Pacific's Wray return was marred by the same old story of the footballers being slow to vacate the field, despite being politely prompted to by Rajku. Why does the council provide them with goals and pitch markings when they pay nothing to play here? Apparently the goals were provided as an incentive to finish their matches on time but this incentive is clearly not working.
Anyway, after deciding which of the new fences needed to be cleared in order for a six to be awarded, captains Clint and Toby tossed up with Ahmed's supposedly lucky euro. It turned out to be lucky for Clint but not for Toby, as the former won the toss and elected to bat on the Wray road in a 35-over match.
Clint batted powerfully for his 55 but unfortunately none of his team-mates stayed with him for long, unable to negotiate Pacific's accurate bowling. Tom Ireland's seven overs for five runs was a joy to behold as he generated good pace and kept even Clint quiet. Phil was also tidy other than being dispatched over cow a couple of times. West Indies Under-15 batsman Nico Reiffer bowled very quick off-spin so Tom's one handed slip grab off him has to be a candidate for catch of the season. Nico found himself on a hat-trick ball after Toby Mariner inexplicably tried to hit his first delivery for six only to sky it to Phil at extra cover. Alas, the hat-trick ball was well left outside off stump. Origin of the species Pete Hollman, reluctantly forced into playing by two late pull-outs (Alex and Giaco), rolled back the years with some athletic fielding, although at one point Luke was heard cursing dad's inability to stop a powerfully struck sweep. Still, it mattered not as Washington failed to make 100, or to bat their 35 overs, with Mark Woodland finding some in-swing and taking his first wicket for the club.
A good tea was had, with head chef Ireland bossing the kitchen admirably (is there anything that man can't do?) and it was our turn to bat. Opening, Ben Burnham was bowled by a wonder ball. He left a delivery from Mitch thinking it would pass harmlessly down the leg side, only for it to swing around his legs and hit middle and leg. When Rajkumar shouldered arms and was struck on the pads the next ball with a similar delivery there was an almighty appeal but Pete, at last able to don his umpire's coat, was not interested.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Toby, having been shocked to realise in the morning that the splice of his beloved Salix was broken, batted sensibly with an old taped-up plank. He at first struggled to find his timing, blaming the bottom-heavy bat's lack of balance (any excuse, eh?) but eventually found his timing with a couple of square drives for four and a six over square leg.
In the end Pacific chased down the small target with ease, allowing plenty of drinking time at the Stapleton, where we had two pizzas (one meat feast, one vegetarian) delivered. Shaz, who let slip that he had just graduated with a first, was unable to match his academic prowess in the drinking stakes, leaving pretty much a whole pint of Hoegaarden unfinished.