Joe Phelan continued to show his liking for Pacific's bowlers as he smashed a maiden century - finishing his heavyweight batting display with consecutive sixes to reach an unbeaten 135. This despite an amazing over from Aussie leg spinner Tim Marshall - who claimed 4 wickets in an over for Pacific!
When teenage sensation Jake Sharland smashed through the Pacific top order to leave them reeling at 23 for 4 things looked grim - only for skipper Steve Lay and Welshman Jim Davies to save the day with a patient 121 run stand - before newcomer Ed Blake blasted 34 from only ten balls to bring them closer to parity.
Hackney Grasshoppers 241 for 7 (Joe Phelan 135*, Battersby 54, Tim Marshall 5-55)
Pacific 181 for 5 (Jim Davies 58, Ed Blake 34*, Steve Lay 26*, Jake Sharland 4-15)
Skipper Steve Lay opted to field first – aware that his side lacked much bowling. He was soon to regret the decision as Mike Alexander spilt an early chance at long leg off Joe Phelan. Despite some quality bowling from Ollie Haill and Alexander – there were to be no more chances as Phelan dominated an opening stand of 75 with Middlesex Schools teenager Jake Sharland – who eventually fell for 18 to a catch off the persevering Alexander.
However this only prompted an acceleration in the scoring rate as Phelan and Battersby attacked change bowlers Jim Davies and Tim Marshall. Battersby had just reached his half-century when he fell to Marshall – and dangerman Dougal de Keller fell to a good catch in the deep by Marshall off veteran spinner Alan Roberts.
However Roberts was also being plundered by Phelan as cries of “Sumo” were heard as the stocky opener approached his century.
Suddenly the match changed as Marshall produced a dream over that brought him 4 wickets – and two strong appeals from the other deliveries – and a late collapse threatened to halt the Hackney innings.
Phelan was having none of it and went to his ton with a spectacular straight six – before smashing a few more to hasten the declaration at an intimidating 241. His unbeaten innings of 135 was of the highest quality.
The Pacific innings needed to get off to a solid start to pursue such a total – but Aussie Marshall’s great day came to a premature end when he edged a Matt Sanderson delivery through to the keeper. Then Jake “Freddie Flintoff” Sharland proved too much for Phil Spearpoint – who edged one as he tried to withdraw the bat.
Sharland soon also accounted for Adrian Duthie (14) and Peter Hollman (0) – both clean bowled – leaving the innings in tatters at 23 for 4 after 10 overs.Skipper Lay and left hander Jim Davies set about the repair job – cautiously building the score on a pitch that offered variable bounce to the quicker bowlers.
Lay was in true rear guard mode and Davies also careful as hopes of a victory were soon put aside. Davies moved past 50 and the partnership to 121 when the Welshman perished with the end in sight – smashing the ball into the groin of third slip – who did well to hold onto the ball(s)!
This brought Aussie newcomer Ed Blake to the crease – who proceeded to smash 3 sixes and 4 fours in an unbeaten ten ball cameo of 34. Steve Lay’s marathon left him on 26 not out after 2 ¼ hours at the crease – and the Grasshoppers rightly feeling they had had the better of the draw.
MOM - Tim Marshall - 4 wickets in an amazing over for the burly Aussie leggie.
Packing the Kit - Mike Alexander - that dropped catch!
XI : S Lay *, M Alexander, J Davies, A Duthie, P Hollman, P Spearpoint, A Roberts, O Haill, E Blake +, P Czabotar, T Marshall
STATOS CORNER - Tim's 4 wickets in an over lies joint 3rd in the all time list of wicket
Ed's 34 all in boundaries lies second only to Alan's 36 in that list - and
would have challenged JC's quickest ever 50 as he had taken only 10 balls to
get to 34 when time ran out. For future reference Ed the target is 24
Conversely - Steve's 26* in 135 minutes off 81 balls fails to register in
slow scoring from balls faced - he once took that long to score 10 - so Sunday was a mere
cameo by comparison. However his % of runs scored whilst at the crease (26
out of 169 - 15%) must surely be a record!