Rain restricts play at Beckenham

Kent v Leicestershire, Second XI Friendly (4-day), Day 3


REPORT | By Pete Johnson

Rain stopped play today after just 80 minutes of day three or the four-day SEF v Kent, and play was subsequently abandoned for the day.

I thought however that I would give you an overview of what happened, as the afternoons can be quite long when cooped up in a hotel. Also, the devil makes work for idle hands, so knocking up this will keep me out of mischief for the time being.

We arrived at Beckenham CCG for day three of the four-day friendly fixture against Kent, with the knowledge that prolonged and heavy rain was forecast from around 12 noon.

Just before play started I had a visit from a lady named Joan, a longstanding Kent follower. She had brought my colleague Andy and I a box full of rock cakes that she had specially made for us before leaving home. Good old Joan, thank you very much!

The players took to the field in dull conditions with rain threatening. The light flashing on the top of the HSBC building over in Canary Wharf was visible for the first time during the match, a sure sign that the weather was closing in. 

There were some 10 spectators present when play got under way. Adam Ball returning to the Kent side after being called into the NatWest T20 Blast squad for last night’s game against Hampshire. Ball obviously bouncing back, but I won’t even mention that.

Kent resumed on their overnight 230-3, Joe Weatherley 101*, Charlie Hartley 0*. Zak Chappell took the first over of the morning, coming in from the Pavilion End. Very pleasing to see Zak running in to bowl again following a lengthy spell on the sidelines. 

Dom Manthorpe shared the attack, operating at the City End. Chappell and Manthorpe bowled four overs each and although they did not pick up a wicket, the duo restricted Kent to 16 runs. Will Fazakerley replaced Chappell, and Chris Jones replaced Manthorpe.

At this point a couple of things caught the eye. First up the Crystal Palace players were involved in a training match on the nearer of their pitches to us. I spotted Andros Townsend, Wifried Zaha, plus the one and only Jeffrey Schlupp.

Manager Frank de Boer, and his assistant Sammy Lee stood on the touchline looking on intently. Goalkeepers Wayne Hennessey and Julian Speroni were being put through their paces in an adjacent goalmouth. Across the far side of the ground the chap on the crane on top of the block of flats was working at a feverish pace.

Back to the cricket. Fazakerley bowled 5 overs for 12 runs and Jones 4 overs for 18 runs. Weatherley & Hartley posted their 50 partnership from 117 balls when the score reached 276-3 from 79.2 overs. 

Nightwatchman Hartley contributing 9 runs towards it having received 68 deliveries. I referred to him at the time as Brigadier Block, but Charlie (Hartley) had another name for himself, which will be revealed in a paragraph or two. 

Leicestershire took the new ball after 81 overs, Chappell and Manthorpe doing the honours. Only four overs were possible before rain stopped play at 12.20pm. Kent taking 10 runs from the 4 overs. 

Chappell returning figures of 6-2-14-0 in the truncated morning session. Manthorpe had miserly figures of 6-4-7-0. Manthorpe never gives much away, he could well be a distant relation of my wife. Kent 293-3, Weatherley 135* and Hartley 16*.

Kent trailing by 164 runs. The catering staff informed the umpires that the food was not being delivered until 12.50pm, so an early lunch could not be taken. 

During the pre-lunch stoppage I had a walk around the bar area of the pavilion. The bar is named ‘Deadly’s Bar’ after Kent and Beckenham legend Derek Underwood, opened by the man himself on September 8, 2002. 

Amongst the memorabilia on display are details of Underwood’s test career, which details him as having taken 297 Test wickets.

There is also a large framed photograph on the wall of him trapping John Invararity lbw to win The Oval Ashes Test in 1968. All nine fielders area round the bat. Tom Graveney, Colin Cowdrey, John Edrich, Ray Illingworth, Ted Dexter, Basil D’Oliveira, John Snow, and Colin Milburn to name but seven of them. The ‘keeper was Alan Knott. 

In the bar area, I also had the pleasure of meeting a very pleasant lady named Jan, I won’t mention where she fits into the scheme of things, but she is the mother of a rather tall chap that is going to South Africa soon with Guernsey.

Lunch was taken at 1pm, and following an Inspection by the umpires play was abandoned for the day just before 2.30pm. Back to Brigadier Block. After having my lunch I diligently returned to my work station, and aforementioned Charlie Hartley politely knocked on the door of the room, requesting admission. 

I was on my own in there, and he asked me how many balls he had faced. I asked him his name, as you cannot tell one of these cricket chappies from another when they are under a helmet. ‘Barry the Block’ Hartley he replied! 16 runs from 89 balls, Geoff Boycott would be salivating!! 

Well that’s used up half an hour or so, all that remains is to await 6.30pm to watch the Foxes on TV in the NatWest T20 Blast game against Notts Outlaws, weather permitting of course.