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18 May 2013 - David Harkin

The Vine took a youthful side, including 5 academy players, too Blackheath on Saturday. Fortunate to win the toss, captain Harkin elected to bowl first on a pitch which looked extremely green and had seen Blackheath’s first team the week before be rolled for 65. Blackheath openers began slowly against openers Iain Smith and Piers Robinson, making his Second team debut. The Vine had to wait until first change bowler Alex Kirk-Patrick made the breakthrough with a superb piece of bowling, removing Wickes (25) from the attack. After 20 overs, Harkin brought Julius Cowdrey into the attack to bowl through to the end and he bowled as he always does – with accuracy and consistence. Cowdrey began to pick off the middle order (ending with 3-42 of his 15 overs). He was well supported by the youth at the other end Chalky, Smith and a returning Piers Robinson, who helped finish of the job in the last few overs picking up his first Kent League wickets 3-61 of 12 overs.

The Vine felt 202 was 25+ runs over where they should have allowed Blackheath to get too, but it was still a possible target. Chalky and Kirk-Patrick were looking like they were setting themselves up for a long innings after the first 7/8 overs. However both fell quickly at 26/2 and the momentum began to quickly shift to Blackheath. Akerman unfortunately went quickly and then entered Boardman (14) and Cowdrey (29) who were the only two too put on any kind of meaningful partnership. At 73/3 and well ahead the run rate, the Vine needed one of these boys to go on to score big to give us a fighting chance. However in a mad 4 overs between 20-24 the Vine went from 73/3 to 80/7 and the game was pretty much over. The tail attempted to wag and benefit from some wayward bowling leading to 20+ byes from Blackheath, but once Iain Smith was bowled on 115, the game had finished and the Vine lost by 87 runs. A frustrating defeat, but still some positive signs that a youthful Vine second team could bowl out a strong Blackheath team. Experienced gained and the Vine now have a weekend gap before returning to action.