Williams leads the charge as Tunbridge Wells race to record score

Williams leads the charge as Tunbridge Wells race to record score

Tunbridge Wells 360-8 beat Bromley Common 176 by 184 runs

CAPTAIN Chris Williams led from the front as Tunbridge Wells amassed a record total on their visit to The Grove to take on lowly Bromley Common.

Recording a large winning margin of 184 runs, Wells managed to stay in the slipstream of the runaway leaders of the Kent League Premier Division, Blackheath.

Their hosts remain firmly rooted to the bottom of the table after recording eight defeats in their first 10 matches of the season.

Skipper Williams returned to his best form after winning the toss and electing to bat first on a ferociously hot afternoon for the fielding side.

Jay Mannall, with exemplary figures of 4 for 49 from 10 testing overs, showed that the deck offered some help to the home attack.

But Williams was in devastating form from the outset, masterminding the pace and direction of the innings by his own example.

Mannall struck twice to peg the visitors back but Williams had already reached 64 by the time the second wicket fell at 89.

Then he found an able accomplice, his brother Alex, as the siblings put on a partnership of 107 in 14 overs. Alex fell just short of his half-century, his 48 coming off 52 deliveries.

Chris moved rapidly to three figures, dealing out some heavy punishment to the wilting attack, and had reached 147 off 117 balls with 20 fours and two sixes when he fell at 258 for 4.

However, there was to be no respite as wicketkeeper Graeme Francis set about the home bowlers with even greater gusto.

His pulverising knock 73 came from only 47 deliveries and was studded with seven fours and three sixes, as the relentless barrage was maintained.

Jorge Ehren kept up the momentum to the bitter end, and a grand total of 360 for 8 was posted, meaning that the run-rate had been kept at better than seven per over throughout.

Wells had handsomely surpassed their previous highest Premier League total, 333 against Gore Court back in 2010.

The Bromley Common reply began promisingly with an opening stand of 66 in eight overs, Leigh Walker (28) and Toby Finzel (26) giving chase towards their monumental target.

The visiting bowlers were switched about, and four wickets fell for the addition of 27 runs in the next eight overs to leave that rapid start in tatters.

Isaac Bepey, Ari Karvelas and Marcus O’Riordan all enjoyed success with the ball, and the skipper snapped up 3 for 28 in a stunning all-round effort as the innings faltered.

The fifth wicket held up the victory charge as Matt Taylor (42) and James McGruer fought hard and put on 43 together.

But the combative Karvelas was recalled and he ended up grabbing 5 for 18 over two spells, his maiden five-wicket haul for Wells.

It took him to the top of the Premier League wicket-taking charts with 24 victims, the last three coming in five deliveries as Bromley Common were bowled out for 176.

The win sent Wells up into second place in the table, 30 points behind Blackheath, and they will hope to improve on their consistency.

The Vice-Presidents’ Day match sees Wells host to Bexley on Saturday [July 14].

PICTURE: OPENING SALVO: Chris Williams scored 147 opening the innings

Stickler repeats the feats

Sam Stickler recorded his fourth successive century for Tunbridge Wells against Whitstable as the Second XI recorded an even larger margin of victory, 199 runs, at the Nevill. Stickler made 106 and James Madgwick 101 in a stand of 167 for the third wicket. Stickler scored two hundreds against the Oystermen last season, and has now repeated the feat in 2018.

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