Cricket: Record partnership seals third place for Tunbridge Wells

Pam Mills

TUNBRIDGE WELLS completed a successful campaign in style at Bickley Park, but were left to rue a narrow two-wicket defeat to Lordswood a fortnight before that may have denied them the Kent League Premier title.

The visitors won the toss and chose to chase on a wicket which promised plenty of runs, and the first three batsmen all dug in and made fifties.

The openers Alex Moen (81) and Alex Fullarton (62) carefully worked their way to a hundred from 26 overs, but Dave Smith (2 for 63) finally broke through at 135 in the 36th over.

Fullarton finally departed but that only brought a third Alex, Darroch (51), to the crease and he at once injected a note of aggression, racing to a 37-ball fifty.

The score rattled on to 240 or 2 with Warren Lee (29) striking two sixes and the home side closed on 254 for 4.

Ari Karvelas ended his maiden season in the Kent League with 34 wickets, placing him second among leading wicket-takers in the top division.

The reply was soon in serious disarray as Xavier Darroch hit the stumps twice and Warren Lee added a third victim, all within the first four overs, to leave Wells on 11 for 3.

However, Christian Davis and Kent youth player Julian O’Riordan now came together to set a new club record partnership for the fourth wicket in the Premier Division.

Growing in confidence, the pair both struck the ball cleanly and soon they were scoring at seven runs an over without taking any risks.

Davis duly reached his century off 106 deliveries, and although the scoring rate began to slow, the target was now within range.

The centurion was finally caught off Andrew Harriott for a superb 130 off 124 balls with 16 fours and a six and he had added 221 with the younger O’Riordan.

His partner remained undefeated on 97 to see his side to victory, though the teenager was unfortunate to be denied a century as Wells reached 258 for 4 with 16 balls to spare.

The victory kept Wells in third place in the table, their joint highest placing in the top flight – achieved previously in 1998 and 2009.

The title went to Blackheath for the first time in 34 years, by a single point from Lordswood, with Wells 15 points further back and Sevenoaks Vine in fourth place.

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