Goresbrook skipper Shane Barwick produced a tremendous all-round performance as Brook recorded a maximum 25 point haul despite having the worst of the conditions at West Essex. After being inserted on a damp pitch, Brook lost openers Kurt Whisker and Joe Curley before they had reached double figures, but a fine partnership developed between 17 year old Danny Gillham (44) and Barwick that took the score on to 133 before Gillham was dismissed.
Barwick by this stage was in irresistible form and he brought up a magnificent hundred from 91 balls, mixing watchful defence on a tacky wicket with some explosive hitting, the left hander striking 11 fours and 5 sixes in his innings. Barwick fell shortly after bringing up his century for 105, but Jordan Calverley (28) pushed the score over 200 before Stuart Greaves and Arul Gopalasamy took the score to 223-7 from 47 overs, at which point Barwick declared to declare in order to (weather permitting) allow at least 48 overs at the Highams Park side.
Those extra overs proved handy, although when Gopalasamy (3-18) reduced West Essex to 24-3, the ex-Ilford Catholics man hitting a good length with the new ball, Brook would have hoped for a more comfortable afternoon. However with the ground now bathed in bright sunshine and the pitch having lost much of the erratic bounce it had earlier, the hosts dug in with Zahid (30), Zahour (26) and Mehmood (27) all getting set and the lower order also proving obdurate as the hosts chase of 223 petered out. A sharp spell from Kane Messenger yielded one wicket, but the bulk of the overs were bowled by Brook’s spinners and Billy Smith (1-25) and Danny Gillham (2-16) left West Essex hanging on.
With time running out, Barwick stepped up to bowl the 48th with 4 minutes to go and a possibility that there might be a 49th over, however that wasn’t to be necessary as he ended number 9 Maqbool’s 44 ball stay by trapping him lbw with the 2nd ball and then repeated the feat off the final ball of the over to spark wild celebrations, as Brook recorded a win on their Shepherd Neame league debut.