No place like home for Bay's cricketers
HISTORY was made at a sunny Burton Down as Herne Bay cricket club's first team returned to a permanent base in the town after an absence of more than a decade.
But they were unable to mark the occasion with victory, slumping to a six wicket defeat despite making a bright start.
Put in at the crease after losing the toss, Bay openers Gavin Hall (43) and Fred Gillard (6) put on a solid 48 for the first wicket and a decent total looked on the cards at that point.
But when Gillard was bowled by Alex McNeice it was the start of a collapse that would see nine wickets fall for just 55 runs, skipper and wicket-keeper Hall the only Bay batsman to make it into double figures.
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There was some early hope for the Bay bowlers as Saltwood found themselves first 6-2 and then 25-4, but Dan Cowell (41*) and James Brighton (54*) then took control of the situation to guide them home in less than 24 overs.
Fred Gillard (2-29) was the pick of the home bowlers.
"Batting conditions were very difficult," said Hall, who faced 97 balls and hit five boundaries on the way to his 43. "The pitch was damp underneath and it was hard work.
"Timing of shots was difficult and I can't remember facing so many balls to score that number of runs.
"They had a couple of accomplished batsmen who finished the game off. The pitch got easier as it dried out, but that's not to take anything away from them."
Despite Saturday's defeat, Hall confirmed that the whole team are delighted to be back in Herne Bay.
He said: "Now that we're back we hope we can attract younger cricketers that might normally have looked elsewhere for a game.
"Burton Down feels like home. Some of our players can even walk to home games."
This Saturday Bay are at Radfall for a derby clash against Whitstable III.
"They got relegated the season before us and haven't bounced straight back," said Hall.
"We hope we can put in a better performance than we did on Saturday."