Cricket: Robinson makes Tunbridge Wells pay for wayward start

LEADING LIGHT Abi Todd was named Kent League Player of the Year

Beckenham 253-7 beat Tunbridge Wells 222 by 31 runs

TUNBRIDGE WELLS came unstuck in their efforts to keep pace with the leaders in the Kent League Premier Division as last year’s champions found some much-needed form.

Beckenham have endured a difficult campaign after their success last year, and their victory at the Nevill lifted them out of the relegation zone.

Home skipper Chris Williams won the toss and inserted the visitors, and their openers tucked into wayward offerings from the Wells attack.

However, Ari Karvelas (2 for 38) was his usual incisive and inexpensive self at the Railway End, snapping up 2 for 11 from his first five overs while 37 runs were pillaged at the other end.

England Under-19 batsman Ollie Robinson was in sublime form, and he was joined by Kent’s hard-hitting Alex Blake (38), who showed his prudent side in a stand of 87 for the third wicket.

It took a good catch on the boundary by Mike Waller to dismiss Blake after he had unleashed two of his trademark sixes.

Johan Malcolm (37) then put on a rapid stand of 66 with Robinson, who moved on to his third century of the season, and 200 came up with ten overs still to go.

Robinson was finally caught behind off Chris Williams after making a commanding 115 from 117 balls with 12 fours and a six.

Finally the home bowlers enjoyed some success, with the left-arm spin of Michael Churchill (2 for 47) pegging back the runaway scoring.

Only 52 runs accrued in the last 10 overs while four wickets fell. Beckenham had fallen short of expectations when they closed on 253 for 7.

After Chris Williams fell early on, Waller (37) batted well to set up the reply with the in-form Christian Davis (23).

The run-chase began in earnest when Graeme Francis (28) and Marcus O’Riordan posted a rapid partnership of 55 for the fourth wicket.

Three wickets fell in quick succession, however, and the hosts were reduced to 169 for 6 with 85 still required from the last 10 overs.

O’Riordan moved serenely to his fifty but he was finally dismissed for an excellent 71, made from 107 balls with four fours and a six.

Dave Smith (35) provided some late thrills but Wells were all out for 222 with 15 balls remaining, falling 31 runs short of their target, Will MacVicar returning 4 for 51.

Their exceptional run of four wins in a row came to an end but they remain in second place in the table, 18 points behind Blackheath.

Tunbridge Wells now visit Sandwich Town on Saturday [August 11].

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