Arriving as usual in late dribs and drabs, the ten men of Pacific weren't doing themselves any favours. Still, the tight opening bowling of Tom Ireland and Phil Smith gave us hope, removing both opening batsmen cheaply. Sadid was surely caught behind by Toby on about three but the umpire, perhaps unconvinced by Smith's hoarse appeal, declined to raise his finger in what turned out to be a game-changing decision.
Crouch End declared on 38.2 overs as soon as Sadid, in a cruel twist of fate, reached his century, leaving Pacific the somewhat odd period of 41.4 overs to bat, including a tricky 10 overs before tea (a tasty vegetable curry) was ready. It was to prove three balls too many.
It wasn't the best of starts, with Pacific 0-2 off two balls, and then 3-6 off about ten balls.
Steve Lay (edging past Jon Webley once again in the all-time Pacific run-scorers list) steadied the ship with a well compiled 36 while Tom's brother Antony Ireland, on debut, struck a mightily impressive 51 off 30 balls.
Matters hadn't been helped by Toby splitting his finger open while attempting a low catch off Ahmed's bowling at extra cover. As a result he came in somewhat lower than usual, at No 7, and in some discomfort. With gloves rubbing painfully against his cut finger, he removed them after the first few balls and batted heroically (ie stupidly) without them until undone by the dangerous Sadid.
Tony T was once again left stranded on nought not out. With an eleventh batsman we probably would have hung on for a draw. As it was, over half our runs scored by brothers Ireland, giving their watching parents something to cheer about at least. If only Daddy Ireland had brought his whites with him, rather than just beers, the result might have been different.
With thanks to Aroon for doing a stint of umpiring. We hope to see him with ball in hand again soon.