London Fields beat St Clements
We batted first after winning the toss and finally realising, after all these years, that we are rubbish at chasing (except for James - who is essentially Michael Bevan or Virat Kholi in a run chase).
Vijay had brought his Uncle along to watch. No doubt dreaming of yet another creamy 80 and a long, detailed letter from Uncle to the Shah clan back in steamy India, detailing each luxurious cut shot and flick off the toes, Vijay went to a cracking cutter. Out for 1. Indeed he, Robin, Alex T and Hitesh all conspired to convince Uncle that Vijay's doubtless tales of this amazing London team he had found to play for were nothing more than lies.
Only Lucas, at number 4, stayed put, the rest of the top 5 gone for 38 and LFCC looking in a spot of bother. Uncle left at this point - no doubt disgusted at what he had seen and probably issuing an express telegram to Mumbai, suggesting that Vijay be removed from the family will for associating with what appeared a lacklustre team. Shame he didn't hang around because the LFCC engine room was just beginning to warm up.
Lucas brought some serious intensity - not seen since the likes of uber sportsman Sam Barrett - to the middle. Analysing each fielders' capabilities, he was quick to capitalise and push ones, make twos and encourage a considerable amount of threes. He also pumped some serious boundaries through cover. Rolls Royce Dhawal accompanied him with 37, including an off and on drive in his first few balls that had the hitherto excellent opening bowling reduced to throw downs.
Troy came in at Dhawal's dismissal and copied him with regular boundaries and frantic twos and threes, spurred on by super focussed Lucas. Lucas went to a nasty shooter for an innings-botoxing 62. Perry joined Troy and saw off the returning opening bowler with a textbook leave or defend set up. Troy picked out the short cover as we moved into the final 10 overs - also making 37. St Clements may have felt that they were into the tail but Phil Clark ain't no tail. He and Perry pushed excellent singles and twos in between controlled, lofted drives for four. Phil showed his deft side and late cut several balls for 4 whilst Perry pounced on the short stuff including a fabulous pull for 6, looking every bit a Teasedale or southpaw Gingel.
LFCC finished on 262 - a stunning recovery and one that was fuelled as much by the good batting as it was by the heart of the team - all members positioned sideline to cheer and encourage almost every shot, be it a boundary or a forward defensive. Momentum was taking tea with LFCC.
The second innings was, for the most part, tedious. The left-handed opener played a 20 run, Haydenesque cameo before Robin stood up to the hooping Perry (thus removing the openers penchant for swing-negating advancement) and forced an error. Uncomfortable at being stuck in the crease, the opener tried the big shot but only managed to get it half way to the fence where it was intercepted by Chris Murphy who took a great tumbling catch. The umpire then asked him to reenact it whilst he took pictures. That he got him to do it several times over, issuing instructions about how to look at the camera and how to fall down left the rest of us wondering just where the pictures would end up. Chris seemed to enjoy it immensely.
Phil took his usual couple of wickets for not much, offset by mumbled profanities that came with any boundaries. One wicket of note was an excellent catch by Lucas in the covers - leaping high and continuing to look very athletic in comparison to the the rest of us.
Alex Day came on as first change and goodness, if you only saw the bowling in silhouette, you'd be forgiven for thinking Paul Turley had returned as a younger man. Alex was on a hatrick at one point but it never eventuated.
Chris Murphy bowled well, and, taking a leaf from mentor Clark's book, berated himself for the few loose balls. It's noticeable that the young tearaway has taken a few notches off the pass and converted them into increased accuracy.
The match was dwindling by this point and the collective desire to get it over with was manifesting in good natured attempts to get the batsmen to play a few shots - to little effect. Hitesh came on and bowled well for no reward - several balls fizzing past the bat and lifting into Robin's gloves. Super soaker Dhawal, looking resplendent with his new beard, mopped up the tail with outstanding figures of 3.2 - 2 - 10 - 4. The 10 runs coming from a boundary and a maximum.
An excellent team performance from LFCC.London Fields Batting
262 for 9 in 36.0
|Perry Harding||—||Not Out||Unknown||38|
|Phil Clark||—||Not Out||Unknown||30|
|Chris Murphy||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Alex Day||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
174 for 10 in 30.0London Fields Bowling