Bexley 6th XI v Orpington 5th XI
By Steve Griggs
Rain Evasion - Tactical Ploy
The weather forecast was not looking good for Saturday afternoon with the weather radar showing plenty of rain throughout the afternoon. Orpington having conceded three matches already, honoured the fixture and turned up with ten players. It could all come down to the toss. An agreement was reached to play a reduced over match, 26 overs per innings. Orpington won the toss and remarkably elected to bat. Dodging the showers, covers were moved and the wicket was set. Mike Shelvey opened at grassy bank end and obliged with a clean bowled with his first ball. The result of this match was always going to be a race against the rain. The skipper bowled from the river end trying to keep runs to a minimum. Shelvers soon had another, again bowled and at 2-6 things were definitely in our favour. With the score on 12 Griggsy removed their number four taking out middle stump. Their captain and number five got a little partnership going but an LBW for the skipper broke the partnership on 28. Jack Bleksley took over at the river end soon getting involved with a sharp shot clipped to leg into the Billy Smarts Circus well known juggler, Colin Howard, who teasingly juggled the ball three times before completing what was a very good grab at square leg. This was soon followed by a good shot to Grant Houghton at short extra cover diving full stretch grabbed but the ball managed to pop out - a great effort. Meanwhile Shelvers continued to bowl a very nagging line and length to which the Orpington batters had no answer. Another two clean bowled followed and at 40-7 in the 12th over it was looking very promising. Jack bowled well but was unfortunate not to get another wicket. Allowing Shelvers a 7th and final over in an effort to get his 'fifer' did not materialise but nevertheless a great spell of 7 overs 4-12 came to an end. This could all be over quite soon and Bexley had their tails up. The introduction of young Josh 'JJ' Kearns soon put an end to the Orpington innings bowling the number 9 followed by a very good stumping by James Willis to complete the rout. All out for 45 in 14.5. overs with JJ taking 2-0. The captains decided to continue without a tea break and the run chase began. Grant and Blekkers opened and a steady start was required. Both batted sensibly and Blekkers, following a Chris Laas batting master class, displayed a whole new batting style which seemed to be working. Grant opted for the boundary 4's whilst Blekkers worked the gaps picking up singles with two very nice square cuts for four. Grant looked so comfortable until one nipped through, bowled for 18 but just the start we needed. Colin in at three got a bit of a dubious LBW decision and Viraj strode out to the middle and he and Blekkers, 14 not out , saw it home in 10.3 overs.
Another win for the 6ths and 20 points in the bag. Returning to a splendid tea all eyes were on the weather that soon delivered was was forecast. Credit to the Orpington lads for playing the game despite one or two heavier showers and all played very sportingly.
Would OD Cuaco, our nearest competitors get a game in?? Later that evening it became apparent that Dartford had conceded yet another game giving OD's 20 points also. The 6th's now have OD Cuaco away next week. 12 points from that game would mean promotion for the 6th XI.