It was their fifth win of the campaign - seasoned wisdom has it that six victories is enough to stay up - and such is the resurgence of this previously failing unit, there were mutterings in the camp that the aforementioned Australian might struggle to get back in the side. Such speculation was swiftly quashed by those in positions of selectorial power.
Although your correspondent was somewhat late in arriving, he understands that Underriver were foolishly inserted. This broke a long string of winning tosses by Captain Close, but saved the visitors from a prolonged sojourn in the sweltering heat.
As your correspondent was getting changed and draining the last tepid drops from his can of lager, the two Simons, Messrs Carey and Leahy, set about the Hadlow attack in ebullient mood - not least the latter who had been spared an early return to the shed thanks to the immaculate sensory perceptions of umpire Hawkeye.
When Carey fell, perhaps disorientated by the changed schedule to his toiletry habits, that only brought the mighty Watson to the crease. Those who lay in wait began to quake, knowing the devastation that was to follow. He was soon dismissing the ball from his presence with all the divine rights of the Stuart monarchy.
It was another imperious innings from Watson. One astoundingly good on-drive reaped only a single, and as the man himself remarked, he could have been scoring a lot more if the opposition had not put all their men back after just two overs of him being at the crease. To be fair, Underriver were rattling along at nine an over at the time.
Once Watson had reached his inevitable century, his captain immediately ran him out in ruthless fashion. D Close had finally found his Saturday touch after a drought that lasted longer than the heatwave itself. So in a way it was only fair that he should seek the limelight for himself.
He duly entertained his troops with outrageous ramp shots and other previously uncategorised wafts and steers, though as a mammoth score loomed he was once more upstaged by his trusty partner Southall, who smote three quite remarkable sixes over wide long-off.
The scoreboard did not possess the capacity to register scores in excess of 300 so it was fitting that Underriver should settle on 296 for 4, with the skipper (53 not out) ensuring a red inker to improve his average a tiny bit, and Southall unbeaten on 45.
The home side faced a tall order, requiring seven and a half an over, but it was Underriver who began disastrously, losing the sevices of all-rounder Chris Marijuana after he dislocated a finger. Andy Pinder rushed to his aid, as he moves fast to do everything. As it happened, Maidstone A&E were not in quite such a hurry.
Hadlow's opener Rogers produced quite the most brainless innings seen in many a long hot day, slogging into the air repeatedly even as his skipper at the other end told him to get his head down. Underriver were enjoying this farce so much that they kept dropping him until finally Watson held on to one.
Hadlow's headstrong leader Walsh then had the temerity to think he could somehow score all the runs on his own, refusing to run singles to the boundary even though the non-striker Baldwin would go on to score a fabulous century.
Southall found pace and movement that had been conspicuously lacking during the first innings, while C Close was his miserly old self. And the required run rate was soon up to nine and then 10.
Then came a remarkable intervention by Ashfield (4 for 35 - really?), who grabbed quick wickets while simultaneously being unable to pitch the ball on the square. It was an interesting tactic, and one that certainly bamboozled the opposition as they collapsed in a bemused heap.
Amid the mayhem Baldwin, formerly of Plaxtol's pastures, was a picture of calm authority and he moved to three figures with a series of thumping blows off. With the required run rate rising towards 15, D Close decided to make a game of it by bringing on the part-time bowlers and then the no-way-never bowlers (though still not your correspondent, hurrumph).
Suddenly it seemed that Baldwin could pull it off. But the devilish skills of Pendered put paid to that hope, softening him up with a succession of massive sixes before surprising him with a straight one.
Bentall (4 not out) made sure that the joy of the Underriverians was tempered by half an hour of utter boredom. But finally Hadlow succumbed for 190 and victory was secured by the princely margin of 106 runs.
by Andy Tong