Robertsbridge I 76 Forest Row I 153
Robertsbridge took on Forest Row at the Clappers in what promised to be a great contest as both teams fought to maintain their position in Division 2. Forest Row needed a win to guarantee safety while Robertsbridge knew that avoiding defeat would be enough for them to avoid the drop. Robertsbridge won the toss and chose to bowl, trying to put points on the board and giving themselves the option of the draw. Everything began well as the opening bowling partnership worked wonders. Tight bowling from Rob Goodsell (11-3-31-2) saw pressure put on the batsmen who threw their wickets away at the other end, as Nick McWilliams (12-0-37-5) took his maiden five wicket haul for the 1st XI. Opener Adam Gilmour managed to see off the new ball however and found valuable partners in Joe De Souza (16) and Kuganesh Karuppiah (14). Wickets did continue to fall thanks to some sharp catching from Kevin Burgess and brilliant bowling from Lee Mardell (8-1-22-1) and Sam Kashem (4-1-8-1). In the end, Goodsell returned to mop up the tail leaving opener Gilmour stranded on 50*, carrying his bat while wickets fell around him, and guiding his team to 153 all out.
Robertsbridge felt confident that a win was on its way and their Division 2 status would be safe for another year. However, the Forest Row bowlers had other ideas as they neglected tea in favour of faster run ups. This clearly paid off as Robertsbridge collapsed immediately, the top order crumbling to 19-5. Opening bowlers Matthew Roberts (8-1-19-3) and Paul Rowe were simply too good for the Bridge batsmen. Adam Neill and Sam Kashem started to rebuild, looking comfortable and running well between the wickets. The longer they batted the more assured they looked and as they approached their 50 partnership a win looked possible again. However, Kashem fell for 18, and was swiftly followed the next over by Neill (25) thanks to a stunning catch, and suddenly hope was lost. Neil Divall (4-1-10-2) joined Rowe in the attack as they looked to finish the game off. Despite a brief entertaining cameo from skipper James Pexton (15) it was not to be and Robertsbridge were bowled out for 76 in the 24th over, thanks in the most part to the stunning bowling of Rowe who finished with figures of 11.1-2-46-5. As the players trudged off the pitch, news filtered in that Battle had lost by an almost identical score line, meaning they had avoided relegation for another year.
A disappointing end to the season for Robertsbridge 2nd XI who finished short of promotion on a day that ended with their skipper Paul Johnson in A&E. Having lost the toss Robertsbridge were asked to bat in tricky conditions, but a watchful Jamie Wisby (26) and Tom Glenn (66) provided a solid platform from which the team could build, their partnership ended with a calamitous run-out. Johnson (22) looked solid until he decided to 'have a go' with ten overs left - his dismissal starting a collapse with Chris Turner (15-5-36-4) and Gary Funnell (11-1-45-2) making short work of the fragile middle order. It was left to the tail to whack Robertsbridge to a competitive total with contributions from No. 9, Lewis Chapman (15*), No. 10 Darren Barlow (21) and No.11 Rob Geaney (14*).
With both sides needing a win for promotion Robertsbridge set attacking fields throughout but struggled to pick up wickets against some careful batting. Tony Hagger (6-3-13-2) and Jake Lingard (7-0-33-2) kept Robertsbridge's hopes of victory alive for most of the game. But a partnership of 77 between Gary Funnell (28) and Harry Funnell(48) kept the game in the balance. With two overs to go and the rain settling Blackboys required 14 in two overs to seal promotion, at which point Johnson's dislocated finger caused a prolonged pause. Credit goes to Angie Chapman and her first aid skills.
It was a credit to the spirit in which they play the game that Robertsbridge went back out in the rain to finish the match in order to give Blackboys an opportunity to win and Funnell to make his maiden 50. But some good fielding and a competitive attitude meant Robertsbridge stopped both these things happening: Funnell finishing 48* as Blackboys fell 8 short of promotion.
Robertsbridge ended the season with a poor batting performance on a difficult pitch at Mountfield on Saturday. James Mott(11-3-16-6) bowled accurately to make it difficult for the home batsman and those balls that were in an area to hit went straight to the grateful fielders who made no mistake. All the available Robertsbridge bowlers had a turn and bowled well, as they have done most of the season, but only one wicket was forthcoming. We batsman will endeavour to score more runs next season to back them up.
This is now finshed for the summer and will resume indoors from November 7th
This is on Friday nights at The Clappers from 6-30-8pm from school year 8 to adult.
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