Benenden, with the Church chiming the hour at the top of the meadow, has seen a number of record breaking batting performances over the years. 2013 did not produce any records, but top order batsmen coped well with some variable bounce to set a challenging target. Jasper Smallwood (57) and Harry Pattinson (75) set the tone, collecting a couple of dented cars en route. Al Smallwood (37) upped the ante with some broken house tiles and three lost balls. With Simon Allport chipping in with 39, before being bamboozled by an 11 year-old, tea was taken in good time at 240 for 6. (Note: Benny Smallwood remains undefeated for the fourth time! – will anyone get him out?)
The Beneden openers clearly knew their wicket and were not hanging about. Eliot Forster and Nick Wright were dispatched back over their heads in a couple of lusty blows, before smacking one straight to Simon and top edging another straight up for a simple catch while alomost tripping over the stumps. When the 6th wicket fell, with 12 overs left, and a very junior player now at the wicket, victory seemed certain and immediate. We had not allowed for the diligent defensive application of young Seb Collingwood, who refused to play an attacking stroke, blocked straight balls, dug out yorkers and remained undefeated without a run to his name some 10 overs later, when his last partner waved airily at one to offer Simon a return catch and a five for. 148 all out, but only just in time.