TUNBRIDGE WELLS 166 all out
(Brentwood won by 22 runs)
(ECB National Club Championship)
IT was a quality all-round team performance that saw Brentwood into the last eight of this national competition for the first time ever as they beat Tunbridge Wells in a thrilling, low scoring affair.
Brentwood's run to the quarter-finals has followed a typical pattern – several wickets early on followed by some re-building work and then a quality performance with the ball, and this was no exception.
Brentwood found themselves at 65-4 before Guy Balmford, along with Joe Buttleman and Max Osborne managed to establish sufficient partnerships to set a competitive total.
Brentwood actually managed to get off to a flying start with Jon Walford and Aaron West able to find the boundaries on regular occasions but once Walford fell, wickets started to fall as the Tunbridge Wells seamers found some significant movement.
Both James Redwood and Ronnie Saunders received unplayable deliveries, but crucially Buttleman and Balmford set about repairing the damage.
Whilst their 38 run partnership came slowly in 15 overs, it allowed for a late over onslaught – something Osborne revels in.
Balmford was eventually dismissed for 41, and Osborne scored a run a ball 39. Harri Jones then manoeuvred the momentum in Brentwood's direction with an eight ball 17. The final five overs went for 47 runs.
Arguably slightly below par, the final total of 188 was, at the very least, something to bowl at, and with the strength of Brentwood's bowling attack, something that could be defended.
That proved to be the case as the seam triumvirate of Osborne, Tom Moore and Buttleman bowled nothing that allowed the Tunbridge Wells batsmen to get going.
Regularly forcing play and misses, the batsmen from Kent found the going exceptionally tough.
At the halfway mark, the visitors found themselves having scored at less than two runs an over and five wickets down, and staring towards defeat.
But a partnership of 75 between captain Evert Bekker and Richard Cutts started to move the game back into Tunbridge Wells' direction.
At the 40 over mark, Tunbridge Wells had scored a single run less than the hosts. However, when Ian Belchamber bowled Cutts and Jones spectacularly caught Bekker, Brentwood were once again in control.
The returning seamers accounted for the final three wickets, as Brentwood ended in a relatively comfortable win, albeit one that could easily have gone in the other direction were it not for a fine display in the field.
Brentwood's seamers ended with combined figures of 7-56 from 22.1 overs.
(Shepherd Neame Essex Cricket League First XI Premier Division)
IT'S now three weeks since Brentwood won a league game but even with this draw they still managed to close the gap at the top to just two points.
Leaders Wanstead only managing to get a solitary point in their defeat to South Woodford.
Walford managed to lose the toss once again – having a season record of one win from the 12 games played, and Brentwood were asked to bat once again in less than ideal conditions.
The introduction of the left-arm spin of Abir Chippa further curtailed Brentwood's attempts to up the run rate, and he managed to get an initial breakthrough when West was stumped.
As Walford managed to form partnerships with James Redwood, Mike Pollard and Max Osborne, Brentwood chipped away at the run rate, getting closer to the 250 run mark.
Walford moved from 50 to 100 in just 51 deliveries and ended up with 105 from 166 balls before he was the fourth of seven victims for Chippa.
As Brentwood accelerated towards maximum batting points wickets tumbled, including a hat-trick ball that was hit for six by Guy Balmford. However, Brentwood fell four runs short.
In reply Brentwood had to turn to the seam bowling of Aaron West immediately after tea.
His accurate spell, in conjunction with Joe Buttleman, not only removed both openers but also tied the Ilford batsman up, with only 35 runs coming in the first 17 overs after tea.
However, further Ilford wickets, saw them play out for a draw.