THERE were four overs still to bat. Guildford needed just 20 runs to beat the favourites, London, and spoil their attempt to win three Church Times Cricket Cup finals in succession.
Earlier in the game, an upset had seemed probable. At the end, it was still possible. London had scored 108 for 2 at lunch, but then collapsed to Guildford’s capable bowlers, losing six wickets for 17 runs, before the tail eked out a modest total of 150.
Form suggested that Guildford were capable of a winning score. But there was a daft run-out; two splendid catches dismissed two good batsmen; and others seemed mesmerised by the prospect of a victory. Six wickets fell for 63 runs.
The tail-enders, however, were bolder, and, with four overs to go, the deficit had been reduced to 20. Anticipation was hot and rising on the boundary edge.
Ed Kendall, who had opened the bowling for London, had one over left of his ration of ten, and Chris Lee, London’s skipper, brought him back to bowl the 47th over. Kendall’s gift is his ability to bowl straight.
His first ball went for a couple of runs, but his second clean-bowled Matt Prior, who had led Guildford’s resistance. His third took Barney Pimentel out for a first-ball duck. George Newton survived one ball, before Kendall had him lbw.
Guildford had lost three wickets in four balls. London won by 17 runs.
Guildford’s only comfort was that they had made a game of it. They began the day confidently, putting London in to bat after winning the toss on a damp, green wicket. It was a morning of intermittent sunshine which deteriorated into an afternoon gloom of low, grey clouds.
The bowling was opened by Rob Glenny, a slim, fast bowler who had been imported from the Oxford diocese to make up the eleven (permitted under the rules). The rules are silent about sponsorship, but London achieved a first by wearing shirts advertising Fullers of Chiswick, where Andrew Downes, their No. 6 batsman, is chaplain to the brewery. The London Pride logo was prominently displayed on the team’s shirts.
Glenny, whose radar was working imperfectly, with too many balls going down the leg side, was less fierce than he looked. At the other end, George Newton had a different problem. The umpire warned him twice for stepping on the pitch in his follow-through. The third interruption was an official warning, but this proved not to be a deterrent to Newton. He took no wickets, but his first eight overs cost only 16 runs.
Chris Lee, who had scored a hundred in London’s total of 343 for 5 in 35 overs against Southwark in an early round, put on 62 with Joe Moffat before lunch, after the openers had gone for 46 runs. Lee, driving handsomely through the covers, feasted off the bowling of Aidan Watson, a burly, bearded figure whose last two overs before lunch went for 15 runs.
Watson, a pastor to students in Egham, where he plays good club cricket, may have been inspired by the decent lunch at the Walker Ground (London Pride not included). He bowled Moffat for 9 and Ali Marshall for 2 in his first over after the interval.
Downes went for a duck, and Watson’s contribution to London’s dramatic collapse was three wickets in six overs. Lee had been bowled for 52 by Simon Martin, who relished bowling at the tail, and ended with Guildford’s best bowling figures: 4 for 16 off eight overs.
Guildford opened their reply with a remarkable lack of urgency. Chris Owen, captain and opening batsman, met most balls he received with a cramped forward prod from a crouched stance. The bowling of Kendall and Lee was challenging, so much so that Owen set a record of a kind, scoring only three runs from 16 overs before he was finally out lbw to Pat Allerton.
His partner Martin Sheldon was out to a fine, juggling catch off his own bowling by Lee. Martin and Watson increased the scoring rate: Watson’s 16 contained just four scoring strokes, before Rylands took a good outfield catch. Martin was run out carelessly when his partner did not respond to his call. Andrew Chrystal rooted out the middle order, as Guildford suffered their own collapse, losing four wickets for ten runs. A tentative recovery was begun by John Marrow, wearing an Aussie sweater and a green cap, and Matt Prior, who was at the crease at the climactic moment of Kendall’s last over. After that, it was all over for Guildford, too.
Having scored 52, and taken one important wicket with a memorable catch for only 16 runs in 10 overs, Chris Lee was named Man-of-the-Match. When presented with the trophy, he dropped it. It was the only thing he dropped all day.
1. Matt Beeby b. Prior 13
2. Sam Rylands c. Martin, b. Taylor 23
3. Chris Lee b. Martin 52
4. Joe Moffatt b Watson 9
5. Pat Allerton c. Glenny, b. Martin 11
6. Ali Marshall b. Watson 2
7. Andrew Downes lbw, Watson 0
8. Jim Rose b. Glenny 16
9. Andrew Chrystal b. Martin 2
10. Ed Kendall b. Martin 6
11. Phil Davison not out 1
Extras: Byes 2, Leg Byes 3, Wides 9, No Balls 1 15
Total (50 overs) 150
Glenny 8.2. 1. 29. 1; Newton 8. 1.16. 0; Prior 10. 3. 24; Taylor 4. 1. 17. 1; Watson 10. 1. 41. 3; Martin 9. 4. 16. 4
Fall of Wickets:1/36, 2/46, 3/109, 4/109, 5/111, 6/ 111, 7/126, 8/126, 8/130, 9/146/ 10/150
1. Chris Owen lbw, b. Allerton 3
2. Martin Sheldon c and b. Lee 16
3. Simon Martin run out 18
4. Aidan Watson c. Ryland, b Chrystal 16
5. Rob Glenny lbw, b. Chrystal 0
6. Matt Prior b. Kendall 28
7. James Taylor b. Chrystal 0
8. John Marrow b. Ryland 26
9. Jonathan Thomas not out 9
10. Barney Pimentel b. Kendall 0
11. George Newton lbw, b Kendall 0
Extras: Byes 1, Leg Byes 5, Wides 9, No Balls 2 17
Total (47 overs) 133
Kendall 8.5 .2. 16. 3; Lee 10. 3. 16. 1; Allerton 7. 0. 26. 1; Chrystal 8. 1. 30. 3; Ryland 8. 1. 26. 1; Marshall 5. 0. 13. 0
Fall of Wickets: 1/22, 2/24, 3/53, 4/60, 5/63, 6/63, 7/102, 8/133, 9/133,10/133
Umpires: Robert Cole and Andrew Parkins
London won by 17 runs