On an unexpectedly hot and sunny day, Knockers suffered a disastrous seven run defeat to Shoreham, after visiting captain Pete Smith won the toss and elected to field. It all started well, with the makeshift Knockers opening attack of Paul Seldon and Andy Darry quickly ripping through the Shoreham top order, the slow and low wicket proving ideal for Seldon’s pitched up, swinging deliveries. The change bowling of Ken Cowan and Steve Trounce was also effective, with the latter using a cunning double bouncing delivery to take his first wicket of the season lbw. Shoreham stumbled from 23-4 to 67-8 and it appeared that Knockers could have the match wrapped up before tea.
However some overconfidence in the captain brought about another change in the bowling, with Paul Schofield coming on to bowl leg spin. This eventually proved crucial as Shoreham scored some quick runs, with Bromfield (19) and captain Ray Trick (19) marshalling the tail. A direct hit from Paul Seldon eventually ended Trick’s resistance as Shoreham were all out for 107, a much higher score than they would have hoped for.
Stuart Seldon and Paul Styles once again opened up for Knockers and formed another good opening partnership, their confident stand of 59 making a 10 wicket victory look a very likely outcome. However the introduction of Kent U16 bowler D. King quickly changed things as he removed Seldon (31) with the first ball of his second over. Martin Thomas, having driven through two hours of traffic to get to the match, was then out fourth ball caught at mid on but the subsequent arrival of Guthrie Miller seemed to steady the ship and Knockers progressed to 74-2. When the dependable Neil Hardstone removed Miller, Corin Spencer-Allen arrived at the crease and again Knockers progressed to an apparently unassailable 88-3, with Styles still going strong.
Perhaps it was Darry’s loud announcement that he was going to get changed that brought about a change in the match, as there then followed an indescribable collapse as King and Hardstone ripped through Knockers middle order. Spencer-Allen, Paul Seldon and Paul Schofield were all removed for low scores, and Styles departed for 38. A rejuvenated James Trick then returned to bowl Smith and Trounce in consecutive deliveries. Only Pete Smith had offered any real late resistance as in difficult light and with no sightscreens Knockers went from 88-3 to 92-5 to 100-6 to 100 all out, with Hardstone bowling Kenny Cowan to end the match. Eight Knockers batsmen were clean bowled. It was perhaps one of the most memorable Knockers matches in recent years, but unfortunately for all the wrong reasons.
Knockers are still searching for their first victory of the season.