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Kent under-18 player Ben Burgess follows up last summer’s 139 with score of 114 as Chestfield get revenge on Leeds & Broomfield in Voneus Village Cup rematch

By Mark Bristow

When Chestfield teenager Ben Burgess struck a scintillating 139 against eventual Lord's runners-up Leeds & Broomfield in the Kent final of the Voneus Village Cup last season, it will have been with mixed feelings.

Despite the innings being a personal milestone for such a young player, finding himself on the losing side for Chestfield, the club he now captains, will have hurt.

Chestfield Cricket Club - progressed in the Voneus Village Cup on Sunday against last year’s finalists, Leeds & Broomfield
Chestfield Cricket Club - progressed in the Voneus Village Cup on Sunday against last year’s finalists, Leeds & Broomfield

So the Kent Under-18 player will have been elated on Sunday after scoring another century against the same opposition and at the same stage of the competition but this time in an emphatic 78-run victory.

Burgess's 114 featured prominently in a second-wicket partnership of 191 with Harry Roberts (74) as Chestfield claimed their place in the national stages of the competition.

They now carry the Kent baton to Cambridgeshire with a game away to Foxton Granta on June 23 and Chestfield chairman Paul Gibson, who enjoyed Lord's success with Linton Park in 1999 before moving to the other end of the county, has urged Burgess and his players to seize the moment.

"Our oldest player is 28; they are such a young side with a number of 16 and 17-year-olds who play all the cricket they can get as I used to at their age," said Gibson, a 57-year-old retired police officer, who could reflect with pride on victory over a side two Kent League tiers above Chestfield.

"I've told the lads to enjoy every minute of it because certainly the national village knockout gave me my best memories as a player. It's 25 years since I was at Lord's with Linton and some of the old Linton players were talking about a reunion, but you never know - I might be going back there anyway with Chestfield."

Gibson believes he may be the only batsman to have been given out twice in one innings in a game at Lord's. After being stumped for 35, he then came back as a runner for injured Linton captain Nigel Thirkell, only to then be run out before the day ended in glory for his team.

Gibson was always backing Chestfield against Leeds on Sunday who enjoyed the difference of home advantage in last year's tie between the sides, in which they scored an unassailable 313.

"I played against Leeds in the old Invicta League and you could say that they always used the [compact] size of their ground to their advantage," Gibson, who now lives in Herne Bay, added.

"So with us at home this year and with me also being our groundsman, I made sure the wicket was in the centre of the square and we had the longest boundaries we could."

Despite the big boundaries Burgess still hit 16 fours and a six in an innings completed off just 95 balls as Chestfield made a challenging 236-7.

But if it was Burgess who delivered with the bat, Oliver Jordan-Smith did so with the ball for Chestfield with 4-29, following on from his 6-25 the previous day in the Kent League win over Catford & Cyphers.

Only Fred Roberts with 28 and James Mitchinson (37) really troubled the scorers as Leeds were dismissed for 158 but the visiting team were effusive in their praise of Burgess.

"We've had better weekends as a club," lamented Leeds batsman Max Aitken. "But fair play to their lad who got the hundred, he is a classy player and, like last year, really never offered a chance."

Burgess must juggle his cricket responsibilities with his studies at university in Southampton.

"It's just about consistency with Ben," added Gibson. "But one thing is for sure and that he is proving himself as the player for the big occasion."

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