Dragons win by 4 wickets
Staplehurst: 245 – 5 (T Watts 139, W Downes 8-1-20-2)
Dragons: 246 – 4 [36 Overs] (J. Killin 120*)
As ever with days on tour it is what happens off the field that provides almost as much interest as the cricket. Tuesday at Staplehurst was to prove no exception.
Dragons awoke to some more fine weather and the prospect of another feast of cricket and food … and the very real prospect of 4 substantial meals in the day. It seemed that no sooner had breakfast finished then the assorted Dragons tour party assembled at Staplehurst to sample the delights of the pre-match BBQ.
And so to the cricket … Staplehurst batted first and got off to a steady start. Will Downes bowled superbly and was unlucky not to pick up more wickets and was ably supported by Joe Gill (great to have a current Georgian in the side) as they kept the runs down in the early overs on what is a very quick scoring ground. However, when the opener was bowled by Downes in the 9th over the momentum of the home side’s innings changed with the arrival of Tim Watts who, not for the first time against the Dragons, scored heavily.
Having looked to take the pace off the ball, captain Wade introduced John Mihill to the attack … I say attack, but it was more defence as already Dragons were looking to limit the damage as Tim Watts continued his assault on the bowling. Having already picked up a wicket and missed a return catch John induced another false shot from one of the Staplehurst batsmen who edged a drive. Unfortunately, the ball caught Wadey on the side of his head – the captain having stationed himself at slip. A little dazed, Wadey left the field to nurse his bruised head and ego in the shade of the pavilion and the rest of the Dragons set about restricting the total. Badger Davies took control on the field and rotated the bowlers – Joe Williams worthy of a mention – but all suffered as Tim Watts hit cleanly and consistently. The picturesque Staplehurst ground felt smaller and smaller as balls were deposited over the boundary fence into nettles and brambles. Tim Watts finished 139 not out and took the Staplehurst total to a challenging 245 for 5 from their 40 overs. Will Downes’ 2 for 20 in his 8 overs an excellent effort.
Dragons enjoyed a superb tea, but learned that Dr. Katie Golds had decided Wadey ought to head to hospital. Concerns for the welfare of the captain were soon allayed though when the news arrived from Maidstone General Hospital that Wadey had ordered a prawn and avocado starter for the evening and been assured by the doctor that a glass of Merlot with dinner would be permitted – probably not a conversation heard before or ever likely to be repeated at Maidstone’s A&E department.
Back to the cricket … and despite losing Chris Churchman early the top order set the right tempo, scoring comfortably at the required 6 and bit runs an over from the off. The Dragons’ reply was built around Harpenden’s Jack Killen who scored freely and looked relatively untroubled. Sami Peters 42 and then Joe Williams 19 and Will Downes 18 not out provided more than adequate support. With Jack finishing on 120 not out victory was achieved with 4 overs to spare and 6 wickets in hand – a great team chase and a quality innings from JK.
Report by Simon Arnold