On a breezy cloudy day trip to non rural Essex - more wind-swept public park than country pub idyll - the Sunday league side returned to winning ways after a couple of not so hot results.
Your correspondent, international sportsman and party animal that he is, had to rely on second hand reports of a surprising decision to bat by the oppo, and an excellent opening burst by Jon Brown that reduced them to 30-2 after 10. (Sorry that's code for fat old man plays football in Norwich the day before and arrives late and in no fit state - but frankly nobody misses him.)
Another of Pacific's late-night revellers also opened the bowling, but, after a good start, the wheels came off Giaco's wagon a tad and frequent trips to the changing room followed – but in the circumstances a fine effort early doors. "Is the ball swinging?" asked boozy Bridgett multiple times. Blurred vision may account for this unwarranted enquiry.
South Loughton steadied with a good knock from Williamson, and sensible block and bash fare from wickerkeeper batsman Stokes. Satch had some satnav issues but, once he worked out where the batsman was, bowled well. Nugsy was his usual excellent self, experimenting further with the medium pace leg breaks, and, had your noble scribe been awake, would have had Williamson caught off glove and helmet.
The game was all but wrapped up by the bowling spells of Aroon and Shaz – with spin and swerve they cleaned up, and 130-3 became 164-9 in an outstanding period of tight bowling and good fielding. (Yours truly excepted of course as another tame offering was spilled just as easily as the vodka was last night.) Aroon was the real star and bowled as well as we've seen him; frankly the batsmen had no idea how to play him. Shaz got his in-swinger going with very little to hit and lots to applaud.
Ahmed came on and applied the coup de grace and, with an inviting 165 posted, the win looked to be on.
Pacific's in-form opening pair started well, the skipper looking imperious, and Toby batting like a man who hadn't failed since the Thames froze over. The bowling was a combination of cunning old git and thrusting young buck but frankly it all disappeared in a variety of directions quite quickly. Toby's failure to reach 50 woke most of us up * – surely he must use his own bat next week?! Tom looked like he had a party to go to and was in and out sharpish, but things rattled along. It would have been nice for the skip to see us home, but his innings was great to watch and full of fantastic timing and power with Sharapova-like grunts as the ball disappeared over mid-wicket off the roller and into the astonished/comatose/befuddled crowd.
It was left to Richards and Bridgett to see us home in an alcoholic haze where running a lot was both unlikely and, fortunately, not required. Victory was achieved just ahead of the Essex monsoon and a pair of jugs were enjoyed in the South Loughton shed until the rain abated. Our opposition were genial hosts, and we look forward to the return fixture as our next – and key – league game
Note to selves: silly appealing gets us nowhere and we might need to tone it down a touch
Otherwise well done and Alka-Seltzers all round.
* Toby's good run
73 not out v Old Parkonians, 12 May
69 v Squirrels, 18 May
115 not out v Pacific old-timers, 27 May (anniversary match)
113 not out v Bloomsbury Royals, 1 June
70 v Mayfield, 9 June
100 not out v Hadley Wood Green, 16 June
(That adds up to 540 runs at an average of 270!)