Rollocking run chase
Hackney Marshes, London, 4/24/2021
Strongroom won by 6 wickets
London Fields: 247-4 [Rice 98*, Chintaka 46]
Strongroom: 248-4 [J.Gower 64, Varun 55]
View the Scorecard
The overall setting for this match was uninspiring. Burnt holes at one end of the astroturf pitch, on a good length, meant bowlers could only bowl from one end and fielders stayed in one position, which disturbed the rhythm of the game and dulled our collective senses. This was compounded by a strong north-easterly wind, which coincidentally blew in the opposite direction the bowlers were running into, and all from the same end we had to operate from. The combination of astroturf and fast, dry outfield meant fielders were soon positioned on the boundary edge, giving the game a disparate, disconnected feel throughout. It’s also quite hard captaining from the boundary, shouting into the wind to get the attention of a fielder 80 yards away. A hard, dry and uneven outfield also meant the ball bounced like a rugby ball at times. And then there was no scoreboard, resulting in more shouting into the wind at frequent intervals to get some sense of the score. Otherwise, it was simply great to be in Hackney Marshes, under a blue sky, playing cricket against a friendly oppo, and seeing other human beings running around (re Covid-19).
Returning to the actual cricket, LFCC batted well, and Rice (98*) and Chintaka (46) punished any loose offerings from Strongroom. All our bowlers had some good moments, and Ankit was probably the pick, as he found that awkward, subtle length he tends to locate quite easily. Our fielding was a bit lacklustre, and some soft boundaries were let through various gaps between the hands, knees and feet of scurrying fielders. Debutant Henry bowled with some promising whippy pace. Both Arif and Seb picked up leg muscle injuries. We were all relieved when the innings ended. We were set 248 to win in 35 overs.
Tea was another Covid-19 restricted DIY affair. Seb had some yoghurt covered nuts and raisins. Nice.
Gwyn again looked in great touch and struck some clean boundaries, but was unlucky to receive the only ball all day to stay very low, and was out LBW for 22. Sai showed some sublime timing and an easy touch and played nicely for 35, and at the drinks break we required 160 off the remaining 16 overs, with 8 wickets in hand. 10 runs an over required. However, debutant Varun (55) simply smashed it all over the place, including a tremendously powerful straight 6 off their opening pace bowler, and I eked out a somewhat laboured 64, and this took us to requiring 72 off the last 6 overs. Enter Arif “Pocket Rocket” Godhi, and he saw us home with a typically belligerent 37*, including some trademark uppercuts and even a balletic twirl which resulted in a delicately plucked 6 over fine leg, picked up off his toes. London Fields had bowled quite well, particularly skipper Vidhal who got the ball to swing prodigiously, but their outfielding let them down in the latter stages. However, we batted deep, and this was a pleasing win, as chasing c.250 is never easy, regardless of the surface.
The image below shows the setting of a very dry marshes...
Written By: J.Gower