Published: 06:00, 24 July 2021
Gore Court 2nds have followed their 1st XI by ending a three-year wait for a win.
Court claimed their first Kent League victory since the middle of the 2018 season when they beat Harvel by four wickets.
They went 1,092 days between wins, slightly longer than the 1st XI’s 1,072.
But they got there in the end, beating Harvel by four wickets in Division 4 of the 2nd XI league.
Chris Apps (4-16) and Andrew Mowatt (3-27) starred as Harvel were bowled out for 149.
A captain’s innings of 75 not out from 136 balls by Paul Geary led Court to victory.
They played the game in the right spirit, too, wicketkeeper Mark Garbett telling the umpire a Harvel batsman given out lbw had in fact hit the ball first.
It’s been a tough period for the team whose decline began when they finished bottom of Division 2 in 2018.
The following season, their total of 34 points was the lowest in league history as Court were relegated from Division 3.
With 2020 written off by Covid, Court had gone 10 games without a win this season before breaking their duck.
Geary, 50, sensed it had been coming.
He said: “During that 2019 season I used to say to the players, ‘We’re not going to win, we can’t win, just try and give them a game and enjoy your cricket.’
“We’d have a laugh, a lot of beers afterwards and we made sure everyone enjoyed it.
“If you go into games knowing you’re going to lose, you can just go out there and enjoy yourselves.
“That really helped us.
“Saturday was the first time in three years I said we actually had a possibility of winning, because we nearly won the week before, and the week before that, so I knew we were close, and the lads stepped up to the mark brilliantly.
“It was just absolute, unbridled joy for everybody in the team when the winning runs came.
“We had a friendly little competition going with the 1sts to see who would win a game first.
“I remember saying to the lads earlier in the season it would be great if one of the teams could win a game this season, and it would be great if we did it first.”
Much like when the 1sts beat Tonbridge last month, Court deserved their moment after a challenging few years.
Geary, who's played for Gore Court since he was 12, said: “That 2019 season, we played with seven players, twice, we played with eight and nine, and I think most clubs would have folded but we kept going even though we were annihilated every match.
“We had people helping us out, friends of friends, people from the pub, and we kept going.
“I think the fact we had a few people who’ve been at the club for many years helped.
“We really had some bad luck that season. Four people retired and five people left, including three 1st XI players who were regulars, and we got relegated with the lowest points ever in the Kent League.”