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Cricket Cup Final: Lichfield wilt under London attack

06 September 2013

by a staff reporter


Boundary marker: London opener Matt Beeby hits his way to 54

Boundary marker: London opener Matt Beeby hits his way to 54

SO MANY things were just right at the Church Times Cricket Cup final in Southgate on Thursday. The weather for one: spectators basked and players sweltered in the unbroken sunshine and unseasonal heat.

The Walker ground was its usual hospitable self, with a generous lunch and tea for the cricketers, and a good range of beers at the bar. Christ Church, Southgate, which presides benignly over the Walker Cricket Ground, was open, allowing visitors the respite of its cool interior and stunning Pre-Raphaelite windows.

And things came right for London, too. After a few wilderness years, and a shock defeat to Southwark in last year's final ( News, 14 September 2012), its newly formed, relatively youthful side performed with confidence and skill. Their fielding was crisp, and their catching was of a standard rarely seen in the Church Timescompetition. Their wicket keeper, Nico Marais, a South African working as a worship pastor at St Luke's, Redcliffe Gardens, took four wickets. 

When one team is on form to such a degree, it tends to mean that things don't go so right for their opponents. And so it proved with Lichfield, winners in 2010 and runners-up in 2011. London won the toss and, surprisingly, put Lichfield in to bat first. It was a smart move: the wicket retained enough moisture from the early-morning mist to keep it lively for the first two or three hours.

Lichfield reeled after the loss of their captain, Jeff Reynolds, a Methodist minister, at the start of the third over, to a diving catch by Jez Barnes at second slip. Thereafter, every time Lichfield settled and started to look dangerous, the fall of another wicket knocked them out of their rhythm. They were naturally disappointed with their score: 132 all out.

The Cup Final is seldom a high-scoring match, but this was unlikely to be a winning score, and so it proved. A strong partnership at the crease between Matt Beeby, Assistant Curate at Christ Church, Mayfair, and Jez Barnes, Vicar of St Stephen's, Twickenham, meant that London were able to catch the Lichfield total just after tea, with the loss of only two wickets. Jez Barnes was awarded the man-of-the-match trophy for the second year running.

Full match report and scoreboard in next week's Church Times.

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