Hythe dragged themselves out of the Division One relegation zone with a nail-biting 22 run win over Whitstable at The Belmont on Saturday. A five-wicket haul from Andy Maurice helped the visitors notch their first batting-first, 20-point victory of the campaign, lifting them up to eighth in the table; if only on number of games won.
Hythe were put into bat by the home side and on a scorching hot July afternoon managed to post 269, utilising The Belmont’s small dimensions and flat wicket. There were contributions all of the way down the order but Australian Lachlan Blunden led the way with a 93 ball, 51, which included seven boundaries.
In reply, Whitstable seemed to be always in with a sniff. James Loader made a competent 57 but their innings lacked any substantial score through which they could chase down 270. Maurice returned figures of 5-56 before pulling up with an injury, his first 5 wicket haul for the side he joined over the winter. He removed Loader at a crucial time, as Jago Pearson took an excellent diving catch in the covers, but with one over to go, the home side were still 9 wickets down and seemingly intent on depriving Hythe of the outright win. With just four balls remaining, young seamer Jamie Hemphery got rid of Duncan Hardy to another catch from Pearson in the covers, leaving Joshua Gould stranded on 26 and triggering emphatic celebrations as Hythe recorded their second win in as many weeks.
They are back at The Grove this coming weekend facing title favourites Blackheath. They will no doubt be desperate to make ammends for their disappointing defeat to the same opposition on Matchday 2.