Friendly Match vs Rhinos, Sun 17th June 2018, John Innes Ground, SW20

by James Gingell

“This is my last season,” said Merton’s Graham Bradfield, a South African with a gentle tone, but a murderous handshake, and the eyes of a man who enjoyed arm-wrestling young gym-bunnies. “I want to chill out with my kids, have a braai, play some golf.” After he had knocked London Fields sideways with a 60-ball hundred, you got the sense he intended his last harvest to be a bumper.

His formula was simple: block the good ones, blast the bad. But, on a pitch with as many surprises as Oli Turner’s back pocket – and with twice the poppers – it was precisely what was required. From the first meaty drive into the sightscreen, Bradfield made London Fields’ 170 looked measly.

The returning Paul Holden might have loosed a few flat ones but, in truth, only Tom Damant caused Merton any concern. His wicket epitomised his effort, earning a leaning edge with a hint of away nibble, before sprinting forward and sliding to collect the catch. Though Damant forced a few more edges, his captain let him down at slip, and he had to settle for one for 13.

London Fields had been inserted and slid to 71 for six, as batsmen groped for balls that made a nest in the middle of the pitch, and barely budged. Opener Paul Teasdale aimed a hook at a bouncer, but was so early and had pivoted so far, that he could watch as the bail flop from its perch. They talk about hitting the top off – but not like this.

The lower order saved some face. Dhawal Sawant, who hadn’t played for a decade, drove off the back foot with the grace of Gower; he shared a nanny with Tyrone Graham, but apparently little in the way of batting style. And Upendra Singh Gusain smote his first ball for six, his second for four, and bunted his way to an excellent unbeaten 40.

There was little else to savour, though, other than the excellent tea and the fact that Fields would not have to face Bradfield again. Before the summer is out, there will doubtless be others who leave the John Innes ground with the same feeling.

London Fields Batting

 NameScoringHow OutBowlerRuns
1Paul Teasdale BowledEgan5
2Paul Alexander Caught & BowledPebbles26
3Steve Fernbank CaughtKidd0
4Dave Genet LBWT. Allen3
5James Gingall CaughtT. Allen4
6Tom Damant BowledDrewett15
7Dhawal Sawant BowledAyling40
8Upendra Singh Gusain NotOut40
9Paul Holden CaughtEgan18
10Ty Graham CaughtEgan2
11Jon Turnbull BowledKidd0
    Total 170 all out

Rhinos Bowling

No Details

Rhinos Batting

171 for 2 in 28 overs

London Fields Bowling

1Upendra Singh Gusain61130-
2Ty Graham60390-
3Dhawal Sawant50270-
4Tom Damant62130-
5Paul Holden10270-
6Jon Turnbull30330-
7James Gingall1090-

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