Cricket: Tunbridge Wells show fighting spirit to beat leaders

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

Tunbridge Wells 275-8 beat Blackheath 218-9 by 57 runs

TUNBRIDGE WELLS showed their title credentials with a convincing victory at home to Blackheath, who had been on top of the Kent League Premier Division for months.

The visitors won the toss and saw Wells play on a pitch that had been protected from a heavy overnight downpour.

The long heatwave finally took a break as a cool, blustery wind swept over the Nevill all afternoon.

The Blackheath attack was very accurate and probing, and both openers had fallen with 25 on the board after the first 12 overs, including the prolific home captain Chris Williams.

The rebuilding process was undertaken by another in-form batsman, Christian Davis, alongside Alex Williams.

The latter was welcomed with a huge shout for lbw first ball but gradually a watchful third-wicket partnership evolved, though progress was difficult.

Finally, miserly spin gave way to medium pace and there were more opportunities to score.

The stand reached three figures and Davis was first to his 50, soon followed by Williams, and it came as a surprise when he was caught out in the 33rd over.

The remarkable recovery had added 127 runs from 158 balls and Williams made 63 with six fours and a six from 81 deliveries.

There were aggressive contributions after that from Graeme Francis, Marcus O’Riordan – who set the run-rate alight with 37 from just 21 balls as he drove fours and ramped sixes – and Ari Karvelas.

Davis unselfishly perished on 86, having struck nine fours and a six from 112 deliveries.

The hosts managed to post an imposing total of 278 for 5 after what had been an epic struggle for supremacy between bat and ball.

The reply began with a fusillade of boundaries as Dipayan Paul and Shahzaib Hassan peppered the open spaces.

But suddenly strike bowler Ari Karvelas (3 for 30) produced a spell of 18 balls in which he took three wickets without cost, including the star number three Tanweer Sikandar, and the scoreboard showed 54 for 3 with 12 overs gone.

A fourth wicket soon fell to Chris Williams, and George Wells (33) and Joe Kerridge (46) had to battle hard.

The resistance was broken when Paddy Sadler(2 for 54) prised out the former, then Marcus O’Riordan removed another at 106 and the contest seemed to be heading towards the home side.

Captain Chris Willetts (34) had other ideas, as he and Kerridge posted 74 in 19 overs for the seventh wicket.

But the run-rate was reaching impossible proportions and Sadler accounted for Willetts, after which two run-outs hastened the end at 218 for 9.

Wells have now narrowed the gap at the top to a mere six points ahead of their meeting with Beckenham at the Nevill on Saturday [August 4].

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