OK, let's get this out of the way first; Lahrie suffered a no-show as well as two players dropping out on the morning of the game. No naming or shaming here, but suffice to say it put the seven who made it to Broxbourne in a precarious position. Poor form.
Anyway, the match: Lahrie lost the toss, and Pacific were inserted by the South Loughton skipper. If he had known what was coming, he may have had second thoughts about that choice. Lahrie Mohammed and Toby Chasseaud immediately took the fight to SLoughton's opening bowlers, Mohammed dispatching the first ball of the innings to the midwicket boundary, and Chasseaud scoring steadily. Lahrie fell for 27 attempting a lofted pull which, although exceptionally well-struck, only succeeded in finding the fielder at deep midwicket. Had he played that shot at Wray it may have reached the Tesco, but on Broxbourne's main pitch he didn't put quite enough behind it to clear the long boundary. No matter, he had assisted TC in seeing off the opening bowlers, who were replaced by two considerably better marksmen, the SLoughton skipper bowling accurate pace and, from the tennis court end, one of the side's elder statesmen, Dave Smith, who was generating some good away-swing.
This brought to the crease an incredibly hungover Ben Boorman. Half-asleep, staring into the distance, he could only stand, zombie-like, as the first ball he faced clattered his pads. An appeal went up but was quashed as it appeared to be missing leg stump. In fact, the first over is probably best brushed under the carpet as Boorman struggled to join the land of the living via a series of wild slashes outside the line of off stump. Nevertheless, he survived, and the Pacific pair began to score runs at an even pace, buoying the spirits of their teammates with a 50 partnership.
A second change in the bowling, and SLoughton's bearded slip fielder took a turn at bowling some incredibly loopy leggies. This was a red rag to Boorman, who took on his adversary with some great footwork, playing some lovely attacking strokes to up the run rate. Toby, mindful of the lack of batsmen in the Pacific side, played more cautiously off the back foot, nevertheless punishing the Loughton leviathan through the covers with twos and the odd three for good measure. Dave was replaced at the opposite end by a young pretender who, although reasonably quick, wasn't proving too much of a handful.
With the Pacific pair both on 49, the scoring slowed as they had by this point been instructed to preserve their wickets by skipper Mohammed, with the aim of seeing out not just the regulation 45 overs, but also the additional five in order to give the seven men a fighting chance of protecting a good total. Toby proceeded to bat cautiously and expertly pick out the gaps in the field, allowing a few more threes to be run on his way to 50. Ben followed suit shortly after, pulling a short delivery for two to reach his second half-century for the club in five days.
Toby really began to open up and start punishing a tired Smith, brought back for a second spell, with a series of boundaries including a huge six over long-on to bother both the Essex swinger and the local tennis players. In no time at all, Pacific's Mr Reliable had reached a century, and should be praised for doing so in stylish fashion. In the 45th over he then attempted a lofted cover drive but toe-ended it, succeeding only in picking out a safe pair of hands at mid-off, bringing to an end a partnership of 164.
As the 45 overs passed, Ben lasted a few balls longer, having successfully blown the cobwebs away to reach 65 before suffering the same fate – this time, however, it was mid-on who took the glory. Giaco and Aroon made a fine job of adding runs in the extra five overs, Giaco producing some classy drives and Aroon with one particularly tasty pull to midwicket. A formidable total of 234 was recorded, the well-deserved result of a sterling batting display.
Tea was gratefully received, and the two sides emerged to find a badly-bruised and ominous sky looming above, and it was this which served to spell the untimely end for the match. Giaco bowled the only over for Pacific before the heavens opened. Torrential rainfall saw the batsmen scampering for cover and the boys from Islington scampering for the covers (to protect the wicket, you see). With the rain only getting heavier and puddles forming in the outfield, a decision was reached to call it a day.
Special mention must go to Ahmed Hussain, who travelled from Surrey for what turned out to be 50 overs of scoring. Respect.
Toby enters the record books
With his century, Toby has broken the club record for the most consecutive fifties by a Pacific batsman. Toby's string of fifties is as follows
Sat 9 June: 50 v Botany Bay
Sun 17 Jun: 91 v Hadley Wood Green
Sun 24 June: 58 v South Loughton
Sun 22 July: 79 v United CC
Sun 29 July: 100 v South Loughton
The previous record of four consecutive fifties was jointly held by John McDougall and Jon Webley. In 1983-1984, McDougall hit successive scores of 87, 50*, 65 and 90. In 2009, Jon Webley hit successive scores of 105, 73*, 76 and 121.
The original XI players on the teamsheet were:
Giaco Bridgett, Ben Boorman, Ahmed Hussain, Abhishek Patel, Rejesh Thind, Toby Chasseaud, Stacey Harvey, James Smith, Lahrie Mohamed, Tony Tambyraja, Aroon Korgaonkar