.
The game was in the balance but Jordan Cox held his nerve despite enormous pressure to lead his team to a far-than-straightforward victory.
He found a staunch ally in Jan Gray (20 not out), and they worked hard to add an unbroken stand of 64 to bring up victory by four wickets on 164 for 6 in the 47th over.
There was no hurry and both men played carefully as the Wells bowlers were unable to find the breakthrough. Jordon Cox remained undefeated on 84 off 123 deliveries with nine fours.
The result was a disappointment for the visitors, coming just two weeks after they beat league leaders Blackheath, and it was another sign of their continuing inconsistency.
The victory propelled Sandwich Town up to fifth place in the table, just behind Wells, and there are now four teams on nine wins in what looks like a frantic run-in.
Just eight points separate second from fifth, with Lordwood keeping Blackheath within reach at the top following a powerful win there at the weekend.
Wells entertain second-placed Lordswood at The Nevill on Saturday [August 18], with Sevenoaks Vine also in the mix in third and Wells now down to fourth.