Pacific's lean spell ended with a comprehensive win over old rivals UCS as they successfully defended the Lindridge-McDougall Memorial Trophy in Oxford. For once Pacific produced a team effort with both bat and ball – with vice-captain David Murray top scoring with a fine 56 and veteran seamers Darryl Roberts (4-32) and Mike “The Terminator” Alexander (3-26) ensuring a quick win with the ball. Indeed it was a day in the sun for the experienced players – as both Nigel Wilkinson and Peter Hollman grabbed late wickets – and seasoned all-rounder Jonathan Campbell skilfully avoided a jug with 49 runs.
Pacific 229 All Out (David Murray 56, Jonathan Campbell 49, Jim Davies 37, Nick Johnson 12-0-59-4, Jamie Ward 16-9-23-1)
UCS 90 All Out (Darryl Roberts 10-3-32-4, Mike Alexander 7-0-26-3, Nigel Wilkinson 1-1-0-1)
On a scorching hot day UCS skipper Nick Ward surprised everyone by opting to field on winning the toss – perhaps mindful of his side’s early collapse in the morning on the same ground two years previously. However despite a little residual moisture in the pitch and a slower than usual outfield – it always looked a risky decision. The skipper’s woe was compounded by a broken finger as he tried to make a stop at slip early on.
However accurate seamer Jamie Ward soon accounted for Peter Hollman – caught behind for 5 – and both he and Dorian Garfunkel kept the pressure on the Pacific batsmen. However old hand Jonathan Campbell and novice Jim Davies remained patient and were prepared to wait for the occasional bad ball to keep the score moving. Old timer Campbell was clearly intent on teaching his apprentice a trick or two and started to set about the change bowlers with a series of lusty pulls just wide or short of the fielders. However he was undone soon before lunch by a beauty from Dymond that moved back into him – although he left may wondering whether his renowned fear of buying jugs had contributed to his downfall for 49 – bringing vice-captain David Murray to the crease.
At 95 for 2 at lunch and the day getting ever hotter – it was vital that Pacific avoided the post-lunch collapse that had blighted their last visit to Oxford. However having taken 10 from one Ossacks over – Davies mistimed a pull straight back to the bowler and departed for a patient 37 – and Steve Lay soon followed for 4 when defeated by a Nick Johnson delivery.
However Aussie Peter Czabotar flourished alongside Murray – selectively hitting the slower bowlers to the boundary. Meanwhile Murray unfurled a series of drives and cuts in an innings that showed Pacific that they need to ensure the middle-order stalwart returns to the crease more often for them in the second half of the season. As the sun bore down – the pair ensured a long spell in the field for UCS – until one attacking shot too many accounted for Czabotar for 21 – and Murray was very well held for a caught and bowled dismissal from Johnson for a classy 56. With Rob Bastin charging wildly to be stumped for a duck – Pacific needed the tail to fire a few more runs.
On a pitch with the ball coming through ever more easily onto the bat – Darryl Roberts (13), Allan Roberts (8 – including the only 6 of the day) and Mike Alexander (24) were able to take advantage of a tiring attack to get the runs that skipper Nigel Wilkinson wanted – Pacific’s innings ending on 229 from 67.5 hot overs.
After tea – UCS were facing something of a mountain – but had the benefit of a pitch with the ball coming through quicker and truer than in the morning. However this added pace allowed Alexander and Roberts to get a little extra zip on the new ball – and The Terminator soon broke through Garfunkel’s defences and also accounted for fellow opener Lee Adams clean bowled for 12. When he made it T3 with a further victim bowled – Roberts decided to get into the act by claiming the next four wickets to fall – with two catches behind for keeper Rob Bastin. The key wicket was Jamie Ward – previously a centurion on this ground – who survived a torrid time against Roberts – was dropped at second slip by Davies – only to nick the next ball to keeper Bastin – although the batsman was unhappy with the decision. With Johnson out two balls later – it seemed to be only a matter of time for pacific to wrap up a comfortable win.
So it was – with Roberts taking a good running catch in skipper Wilkinson’s only over and then wizened old pro Hollman finishing things off with a wicket in his only over – skipper Ward unable to bat due to his broken bone. 90 all out with plenty of time before the final hour started perhaps reflected cruelly on UCS – who had had to endure a long spell in the field after their skipper’s gamble at the toss had backfired horribly.
However Pacific skipper Nigel Wilkinson was pleased to retain the Lindridge-McDougall Memorial Trophy for the third year running. “At last we played as a team – with everyone contributing!” said the delighted veteran later. “Dave showed us what we have been missing with the bat – and it was a day for the old boys all round – with Darryl and Mike bowling superbly and JC making vital runs before lunch when the wicket was less predictable.” he concluded as he set off on a victory lap.
MOM – Dave Murray and Darryl Roberts – runs when they were needed in a classy knock – and a resounding return to form for the veteran seamer.
Packing the Kit – Nigel Wilkinson – for losing the toss - but getting to bat first anyway!
XI: Mike Alexander, Jonathan Campbell, Pete Czabotar, Jim Davies, Peter Hollman, Steve Lay, David Murray, Darryl Roberts, Nigel Wilkinson*, Rob Bastin, Allan Roberts.