Blackheath 1st XI collected another bat first win on Saturday to maintain a slender 2 point advantage at the top of the Kent Premier League table.
Chris Willetts lost a third toss in succession and Bickley Park invited Blackheath to bat in overcast conditions. The Bromley based club opened with a slow bowler from one end who, despite a spirited start from Willetts and the returning Craig Wood, reduced Blackheath to 38-2 inside of 10 overs.
The in-form Jamal Patterson and Tom Slater, playing his first 1st XI game of the season, then set about repairing the damage and they did so with an air of authority as they put on 61 for the 3rd wicket. Both batsmen were particularly punishing of any strays in length from Bickley Park's slow bowlers but the pair were removed in quick succession to bring the away side back into contention.
Bickley Park briskly moved into the ascendancy as 114-4 became 123-6, with Faisal Shahid and Warren Lee going cheaply but this brought together Dipayan Paul and Mehdi Abbas.
The two 18 year olds, both products of the Club's outstanding youth section, regrouped maturely for a period before gaining momentum that saw 103 added for the 7th wicket. With contrasting styles but equal power, the pair played shots all around the wicket and despite Abbas being removed for 53 in the 52nd over, Blackheath added over 100 runs in the last 10 overs of their innings. Paul ended up 68 not out - his highest Premier League score, and the Club closed on an imposing 255-7.
Despite the banal Rectory Field pitch the in-form Warren Lee was soon haunting his one-time team mates with a bustling spell that proved too much for 3 of Bickley Park's top 4.
The introduction of Mehdi Abbas gained further in-roads but an aging ball and the introduction of spin on a slow pitch with short boundaries allowed a stand of 62 for Bickley's 5th wicket. A slightly rested Lee returned to make the required break-through and end with tidy figures of 4-42 from 15.
Despite some lacklustre fielding the returning Jahid Ahmed, Abbas and James Hands mopped up the remaining Bickley Park wickets to get Blackheath over the line with 3 overs to spare in an entertaining game.
This was another good result for the Club, particularly considering that Daniel Bell-Drummond (training with the England squad at Edgbaston), Mohammad Ashraful (touring Zimbabwe with Bangladesh) and Ivan Thomas (University) were all missing.
The Club entertain the currently second placed Sevenoaks Vine next Saturday in an eye-catching encounter.