by Richard Hoggart
It was overcast, it was fresh, it was English cricket on the first May Bank Holiday. Bedouins CC, an unknown entity to the home team, stopped off on their travels for a game at London Fields.
Captain Rupert did the decent thing and gave the other side first chance to stand around in the cold. The returning Killian opened up with PA, a cold-weather specialist after his 58 the week before in the eye of Storm Hannah.
The early overs were typified by solid blocks and punches from our openers, as the Bedouins struggled to find much threat with the new ball. When the bad ball came, both were ruthless in finding the boundary. Sharp singles were generally off the menu in this weather, but cuts and pulls for four were well in season. The only slight concern came when Killian’s pad was struck, triggering a huge appeal from bowler and fielders. When the not out verdict was delivered on the grounds of being high, leggy and not very out, the Bedouins showed a bit of post-travelling grumpiness.
Undeterred, Killian and PA marched on, punching for singles, biffing for boundaries, and even nurdling a five when a wild Bedouin overthrow gave PA some bonus runs. But that would prove to be a biff too many for PA, who retired hurt next ball. The party line was a side strain, but the rumour abounded that PA saw the score (80-0) and the decent batters to come and thought he wouldn’t mind letting the others have a dig.
So in came Vijay, a last minute call up, which would explain the grey tracksuit. A couple of sighters later and he was finding the boundary with as much regularity as Killian.
With the traveling opponents lacking ideas (both in tactics and in sledging), they brought on their own late arrival and star bowler, Freddie. Freddie’s first spell, delivered in Reebok classics, was nothing to get excited about, however, as Killian and Vijay started to expand their ambitions and find their six-hitting range. Killian, in particular, found the long-off and long-on boundaries extremely tempting and was quickly to his 50.
However, when Clapp, Bedouin’s opening bat, came on to seduce Fields with a few full-bodied tweakers, Vijay was fatally seduced with a poke too many and was out, having (been) caught (off) Clapp.
Clapp was finding some value with his quicker offies and Freddie returned from the other end with a pair of cricket spikes and a bit more pace. But this was all irrelevant to Killian, who was seeing it like a Gaelic football. Fields’ opener had found another gear and raced to his century with a towering six over Freddie’s head. With Bedouins continuing to chunter and recycle their moans, Killian then did the merciful thing and retired out to give the middle order a turn.
While Fields couldn’t quite press home the advantage, there were still a few gorgeous clips from Fernbank, a huge drive over long-off from Utz and some excellent finishing from Hershel that took Fields to a handy 223-4 off 35 overs.
Arguably Bedouin’s best figures of the day came from the kind folk who brought tea: 4 plates of sandwiches, 2 quiches and 1 bowl of honey-mustard cocktail sausages. In return, Fields offered the hydration - two cases of beer from our sponsor. Would this turn out to be Fields’ secret weapon?
With the ball in hand, Fields were looking provide their own seduction with Dick (Hoggart) and Muffi opening up. The pair were not as compatible as one would hope with Hoggart
not getting it up dropping too short. Muffi, on the other hand, found good movement and rhythm to keep the pressure on.
What Hoggart did do was imbue opening bat Clapp with enough self-confidence that when Utz came on the batter didn’t think him worthy of a shot. Instead, Utz knocked back the off-stump, got rid of this bout of Clapp, and Fields were just getting started.
Next in was Bedouin’s most irritable of players and their arch moaner, the chippy T. Ashman. Maybe he was still thinking of things to complain about, but he had a lot more time for that after Utz bowled him two balls later. A tidy double-wicket maiden.
Utz was bowling like the wind and dropping it on a penny. So when Freddie came in, it felt like the game was there. Freddie won the first battle with a straight driven four. But Utz came back next ball and won the war by finding the top of off yet again.
At the other end, Vijay was keeping it very tight with his own nippy offies. A wicket in his first over to get rid of the other opener, followed by three more economical overs finished an excellent all-round performance.
But Utz wasn’t finished. One batsman chose ball-on-timber rather than ball-on-willow, while another chose ball-on-pad. You know it must have been a close LBW if the oppo’s umpire gave it out.
This left Utz with 5 wickets for 12 runs from his 5 overs. A handy spell to be sure, and Captain Rupert again did the decent thing and gave him a break.
At 62-6, the travelling opponents were reduced to a limp. Captain Rupert brought himself on in tandem with Herschel looking to finish it off quickly. Both spinners bowled well and in Rupert’s case with little luck. A counter attack from Rawson spoiled a few figures, but he had little support from his other bats. Before long, Hershel had cleaned up the tail with an excellent return of 4-28.
That brought an end to the Bedouins' journey for that day. Special mention to Killian, Utz, Vijay and Hershel for their particularly formidable showings.London Fields Batting
223 for 4 in 35.0
|Paul Alexander||—||Retired Hurt||Unknown||29|
|Killian Toomey||—||Not Out||Unknown||103|
|Paul Holden||—||Run Out||Unknown||3|
|Herschel Pant||—||Not Out||Unknown||11|
|Troy Utz||—||Not Out||Unknown||8|
|Jason Lord||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Muffi||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Rupert Ekblom||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Richard Hoggart||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
137 for 10 in 29.0London Fields Bowling