Published: 06:00, 12 February 2021
The Mote are celebrating an unexpected promotion four months before the scheduled start of the Kent League season.
The club learned last week that, after an absence of two years, they will now take their place in the first division for the first time since their relegation at the end of the 2018 campaign.
The Mote replace Upchurch in Division 1 after the Medway Towns club asked to drop down a division having been unable to guarantee their playing strength.
With Kent League cricket suspended last year because of Covid, The Mote finished third in Division 2 in 2019 behind Minster and Sidcup, the two promoted clubs.
They are expected to be led this year by all-rounder Matt White who is likely to be confirmed at next month’s club AGM as successor to James Marriott who stands down after two years.
White, 28, opens both the batting and the bowling for the first team and won the league batting award in 2015 with 864 runs. In 2019, he scored 577 league runs while taking 20 wickets.
White is looking to strengthen the seam bowling department but the club appear to be well covered in all other areas with South African left-arm spinner Matt Luksich back for a third year having won the 2019 Division 2 bowling award with 36 wickets at just 14.92 apiece.
The club also face a race against time to construct a new multiple lane practice facility, having secured the funding.
Club secretary Mark Bristow said: “First division cricket requires first-division practice facilities but it’s not just that. With four adult Saturday sides, a women’s section and a youth section with 135 youngsters, this facility is long overdue and is among a number of exciting developments we have planned.”
Former Kent star Matt Coles, 30, who has played for The Mote in recent seasons, has joined Tamworth of the Staffordshire leagues, having been released by Essex in 2019.
Bristow added: “We wish him well. What Tamworth will be getting is arguably the best cricketer in the country not playing county cricket at the moment.
“It doesn’t seem that long ago that he was smashing Surrey round the Oval for 100 under floodlights in front of a near full house and he is still good enough to return to the county game if he wants to.”