Clapton & Oval keep calm to overcome Royal Sovereign in tense clash

The victorious Clapton team

The victorious Clapton team - Credit: Archant

Adarsh Chhabria kept his cool under pressure to steer Clapton & Oval to victory in a thrillingly close encounter with Royal Sovereign at London Fields.

Sovereign won the toss and decided to bat on what looked a belter of a pitch, but some accurate bowling from left-armer Jim O’Reilly (2-37 from eight overs) had the home side in trouble early on.

Another left-armer, Kerry Tyrrell (4-19 from eight overs) maintained the pressure, but a great partnership between Mark Stephney (81) and Luke Browne (59) put Sovereign back in a strong position.

The pair started to apply some pressure of their own as they found the boundary regularly and also ran well between the wickets. Some late hitting from Evans Willie (29) helped Sovereign to reach a good score of 232-8 from their 40 overs.

Clapton began their reply aggressively, with 13 runs coming in the first over, and they built good partnerships throughout the innings, led by Kaspar Pedersen (90).

Pedersen struck the ball beautifully through the covers and straight down the ground, but an untiring spell of persistence and accuracy from Stephney saw Clapton momentarily slip behind the required run-rate.

But Chhabria, who finished unbeaten on 44, steered his side to a memorable five-wicket victory with one over to spare.

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A hot and sticky Millfields Park was the stage for a tight, see-saw clash between Stoke Newington and The Camel, with the latter winning the toss and opting to bat.

However, a constant stream of wickets went down and Camel found themselves in trouble at 91-9 after 24 overs, with only Cyrus Mehta (33) and Stacy Harvey (14) reaching double figures.

But their numbers 10 and 11 respectively – Phil Adams (14) and Sam Berkson (31 not out) – then proceeded to put on 64 in an unfussed and unhurried manner, playing themselves in first, then opening up as they gained in confidence.

The bowling became looser as Stoke Newington became more and more frustrated and, when the pair were eventually parted, they had taken the score to 155 – matching Camel’s highest score of the season. Sardar Rashid (4-17 from eight overs) was the pick of the Stokey bowlers.

Stoke Newington’s reply got off to the best possible start, with Toby Jenkinson (60) and Tom Ashman (26) rattling along at a run a ball in an opening stand of 64.

With a lightning quick outfield, the ball flashed to all parts of the ground and even the loss of two quick wickets failed to slow Stoke Newington’s progress at 126-2 after 18 overs.

But the return of opening bowler Andrew Miller (4-16 from eight overs) changed the complexion of the game as his second spell of five overs yielded four wickets for just two runs and wrought havoc on the middle order.

A needless run-out added to the carnage and, with Stoke Newington in danger of defeat at 148-8, it required a resolute dead bat to bring calm and allow Rashid to knock off the winning runs.

London Fields won a good toss against Baring Up at Springfield Park, deciding to bat and they proceeded to compile a very competitive 273 from 40 overs.

Dave Lane and Robin Friend got London Fields off to a good start before James Gingel struck an excellent 78 and Troy Utz delivered some of his customary late blows in a quickfire 48, including 21 off one over.

Baring Up found it hard to score early on and an early run-out got the fielders buzzing. Phil Clarke bowled an excellent line and, despite seeing three chances go down, eventually got his just rewards.

Two dismissals in two balls, including the dangerous Shah Shahed, set the tone and regular wickets followed, with Fields captain Dave Krohn picking up three and Paul Turley two as Baring Up were bowled out for 192.