Davis displays class to give Tunbridge Wells victory in tough test

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

Bexley 171-9 lost to Tunbridge Wells 174-5 by 5 wkts

TUNBRIDGE WELLS ended a nine-year drought against Bexley in the Kent League with a hard-fought five-wicket victory at the Nevill on the club’s Vice-Presidents’ Day.

The win coincided with Premier League leaders Blackheath’s second defeat of the campaign, inflicted by Sevenoaks Vine, which allowed Wells to close the gap in second place.

Bexley won the toss and elected to bat but the home bowlers found some early life in the surface and restricted the top order’s freedom.

So miserly were the pacemen Ari Karvelas, Dave Smith and spinner Marcus O’Riordan that the tally had only reached 78 at the halfway stage of the innings.

The fielding was also keen and incisive with both Karvelas and Will Stickler taking fine catches, the latter also effecting a run-out later on.

O’Riordan was also involved in a crucial run-out, as he touched a fierce drive onto the non-striker’s wicket, thereby ending a busy 30-ball innings of 31 from Matt Stiddard.

All the top six batsmen made a start for Bexley but none of them could go on to register a half-century or stick around to add some acceleration towards the end.

Five wickets tumbled in the last six overs of the innings for the addition of 22 runs with the fiery Karvelas, who picked up 2 for 15 in his 10 overs, proving a real handful.

The captain, Chris Williams, and O’Riordan (2 for 47) never allowed the middle-order to get away and conceded 43 runs from their last 11 overs as Bexley stumbled to 171 for 9.

The reply began with a characteristically brisk start from Williams, who made 37 from 41 balls with six fours and added 58 with the in-form Christian Davis.

Despite the loss of three wickets for 25 runs to leave the game in the balance at 106 for 4, Davis was driving sweetly on both sides of the wicket.

He received strong support from O’Riordan and their tense, 60-run partnership off 95 balls for the fifth wicket edged the hosts to the brink of victory.

They managed to maintain the required tempo, though the play was attritional and the 20 overs sent down by Adam Riley and Jasdev Bassan made them struggle.

Davis proceeded to reach his half-century in pleasing fashion and went on to become the season’s leading Premier League run-scorer.

With only six needed, however, he fell to an excellent caught-and-bowled by Sam Barton for 76 off 132 deliveries with six boundaries.

But O’Riordan saw the hosts home with 32 not out as they reached their target on 174 for 5 with five overs remaining.

Wells now travel to Tenterden Town’s Morghew Park on Saturday [July 21].

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