On easily the hottest day of the summer so far, Foxgrove looked magnificent as Beckenham prepared to host HSBC, buoyant after two fine wins over Blackheath and Tunbridge Wells in recent weeks. Skipper Alex Senn won the toss and elected to bat first on a firm, dry pitch condemning the visitors to an afternoon in the broiling heat. The two scorers introduced themselves for the first time and settled down in the scorebox, windows open and with a jug of iced water to hand, to enjoy the match and an afternoon of interesting conversation.
With Dan Hardy at Glastonbury, Rob Clements moved up to open with skipper Senn and it became apparent that the pitch contained uneven bounce. Bank openers skipper Sadiq Hassan pushing through his off-spin at the Summer Pavilion end and overseas Ishmael September bowling accurate seam from the Pavilion end, ensured that run-scoring was not easy. However, both batsmen appeared to have settled in when September nailed Clements in front for 6. Will MacVicar was soon into his stride but found that the accuracy of the Bank attack backed up by excellent fielding hampered his normal free-scoring style. After a tight spell, Hassan took himself off and brought on ex-Bromley leg-spinner Nathan Hill who is joining the Royal Marines in September. As a steady partnership developed without setting the scoreboard alight, it was Hill who made the next breach by having the Beckenham skipper leg-before for 22. In strode former Bank player Alex Blake, fresh from another century for Kent II during the week. Now the run rate began to increase as Blake upped the momentum and used his famed speed between the wickets to fine effect.
Having replaced September, Andrew Faulkner bowled a steady spell of seam before handing over to another leg-spinner, Richard Golbourn. With Blake into his stride, the Kent player dished out some severe punishment in racing to his fifty in 40 deliveries signalling the end of that particular bowling change. MacVicar, meanwhile, looked immoveable at the other end and seemed content to let his pal employ the heavy artillery with his own fifty arriving after 101 balls. The scorers were informed by the home’stats guru’ that, should Blake reach his century, he would become the highest century-maker in Kent League history. The partnership was finally ended with the return of Faulkner who bowled MacVicar for a splendid 72. As the overs began to dwindle away, Blake marched onwards toward the magic three figures with some blistering strokeplay but then September, having suffered a torrid time against Blake, removed Stuart Binny and then the prized wicket of Blake, just two runs away from the hundred when he edged behind to Andrew Wright. This had been another wonderful innings by the popular Kent player who continues to display such welcome commitment to Beckenham. As the lower order took the final score to 240 (probably a good score), the Bank must take credit for an excellent fielding display with all the bowlers putting in splendid efforts in the heat.
The Bank reply did not start well as Will MacVicar raced in from the Summer Pavilion end to nail Richard Golbourn in front third ball. At the other end, it was business as usual for Stuart Binny with his easy run-up and action hitting an immaculate line and length. Run-scoring became difficult and Binny struck next by bowling Sam Perks for 1. The situation worsened as MacVicar began an inspired spell taking three wickets for a mere eight runs in just two overs, including the dangerous Matt Abbett for a Primary. At 17-5, the Bank was in dire straits with Binny adding another wicket when he trapped Alan Slater in front. Bank skipper Hassan then tried to rally his side by taking the fight to Beckenham with a spirited display in scoring 20 but this was short-lived as Mahi Mahfuzul had him holing out to Mudit Dayal and the ex-Blackheath player then swept through the tail and, with MacVicar adding a fifth wicket to his tally, Bank were all out for 59. This had been yet another clinical display from Beckenham who only used three bowlers with MacVicar completing a brilliant all-round performance. It is doubtful if there is a better all-rounder in the whole of the Kent League.
Author : Peter Wiseman