Darryl Roberts produced the amazing figures of 8 overs – 8 maidens – 3 wickets for 0 runs - the all-time record economical spell by a Pacific bowler – a spell that was equally hostile as it was accurate. Pacific’s bowlers ran riot on a damp Queen’s College Oxford pitch - with Marcel Boonaert claiming 5 for 25 at the other end. This marked a dramatic change in fortunes for the two men – both had earlier been dismissed for ducks when Pacific batted!
Pacific 145 All Out (M Holliday 25, J Baglivi 23, P Czabotar 20, Hazel 4-28, M Cannon 5.1-5-0-1)
Fulmer 55 All Out (M Boonaert 10-2-25-5, D Roberts 8-8-0-3, A Roberts 2.1-0-15-2)
“What a difference a week makes!” mused Pacific skipper Nigel Wilkinson after the game. Whereas the previous week had seen batting records fall under clear skies on a rock hard track at Hartley – so this week the overnight rain and blustery conditions meant it was the bowlers’ turn to write themselves into the record books.
In particular the returning Darryl Roberts took full advantage to claim his extraordinary figures. Never before had a Pacific bowler yielded no runs from an 8 over spell – much less claim 3 wickets in the process! In addition – he saw two sharp chances spilled – so it could have been even better! The icing on the cake was a beauty that cut back about a foot off the pitch at pace to clip the off-bail of danger man Matt Cannon. “The ball of the season!” pronounced skipper Wilkinson – whose safe hands at mid-on accounted for Roberts’ other two victims.
Meanwhile Marcel Boonaert was at his destructive best at the other end – rattling both the stumps and the Fulmer batsmen on his way to the excellent figures of 5 for 25 – which on another day would hog the headlines.
Things looked quite different earlier – as the overnight rain resulted in Fulmer inserting Pacific on a damp track. Lord Gnome guest - paceman Cannon - was played with extreme caution by Pacific’s experienced opening pair of Peter Hollman and John Baglivi. Indeed his five over spell resulted in five maidens – portents of things to come! Only a couple of fierce pulls and cuts from Hollman – and a few well-placed nudges through the field from Baglivi – kept the score ticking over.
Hollman fell for 18 to Harries’ first delivery – but the usually belligerent Lucius Faisal also found scoring difficult – falling caught and bowled to Paddon for 1. With Baglivi dismissed by the same bowler for 23 and Jim Davies (10) mistiming a pull from a Harries long hop – Pacific’s patient start had yielded only 66 for 4 in 31 overs.
However the pattern of useful – but not dominant - contributions continued - with Peter Czabotar connecting with some trademark big hits before falling for 20 as the run rate was accelerated. Matt Holliday found the gaps and ran well – forcing a “six” thanks to four overthrows. He top scored with 25 and his stand of 31 with a beard-free Shayne Rees (17) was to prove the biggest in the match – before Holliday became the second wicket in Hazell’s impressive spell of 4-28.
Marcel Boonaert was yorked for a golden duck by the very next ball – and Darryl Roberts (0) survived the hat trick – only to find the hands of mid-wicket soon after. When skipper Wilkinson unnecessarily ran out Rees – the stage was set for an important cameo from Allan Roberts (15 not out) – the last pair’s resistance ending with the first ball of Cannon’s second spell as Wilkinson (6) edged behind.
“A total of 145 seemed challenging on that pitch” said Wilkinson, “but we also knew that if the batsmen got away we would be in trouble.” In the event – none of the Fulmer players lasted long enough to come to terms with the conditions – many perishing as they tried to hit their way out of trouble. Boonaert clean bowled both openers – while Darryl Roberts picked off the middle order – leaving Boonaert to claim the next three. This included the wicket of Izzie Cannon – daughter of Matt – who followed an impressive spell with the ball by defending resolutely with the bat - before finding the hands of Shayne Rees at mid-on.
Allan Roberts completed a fine all-round performance – taking two wickets to go with his vital runs from earlier. The veteran spinner finished off the innings thanks to a left-handed slip catch by Davies from a top-edged sweep - and a well-judged effort from Hollman at point to wrap up things up in the 21st over.
“The batsmen all grafted to put a score on the board – and the two who missed out with the bat responded brilliantly with the ball! Top marks to all three bowlers – and the fielders who supported them and kept the pressure on. Darryl’s figures seem incredible – but they reflect the way he bowled!” said a clearly delighted Wilkinson. “Get your gums round Allan Roberts’ plums!!” the skipper implored as darkness descended in the car park.
XI: John Baglivi, Marcel Boonaert, Jim Davies, Lucius Faisal, Matt Holliday+, Peter Hollman, Shayne Rees, Allan Roberts, Darryl Roberts, Nigel Wilkinson*, Pete Czabotar.