After the coldest of winters, an uninterrupted sunny warm day greeted the teams. Both captains were on debut and Pacific opted to bat first with their strong batting line-up. All credit then to the London Fields bowling attack, whose tidy medium pacers utilised the variable bounce and were backed up well in the field with some great stops and high quality catching.
Walthamstowians Lahrie and Toby opened the batting for Pacific but Lahrie fell early and Toby struggled against the variable bounce from the new ball, with some deliveries popping viciously and a few shooters too. At one point he was hit on the lid, but he kept his composure to strike three good boundaries before falling to a sharp catch at silly mid-off to stop what would otherwise have been another four runs.
When London Fields wicketkeeper Robin Friend was hit between the eyes when a full toss bounced awkwardly in front of him, Lahrie gave him a lift to hospital in his new sports car (which isn't much good for cricket because it can't hold any kit) and Toby went on as a sub fielder and had to apologise for caching Jon Webley out at midwicket.
The Pacific batting never quite fired, with no batsman reaching 50 although some useful contributions from Webley, Safraz Ahmed, Luke Hollman, Satish and Vincent raised the total from the undefendable.
Although our bowling discipline was not to match that of our counterparts, with too many loose deliveries, we made early inroads.
Opening the batting for Fields, Robin Friend, who did not fancy waiting for three hours at the hospital to get his nose fixed ("It's too depressing") could not handle Croft's (lack of) pace. He was out second ball of the innings (the first was a wide) trying to pull a delivery that clipped the top of off stump. Suffering a head wound and a duck to add insult to injury, it must have been Friend's worst game ever and a far cry from his 172 against us in 2011.
After an early flurry of wickets Fields made light work of the modest total, thanks in part to some indifferent bowling and poor fielding.
The Pacific bowlers still did bowl well in patches and well enough to take wickets led by Webley’s 3-32 but David Miller’s 50 not out which he completed with a six to win the game with 15 overs to spare was a crucial difference.
Pacific did moan audibly about lady luck finding the spaces between the fielders but in honesty those gaps looked far larger in the Fields innings.
LF have hit the ground running with this win and Pacific have plenty of areas for improvement if they want to challenge seriously for the title.
Stat corner: one ball of spin bowled which went for six!
Scorer: Chris Clayton