2nd XI vs Sevenoaks 2 (Home) | 01 Feb 20

Won 5-0

Scorers: Craig Alder, Callum Brown-Lea (2), Nick Buckingham, Jack Gooding

MoM: Chris Figgis

DoD: Michael Farrer

Game of the week, AW1, 3rd vs. 4th, maintaining an unbeaten home run, and perhaps most importantly, bragging rights as Kent’s best 2nd XI. There were plenty of reasons for the side to be up for their midday clash against Sevenoaks.

Craig Alder ensured we were in a buoyant mood before pushback with further tales of his new career and personal transformation as a high-flying auditor in the City of London. It turned out last week’s salmon chino shorts were just the start; this week he was invited to play in an international golf tournament vs. a Welsh side which resulted in a victory for the man from Ramsgate, including a hole in one. Unfortunately for myself, the story was so captivating I left my newly gripped stick in the clubhouse which the skipper was more than happy to place in his bag until I’d realised it was missing during the warm up.

With Keir, Laslett and Ridge on 1st XI duty and Lloyd-Hughes too busy licking his lips in anticipation of the Six Nations, we welcomed back Biccarino, Brown-Lea, Crane and Shilling and there was also a debut for 15-year-old Chris “the skipper works for my dad” Figgis. Sevenoaks tried to unsettle us from the outset by making us start from the cricket pitch end and play into the bright low sun. For those around the 6ft mark, it did make things tricky including one inconceivable air shot when attempting a simple cross-field pass early in the game. Nevertheless, the majority of players were unruffled and we quickly began to dominate possession and force Sevenoaks into easy turnovers with wasteful aerial balls out of defence.

A combination of good saves and lack of a final touch meant that we struggled to break the deadlock. That was until a nicely worked move down the right hand side resulted in Craig Alder, arriving at the back post as fast as the 8:02 from Kilburn to Baker Street, swiping the ball from left to right across the outstretched ‘keeper. Solid play from the backline of Crane, Dunn and Figgis ensured Redman was relatively untroubled and the score remained 1-0 as we went into the break.

After a 4-2 loss away from home earlier in the season skipper Dunn emphasised the need to maintain the tempo and react to any tactical changes from the away side. One huge aerial into the aforementioned low sun nearly put Calum Brown-Lea through one-on-one with the ‘keeper to extend the lead, but unfortunately that was only in your writer’s head, and it dribbled a pitiful 3 yards setting up another Sevenoaks attack. The regenerated short corner attack also had one opportunity to fire but unfortunately the injection was way off the intended target (one has to ask where/what the injector is aiming for when trying to pull the ball out in a straight line?).

Some and fun and games followed with the umpires a bit too keen to disrupt play when both sides wanted to get on with the match. Eventually patience paid off, and with ‘Oaks starting to tire, their defence crumbled and a further four unanswered goals providing some entertainment for the #greenandwhitearmy in the stands.

A very positive performance going into next week’s game against Old Bordenians before #SuperSocialSaturday. Special mention must go to Chris Figgis for a solid 2nd XI debut with some tough tackles that earned him man of match in the process.

Squad: N. Redman, P. Crane, C. Figgis, A. Dunn, S. Biccarino, N. Buckingham, T. Richford, M. Shilling, J. Gooding, C. Alder, M. Farrer, J. Tritton, C. Brown-Lea