Nigel Wilkinson claimed 8 for 21 - the second best figures ever in Pacific's history - but the batsmen squandered the opportunity their skipper had created and fell short of the target set by a young Radlett side.
Radlett 123 All Out (Gray 38, Warne 35, Nigel Wilkinson 8 for 21)
Pacific 110 All Out (Duthie 26, Cochrane 24, Rickerty 4-15, Gray 3-37)
On a damp pitch that had just had the covers removed – skipper Nigel Wilkinson wisely opted to bowl first. However despite a good opening spell from Mike Alexander nothing seemed to fall for Pacific –as Radlett openers Warne and Gray came to terms with the pitch. Cashing in a few loose balls from Rob Bastin – the pair made steady progress.
The introduction of Shayne Rees added more pressure as the South African found steep bounce to trouble both men – but it was another South African – Shaun Cochrane who finally broke the stand with a smart piece of fielding to run out Warne for 35 - helped by a smart lob at the stumps from keeper Paul Attwood. Jim Davies struggled to find his length at first – but then settled and grabbed the second wicket when Gray popped one up to a diving Phil Spearpoint at silly mid-on.
With two new batsmen at the crease and the run rate slow – skipper Nigel Wilkinson replaced Rees – and soon found the conditions to his liking. Producing prodigious inswing the veteran seamer knew exactly how to bowl in the conditions and soon had the young Radlett batsmen playing risky shots to good balls.
Catches were taken by Attwood, Rees, Peter Czabotar and Rob Bastin – and the stumps were rattled as well as Wilkinson produced a vintage spell. Only his own 9-wicket haul for the club some 15 years ago surpasses his final analysis of 8 for 21 from 8.1 miserly overs.
A total of 123 on a pitch that had dried out somewhat looked a comfortable ask for a Pacific side boasting plenty of batting on paper. Adrian Duthie and Cochrane provided a confident start of 50. Duthie was the first to go for 26 when he was bowled by change bowler Rickerty. The seamer soon accounted for an out of sorts Spearpoint for a second consecutive duck and the usually limpet like Steve Lay for only 4.
With impressive young leg spinner Gray taking Cochrane’s wicket for 24 and then Peter Czabotar falling to Rickerty in the next over - and then Shayne Rees departing first ball for a characteristic Golden Duck - things looked dire for Pacific. There was a brief rally from Welshman Jim Davies and Bastin – but when Davies was well caught behind down the legside for 10 and Bastin’s attempt to hit his way out of trouble went to mid-on when on 6 – Pacific again looked down and out. Not forgetting to mention that the bowler who dismissed both Davies & Bastin was 12 years old!!
Enter skipper Wilkinson to join doughty veteran Mike Alexander – two men well suited to a rearguard action. With plenty of time in hand they inched towards the target – judiciously picking off the bad balls and defending the better ones.
With only 14 needed for victory – the return of Rickerty proved too much for Pacific’s Captain Valiant as he was beaten for pace and bowled for 14. With wicketkeeper batsman Paul Attwood batting at 11 because of a finger injury sustained in the filed – the game hung on a knife-edge. An attempted single form Alexander however ended in disaster as Attwood failed to hear his call and sent his partner back – but only once Alexander had reached the bowler’s end! His attempt to run two on his own failed and Pacific lost for the first time to the Hertfordshire side – having won the previous two games.
“What can I say!” said a clearly shattered Wilkinson later. “Obviously I’m pleased to do so well myself – but I’d much rather we could get back in the habit of winning games. We seem to be having outstanding individual efforts but poor team performances.” he added.
MOM - Nigel Wilkinson - superb bowling from the skipper to claim 8 wickets and a great last ditch effort with the bat
Packing the Kit - Phil Spearpoint - two ducks in a row!
XI: Mike Alexander, Paul Attwood, Pete Czabotar, Jim Davies, Adrian Duthie, Steve Lay, Shayne Rees, Nigel Wilkinson*, Rob Bastin, Phil Spearpoint and Shaun Cochrane.