1996 was the last season Hayes played in the top Division of Kent Cricket and our long-awaited return happened last weekend.
Skipper Beau Couldrey had no hesitation in asking the opposition to bat and our first ball in the Premier League went for 4 leg byes!
The seventh ball however had the Bexley opener chipping to mid-off and Stuart Eddicott had the honour of taking our first Premier League wicket with his first ball. Stuart going on to bowl an excellent spell of 10-1-25-1.
Not to be outdone, Will MacVicar also gained a wicket with his seventh ball and last seasons champions soon realised we would be no push-over.
Connor Byrne then entered the fray and in his first over he took a wicket just as Bexley were looking at putting on a partnership.
In his first over our New Zealand overseas, Gareth Severin, also took a wicket and with Connor having taken his second wicket, Bexley were on 89-5.
Scott Gallagher with a tight 10 over spell ensured the Hayes bowlers remained on top.
They crept upto 116-5 until an inspired bowling change, brough Alex Blake into the attack and suddenly wickets began to tumble – Alex finishing with 6-1-10-4 – as Bexley slumped to 129 all out.
Gareth Severin and Miguel Barbosa opened the innings, but Hayes stuttered at the start with Migs falling LBW with the score on 6.
Will MacVicar entered the fray and his class soon told as the Bexley bowling was despatched to all parts as Hayes looked to make short work of the run chase – the wicket played well, if a little low.
Gareth played a loose shot as he fell for an excellent 29 on his debut and this bought Alex Blake to the crease. Fresh from scoring 2 double hundreds with the Kent 2nd XI – and a pre-season century for Hayes – Alex was in no mood to hang around.
A quick-fire 49 run partnership, taking Hayes to within 2 runs of victory, saw Alex score 28 before falling LBW.
Will ensured no more scares as he finished with a brilliant 68* from just 61 balls as Hayes romped home in the 23rd over.
A brilliant start to our Premier campaign and we look forward to hosting Sevenoaks Vine in our home opener on Saturday – there are no easy games in the Premier League and The Vine have never been out of the Premier League, so a tough test awaits.
Bexley won the toss and opted to bat first and made steady progress with the Hayes bowlers all bowling tidily.
Andrew Eddicott making the breakthrough on 41 and he went on to bowl a superb spell of 10-2-20-1.
Grant Sheen and Ashley Quayle replaced the opening attack and continued the good work – both finishing with a wicket a piece.
Opening bowler Alfie Peck returned and was soon in the wickets, finishing with 3-38 in his 10 overs.
Colin Couldrey and Finn Baker both took a wicket each as all the bowlers got their seasons off to a fine start.
Bexley were bowled out for 163 in the final over.
Liam Vallois opened with the skipper, Sam Davis in a new opening partnership.
Sam got to 14 before being caught and on a day of slow scoring the batsmen struggled = Liam being the exception as got to 38 before being dismissed.
In fact Liam was the only batsman to score over 30 in both innings and although most of the batsmen got into double figures, no-one manged to push-on and Hayes fell an agonising 11 runs short, being dismissed for 152 in the final over.
Like their 1st XI Bexley are the reigning champions so a close defeat, although painful, bodes well for the season.
On a day of playing Bexley, the 3rd XI also played them on The Meadow.
Bexley lost the toss and skipper Marc Wheatley had no hesitation in inviting the opposition to bat.
In a strange innings, Bexley’s batsmen were contained by some tight bowling, with opening bowlers Leo Webster and William Hadley ensuring the Bexley openers had to fight for every run.
First change was Kevin Coates and although he was unlucky not get a wicket, the Bexley bats were pegged back.
Johnny White And Joshua Pratt carried on the tight bowling – and each took a wicket as Bexley finished their 40 overs on 150-2 – their opening bat, batting through for 45.
Matthew Warne and Josh Pratt made a positive start, putting on 50 before Matt fell for 28 – Jacob Marlow hit a boundary before being dismissed cheaply, Josh Pratt making 21 – but it was left to Zack Warne with 24 in a 37 run partnership with the skipper, to break the back of the run-chase.
Zack’s dismissal bought Leo Webster to the crease and he followed up his fine bowling with a speedy 40* as Hayes cruised home in the 24th over – skipper Marc finishing 18*.
2 wins out of 3 against Bexley is a fine return for Hayes.
The 4’s travelled to Orpington with Ian Gauld captaining the side.
Ian won the toss and asked Orpington to bat. Skipper Iain Gauld was soon amongst the wickets – leading form the front with a spell of 4-26.
David Tappenden, last season’s most improved player award winner, also continued his form with 2-18 – although he then suffered an injury which rules him out for a few weeks.
Olly Patterson, Guy Munton and the evergreen Ian Fieldwick, were the other wicket takers as Hayes restricted the home side to 172 all out.
A steady start saw Guy Munton (19), Simon Flinn (7) open the innings and with Marcus Browne (23) and Ian Fieldwick (21) pushing on, Hayes recovered from the loss of Rob Taylor (2) and Olly Patterson (1).
Graeme Morrison (16) Iain Gauld (15) and David Tappenden (14) got Hayes close and with young Simon Carter (1*) also having a bat, the boys got home in the 38th over to start the season with a fine win.
Thanks to Simon’s father, Nathan, answering a late call to turn out!
With the West Wickham Football season grinding to a close – well done on the League & Cup double – availability will improve and we look forward to a good season.
So the first Saturday of the league season delivered 3 wins and a close defeat – the ground looks excellent = thanks Jon – and we look forward to welcoming Premier League cricket to Hayes this coming Saturday!
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