Veteran seamer Mike Alexander claimed the best ever figures of his 14-year Pacific career finishing with 7 for 39 from 11.1 overs bowled uphill into a blustery wind. With Jim Davies contributing 72 with the bat a comfortable win seemed on until a late collapse almost saw Pacific snatch defeat from the jaws of victory for the second day running. They were grateful to newcomer Oliver Haill for coming to their rescue with a timely unbeaten 14 to see them home with little more than an over to spare.
Edmonton 143 All Out (M Alexander 11.1 3-39-7, M Boonaert 13-3-37-1, M Ralph 7-4-8-0)
Pacific 145 for 9 (J Davies 72, O Haill 14*, Hinnegan 4-22, Bala 3-7)
Skipper Steve Lay won the toss and decided to give his bowlers first use of a good-looking pitch. Matt Ralph immediately impressed bowling with great control with a significant breeze at his back and using skilful variations to keep the batsmen on the defensive. Unfortunately bowling into the blustery wind proved difficult for debutant Oliver Haill as he found the line difficult to control. Another new boy Rob Bastin was soon called upon by Lay and he captured the first wicket taking a steepling caught and bowled chance from a top edged pull.
Ralph had no luck and finished without a wicket but his 7 overs contained 4 maidens as the batsmen often struggled to lay a bat on the ball. He was replaced by the equally miserly Marcel Boonaert putting pressure on the batsmen to play their shots at the other end.
The experienced Alexander took immediate advantage of this winning a leg before decision in his second over as the frustrated batsmen tried to take him on. Boonaert saw an lbw decision go his way only for the batsman to be sportingly recalled by Lay - as there had been a clear inside edge. He then saw more likely appeals turned down and two difficult edges not quite stick. It was Alexander who was to run through some reckless Edmonton batting as the need for runs put pressure on the middle order. A number of good catches were held in the outfield and batsmen played across straight deliveries giving Boonaert a well deserved wicket and the returning Haill his first Pacific scalp. Fittingly it was Alexander who wrapped things up with another well pitched-up delivery bringing him his seventh victim and Pacific career best figures.
The score looked below par but Pacific were soon reeling as Steve Lay (0) fell to the pace and bounce that the Edmonton opening bowlers found in the wicket. Jim Davies then top edged a hook over the keeper to get off the mark with a lucky boundary - and Peter Hollman (10) also failed to come to terms with the bounce to be caught at slip.
However Davies was joined by debutant Phil Spearpoint in what was to prove the biggest partnership of the match. Spearpoint showed great character digging in having been struck a painful blow on the hand early on. With Davies now finding the middle of the bat with a series of hooks and cuts Pacific were well up with the required rate. The pair brought up the hundred and had added 82 when Spearpoint was bowled by one that cut back sharply from new bowler Bala (3-7) for a priceless 13.
The same bowler soon accounted for Chris Richardson (0) and Tim Marshall (2) the latter unlucky as the ball ran down his bat onto the stumps. Matt Ralph and Davies seemed to have regained control only for Davies innings to end when he aimed a loose drive at a yorker from Hinnegan (4-22) and was bowled for 72. Marcel Boonaert (0) only lasted two balls before being bowled before Ralph and Oliver Haill added 13 with time in hand but with the light deteriorating.
When Ralph (11) gave Hinnegan the charge and his third victim via an edge onto the stumps the pressure was really on. Rob Bastin as he had the previous day reacted with some rash running. At one point both batsmen bizarrely ended up at the same end as the stumps were broken only for Haills quick thinking to realise that neither was out as both were in their ground at that end and his sprint to the far end amazingly succeeded! However Bastin was soon to be bowled with last man Alexander coming to the crease.
He survived by getting well forward to everything whilst Haill showed great composure waiting for the bad balls and putting them away for boundaries to finish with an unbeaten 14 and the match was won - Pacific's first win against this opposition for 11 years.
It was a great relief to win at the end! said skipper Lay afterwards. Top marks to Mike and all the bowlers for the way they bowled. We certainly put pressure on ourselves when we batted but Ollie came up with the goods. he added.
Tims Teas Burly Aussie wicket keeper-all rounder Tim Marshall praised the quality of the cakes but suggested a bit more variety in the sandwiches was needed if this tea wanted to move up the league table. Never the less after extensive research (ie. grabbing everything he could) it received a creditable 5/10 from the experienced middle-order eating-machine.
XI:- Mike Alexander, Marcel Boonaert, Jim Davies, Peter Hollman, Steve Lay*, Tim Marshall+, Matthew Ralph, Chris Richardson, Rob Bastin, Oliver Haill, Phil Spearpoint.