Sometimes in sport it just happens to be your day and this was the case this week for 16 year-old Nathan Fox whose 5 wickets, combined with a run out and an unbeaten 139 contributed to a turnaround win for Broadstairs.
The fixture had not started well for the visitors who for the first 12 overs of their fielding innings were 2 players short. Despite losing a wicket in the first over when Malik was caught behind by Lee Hewitt off the bowling of Fox, Folkestone capitalised on the wide gaps in the field. They had raced to 115-1 by the 14th over when their overseas opener Kleinschmidt was dismissed by a sharp direct-hit run out by Fox at cover. This dismissal put the brakes on the hosts’ scoring although they still managed to reach 196 in the 30th over with no further loss of wickets. However, with Ingleston being caught behind in George Kidd’s first over, just after reaching his century, Folkestone’s batting all but ground to a halt and only a further 55 runs were added during the remaining 20 overs. The Folkestone innings finished on 251-9 with Fox (10-0-54-5) claiming the lion’s share, including a caught-and-bowled and Kidd (10-4-19-3) snatching the remaining 3 wickets with some finely controlled, economical bowling. Special mention to Lee Hewitt who took 4 catches behind the stumps. Whilst this represented a challenging target for the visitors, the damage looked like it could be far worse at one stage and a victory was still possible, albeit unlikely.
The reply got off to a shaky start with Lee and Lewis Hewitt both returning to the pavilion within the first 3 overs and with just 9 on the board. Tom Marshall joined Fox at the crease and showed some delightful stroke-play with a series of 3 fours before being dismissed by an exceptional one-handed diving catch by Evans at gully. Teenagers Kidd and Fox then carried-on from where they had left off with their bowling, gradually taking control of the situation and restoring some stability to the Broadstairs innings. Through some careful defence, energetic running and occasional power-hitting, they reached the drinks break with their 75-run partnership intact and Fox having passed the half-century milestone. At this stage, they started to show more aggression against the spin bowling attack of Ingelston and Kleinschmidt and maintaned a scoring rate of around 6 an over. They pushed the score within hitting distance of the target with Fox and Kidd reaching their respective century and half-century milestones until eventually Kidd (70) was trapped LBW off the bowling of Evans with just 31 runs needed. Josh Marshall joined forces with the centurion to see the visitors over the line with 17 balls to spare and Fox finished with an unbeaten 139. This was his second century this season and the third time in four matches he has scored more than 90 runs.
Given the circumstances, this was an unexpected victory for Broadstairs from which the team can draw great encouragement. They will look forward to their meeting at home to Bickley Park next week, with the expectation that they will be able to field a full side from the start of the match.