Brockley, sponsored by UberWeb Design , travelled to Coggeshall for the return leg of a fixture that had seen an unexpectedly comfortable victory at the Brockley Oval.

With both teams in the middle of extremely consistent runs , the clash seemed certain to see one of them bucking the trend with a victory.

Brockley were asked to bat first and faced a mix of lively seam bowling and tight offspin that descended from the clouds.

neither were ideal enablers for a rapid start and Brockley were probably quite relieved to have reached 60 for only 2 after 20 overs

Stuart Fisher (40) held the innings together for as long as he could with cameos from Jones and Huffer. There must have been some other runs scored, probably from Hill and McGann looked useful however the strains of a morning park run meant that i slept through the middle overs .

As Brockley tried to up the run rate on a track where they had failed by some distance to defend 224 last year, the wicxkets started to crumble in a manner that was not entirely beyond their experience. What was completely beyond anyone’s experience was to see Olympic 5,000 metre hopeful and second prettiest cricket in Division 3, James Firth, play a successful ramp shot to Laziak who was in the middle of bowling a very effective “death” spell.

the Brockley lower order all tried their best and were at least successful in using up the overs and keeping Sykes away from the wicket. They closed on 194 for 8 which was both more than they thought they would get and less than they thought they needed.

after this point things took a definite turn for the better as brockley faced up up to probably the best tea on their travels. particular interest was paid to the pineapple by the younger members of the team whilst the jam and cream scones went quicker that a jeffreys saturday morning PB.

however at some point the enjoyment had to stop and they had to go out and field.

with 56 without loss on the board after 13 overs it became clear that their score was probably only about 120 short of a defendable total . However when Sykes (2 for 17) removed their opener with a ball that Coggeshall described as his “slower ball” (the Brockley players knew better : he was just knackered) and then Jeffreys , as he always does, took a catch at short mid wicket, the pace at least slowed a bit.

at 71 for 2 off 23 overs the second innings was a mirror image of the first. However Coggeshall started to accelerate and whilst Whiley (2 for 65) ensured that wickets kept falling the home side never let the rate get above a manageable 6 and over.

Brockley brought on Boor to try and wrestle some form of control and he bowled with guile and determination which led to a number of chances which led to a number of missed chances.

Firth was brought back for a final charge with Coggeshall needing 4 to win from 4 overs and with 4 wickets in hand. he removed the stubborn Laziak (80) who had steered the innings from the first ball and when Boor (4 for 32) took two wickets in the next over thanks largely to a brilliant dive out of the way of the ball by Sykes so that STUART!!! Hill could catch it, the last pair were left facing Firth with 2 needed for victory

a strong cover drive saw a single off the first ball a a sound defensive shot seemed to have coped with the second until it rolled slowly back to dislodge a bail and tie the match at 194 – preserving the winless run of both teams in a match that the cliche ridden commentator would say that cricket was the real winner

often close games can be quite tetchy affairs but aside from a couple of comments (why is it that when cricketers pass fifty years they lose a certain sense of decorum?) this match was played and officiated in an excellent manner. Which was very welcome.