by Shannon McKenzie
The colourful sea of people stretched out in front of us. Rob Harries, the man charged with leading the match day duties looked out to the people, and much like Moses leading the Israelites to the Holy Land, he parted the colourful sea. This left a scenic green field for cricket to begin. As the batting order was being discussed, the skipper looked out to the sun soaked holy land and somewhat prophetically stated 'all the runs this season have been made by the 6, 7, & 8'.
For two weekends in a row the Gods of sunshine and good cricket had shone brightly. For the first innings, 9 members of The Fields were to have the benefit of sitting in the shade as 2 of their batsmen took to the far side of the square, looking to build a respectable total. Those batsmen were Steve Fernbank and Robin Friend. Robin got the fields off the mark, and was dismissed shortly thereafter, bowled. A victim of not sleeping the night before? Perhaps...
Darrin Lewis then made the long stroll to the pitch, took his guard and promptly spooned the ball to point. However the God of buttered hands gave Darrin his second chance, only for the God of outrageously accurate throws to run him out the same ball.
No mind, Simon Yates, with all the fervour of a man promoted from 11th to 4th in the order, took to the crease, marked his guard and immediately returned to the shade of the trees, bowled for a golden. At 14 for 3, things were not looking good. Many in the crowd remarked this, including our very own Troy Utz. 'At least...' he stated defiantly 'we still have rock-solid Steve Fernbank at the crease'. The very next ball Ferny was removing his gloves, caught behind for 8. 14 for 4 looked a little worse.
Batsman No. 5 Chris Skinner, was now with Batsmen No. 6 Ruby Quince. Was the skipper’s prophetic statement to be proven? As the No. 5 batsmen, he hoped not. The innings needed some serious stabilisation and Chris and Ruby started the process. Ruby looking in good touch, found his timing early and handsomely crashed the ball through cover and into the trees. Skinner followed suit, taking the aerial route over the bowler's head. But as the momentum gathered, the skipper had a ball stop on him and could only prod into the unbuttered hands of silly mid on. Perhaps the prophecy was self-fulfilling.
Rob Harries, full of confidence after his maiden Fields six the previous week, flat-batted a couple and scampered hard but succumbed to one that struck him plumb on the pads. Not even the most loyal of umpires could deny it. It was then 49 for 6 - far from a competitive total.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man as the No. 8 batsman Shannon McKenzie waltzed sure-footedly to a scintillating start with successive blows into the empty tinnies at square leg. Ruby was not to be outdone. With bat making full circle arcs, he sent the opening balls of the Baring skipper's second over to the fence. But the distinctly useful seam-up of the opposition captain took its revenge. Ruby got a good one, departing caught behind for a well-constructed 22.
Tony Tedore was next up. McKenzie and Tedore set anchor. Initially they shunned the flamboyant, instead keeping the board ticking over with good placement and wing-footed running. The burgeoning crowd, swelled no doubt by Time Out's considered assessment that only 16 things were better to do on a London bank holiday than watching LFCC in London Fields (and to be honest is the venue really the point!) settled down to their barbies and watched the nuggety duo dig in. The 50 partnership raised a ripple of applause. The Fields at 129 for 7 now had a total to defend. McKenzie fell soon after, caught behind, with 5 boundaries in his 33. Matt Broadbent arrived.
Broadbent and Tedore, trading in lusty blows and nimble singles, put on another 25 before Broadbent (10) departed in the 33rd over to the nimble bowling of tracksuit wearing Matt, who finished with the excellent figures of 5/25. The loss of Tedore (22) soon after brought the innings to a close for an unexpectedly robust and eminently defendable 149 all out.
Cake was consumed, London Fields were ready to take to the field. Matt Broadbent opened from the Tedore End, whilst Grant pushed off from the Turley. Baring started confidently and errors in length were punished as the openers made good use of the short boundary on the Lido side. As the upper hand was being gained by Baring, Broadbent got one to hold back a bit, enticing the 9 iron chip into the Araldite hands of Tedore at mid off. Two overs later, Straghan, proving imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, repeated the trick - same cast, same sticky hands, same result. Straghan was finding the corridor and bowled successive maidens as the opposition struggled to find their bearings (sorry). But hitting hard and true, batsmen 3 and 4 took a flurry of boundaries. At 70 for 2, the Fields were looking down the barrel.
Chances came. Broadbent fired one in and had the ball flat-batted straight back at him. With all the grace of an Eric Cantona kung-fu kick, Matt stuck his foot out and glided the ball towards Tony Tedore, generously providing TT with his chance for a hat-trick of catches. Tedore, with momentum travelling one way, tried to turn the other way, stuck his hand out and guided the ball to the boundary. Rather than a hat-trick of catches, he was left with a bruised thumb to match his bruised ego. Broadbent ended with a solitary wicket for 32 runs.
The expertise of Ruby was brought into the attack. Bowling with rhythm and getting good carry to the keeper, he got one to flick the handle of Baring's estimable skipper. Friend, quicksilver behind the timbers, pouched a sharp one down leg. Ruby finished with figures of 1/20.
Skinner, initially in warm up mode, took a bit of tap first over up as the lefty no 6 put plenty bottom hand into some weighty ones. But the retort was as clinical as it was calculated. The slower ball yorker, produced at will, did for Skinner what diamorphine did for Shipman (that was one truly wonderous sentence - ed). As the momentum was well and truly with Baring, Skip's ingenious bowling got a couple of quick wickets to get the Fields right back in it.
Skinner was running hot, disguising well the slower ball. His 3rd wicket was taken and as high fives were issued between team mates, the skip stood tall and said ''I f**king love cricket '' - it needed saying - and the team were as one with the sentiment. Skinner soon after took his fourth wicket, and no doubt his sentiment remained. Straghan also chipped in with another wicket, finishing with 2/26 including 2 maidens from his 7.
Tedore came belatedly into the attack. He was met with feisty opposition, chiefly from the lady taking the diagonal from deep extra to long on. Not so the Baring lower order, who succumbed in quick succession to a cocktail of floaters and the low slung Malinga ball, delivered with more than a hint of disgust. As the 11th batsmen walked to the crease with Baring still 40 runs short of the Fields total, it was noted that Skinner had four wickets. Tedore (2/15) nevertheless ambled in and clinched the final dismissal, depriving Skinner (4/29) of what would have been his first Michelle for the club. In the same moment it persuaded the floating voter to tip the scales in favour of TT for the LFCC messiah of the day - the man of the match.
As the sun lowered on the horizon, golden light filtered through the trees, glinting off the blue plastic bags and the cans of Red Stripe. Before our excesses and heathen behaviour led us from the holy land, the day was reflected on. A fine bowling and fielding effort restricted Baring to 115, 35 shy of their target. A shaky start to the LFCC innings was helped along to a respectable total by the lower order, with no small contribution by batsmen 6, 7 & 8.London Fields Batting
149 for 10 in 25.0
|Darrin Lewis||—||Run Out||Unknown||0|
|Grant Straghan||—||Not Out||Unknown||0|
115 for 10 in 20.0London Fields Bowling