1986 London Sports beat Metro

BRITISH BLIND SPORT Primay Club National Knockout Cup Final 1986
By Dave Sheridan
Article taken from “Participation” magazine Autumn 1986

London Sports v Metro
Barclays Bank Sports Ground
19th July 1986

What promised to be a most intriguing and competitive final brought together the two big London clubs Metro and London Sports. Metro in five of the previous seven finals, had won the trophy three times and were the present holders of the Knock-Out shield. Metro’s years of experience with an edge of youth still brings fear into many sides and certainly they looked well prepared for the final after their emphatic semi-final defeat over Worcester Old Boys. In contrast, this was to be London Sports first final. They have built a good and strong team in the last few years and proved how much a threat they were to any side by beating last year’s finalists, Avon, in the semi-final; a side who many people strongly fancied to go all the way this year.

Conditions for the game seemed to be ideal with good, dry weather and a reasonably sized crowd to cheer them on and enthuse in what promised to be a most entertaining and close encounter between these sides.

London Sports batted first and appeared to let their first appearance in a final affect them by losing some early wickets. At 47 for 4 in the seventh over one was a little concerned that they were going to make the mistake of being all out short of using their full complement of 25 overs. From here on they managed to steady things and it then became a battle of getting runs without throwing wickets away. Good little knocks from R Clifton, P Carmichael, A McKeating and especially A Kalavazides led them to a total of 136 for 8 off the 25 overs. In the field for Metro one can pick out P Young who yet again established a claim to being the best total of the game with his three catches. A Mabert helping to fill in as one of the stop gap wicket keepers took a good catch down the leg side to get rid of A McKeating but his superb catch to dismiss T Hegarty must have taken ten years off his age. The Metro bowling was unusually wayward at times and the extras total tells the tale, but R Bryden must be the pick of their bowlers.

Metro started their chase for the runs in steady fashion without due panic about the run rate. Again the need to use all the overs available to get the runs must have been uppermost in the openers minds. A Mabert, who started to let loose with the bat, after a cagey start, lobbed a catch to mid-off when the score was 38. P Young followed shortly afterwards LBW to M O’Brien. All was not lost at this stage as Metro had a good base to work on and R Bryden in at the crease. So much depended on his success with the bat and how well he could be supported by the other batsmen. Disaster struck quickly after one run had been added with J Roberts well run out before he had scored. Were Metro starting to panic? Losing partners at 53 and 62 R Bryden tried to push the score on quickly. At 73 A McKeating caught R Bryden out off P Carmichael’s bowling having previously put down a difficult chance a couple of overs before. This was obviously the wicket that London Sports wanted as was demonstrated by the celebrations. These might well have proved a little premature as Metro pushed on and got closer to the required total under the guidance of D Mears who was batting well. With the score on 104 D Mears was run out when his partner R Bickler hit a ball straight back along the pitch on to the stumps with D Mears out of his ground. This was the eighth wicket and most importantly the final blow that was needed as the remaining two wickets fell at 105 with London Sports winning by 31 runs. The fielding of London Sports was good and tight which made runs very hard to get. It would be difficult to pick out any one fielder in particular as it was such a good team effort but certainly the catch to dismiss R Bryden must have given A McKeating a lot of pleasure. Also the one-handed catch off his own bowling by P Carmichael to dismiss A Whetherly was something special. The bowling of London Sports was good and accurate with a particularly fine performance from M O’Brien who I would say was the pick of their bowlers.

The tension felt by the spectators as the game went on was great, so how the participants felt is hard to imagine. The friendly and competitive nature of game was a credit to visually-handicapped sport in general and both teams can take credit for providing a a most exciting and probably the best final seen in the history of the competition.

Many congratulations to London Sports who have built a strong team worthy of winning the Taverners Shield. Well done too for the men of the match; P Young (Totally blind) and A Kalavazides (Partially sighted).

I would like to take this opportunity to thank Barclays Bank Sports Club for yet again providing such fine facilities for our cricket “showpiece”. Also many thanks to the two umpires Bob Mockford and Roger Pain and the scorer Peter Whitelock who came along to officiate in their usual efficient manner. I am sure the others on the sub-committee would support me in thanking Bernard King who has again done enormous amounts of work in getting information off to clubs during the past year. He goes about his workin a quiet manner but I can assure you he gives a good example for all organisers and I am grateful and happy to be part of a committee chaired by him.

Johnny Dennis, a Vice-President of BRITISH BLIND SPORT and a member of the Lord’s Taverners, attended the day’s play and presented the Trophies at the conclusion of the match. Many thanks for his tremendous support and pleasant comments of the game.