In the final game of the season, Broadstairs needed a victory at home over second-bottom Sidcup and hope for an unlikely Tenterden victory over Whitstable.
Matt Hardy lost the toss and we were asked to field. Brad Ellison and Chris Flint shared the new ball but neither could find the breakthrough on a very flat pitch, Ellison dropping a low, caught and bowled being the only real chance in the first ten overs. George Kidd (4-0-21-0) and Matt Hardy (3-0-26-0) both had a quick burst but the Sidcup openers with dogged determination refused to give way.
That is until the introduction of Jay Basu, after an opening partnership of 102 Jay got an LBW, quickly followed by the other opener Fogarty for 65, nicely caught behind by Bailey and Sidcup were 107-2. Jay went on to pick up two more, another catch for Bailey and then hitting the stumps, finishing his spell with 4-56.
Chris Kidd was introduced at the other end, carrying an injury he was still able to get the ball down with the odd bit of turn, picking up a wicket in the process and showing why he’s top of the leader board for the second season running. Kidd finished with 1-32 from 9 overs and was replaced by Nathan Fox (4-0-28-0).
Ellison (10-1-44-1) and Flint (10-2-52-0) were brought back to finish their spells at the death, with Brad picking up one wicket to finish two behind Chris Kidd for the season, the two old boys had shared a total of 75 wickets over the course of the season.
A seventh wicket stand of 91 meant Sidcup posted 266 from their 50 overs. More than we wanted to chase but the wicket was good and the outfield quick.
Jay and Nathan opened up and started positively, both hitting early boundaries but when Fox edged a decent delivery from the Sidcup overseas and was caught behind for 5, quickly followed by Jay (10) miscuing a pull shot we were 16-2. Alex Hogben and Andy Bailey set about building a platform, Alex hitting a maximum into the nearby housing estate in the process but disaster struck in the tenth over. Alex was bowled for 21 and three balls later Bailey adjudged stumped from a wide for 13 and we were 57-4.
But we didn’t panic, we had seen Hardy and George Kidd bat well together before and had faith in them to get us close. This time the stand was up to 40 when Hardy was caught for a boundaryless 14 and six runs later George (19) was caught behind, we were staring down the barrel of a fourth home defeat of the season. Tom (9) also fell victim to a catch but Chris Flint and Josh Marshall showed some fight, a stand of 39 saw us to 158, ensuring an extra batting point had been obtained meaning we would finish third.
Flint then fell for a well-made 33, another catch and when Brad (6) was also caught behind attempting to pull, Sidcup were one wicket away from victory. Josh Marshall was having fun and Chris Kidd was hanging around, showing that even when injured he’s a cricket machine!
Chris eventually fell for 15, offering a catch back to the bowler and Josh was stranded on 41* and we were 215 all out.
Sidcup are a great bunch of lads but unfortunately other results didn’t go their way and they drop down to division 3 next year. We’ll be welcoming Kingshill, Gravesend, Bromley Common & Old Wilsonians to Park Avenue next year with their promotions & relegations. Can Chris Kidd make it 3 seasons as top wicket-taker?
It’s been a long hot summer, plenty of highs, plenty of lows. We’ve appreciated all the support we’ve had along the way, even though it can’t have been easy watching some of the time.