LICHFIELD arrived in Southgate, north London, for the fourth
time in five years with something to prove. They and London were
finalists last year, and Lichfield had been humbled, having batted
first and been all out for 132 in 34.4 overs. London had needed
only 24.2 overs to knock off the runs, for the loss of only two
The memory of it rankled. When he won the toss, Matthew Lefroy,
Lichfield's captain, asked London to bat first this time, hoping to
reverse the pattern of last year's game.
In most years, the Church Times Cricket Cup Final is
played in warm sunshine. This year the clouds were low in the sky,
but it was always possible that the sun would break through, which
would help the side batting second. Another factor in Lichfield's
favour was the absence of Jez Barnes, the outstanding London
cricketer in recent cup finals, who has an injured back.
London's captaincy had passed to Chris Lee. Lee, an unknown
quantity as captain and finalist, had with him another five other
assistant curates on the team, recent graduates from St Mellitus
College, in west London.
London's openers were veterans of the eleven, and both played
cautiously. Matt Beeby, a tall, slim figure, capable of sweetly
timed cut shots off the back foot, made the pace, reaching his 50
when his partner, Joe Moffatt, was on 25. Moffatt then scored only
two more before being bowled, but the opening partnership of 89 was
a sound foundation.
Lee, batting at no. 3, is a polite batsman, always making his
intentions clear to his partner. This was necessary, since London's
batsmen did something rare in Church Times finals: they
ran sharply between the wickets, adding breathless twos to the
score instead of idle singles. Some of those were close-run, but
every one was welcome, because Lichfield were bowling tightly -
more so than they had last year.
At lunch, the score was 118 for 1. After 36 overs, the run-rate
was little more than three an over, and there were only 14 overs
left in the innings. To push the scoring rate to 200, the rate
would have to double.
It did. Beeby started to hit straighter and more fiercely. Two
sixes took him to 99, and he brought up his 100 in the 44th over,
with a quickly run two.
Susan Young, a former Church Times news editor,
attended the match with the paper's former editor, Dr Bernard
Palmer. She had reported on the final in her day, despite having no
cricketing background. She talked gleefully of the batsmen
"scampering" between the wickets.
Beeby, who had been dropped on 80, was dropped twice more on
102, while Lee began to unveil a talent developed at Ridley Hall. A
six hit over the sight screen was, he said later, his biggest ever.
Two more sixes meant two lost balls. Lee's 50 came up in the 48th
over, and 16 balls later he was not out for 82 (8 fours, three
sixes). Beeby had reached a commendable 116 (10 fours, two sixes)
when he was finally out in the last over. His hundred made him Man
of the Match.
Despite some fine fielding on the cover boundary, London had
scored 109 runs in the last ten overs, and had lost only two
wickets in the 50-over innings, a repeat of 2013. Of the Lichfield
bowlers, Taylor and Lefroy had the misfortune to coincide with
London's late rush, and in their last two overs gave away 30 and 27
Lichfield were facing a forbidding target, but at the start of
their last ten overs, they seemed quite capable of causing the
upset they so badly wanted. Their batting order had changed hardly
at all since last year, but their luck had changed for the better.
Andrew Cranston was dropped three times in the slips before the 50
Arthur Hack was then out lbw to Lee, who turned out to be a
capable fast-medium bowler. Cranston was out two overs later,
bowled by Ali Marshall. When Paul Darlington was caught behind the
wicket for 39, the score was 119 for 3 after 32 overs.
Two of Lichfield's suffragan bishops, Mark Rylands of Shrewsbury
and Clive Gregory of Wolverhampton, came together for the fourth
wicket. They made a good fist of it, adding 33 before Bishop
Rylands was bowled for 20.
Despite a noticeable deterioration in the light from quite, to
very, gloomy, Bishop Gregory and Simon Taylor reached 178-4 with
ten overs to go; 65 runs to win off the last ten overs did not seem
hard, or even unlikely, especially as the bowlers' imprecision was
contributing generously to the score (there were 21 wides in the
Maybe the bowling gave less away, maybe it was the bad light,
certainly there was accurate throwing in from a well-placed field,
but at this point in the innings, the boundaries dried up. The
umpires were looking at their light meters now, and wickets started
tumbling: Taylor bowled for 19, Bishop Gregory run out for 32,
Lefroy and Peter Hart both bowled by Ed Kendall.
It had been a bold effort by Lichfield, made easier by London's
carelessly conceding 35 extras. Short by only 18 runs in a
high-scoring game, Lichfield had proved something: patsies no
Matt Beeby c. Reeve Hemming 116
Joe Moffatt b. Cranston 27
† Chris Lee not out 82
Pat Allerton not out 11
Extras: Byes 3, Leg Byes 1, ides 2, No Balls 1
Total (24.2 overs) 243
Did not bat: § Andrew Downes, Ali Marshall, Andrew Chrystal, Tim
Rose, ‡ Ed Kendall, Steve Paynter, Phil Davison
Lefroy 22.214.171.124; Reeve 10.2.30.0;
Taylor 10.1.58.0; Hart 10.1.34.0;
Cranston 10.0.39.1; Hemming 126.96.36.199;
Fall of Wickets:1-87, 2-232
Andrew Cranston b. Marshall 33
Arthur Hack lbw Lee 17
Paul Darlington c. (Downes) Marshall 39
Mark Rylands b. Chrystal 20
Clive Gregory run out 32
Simon Taylor b. Allerton 19
† Matthew Lefroy b. Kendall 12
‡ § Andrew Ackroyd not out 12
Peter Hart b. Kendall 6
Richard Reeve not out 0
Extras: Byes 4, Leg Byes 7, ides 21, No Balls 3
Total (50 overs) 225
Did not bat: Doug Hemming
Fall of Wickets:1-51, 2-62, 3-119, 4-152,
5-152, 5-185, 6-200, 7-205, 8-225
Kendall 10.1.30.2; Allerton 188.8.131.52; Lee 10.2.21.1; Marshall 10
1.59.2; Paynter 184.108.40.206; Chrystal 7 0.48.1
Umpires: Robert Cole and Andrew Parkins
London won by 18 runs