by Robin Astley
Once, many aeons ago, in a time of Gods and Heroes, a great army set sail across the wine-dark seas to fight over Helen, the beauty of the age. And for the chroniclers of the time, how easily the words flowed after the nerve jangling encounter, how prose and eloquence erupted in a torrent when gripping battle had been concluded, how the pen raced as the heart had in do-or-die combat. But, alas, inspiration today comes not from the clash of sporting Titans, epic in deed and adventure, but from a victory so resounding and one sided it brought to mind two other weekend sporting fixtures. As Ricky Hatton eventually picked himself, and possibly bits of his brain, off the canvas, or Sean Murphy wondered if he'd ever sink another pink, so the Camberwell Beauties headed back over the bridges of Old Father Thames with very sore bottoms.
Consummate professionalism is not a phrase commonly associated with our historic and noble club, but the home fixture in our inaugural super Sunday brought that adage to mind.
Cliched tactics or not, opening pair Dave 'Taz' Miller and Robin Astley dismissed the Beauties attack with a solid 81 run stand. Alarums were few, and though both batsmen drove and pulled well, the square cut eluded them. Taz capitalised on being dropped on 25 by scoring a very respectable and entertaining 78. His dismissal was one of many below the waistline incidents, when he heaved at a delivery after many big shots only to miss and be given Balls Before Wicket by umpiring captain Skinner.
Indeed, the 'skip' had asked his men to push for 250, perhaps eyeing up the bouncy pitch and the 'heavier set' opposition suggesting big hitting to come.
It was Robin, though, who fell first for 25, when trying to up the ante - stumped just before drinks. Enter stage left Troy Utz, lanky, laconic and, as he proved to his invited guests, capable of some very lusty blows as he partnered Taz with six fours and for sixes in his 59. There would have been one more four had the unfortunate ankle of square leg umpire Robin not got in the firing line.
Alec replaced Taz and after an uncharacteristically scratchy start laid into the wilting Beauties bowling. Many of the oppositions' heads dropped, and this was typified when a leading edge hung in the air for half an hour. Neither short extra cover, 'keeper nor spin bowler seemed to want to take the relatively simple catch enough to move towards the ball and it fell harmlessly to earth.
The Fields moved past 200 and accelerated. Balls were lost in the Lido and trees were defoliated by sixes. Late on, Tony Tedore joined the onslaught with a fine cover drive in his 11 not out, and Chris Skinner was called upon to negotiate one wide and one legal ball as an imposing 266 was posted.
If the Camberwell Beauties had made sacrifice or poured libations to Aphrodite, Goddess of Love and Beauty. then they must have chosen a particularly poor and offensive wine, because the Gods of Olympus did not smile on them. Cruising in like a well oiled Spartan warrior, Paul Turley ruthlessly exposed the debutant opener with a lifting away swinger that he obligingly guided into second slip's hands, Alec taking the chest high catch. One down for a golden duck, the Beauties tried to right their ship, but soon Ryan's left arm swingers yielded a disserved wicket, bowling the opposition captain for 2, but not until Tony Tedore's smart throw and Robin's glove work did for the number three, and Turley's own beauty castled the second opener.
As a doomed fleet of Triremes was mythically caught between the hideous many-headed monster Scylla and the terrifying maelstrom whirlpool of Charybdis, so the south Londoners were pinned 'twixt the varied Guile of Carl and Tyrone's Typhoons.
The mercurial father-to-be produced a spell of hostility and movement and sent four men back to Hades. It could have been five, but his first delivery was edged low to the keeper's left and was fumbled (my apologies). Tyrone put that disappointment behind him and conjured up the delivery of the afternoon. The batsman shouldered arms to a ball twelve inches outside off, only to see his off bail plucked as if removed by an arrow from Ajax's bow.
Carl was rewarded with one caught behind, and saw the timbers tumble for his second, before being forced to retire from the fray as something was pulled downstairs…
Chris valiantly finished of the over, with a two-thirds maiden, capping his vital contribution.
It was Taz who helped Tyrone remove Suyra, the Beauties; best performer, with a smooth catch at mid on. The uncanny resemblance of three of the Beauties encouraged Mr Tedore to remark, “Blimey, do we have to get this guy out three times!?”. But that proved to be no Herculean task as Camberwell were rolled for a paltry 89. The swift end gave our heroes plenty of time to reflect on a job very well done, and quenching beverages were imbibed as dusk's rose tipped fingers touched the Fields and Carl's rose tinged backside shocked many a bystander.
Here's the scorecard:London Fields Batting
266 for 4 in 35.0
|Tony Tedore||—||Not Out||Unknown||11|
|Chris Skinner||—||Not Out||Unknown||1|
|Ty Graham||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Faraaz Samadi||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Ryan Dunn||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Carl Death||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Paul Turley||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
89 for 10 in 23.0London Fields Bowling