BY PETER WISEMAN
Saturday marked the start of League cricket in this pandemic-ravaged season. With grateful thanks to the efforts of Bromley Common’s Leigh Walker and others, the Corona Metropolitan League has risen from the ashes of the abandoned Kent League consisting of two pools of six with the winners playing off for the ultimate winner.
Having enjoyed some wonderful summer weather and no cricket, the weather took on a distinctly variable aspect with heavy rain in the offing.
Beckenham’s first match of the campaign saw Bickley Park as the visitors – 30 overs per side in an effort to beat the rain.
Skipper Alex Senn duly won the toss and asked Bickley Park to bat first.
After an immaculate opening over from newcomer Jahid Ahmed, his former Blackheath colleague Mahi Mahfuzul made the opening breach by bowling Will Holcombe with the last ball of the over. New batsman Ranjit Singh started to try and force the pace while Fullarton dropped anchor at the other end. Then, with 22 on the board, Ahmed struck twice to remove Fullarton and Moen without scoring to leave Park groggy on 22-3.
As Singh started to play shots in an effort to bring the innings round, first-change Alex Puwar removed Alex Darroch which brought Mike Ridley to join Singh and a partnership of note began to develop.
Jonny Darke joined the attack to partner the very promising left-arm spinner Ishan Sabharwal and showed much of his old form before injury forced a couple of years out of the game. It was Darke who ended the partnership by trapping Ridley in front to make the score 66-5.
Now it was the off-spin of Johan Malcolm that began to cause problems as he sent back Singh for a fine 39 and then Park’s dangerous skipper Dan Magin. Phil Browning led a mini-recovery but Malcolm struck twice more as the overs ran out with Park closing on 108-9. Malcolm took the bowling honours with 4-25 with Ahmed 2-15.
The clouds were gathering as Beckenham started their reply with both Senn and Rithik Hari making brisk progress against Xavier Darroch and Dan Magin.
They were well on the way to picking up the points when the downpour arrived and after waiting nearly an hour, the umpires decided that was it and the match was declared incomplete with Beckenham taking 10 points and Park settling for seven.
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