Published: 06:00, 09 September 2021
| Updated: 07:09, 09 September 2021
Bearsted have been dubbed the ‘Invincibles’ after smashing league records on the way to the Kent County Village League Division 1 title.
Saturday’s 57-run win over neighbours Linton Park ensured they finished the season without losing a game - something they claim no team has done before.
What makes the achievement even more impressive is the fact the team only survived relegation on the final weekend the last time there was a full KCVL season.
Many of their team support Arsenal and so the nickname of the 2003-04 unbeaten Premier League team, the Invincibles, has stuck.
“This team has been an absolute pleasure to skipper,” said their captain Piers Cottee-Jones.
“We earned the right to stay in the league and then decided to see what we could do if we pushed ourselves and the players have been excellent.”
The title was wrapped up with two games to go but when one of the players had done a bit of research, they discovered no team had stayed unbeaten. The challenge was set and they did just that with a win over Shipbourne followed by a victory away at Linton Park, a team who ended up finishing third.
Bearsted’s previous best position had been seventh in Division 1.
The title had been secured by digging out a win against Outwood. Needing 174 they were 40-5 at one point but the team’s star man Ben Johnston (93) and Miles Henslow (44 not out) teamed up to get them home.
Records had also been set earlier in the season, bowling Sissinghurst out for 37, Will Terry with 6-18. There were close games too, beating Cudham Wyse on the penultimate ball with one wicket left.
Cottee-Jones said: “Everyone has been pushing themselves and each other every week, with a real determination. It’s been a real team effort.
“So many of us have been working from home and cricket ended up being a real highlight of the week, we’ve embraced it and come together, performing week after week.
"We’ve blitzed some games and others have been close where we have shown a different side of our game but winning became a habit. The players kept believing and I am so proud of them all.”