Saturday saw Eastry travel away to Northdown, and upon arrival the team quickly saw that the famed Northdown winds were ever present even with a alter game in the season. After tightening up their caps to the highest setting Eastry took to the field, and were surprised to find a track with great pace and swing, making it look like a day for the bowlers. Deveson came downhill with the wind at his back and decided to unfurl the sails, bowling at a quicker pace than usual, with bouncers galore. The home batsmen however, expertly used the pace of the ball to thread it through the gaps behind square on the offside, tantalisingly close to the fielders. Waring bowling into the gale fared much better with his economy rate as he appeared to be throwing boomerangs at the batsmen, who were in all kinds of trouble against the swinging new ball, and finished with figures of 12 overs 24-1. After sharing 23 overs of bowling the two opening bowlers relented with a feeling that they should have been more penetrative, their glum mood only lightened by the sight of Sumner chasing his floppy hat around the boundary. Most concurred this was a poor choice in attire for such conditions. The change of bowling brought Graves down the hill, leaving G Friend to bowl uphill into the wind, and whilst the two bowlers struggled early on to contain the balls movement, they settled into their rhythm and managed to joust with the batsmen, who were looking to rapidly increase their run rate by playing flamboyant and adventurous shots. After putting the bowlers to the sword around the ground, Norhtdown’s Brear was cut short in his prime after bring cruelly run out by taking a single to the keeper for 59. Matt Sumner decided to rejoin the game after playing hide and seek with his unruly head wear for 30 overs and replaced Graves, bowling tempting spinning deliveries that invited the batsmen to play expansive strokes, taking a wicket in the process. Northdown declared soon after with a score of 200-7 off of 41 overs.
Eastry came out to bat after tea knowing that they needed to score at 5 an over for 39 overs in order to secure a victory. Phebey attempted to take on the run rate, scoring two handsome fours in succession, but was bowled soon after by a precise in swinger from P Crow for 8. As so often happens in cricket one wicket brings another, and Aaron friend was the next batsman to perish after ambitiously trying to sweep the bowler Scott, which ended with the ball clattering into the stumps sending Friend back to the changing room for a duck. Unfortunately for Northdown this brought Gareth Friend to the crease, who set the tone for his whole innings by sending his first ball sailing over the pavilion at mid wicket. Friend continued to strike huge blows, and bought up his 50 after 33 balls, and then notched up his hundred just as quickly, indeed it seemed that all Eastry had to do was find him a partner to hold up the non strikers end. Both new recruit Harley Lawrence and Matt Deveson stuck around but were dismissed cheaply, with Lawrence being run out by a greedy Friend trying to farm the strike. It then fell to Matt Sumner to help see the team home, but in doing so managed to steal the runs required by Friend to reach his maiden 150 as Eastry hit the winning runs with 10 overs to spare. It was an historic innings by Gareth Friend who ended the match on 149 not out, hitting 21 fours and 5 sixes in the process.
– Matt Deveson