After a week of variable weather it was great to see sun and blue skies for the trip out to the picturesque area of Navestock in Essex.
Captain Ferny won the toss and decided that we should have a bat. It soon became obvious that this was a really hard pitch to score runs on. Barely did the ball carry to the boundary either because it was uphill or saturated from the previous rain downhill. The opposition knew this pitch and how to defend on it.
However the Fielders' opener Alec McCrindle went about his business in a really careful way. Obviously buoyed by the fact that the large restaurant opposite the pitch "Alec's" was named after him, he dispatched the bad ball and gave respect to the many good balls. The run rate was never much more than 4 per over, but he knuckled down to a top score of 90. He was ably supported by Paul Teasdale (24) and Simon Lee (20) in what turned out to be really important partnerships. The score limped to 171. Not a large total normally but could it be defended on this pitch?
Captain Ferny called the huddle and made a rallying call to treat every run like gold dust. We were to throw our bodies in front of balls, catch everything and do everything in our power to win this. We had to really focus. There was no time to watch the stream of six foot three blonde top totty getting out of Ferraris with diamond geezers on their arm. There was a game to be won!
The Fielders bowled very well, keeping everything tight. The Eastonians' opener Danny stayed around for a fifty but the run rate was only ever around the 4 mark. Good catches were taken by Alec in the deep, and a couple by Steve Fernbank at mid off from straight drives. The fielders chased everything and got the ball in very quickly.
At drinks the opposition were 80 for 5 and the game was in the balance. At no time during the game could either side be sure of winning. Even the girl in the clubhouse, concerned about the cooking time of the frozen chicken nuggets, could not be given an answer.
With an over to go the opposition needed 16 with one wicket left. After a couple of flashing 4s it was 7 off 3… then 5 off of 2, before Tyrone got the tenth wicket with the penultimate ball.
The Fields had won by 4 runs. The pick of the bowlers were: Tyrone Graham 3-28, Simon Lee 2-15 and Tony Tedore 2-19. What a day and what a game. Both sides retreated to the club house for a well earned beer and a chat.
Oohhh cricket days in Essex…