Blackheath picked up their first away win of the season with a decisive victory against newly-promoted Canterbury.
Blackheath lost the toss and were asked to bowl on a batsman friendly track at Polo Farm.
Canterbury skipper Isaac Dikes looked to have made a good decision when he and his opening partner were 70-0 from 20 overs, well on their way to building a solid platform for the rest of their batsmen. Having negotiated the pace duo of Tanweer Sikander (0-39) and Jahid Ahmed (0-42),medium pacer Medhi Abbas found Dike’s inside edge to bowl him for 40. The following 30 overs were a showcase in the art of slower bowling as Dipayan Paul (2-28, pictured above), Mohammed Ashraful (3-31) and Abbas strangled Canterbury’s middle order, restricting them to 170 from 50 overs.
At first glance, this total was seemingly well below par.
But when George Wells fell in the third ball of the innings, edging one to the outstretched right hand of first slip, shudders went through the away dressing room.
The ship was settled by the ever-reliable Sikander (32) and Paul (57). Ashraful and Speller added an unbeaten 55 and 15 respectively to see Blackheath home with nine overs to spare.
The victory leaves Blackheath just above the Kent League Premier Division relegation zone. They are at Bexley tomorrow.
A middle-order battling collapse saw Dulwich cling on for a draw in their first-ever meeting with Stoke D’Abernon, writes John Lewis.
Dulwich put their hosts in to bat in the Surrey Championship Division Two fixture and got off to a good start as a wicket apiece for acting skipper Jon Lodwick and Kamran Munawar reduced them to 28-2 after 10 overs.
After a slow start Tristan Caviet launched an assault on Lodwick and Simon Harwood before falling to the latter for 31 with the score on 54. The spinners took over and Alex Gledhill took two wickets for five runs in his first four overs to make it 73-5 after 21.
Robbie Blackburn was promoted to attack the spinners, which he did successfully, facing just 25 balls in making 34 out of a partnership of 40 for the sixth wicket, before giving Gledhill a sharp return catch. Gledhill took his fourth wicket to make it 126-7, but at this point rain drove the players from the field. Eight overs were lost, reducing the match to 92 overs.
On the resumption Ben Zander continued the assault on the spinners, necessitating the recall of Lodwick, who dismissed him for 29 off 24 balls to make it 154-8.
Mike Emslin also piled on the runs, scoring 29 not out off 28, before Munawar took the last two wickets in successive overs to dismiss them for 179. Gledhill finished with four wickets but was unusually expensive in conceding 47 runs off 10 overs, Munawar had 3-31 off 9.4, and Lodwick 2-42 off 11, while keeper Will Bancroft held four catches.
The innings had lasted just 40.4 overs, at a rate of 4.4 runs per over, leaving Dulwich 51 overs to make the runs.
Their innings got off to an unfortunate start when Alex Leyshon got a nasty lifter in the second over which he could only parry to backward point.
Chris Purshouse and Robbie Catling took the score to 38 when the latter was bowled off the last ball of the 13th over. Purshouse was joined by Matt Marfani, and their partnership of 46 in just 9.3 overs put Dulwich ahead of the required rate.
Spinners Will Frost and Ian Hopton took the next five wickets between them as Dulwich declined from 84-2 to 117-7 in 13 overs. Marfani was first to go for 25, and Purshouse was the sixth man out, having made 62, the highest score for Dulwich this year. But numbers five, six and seven mustered just 14 runs between them.
Harwood joined Lodwick with 63 needed off 15.3 overs, but the pair added just 20 runs in the next 8.3. Hopton secured his fourth wicket, taking a return catch to dismiss Harwood for a dogged 10 off 36 balls. Munawar was lbw to the first ball of the 47th over, leaving Lodwick and Gledhill to survive 29 balls in steady drizzle for the draw.
An edge to the slips was not taken, and Lodwick hit two fours off the last over to take his score to 24 and bring up a batting point as the losing draw was secured.
Dulwich took six points from the game and slipped one place to sixth.
They are at home to ninth placed Farnham tomorrow.
PICTURE BY KEITH GILLARD
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