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15 Jun 2012 - Gavan Burden

Team: Alfie Berger-North, Harry Bevan-Thomas, Jack Brown, Angus Chambers, Sam Collens, Zak Iqbal, Michael Jacobs, Hugh Jones C, Matt Oster WK 1, Callum Turner WK 2, Henry Woods

After last week’s very disappointing defeat but with a good team spirit prevailing and an excellent Sunday session led by First X1 bowler/batter and Kent Premier League Young Player of the Year Lorne Burns we went into this game believing in a change in fortune.

Once again the weather was a threat but with both sides keen to get the game on we duly did with Bidborough winning the toss and electing to understandably bowl first on a damp pitch and under varying skies.

Our two opening batsmen skipper Hugh Jones and Callum Turner, fresh from a half-term break, knew what they had to do to give us a solid start. Once again though, and with your writer experiencing massive déjà vu moments, we were 16-2 with the opening pair having scored 5 & 6 respectively. Enter Matt Oster who also had something to prove after last week’s performance, but alas we were soon in ever deepening holes with MO and Sam Collens going cheaply to find ourselves 22-4 then 27-5 after 10 overs having lost Zak Iqbal spooning one up after forgetting to move his feet again.

But we had last week’s man-of-the-match Harry Bevan-Thomas out in the middle and he was joined by Angus Chambers. Could this pair steady the ship, score a few runs and help us avoid an embarrassingly low score ? Too right they could ! With AC playing a fine supporting role HB-T once again showed us his full range of shots giving our older boys a good lesson in how to deal with straight but unthreatening bowling. He set about the oppo’s attack with disdain and it wasn’t too long before he was heading back to the Pavilion with another fine knock of 25* to his name, and our total moving along nicely. But it still needed a further kick-on if we were to set a target to give us half a chance.
Cue AC picking up where HB-T left off and with Michael Jacobs and then Alfie Berger-North providing good support and energized running between the wickets, AC opened up brilliantly to finish on 19*, forging our total to 90-6 at the end of our 20 overs.

Having anticipated an early finish after 10 overs, and heading home in plenty of time to watch England take on Sweden at Euro 2012, your writer was suitably encouraged by this wonderful turnaround and our tea-interval talk from your writer and new recruit Omar Iqbal ( SVCC Chairman, father of Zak and son of Kent & Pakistan legend Asif ) was full of positive talk. This was a total we could defend but we’d have to pull together as a team and bowl and field at our very best.

Game on then, and our boys marched out to the middle very much up for the challenge. Opening bowlers CT and SC eventually got into their stride ( note to CT- bowling is all about rhythm and it really doesn’t help to switch from medium pace swing to spin in your first over ! ) but needing just 4.6 an over Bidborough were keeping up with the run rate.

CT then delivered a maiden and with AC also finding his line at the other end we were starting to pin them back. HB-T then stepped up to maintain the pressure but a couple of loose overs from ZI, not helped by a couple of mis-fields, had this tight game back in the balance.
But two fine run-outs finished off sharply by CT, now with the keepers gloves on, and a couple of wickets from the irrepressible MO had us right back in the driving seat. Henry Woods delivered two fine overs of spin conceding just 4 runs and with HJ bowling his decent line the oppo needed to take HB-T for too many off the last over and ended on 83-5 to give the Vine a thrilling and well-deserved first victory of the season.

What impressed Omar and I most about this result was the fantastic team spirit. We could have given up at various stages when batting and fielding ( having to defend a gettable total ) but in both cases we didn’t and as a team we stepped up to the plate and showed great character.
It was terrific to see the likes of Jack Brown, who despite not getting a bat or a bowl, giving his all in the field and saving some crucial runs and our continual banter and encouragement in the field, not to mention some excellent bowling. True, we need to look at our top-order batting perhaps but let’s hope it’s a temporary blip.

Well done boys ! I’m very proud of you but we must look to maintain this progress and take this discipline and team spirit into all of our games from here.

Man of the Match – The whole team !!