Cricket: Smiles breaks Cowdrey hearts in thriller

Visiting captain Ryan Addison won the toss and chose to bat first on what turned out to be a slow wicket showing signs of uneven bounce.

Tonbridge’s opening bowlers Khurram Shehzad and skipper Matt Smiles (3 for 22) bowled extremely well and reduced Cowdrey to 12 for 3 from the first ten overs.

They were dealt a further blow when their overseas star Minhaj Jalill was the next to fall to first-change bowler Nadeem Shehzad (2 for 16 off ten overs) to make it 21 for 4.

Cowdrey’s elder statesman Glen Warner (28) looked to rebuild the innings alongside Jason Carver (20).

After facing 62 balls Warner finally fell to Dilshan Fernando (2 for 22) and when Carver’s 73-ball resistance was also terminated, a score of less than three figures looked highly likely. But Ralph Yeats-Brown had other ideas.

Playing an excellent innings at No 9, he remained unbeaten on 33 off 47 balls and received good support from fellow tailenders Thom Brown and Nick Farr to take Cowdrey up to 136 for 9 off their full quota of 50 overs.

It looked like a handy score to have posted on a tricky wicket.

It was crucial that Cowdrey took early wickets but Julius Marshall (52) made sure the home side made a good start and they progressed to 80 for 1.

At that point the spinners Jalill and Yeats-Brown turned the tables. The Sri Lankan proved almost unplayable with figures of 3 for 7 from his ten overs, while Yeats-Brown picked up 2 for 30 as Tonbridge slipped to 92 for 6.

With the spinners bowled out, the pacemen Farr and Brown came on and further reduced Tonbridge to 121 for 9 – with 16 runs still needed.

The match appeared to be back in Cowdrey’s hands but with only the part-time bowlers left Smiles and Nadeem Shehzad saw Tonbridge home by the narrowest of margins on 138 for 9 off 44.3 overs.

Cowdrey now host Nonington at Swanmead on Saturday (July 6).

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