SO MUCH can be decided by the toss of a coin. All this week’s matches in the Church Times Cricket Cup were won by the side that batted first.
Of course, skill came into it, too. One of the most hard-fought matches was between Southwark and Chelmsford. Southwark batted first, scoring fluently throughout to post 226 for 5. Chelmsford made a great effort to chase down the total, with a number of good partnerships: first the classy Kunarajah and Treaser had an opening stand of 61; then Grey and Beales put on 59 for the fourth wicket, and later, Grey and McNeaney put on a quickfire 38.
Southwark produced three great moments of fielding at key moments: Sewell’s diving catch to remove the dangerous Knowles, Stanier and Ridsdill-Smith’s combining to run out the veteran Beales, and finally Coulson’s direct hit to run out McNeaney, just when he and Grey looked to be steering Chelmsford to victory. Daley clean bowled the valiant Grey with 32 runs needed to seal Southwark’s win.
In the same group, St Albans took on London on a sweltering day at Clarence Park, the home of St Albans Cricket Club. London won the toss and made the most of the favourable conditions. After a fast start, Moffat went LBW to Iqbal for 18, and Beeby went soon after, caught off Gibbs for 41. Allerton, Rylands, and Child settled things down in the middle order: Allerton made a rapid 89, and Child reached his half century from the final ball.
With London on 280 for 7, St Albans had a hard hill to climb. Gibbs and Pienaar led their response, but when they fell in quick succession either side of the drinks break, wickets fell steadily, and St Albans were all out for 105. Rylands was the pick of the London bowlers, with figures of 4-2 in five overs.
Things were tighter in the match between Chichester and Guildford at the idyllic Temple Grove Cricket ground near Uckfield. Chichester won the toss and put a ten-man Guildford side in to bat. The pitch ws slow, and not many stayed in for long. The potentially dangerous Watson was out caught behind first ball, and others struggled. Martin, however, kept his head and scored a well balanced 61; and there was some late-order hitting from J McAllen, who ended on 25 not out when Guildford posted its fragile-looking total of 129 for 8. Peiterson took 2 for 17, Ethridge 2 for 18, and Swindells 2 for 22.
Chichester started briskly in reply, staying well ahead of the run rate, but lost wickets at fairly regular intervals. They seemed in the driving seat with Kemp (18) and Peiterson (27) at the crease, but their wickets fell to Watson the two balls before and after the drinks break. Thus 73 for 3 became 73 for 5, and the tables started to turn. At the crease, Watson was most dangerous, taking 3 for 17, followed by Newton on 2 for 21. As Chichester’s innings progressed, Ethridge played well for a well-fought 23 not out but, with two senseless run outs, Chichester were all out for 115 in the 34th over, giving Guildford a 14-run victory.
Meanwhile, at Sherborne Salisbury beat Exeter by 61 runs in a high-scoring game. Salisbury batted first, and openers Bradbury and Strain made steady progress until Bradbury was caught in the deep for 21. Good knocks from Strain (42) and Rimmer (38) laid a firm foundation, before Windsor dominated the second half of the innings with a fine 68, supported by Seymour (31 not out), Salisbury ending on 224 for 5.
The Salisbury bowlers then proved miserly in the opening overs of Exeter’s reply, and despite a century stand between McKinnel (39) and Money (79), Exeter were always behind the rate, and eventually lost their last wicket in the 38th over at 162.
On a beautiful hot and sunny day, the combined Norwich/Ely team took on Leicester at Castle Rising. Norwich/ Ely won the toss and elected to bat. Leicester’s bowling attack made runs hard to come by, but after the openers had both been dismissed, Heywood and Capron batted well to move the score on. Heywood would later carry his bat with a wonderful 73, as his side made 121 for 9. Pick of the bowlers for Leicester were Norman 3 for 20 off 6 and Day, who conceded just 6 runs in 6 overs as well as taking a wicket.
In reply Leicester struggled after the early loss of a wicket to the bowling of a dangerous Bunter. They none the less made steady progress towards the total. Brockbank (19) and Norman (36) were the backbone to the fightback. But now it was Norwich/Ely’s chance to close down the wicket: Bunter’s figures were 2 for 15 in 6 overs, backed up by Haywood who conceded only 5 runs from his 6 overs. Leicester got close, but fell 9 runs short at 112 for 3.
In an earlier match, Chester beat Carlisle/Blackburn/Durham by 9 wickets. The combined team batted first posting, 94 for the loss of 2 wickets. Sarvananthan was 65 not out. Chester reached 96 in the 16th over, losing just one wicket. McLaren was 53 not out, supported by Currie on 33.
The match between Leeds and Manchester was rained off last week. Also, Carlisle/Blackburn/Durham and Liverpool were unable to play. And Liverpool conceded to Leeds, having failed to raise a full side.
Southwark 226 for 5 (Stanier 91, Aagaard 45, Coulson 36; Beales 2-34, Kunarajah 1-11) Chelmsford 194 all out (Grey 53, Kunarajah 24, Beales 24; Stanier 2-13, Daley 2-19). Southwark won by 32 runs.
London 280-7 (Allerton 89, Child 50 n.o.; Prior 2-30, Iqbal 1-30) St Albans 105 all out (Gibbs 27, Pienaar 20, Rylands 4-2, Paynter 2-15). London won by 175 runs.
Guildford 129 for 8 (Martin 61, McAllen 25 n.o.; Peiterson 2 for 17, Ethridge 2 for 18, Swindells 2 for 22). Chichester 115 all out (Peiterson 27, Ethridge 23 n.o.; Watson 3 for 17, Newton 2 for 21, Martin 2 for 29). Guildford won by 14 runs.
Salisbury (224 for 5 (Windsor 68, Strain 42, Rimmer 38, Seymour 31 n.o.). Exeter 162 all out (Money 79, McKinnel 39; Windsor 4 for 23, Bradbury 4 for 6). Salisbury won by 61 runs.
Norwich/Ely 121 for 9 (Heywood 73 n.o.; Norman 3 for 20, Day 1 for 6). Leicester 112 for 3 (Norman 36, Brockbank 19; Bunter 2 for 15). Norwich/Ely won by 9 runs.
Carlisle/Blackburn/Durham 94 for 2 (Sarvananthan 65 n.o.). Chester 96 for 1 (McLaren 53 n.o., Currie 33). Chester won by 9 wickets.