A trip to the picturesque and step back in time East Kent side Upchurch saw Hayes overcome the progressive and newly promoted Upchurch side to win by seven wickets. The visitors arrived in good time to inspect the impressive facilities installed at the ground including the newly erected clubhouse, which when planned for completion for the start of the 2012 season will make for a wonderful standpoint for watching cricket. A mention also of the outstanding net and practice area which provides excellent practice for the young and older members of the club. The visitors made good use of them including ping pong in the pre-match warm up.
Onto the game and visiting captain chooses incorrect at the toss where the home side decide upon first use of a flat looking and run laden pitch. Pushed up the order Waters and young Shirley got off to a flier despatching some loose early deliveries putting on 26 for the first stand before the Beast brothers removed them both in quick fashion; Waters playing on and Shirley sent packing after a clever self manoeuvre to short mid on by captain Quayle to take a smart catch.
This brought the experienced Lee Taylor and neat looking youngster Callum Mitcheel together who began a recovery mission to retain the advantage. Taylor offered a difficult chance to debutant Digger Barnes Walker who couldnt hang on flying high to his left.
The duo played some very audacious and attractive strokes both sides of the wicket to put on 95 for the third wicket. They were both later dismissed during long spells by Quayle and Tino Couldrey who both bowled well on an ever flattening wicket. The bowlers continued to take wickets and put a stranglehold on the home side's scoring rate. Hayes sharp fielding rewarded them with Zippy Couldrey and twin Tino combining to run out Hodder. Stu Eddicott bowled very tight at the death, however Daniel Parker maxied Quayle's 50th over three times in succession to the short straight boundary to lose two of three balls over the road, also sconning the passing "Drop In Kitckens (DIK) Ltd van for it to rebound onto the outfield! 28 of the last over saw the hosts reach a respectible looking score of 230.
After a very light tea, Hayes openers Whetren and Taylor took guard to get the visitors of to a rocketing start. Crisp cuts and straight drives by both openers established firm advantage of their own making hay in the lowering but warm sun filled skies. Taylor was particularly punishing on anything loose and his trade mark pull shots brought up his his fifty as his partner unusually played second fiddle. They put on 94 for the first wicket after flashy leg spinner Hodder created pressure by forcing a mistake by Whetren to give the home side some much needed hope of getting back into the game. Leg spin from both ends changed the nature of the game but Steve Taylor marched on relentlessly towards his maiden first team century with assistance from Chowdhury who looked at home against the turn and flight. Following a partnership just short of fifty saw Chowdhury dismissed to bring Beau Couldrey to the crease to continue Hayes domination in the middle. The number four batsman needlessly gave his wicket up by a mad dash to the other end to say hello to a perplexed Taylor. Effs and jeffs back to the clubhouse by Couldrey saw the hatless Davis pass him to join Taylor who brought up his deserved ton with a cut out of the screws off quickie Parker behind square. Applause from his team mates saw Taylor raise his bat with not one of the opposition having the time to cup and beat their own hands to acknowledge a match winning innings of great skill. Poor show to say the least.
Davis showed maturity playing some pleasing shots off his pads and nudges around the ground. Six needed off three overs and Davis knocked them off to leave partner The Power Taylor checking out with 130*
Sixteen point rattled in the boot on the gleeful journey home to push Hayes up the table. Upchurch fought well and are likely to be fair opposition in a stronger looking division two league than has been seen for a few years.
Final congratulations to the Upchurch groundsman - the unsung hero of the day.