HAS a day in Southgate ever been better? Well, for London, a
half-dozen more runs might have helped to improve it. But both the
teams in the Church Times Cricket Cup final made such a
good account of themselves that the pleasure of the day will be
remembered long after any disappointment over the result.
And the London players would have had to be poor sportsmen (let
alone Christians) not to have been moved by Southwark's evident
delight in winning the Cup for the first time since 1975.
And in such a dramatic way. London, winning the toss, made 232
runs, one of the highest scores in a final for several years. Many
teams score more than this in earlier rounds, but somehow the
finals have been dominated by parsimonious bowlers and energetic
For the whole of the morning, London appeared to be powering to
an unassailable total. Their top batsman, Jez Barnes
(below), made a century (earning him the man-of-the-match
trophy). But after lunch, the Southwark team rallied, and swept
away the London tail.
Had this season's star signing, Heston Groenewald, been on his
earlier form, the Southwark run-chase would have been more
confident. But this was his first match after the quarter-final in
which he top-edged a ball into his eye, causing serious concussion.
Wearing a helmet this time, he managed a score of 61, the best of
his side, but it seemed to all watching to be too little and too
But a useful partnership with Richard Perkins pushed the score
along, and it was only when this was broken up 60-odd runs shy of
the target (London bowled tightly, and there were several
well-taken catches) that Southwark's fate appeared sealed. Although
the sun continued to shine, as it did throughout the glorious day,
the temperature on the field seemed to drop.
But the remaining Southwark batsmen dug in, and in a remarkable
finish, masterminded by Steve Coulson, they overtook the London
total with two balls to spare.
London, who won the Cup every other year between 1996 and 2008,
have been rebuilding their side. Given another year to consolidate,
the result might have been very different.
The game was notable for another occurrence. The last time
Southwark won the Cup, an account of the game appeared in the
Church Times alongside a story about early ordinations of
women in the US Episcopal Church, "offending due process". The
Southwark team on Thursday contained the Revd Leah Philbrick, the
first woman ever to play in a Cricket Cup final. This was no token
inclusion, either: she bowled the first over, a maiden, and was
athletic in the field.
A full report of the match, with scorecard and more photos, will
appear in next week's Church Times. The Cup was won last
year by Guildford (
News, 16 September 2011)