Stearn shows no Varsity nervous Tics

Varsity Seconds Cricket Cambridge Crusaders 241/9
Oxford Authentics 242/5 A dogged unbeaten hundred from all-rounder Chris Stearn, a
veteran of an incredible ten Varsity games, drove Oxford’s
second eleven to a deserved victory with just one over to spare
in the Parks last Friday. Cambridge, having won the toss and chosen to bat, faced down
some tight opening bowling of pace and swing, before Rik Hodges
picked up two quick wickets, getting rid of Ben Jacklin for 57
and Mark Hillyard for 56. The visitors pulled away and reached 200 on the forty-over
mark, with no more wickets forthcoming at that point. Stearn,
however, had begun to reel them in with a sensible spell, and it
was this, married to some sharp, ruthless fielding, that lay the
foundations for a comeback in the last ten overs. Skipper Charlie
Gammell and returning opener Gerrard took three wickets apiece,
leaving the shellshocked Light Blues to trudge off at the end of
their fifty overs with a beatable total of 241. Number 3 Stearn arrived at the crease early and was intent on
repeating his heroics in the threeday game last year, when he
posted 85 not out. Like his bowling, the strength of
Stearn’s play with the bat was his conservatism and by
taking singles well, frustrating the bowlers and manipulating the
field, he put the Dark Blues in the driving seat. The second
wicket, which saw strong-hooking Booth dismissed for 41, brought
James Davenport to the crease. Oxford became bogged down and, at 97/2 from 27 overs, in need
of an injection of pace, they were unable to push the scoreboard
along. When Davenport was put out of his misery, the Authentics
were in need of eight runs an over. Thus, they were grateful to the incoming Gammell for pushing
the scoreboard along, while Stearn, liberated by his presence,
began to play more freely. He brought up his century during the
partnership, and when it ended on Gammell’s dismissal, for
22 from 15 balls, the tables had turned. Another wicket fell but
the contest was all but over. Gammell said that his side’s fielding “bodes
well” for the three-day encounter, to take place at
Fenner’s beginning on Tuesday of Tenth week, before he
picked out Stearn for special praise. “It was a credit to
Stearny. He batted superbly.”ARCHIVE: 3rd week TT 2004