On a day overshadowed by match-fixing allegations at Lord's, the clouds hung moodily in the sky over Crouch End. But in contrast to the anti-climax at the home of cricket that morning, Pacific CC and Beamers produced a gripping finale, with the match tied.
Striding out to the crease in moody drizzle, Pacific openers Toby Chasseaud and Lahrie Mohamed got to grips with a sticky wicket. Mohamed hit some well-timed shots while a rusty Chasseaud got stuck in the mud before the rain became a downpour and the players came off after six overs.
An early tea was taken and, although there was some moaning, the captains agreed to continue the match on an artificial wicket, with play reduced to 30 overs per side (from 40 overs) and Pacific continuing where they left off. After the disruption Chasseaud quickly re-found some form with a flurry of fours as he and Mohamed put on 57 for the first wicket.
No 3 Jon Webley fell cheaply but Darren Tempany showed great class with 59 off 40 balls. His controlled hitting included three front-foot sixes - one of them massive. Matt Holliday (7) chipped in before Stuart Hopper (27) joined Tempany in a 93-run partnership. Skipper James Smith (16 not out) and James Gleadow (8) put in valuable contributions at the end of the innings to take the score to 212 for seven.
In some respects, Pacific produced a comedy of errors when they took to the field. Hopper and Chasseaud both lost their footing on a slippery square and failed to produce a run-out. Jon Brown struck early, bowling Wolmar, but later took a horrible blow in the stomach while in his follow-through. This produced various reactions - not all of them sympathetic. Some called it a dropped catch, which technically it was, but the ball was travelling like a bullet. Another was overheard admiring Brown's apparent six-pack, because the ball had made such a loud thud. Perhaps they were referring to a six-pack of lager?
After Brown's early wicket, Beamers scored freely, surviving some loud LBW appeals. Webley was not happy, heads were going down, and the ball was getting whacked by Kiwi Dixon, who played the Inspector Morse leading role as he was supported by Lewis in a whopping stand of 173. Kieran "K Dog" Mullens kept up some intensity in the field, diving on top of the ball at every opportunity, but the game was getting away from Pacific. Gleadow had toiled without success. Tempany bowled a beamer at a Beamer. Wicketkeeper Matt Holliday took one in the kneecap and rolled around on the ground.
Then skipper James Smith brought himself into the attack. He toiled and swore in equal measure. At one point the umpire got caught in the crossfire when Smith inadvertently pinged the ball in his direction. A diplomatic breakdown was just about avoided.
But then it happened: Smith bowled, Dixon hit out to square leg, and Mohamed snaffled it. Some of his teammates admitted to having had their money on the ball (more spot betting?), but it was a good, safe catch. With their star batsman gone for an impressive 107, Beamers' soft underbelly was exposed. Unlike Jon Brown, it seems they couldn't boast a six-pack. Smith proceeded to take another two vital wickets.
At the other end, Chasseaud kept it tight with his left-arm spinners (well, one turned about a millimetre), including a wicket maiden in the penultimate over.
And there we were, with Webley bowling the final over of the match and just three needed to win. He pitched the ball up, they scampered a couple of singles. The scores were level with one needed off the last ball. Webley bowled. The batsman hit to Chasseaud at mid-on, who dashed with it towards the stumps to execute a run-out. Match tied!
Amazingly this was Pacific's third tie of the season. Tempany failed to buy a jug, but we'll let him off because he bought so many packets of crisps. And some nuts.