A better weekend for the 1st XI, not so good for the 2nd team.
1st XI away to Whitstable expected and got a good game, but it was very very close!
Being inserted Sibton, Sibton got off to a reasonable start but Andy Allon fell to a quicker short ball from the impressive Sean French. Unfortunately keen to impress and get on the board overseas Kiwi Jack Harper chased a regulation left armer's ball and nicked off to the keeper giving French his second wicket in consecutive balls.
Scoring at 4's and 5's an over Sibton were going well but kept losing wickets as Jamie Keeler got himself in with some excellent hitting & shot play but skied one and was gone.
Only Steve Hickmott & Ben Allon showed some grit with 70 and 74 respectively, but both unfortunately gave their wickets up too easily at crucial times, as Sibton finished on a below PAR but reasonable 218 all out, and gave Whitstable 2 extra overs. Whitstable bowled very well with French keeping it tight, and James Loader seaming the ball and taking the pace off making it difficult to score.
In reply Whitstable got off to a flyer as Max Campbell played exceptionally well and made the Sibton opening attack struggle as he pushed the ball around with ease. Meanwhile his opening partner Tondulkar dropped anchor and scored 2 off a lot of balls before Rowe got a breakthrough. As Campbell quickly passed his 50 and looking to take the game away from Sibton, slag brothers Tim Smith and Simon Knight got Sibton back in to it, stemming the flow of runs, and Campbell went slightly back in to his shell now playing cautiously. Slowly but surely wickets started to tumble as Knight bowled exceptionally well and picked up 2 wickets. Campbell got his well deserved 100 after being in the 90's for a long time before and crucially he fell to Andy Allon. Some handy glove work from Steve Hobbs hung on to catches and very sharp stumpings, then saw the scales sway back slightly in Sibton's favour. Josh Gould batted well for 36, tipping the scales back towards Whitstable, but a silly run out and it was back on for Sibton. Needing very few runs, Sibton were regretting giving Whitstable the extra 2 overs perhaps. Steve Rowe returned and was mopping up, with same Newman picking up a vital wicket finally, leaving Whitstable 9 wickets down needing just 2 runs to win. Rowe bowled a full straight ball for French to step across his stumps and be given out LBW as Rowe picked up his 4th wicket and Sibton got the win.
A real tight one with lots to be learnt from - it was a game Sibton had no right to win after an excellent display by Campbell but also proves if you keep going to the end, and you keep applying pressure, things can happen in your favour.
Meanwhile the 2's entertained Whitstable 2's. A good bowling and fielding display restricted Whitstable to 140 for 8 from their 50 overs, with captain Trevor Lewis picking up 3 wickets, T Boat 2 wickets, 1 for Carey and 2 run outs.
However in reply, like the 1's last week, Sibton batters threw it away as a good Whitstable bowling side skittled Sibton out for 115 in the 48th over.
Moving swiftly on to Sunday and the National Village Knockout competition, virgin entrants Hollingbourne and Sibton battled it out at Hollingbourne.
A difficult damp pitch and some reasonable bowling made it difficult for Sibton batting first, as Steve Hickmott, Andy Allon and Dan Lodge fell early on. In form Ben Allon however settled it down with an excellent knock for 91 before holing out. Under 13 Harry Wren made his debut and despite coming in at a difficult time played maturely trying to help push the score on before being caught. Sibton made a decent 223 on a difficult seaming/spinning pitch.
In reply Sam Newman took two early wickets removing the openers. A few biffs and bashes saw Hollingbourne get a glimmer of hope, but Dan Lodge and Ryan Currie held Hollingbourne up as Lodge pickled up 3 wickets and T Boat picked up a 5 fer bowling very well. They were helped by some excellent glove work from John Osborne on his return after 11 months out from injury. Nine down and needing 60 runs, some lusty blows from number 11 made it close but Tim Smith finally finished it up as Hollingboune finished on 185. Closer than perhaps it should be, but Hollingbourne battled and gave it a good go, but then again Steve Rowe and Andy Allon were not required to be brought in to the attack.
A good weekend.