by Travis Willis
After a slightly different “toss” of the coin to start the game, London Fields were sent out to field while the Eastonians, as they unofficially call themselves (not a single copper amongst them today), padded up to take their chances on a pitch that looked a little bit worse for having been used at least a couple of times in recent weeks.
Eastonians captain “What do you want to do?”
Arthur Smart “Probably prefer to bowl.”
Eastonians Captain “Ok, we’d like to bat so we’ll do that.”
Not a coin to be seen anywhere…
Anyway, out to field we went, not one, but two men short of a full team. Vince Croft had called as he was stuck in traffic, while no-one had seen or heard from Khalid Abubaker. Was he perhaps a fictional character that we had not been told about? I’m still not sure as Vince arrived eventually, but Khalid never did.
Richard Johnson was thrown the new ball, and in tandem with Colin Black bowled some tidy overs for their opening spells, keeping the run rate low, but the first wicket proved elusive early on. Then Andy Moylan came on for the first change for Colin and after some wayward deliveries bowled a slightly quicker ball that found its way through the gate and took out the off stump of their opener G. Turner for only 4 runs.
From the other end Killian Toomey came into the attack for RJ, and he also met with almost instant success, and wickets started to fall at a fairly steady rate during the middle overs with everyone getting to bowl at least a couple and almost everyone contributing with wickets. At the same time, Eastonians managed to lift their run rate, but not through any spectacular batting. A particularly good spell of medium pace off a couple of steps came from first time Fields player Nick Mayo, who quickly wrapped up their innings and finished with the impressive figures of 4/8 off 5.1 overs. Eastonians were all out for 149 in the 40th over, possibly a reasonable total on an uneven pitch.
An all-round good effort in the field, especially with only 10 men, with some sharp fielding and some good catches, most notably by Arthur at mid off, and only two catches dropped, most notably a slightly easier one by Arthur at mid on (off my bowling - ed), and a comedic three grab attempt by Travis Willis at mid wicket (though to be fair I think I did well to get my hands on it in the first place).
Next came a big highlight of the day, tea. The kitchen at the social club provided us with fare that the Met Police are becoming renowned for, sausages and chips, with some blackcurrent squash to wash it all down.
After some of us ate our fill, while others ate little, back to the pitch we went with plenty of confidence we could reach our target. A short discussion regarding batting order took place, after which Andy Moylan was a little bit surprised to be walking out to the middle with regular opener Paul Teasdale.
The next surprise of the afternoon was provided by our opposition when they decided to start the innings with C. Ryan, a spin bowler, though after a tidy maiden first up it was obvious he was able to land the ball consistently on a good line and length. However, after that first over Teasdale started to score freely, particularly off R. Dent, the other opening bowler, with one over in particular bringing three nice boundaries. So with Andy supporting him well at the other end, after eight overs at 0/39 we were looking like reaching the target comfortably. But then a false shot by Teasdale on 24 provided a straightforward catch for the first wicket for C. Ryan. That was the beginning of a mini collapse by the top order, not that we realised that immediately as Nick Mayo came in at number three in spectacular fashion with three boundaries off one over from the first change bowler M. Dilworth.
Next to fall was Andy, caught with his score still on 13, and very shortly after Arthur followed him back to the pavilion with a slightly bemused expression on his face, having played all around a straight ball which took the very top of his off stump. That brought Travis to the crease at number five and after a sketchy start, struggling with the uneven bounce, he made a quick 12 before holing out to a man on the boundary off the last ball of the opening bowler, C. Ryan’s last over (a very good catch, says Travis). So from 26 for 0 off seven overs we were looking a bit shaky at 65 for 4 off 15.
Fortunately our batting ran deep with, Vince Croft the next in, and he helped steady the ship, providing solid support to Nick who set himself well to battle with the pitch and continue to accumulate runs, as there were still plenty of overs to be bowled and no rush to score the required total. Next out was Vince for 6, with the partnership taking us along to 92 for 5 and a much healthier outlook.
With fatigue starting to take its toll, Nick took more of a supporting role while RJ pushed the score along more quickly, finishing on 26 not out. However he fittingly left it to man of the match Nick to hit the willing runs in the 35th over, Nick falling just one run short of a half century on debut with 49 not out.
Victory to London Fields by 4 wickets (we only had 10 men after all).London Fields Batting
151 for 5 in 30.0
|Nick Mayo||—||Not Out||Unknown||49|
|Richard Johnson||—||Not Out||Unknown||26|
|Killian Toomey||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Colin Black||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
|Rob Harries||—||Did Not Bat||Unknown||0|
149 for 10 in 39.0London Fields Bowling