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Hartley Country Club captain James Cramp on their relegation from the Kent League Premier Division

By Steve Tervet

Captain James Cramp is determined to restore Hartley Country Club to their former glory following their shock relegation.

Hartley won the Kent Cricket League Premier Division title six times between 2008 and 2016 but will play Division 1 cricket next summer after going down on the final day.

However, Cramp insists there is no need to panic and is already planning next season’s rebuild.

James Cramp bowling for Hartley against Lordswood Picture Andy Payton

James Cramp bowling for Hartley against Lordswood Picture: Andy Payton

He said: "This is something I’ve always dreamt of doing since being a colt at Hartley.

"I’ve enjoyed the challenge and this is not the legacy I want to leave behind so if the club are willing, which I hope they are, I’ll carry on next year and make a fight.

"They’ve been a great group of lads to lead. You learn things all the time from James Hockley, Andy Tutt or Richard Selvey-Clinton or whoever it is.

"It still will be a great club to be part of and I would love to lead it going forward."

So what went wrong at Hartley this summer?

"If we knew that, we could have changed it," Cramp said.

"It’s tough to take but there’s nothing to moan about. We didn’t win enough games of cricket and the league table doesn’t lie.

"We went into the season thinking we’d have another couple of bowlers but Jamie Hemphrey left just before the season started (to move to Australia) and Jake Benfield’s injury hit us hard.

"He’s our best bowler and with the bat he would have scraped us over the line two or three times.

"Losing those two was big and replacing Calvin Savage, our quickie from last year, with a batsman, thinking we’d have those overs, it did cost us."

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