London Fields beat Eastonians (85 all out) by 8 wickets
by Tim Stacey
Having personally been involved in a number of painful, unfortunate and agonising defeats for the Fields recently, it gives me enormous pleasure to bring you news of a resounding victory this week for everyone's favourite East London cricket club.
The unfortunate victims on this wonderful day were Eastonians, an Essex side based in the charming surroundings of Navestock. With tales of tough previous encounters against these chaps, and rumours abounding of our opponents racking up a 300+ total only a week previously, this was a game where we were going to need to be at our best.
With skipper Fernbank coming out second best on the toss, we took to the field with a highly charged spring in our collective steps. Ferny naturally turned to the double-pronged Kiwi opening attack of Goodwin and Alexander with the simple instruction (I imagine) to unleash hell on batsman 1 and 2. And what an opening spell it was. Goodwin, graceful like a gazelle, giving absolutely nothing away with a masterclass in bowling line and length and Alexander, hairy like a... er, homeless man, offering the kind of variation that worries the most accomplished of batters. Runs were immediately hard to come by and it quickly became clear that this was a pitch for bowlers to wreak havoc on. The unpredictable bounce and overcast conditions meant the ball was pinging all over the place and it didn't take long before the Gazelle planted one on a length and found the outside edge. Lordy, behind the stumps, made no mistake. 1 wicket down and things were starting to our way.
Seizing upon the opportunity in front of us, an aggressive field was set, and a near flawless performance from the Fieldsman was a joy to behold. Quick reactions, chasing down the ball, and long barriers aplenty meant that batsman number 3 took very little time at all in succumbing to the Goodwin pressure and spooning a ball to mid-off where Darrin Lewis was waiting with open arms (and hands - ed.
With the Fields sensing blood, and Goodwin in his pomp it was not long before wickets 3 and 4 fell in quick succession. Tony Tedore, reactions of whippet, taking a stunning catch at gully (blood, everywhere), and with another peach of a ball taking the middle stump out it meant that Goodwin finished his devastating spell with figures of 4 for 14.
Tom Healy and Dave Krohn came on at the first change and did very little to allow the home batsmen any respite. Extemely tight bowling at both ends, and astonishing levels of competency in the field meant that very few runs were scored before the next scalp. Healy, sometimes fast, sometimes slow - always lethal, got his just rewards with an expertly taken caught & bowled, and with Krohn fizzing them down from the other end it wasn't long before he got in on the action and guided the ball straight into Lordy's gloves via the faintest outside edge of the bat. Excellent keeping all day from Jason by the way.
It was around this time, 16 overs in, that Goodwin declared we'd be back in the clubhouse by the 20th over. Always dangerous words of course, but with the way things were going it was tough not share his optimism. Would he prove to correct? Well, not quite, but he was not far off at all. Healy and Krohn continued to be as tight as anything in the runs department and the batting tail were skittled out for not many. Yet more footage for the highlights reel with a stunning high catch in the slips in from Fernbank and the remarkable sight of Dave Krohn feasting on a steak slice mid run-up, off putting enough for any batsman. Special mention also to Mark Holden for a couple of tidy overs, going for just 5 runs. There was some resistance from their very capable number 8 (scored a ton against us a couple of seasons ago) who finished with 18 to his name, but in the end we had them all out for 85 in the 25th over. Solid.
A brief pause for a delightful tea provided by our generous hosts, and Stacey and McCrindle had their pads on, eager to chase down the modest total with minimum fuss. Eastonians were not going to make it easy though. With every fielder close in and plenty of chirpy banter, the pressure was on and with the two opening bowlers seemingly having an intimate knowledge of every bump, crack and divot on the strip, it was hard going getting the runs in the early overs. Stacey eventually took his chances on a couple of short ones and managed to get a couple to the boundary on the off side to relieve some of the pressure, although he was undone a few overs later by a particular vicious one at the ribs, only managing a top edge to the grateful fielder at short square leg. Out for 15.
McCrindle was joined in the middle by Fernbank and both quickly had their eye in. With danger of the opening bowlers surpassed, runs began to flow more freely. Ferny demonstrating the type of impeccable timing that is always a pleasure to watch and big Al showing no mercy to bad balls and heaving a series of them to the boundary. He batted brilliantly and was unlucky to see himself caught and bowled against a plucky young spinner when we were inches from victory. A fine knock for 44. Lordy came to the crease but was simply a bystander as Fernback hit the winning runs, to finish his own innings on 22 not out. Victory was ours!
A fantastic win, against a team that would have certainly expected to put up more of a fight. Testament indeed to a near perfect team performace from London Fields. All that was required now was to enjoy a couple of beers in the recently emerged sunshine and turn matters to the real contest of the day - the scrumming battle of Dave 'deceptively strong for a slim lad' (and confirmed Shakespeare CC Reject - ed) Krohn and Paul 'the caveman' Alexander. Very little between the two, a truly stunning contest, and a number of action shots available upon request.
Well done all, a great victory and a pleasure to be a part of it.London Fields Batting
|Steve Fernbank||—||Not Out||Unknown||22|
|Jason Lord||—||Not Out||Unknown||0|
|Tony Tedore||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Darrin Lewis||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Dave Krohn||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Tom Healy||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Paul Alexander||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Mark Holden||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Tom Goodwin||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|