14 Sep 2003
Radlett: 230-7 in 50 overs
Lordswood: 176 in 47.5 overs
Radlett won by 54 runs
Radlett became the first Hertfordshire side and, after High Wycombe’s success last year, the second Home Counties Premier League side to lift the prestigious Evening Standard trophy after comprehensively beating Kent side Lordswood by 54 runs. The competition which is contested between the top 112 teams in London has a total prize fund of £12,000. After beating Middlesex League Champions Teddington and Surrey League Champions Wimbledon in earlier rounds the Cobden Hill side fully deserved there day out at the home of Surrey CC, the AMP Oval.
After arriving early the omens for the side looked good as the Radlett players were awarded use of the same dressing room as the victorious England test winning side had done just 6 days earlier. The good fortune continued with Radlett captain Nick Fielden winning the toss. Having noticed that Lordswood had only won one of their previous rounds batting second he had no hesitation in requesting first use of wicket and asking his opponents to chase a total.
In opening up Fielden played a truly outstanding captain’s innings and along with the ever reliable Nick Hampton soon settled any nerves in the Radlett camp. Backed by an army of travelling supporters the ball crashed to the boundary and sometimes over it on several occasions in a quick 76 run partnership.
When Hampton was dismissed for 35, Herts star Steve Lowe came to the crease. Lowe had been dramatically brought into the side the previous day after the unlucky Matt Cousens had failed a rigorous fitness test on his injured neck. It was particularly harsh on Cousens who also had to miss the Becker Cup final with the same recurring injury.
Lowe combined well with Fielden to increase the scoring rate and with 20 overs left the Radlett side looked well set for a huge score. However after former Kent bowler Kevin Masters removed Fielden for 71 and Lowe was run out for 37, a passage of play ensued where Lordswood for the probably the only time in the game held the momentum. Graham Dill, Matt Evans and Kervin Marc all went cheaply but sensible batting and running between the wickets from Steve Naylor (34) and Jon Freedman who finished with 13 not out meant that Radlett reached 230 runs for the loss of 7 wickets from their 50 overs.
In reply both teams knew the importance of a fast start and although Paul Richards, the Lordswood opener, briefly threatened to get after the bowling of Stuart Browne, it was to be Browne who was to have the last laugh. Having delivered a slower ball to the aggressive Richards the Hertfordshire side were delighted to see the ball balloon in the air to Nick Fielden who took a smart catch. From that moment Browne was to allow just 4 runs to be scored from his final 8 overs. His spell of 1 – 12 in 10 overs gave Radlett the perfect platform from which they were never to relinquish and saw him deservedly collect the man of the match award. He was ably assisted by Kervin Marc as the pair, bowling in tandem, to great effect began to increase the pressure on the Lordswood batsman.
With the run rate escalating it was no surprise that with just 20 runs from 20 overs faced the other Lordsword opener, McGrath’s swing at a wide ball bowled from Oz Edwards produced an outside edge where Naylor safely snaffled a comfortable slip catch. This brought Rollock to the wicket and with Peter Stock Lordswood briefly threatened a comeback but some inspired bowling from Naylor saw him remove both batsman. The departure of Stock, bowled off an inside edge for a plucky 64 runs effectively ended any Lordsword hopes of victory.
However Radlett showed their professionalism by completing the job emphatically. A stunning leg side stumping by David Hanson contributed to Edwards fine figures of 3-30 as the seam bowlers took centre stage. The all pace attack was too much for many of the Lordswood batsmen will Naylor (2-46), Dill (3-29) & Matt Evans all making significant contributions.
The disciplined bowling was backed up by some quite brilliant fielding at times from Jon Freedman,, Hanson & Oz Edwards but it was Captain Fielden who again lead the way with a superb run out and two catches including the final wicket which upon achievement sent the Cobden Hill players and supporters into ecstasy.