A great all-round team effort from Pacific saw them secure a dramatic win as darkness descended in the final over against their Kent league opponents. Pacific claimed a first-ever win away at Tenterden as darkness and drizzle enveloped the ground. Late hitting from Aussie duo Tim Marshall (23*) and Matt Ralph (8*) saw them home with 4 balls to spare.
Tenterden 197 for 8 (M Ralph 13-5-35-2, J Davies 10-3-41-2)
Pacific 198 for 7 (P Hollman 54, J Davies 36, T Marshall 23*)
The game started in bright sunshine and Tenterden elected to make first use of a decent looking track. Pacific were pleased to welcome back Ralph after a few weeks away in New York and he soon claimed the first wicket – skipper Steve Lay taking the chance at slip. With Marcel Boonaert giving little away at the other end the runs proved difficult to come by as the batsmen played and missed a number of times. The introduction of new leg-spinner Ted Waller enabled the batsmen to cut loose – but that was to be their downfall as Waller got into his stride and induced a top edge that was well held by John Hill at mid-off.
With Ralph dismissing the dangerous Hobbs for an even 50 and Jim Davies grabbing an early wicket – caught behind by the versatile Marshall (while the bowler appealed for and obtained an lbw verdict!) – the home side again regrouped and the run rate slowed again. Eventually the pressure told as a number of chancy runs were attempted and – after numerous near misses – a combination of evergreen Peter Hollman, Ralph and Marshall brought a wicket as a third run was attempted. Off spinner Ian Lay then grabbed a wicket thanks to a catch from the ever-involved Ralph, Davies grabbed a second and there was another crazy run out – before some late hitting brought Tenterden up to 197 from 45 overs.
Time and the weather – rather than the pitch or the home attack – soon looked to be Pacific’s main threat in their victory chase. Guy Wiehahn and Peter Hollman got things off well with a stand of 45 before Wiehahn perished swinging uncharacteristically across the line to veteran swing bowler Douglas. Pacific were offered the light at this stage as dark clouds loomed overhead – but instead Jim Davies upped the tempo with a string of boundaries – scoring 36 from only 24 balls – as he and Hollman put on 55 at around 8 an over. This brought the target run-rate down to below 6 an over – but Davies then fell to a fine catch running backwards at point. However this was just enough for Davies to become the fist Pacific batsman to pass 500 runs this season - in his tenth completed innings.
Hollman continued to impress with a series of well struck drives and he moved to a well deserved half-century as skipper Steve Lay (7) and John Hill (7) contributed to useful stands with him. When Hollman was bowled for 54, Pete Czabotar and Tim Marshall continued the good work – until one quick single too many brought an untimely end for Czabotar (9). With Ted Waller missing out and the drizzle beginning to fall – Matt Ralph arrived to help Marshall smash the wilting attack into submission – aided by a number of byes and wides. Douglas bowled through the entire innings from one end taking 2 for 68 at only 4 an over – but his final over all but ensured a Pacific win as 4 byes were followed by 5 wides – leaving only 3 needed from the last over.
“Everyone contributed something today – which was great! It was a real team effort,” said the versatile leg-spinner-wicketkeeper-batsman Marshall afterwards. “Considering we scored our runs in 10 overs less than they did - we can all be rightly pleased” he added. “Matt bowled really well - and Pete and Jim set the run chase up beautifully. I was delighted to be able to finish the job off with Matt” the Aussie all-rounder concluded.