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Kent Cricket League Round-up: HSBC seal first win after Abbett ton

By Cameron Hogwood

Matthew Abbett struck an unbeaten 128 to lead HSBC to their first Premier Division win of the season as they beat Blackheath by five wickets.

Invited to bat, hosts Blackheath made 290-8 following half-centuries from George Wells (58), Dipayan Paul (68) and Tanweer Sikandar (84).

In reply Abbett then reached 128 from just 83 deliveries after coming in at five, as he and Harry Freeman (56 not out) hit the winning runs to finish on 292-5 with more than four overs to spare.

Canterbury skipper Isacc Dilkes. Picture: Alan Langley
Canterbury skipper Isacc Dilkes. Picture: Alan Langley

Abbett said: "It was great, your first Prem ton is always going to be amazing isn't it? Hopefully a few more will come this season.

"Especially after a bit of a collapse at the start, I went out thinking I had to go hard early otherwise we wasn't going to get anywhere close, then I could slow down a bit to give them fewer chances and it all paid off pretty well.

"I felt I was due one, I've been training well and had a few good knocks early doors this season so I was feeling comfortable.

"It was great (to chase down a score of 290), especially against last season's champions as well. It was a really good win for us, everything linked up together, the team played well.

"I think this year we put too much pressure on ourselves. It's the first time HSBC have been in the Premier Division for a long time and it's such a big jump.

"Now we're taking it a bit more easy, we've needed to learn to show respect to the high standard of players we'll be playing against and not assume we can always compete.

"I think if we can just keep our heads down and not put too much pressure on ourselves it will all come together.

"We've proven to ourselves we can compete and I've proven to myself I am good enough to play at this level and score runs at this level.

"The better players in each side are even better than before and the consistency of how they play as well. There aren't as many bad balls and mistakes with the bat, the fielding is better. It's a big jump.

"I said to myself at the start of the season just to take this season as a challenge, to try and learn a few things, play against some great players and try and better myself."

Beckenham beat Canterbury by six wickets to close the gap on leaders Lordswood to just five points.

A miserable start with the bat saw Canterbury slip to 15-4 after ducks for Joe Gordon and Stuart Drakeley.

A rain break in the 16th over meant DLS had to be employed with the match reduced to 48 overs per side.

On the resumption, skipper Isaac Dilkes reached 27 in his efforts to restore some control and put on 43 with Sam Burt, who was removed by Shojib Ali courtesy of a catch from Dan Hardy.

Newcomer Mahi Mahfuzul (4-23) then got to work at the pavilion end, blowing away the bottom order by taking three wickets at a personal cost of five runs.

The visitors were now almost out for the count as Stuart Binny (3-13) returned with the wicket of Ben Rutherford and Mahfuzul took the final wicket of Ben Cooper.

Canterbury were eventually bowled out for just 89 - with 33 of them coming through extras.

Against the new ball pairing of Justin MacVicar and Ollie Hills, Beckenham skipper Alex Senn settled down quickly while partner Finnan Bryan hit a crisp four away on the leg side.

Senn reached 35 from 55 balls until he was dismissed by South African overseas Thando Ntini, who picked up 3-10 and three maidens from his seven overs.

Binny (14) and William MacVicar (10) had also contributed to the chase before Hardy and Alex Blake (12 not out) led Beckenham to 90-4 from 26.2 overs.

Bexley won their clash with Sandwich by six wickets to keep within two points of second-placed Beckenham.

After electing to field, Bexley bowled their opponents out for 151 following Freddie Foster's 3-22, which included the dismissal of Sandwich top scorers Cameron Fletcher (32) and Jordan Cox (30).

There were also two wickets apiece for Jason Benn, Muhammad Junaid Ashraf and Alexander Hill.

Matt Cross (46) then top scored for Sandwich along with support from Jack Bell (35), until Shaun Evans (25 not out) and George Haley (26 not out) sealed the win by reaching 156-4 with more than seven overs remaining.

Rain saw scheduled contests between Lordswood and Bickley Park, and Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells called off.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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