This is England. This is October. This is cricket.
Albeit against a Strongroom lacking numbers and quality, each member of Pacific’s XI played a consistently high calibre of cricket. Slim Strongroom hopes of reaching Pacific’s 190 target were stymied by an assured bowling and fielding performance.
Comfortingly compact, secure strokes of Hollman (28) and Thornton (19) were followed by a display of silken savagery from the man dubbed the ‘Bradman’ of the Middlesex and Essex Invitational League by Black Rose’s Mishra, Mr Jon Webley. Skipper Chasseaud added yet more lustre like the sheen of a piping hot mug of cocoa, as Pacific caressed their way to an imposing 190 from 35 overs.
While the two Pacific batsman were combating Strongroom’s attack, two more Pacificists, Smith and Mullens, were combating the vagaries of Wray Crescent’s kitchen. Mullens didn’t get a chance to bat on Saturday but nonetheless pulled off a series of nonchalant cuts on a sizeable batch of cheese and ham sandwiches, Smith running well to pick up a set of mugs and plates from his Finsbury Park flat. The two plated one of the best teas put on at Wray this year, from Paul Davis’ expertly crafted kimchi chicken rice dish, through homemade chocolate brownies, an array of sandwiches and a batch of Wagon Wheels which the loyal October Essex spectators tucked into.
When Strongroom batted, the Nugget quickly brought up his half century of Pacific wickets for 2014, a feat testament to his enduring quality and dedication. He then engineered a brilliantly quirky colonial sledgefest at Paul Davis. Helping out as an extra Strongroom batsman, the slightly nonplussed American was reminded of this year’s 200th anniversary of the British burning of the White House in the 1812 wars with the US. As Davis stroked a capable single here or there Mr Gleadow accepted each dent to his bowling figures as a “frigate down…but the war’s not over”. A Pacific player or two reminded Nugget, in the parlance of the sports psychologist, to stay in the present. Geoff Jones soon adapated to the the just-short-of a-length length which tends to be most profitable to bowlers on the skiddy artificial track, picking up two wickets, which included a superb slip pouch to a rising ball by Webley. Phil Smith demonstrated once again his seam-up quality, while Ahmed Hussain bowled perhaps the best spell of his Pacific career, in the process taking him into second place in the 2014 Pacific bowling lists. His efforts were aided and abetted by a slick fielding effort, led by Sandeep Nair behind the stumps and supported by another brilliant catch from Luke Hollman, nonchantly holding onto a catch which went into Finsbury Park’s October orbit before returning to earth. Khalid and Mullens took a late wicket apiece to ensure all had contributed to a great afternoon of cricket. Onwards and upwards Pacific.
Thanks to Chris Clayton for scoring and Pete Hollman for umpiring, and, more generally but much more importantly, for being the lungs of our club.