The 3rdXI extended their winning streak (to two games) with an excellent performance against title contenders, Bromley Town.
Following a victory against Mersham Sports, the Bexley boys arrived with a sense of confidence that hadn’t been seen since early April. There were a few changes to the team; Hume and Zaki returned to bolster the captain’s spin options, with Dan Haley arriving to strengthen the top-order.
Given the recent tropical climate, Bexley were surprised to be greeted by a luscious green pitch, which was enough to persuade the Skipper to have a bowl. The coin Gods duly obliged, so it was Bromley who would be batting first.
After a slightly shaky opening over, the new-ball pairing of Cryer and Russell settled into an excellent rhythm to restrict the scoring of the Town's opening batsmen. The latter displayed a level of line and length way beyond his 30 years, which was soon rewarded when he grabbed a wicket. Russell continued to toil away, finishing with dobber-esque figures of 12 overs, 4 maidens, 1 for 29. Following the hard work of the two seamers, Captain Lush introduced himself from the far end, hoping to make the most of some cloud-cover and an unusually shiny ball. It didn’t take him long as he picked up a caught and bowled from the classic ‘full-toss’ – much to the dismay of Cryer and Russell…
As a few more wickets tumbled, the 3rdXI continued to work hard in the field to support the spin twins of Hume (5-25) and Zaki (2-45). Both bowled exceptionally well, with Hume displaying lovely control to pick up his wickets. At 133/9 things were looking really promising and spirits were high. However, the final pair batted well which lead to a tenth wicket partnership of 38, meaning Bexley would be chasing 171 to win.
George Newell (fresh from an evening on the Strawberry Daiquiris) started positively, with an array of cuts and drives which helped build a solid platform for the run-chase. An excellent partnership with Haley (30) led the third team to the unusual position of 80-1, which was met with pleasure and surprise in equal measures. When Haley fell to a brilliant in-swinging delivery, it was the turn of ‘Big Abs’ Pradhan, who quickly put the Bromley attack to the sword, with a quick-fire swashbuckling 33. By now, the fat lady had warmed her vocal chords and not even the 3’s could throw it away… 20 points were on their way back to Manor Way and would be toasted with a jug of the finest Rioja courtesy of the Spin-King, Stuart Hume.
Highlight of the day was undoubtably the superb 71* from Newell, which was much needed at the top of the order and will give the batting unit confidence going into the second half of the season.
Next week will see the much publicised mid-season break, giving the players a chance to re-group and prepare for the next fixture, a crucial 40-pointer against rivals Blackheath Wanderers.