Cricket: Tunbridge Wells succumb to lethal spell at Beckenham

IT WAS first versus second as Tunbridge Wells travelled to Beckenham, who were top of the Kent League Premier Division – and they brought the visitors’ impressive form to an end.

The visitors arrived at Foxgrove without their in-form captain Chris Williams and also all-rounder Marcus O’Riordan, who has been handed a professional contract by Kent.

Home skipper Alex Senn won the toss and inserted Wells, who were soon in deep trouble on a track with a green tinge after several days of heavy rain.

A deadly spell from William MacVicar threatened to end the contest early as he snapped up three top-order wickets at no cost from 20 deliveries.

The score tottered to a moribund 24 for 4, MacVicar enjoying his purple patch between the end of his fourth over and start of his seventh.

Julian O’Riordan, Marcus’s younger brother, was joined by Alex Williams together, and a fighting fifth-wicket stand of 39 promised a recovery.

Then the home attack struck again, but another partnership developed as Williams was joined by the resolute and reliable Ian McLean (23).

The hundred came up in the 35th over, but Beckenham spun their way back into the contest as three wickets fell to reduce Wells to 118 for 8.

Williams then decided to accelerate and struck three fours and four sixes on his way to a powerful 68 off 93 balls.

He was last man out at 166, dismissed by the returning MacVicar (4 for 18), having added a vital 37 with Ari Karvelas.

Beckenham had at least been set a tricky target to chase, and Dave Smith (2 for 23) and Matt Barker (2-30) reduced the hosts to 95 for 5 after 32 overs – Barker repeating his first-ball wicket-taking feat of the previous match. 

That left the game hanging in the balance, although once again a surfeit of extras – 45 in total – did not help the visitors’ cause in a low-scoring contest.

The match hinged on the stand of 71 between Kent’s Alex Blake (43) and Ross Piller (35 not out) and the target was reached in style at 171 for 6 with a maximum from Piller.

Beckenham duly consolidated their hold on top spot while Wells slipped back to joint third place, with their title pretensions slipping away.

With three games remaining, Tunbridge Wells now entertain HSBC on Saturday [August 24].

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