Southern Division Two/Three: Hythe & Dibden 99 v Bashley (Rydal) II 101-1 (Bashley II win by nine wickets)
A MAGICAL spell of 8-15 from 14-year-old Bashley II spinner Ethan Baker sent Bashley to the top of the table with a nine-wicket victory over Hythe & Dibden.
The visitors won the toss and unsurprisingly chose to bat first on a BCG belter on the hottest day of the year. Hythe started well, adding 38 before George Wilson (1-11) dismissed Matt Young.
Skipper Tom Richards and Tom Gates advanced the score to a promising 71-1, but the introduction of leg-spinner Ethan Baker completely changed the course of the match.
Bowling with immaculate control of line and length, Baker induced Gates to cloth one to short mid-wicket for a classy 54 from 58 balls with nine fours. After this, the new batsmen were unable to fathom how to play his flighted deliveries and remained trapped in the crease as the ball either hit their pads or clattered into the stumps.
A spell of 8-15 off eight overs would have been even better but for six wides but these are still the best-ever figures for a Bashley player in Southern League cricket. Simon Watkins (1-14) ended the innings at 99 from 33.2 overs.
The Bashley reply started briskly with Tom O’Sullivan making a run-a-ball 12 before being caught at slip by Gates off Tim Ndowora (1-21) with the score on 38. This was to be the only wicket to fall as skipper Pat Lewis joined Jacob Gordon at the crease.
Lewis once again played some eye-catching cover drives to finish unbeaten on 26. However, it was Gordon, who appears to be growing in confidence week by week and showed his full range of shots all-round the wicket, who did the bulk of the scoring making 52 off 55 balls with nine fours as the home side cruised to the win with 21 overs to spare.
The result sets up a top-of-the-table clash with fellow unbeaten opposition Fair Oak next week.