A tense last wicket partnership of 19 between captain Paul Attwood and Colin Black saw Pacific home after an astonishing afternoon of cricket. Chasing just 53 to win, Pacific collapsed dismally to 34-9 before the doughty pair rescued the innings and pulled off an unlikely victory.
W 52-10 (17.2). L lorn 12. O Haill 6-1-9-3 C Black 3.2-0-19-3.
P 53-9 (23). C Black 13*. Fernando 8-2-10-4.
Earlier in the day Woodstock's captain Fernando called correctly and elected to bat on a green looking pitch in the beautiful surroundings of Hampstead Heath. He was soon regretting his decision as left-armer Oli Haill bowled a superb opening spell. Assisted by catches from keeper Peter Czabotar and Paul Attwood at first slip, Woodstock were reeling at 24-4. Haill (3-9) got considerable movement and extracted extra bounce from a responsive pitch. He was ably supported by Rob Bastin (1-16) who picked up a wicket with his medium pace seamers. A mini-recovery took Woodstock to 44-4 before they lost their last six wickets in five amazing overs. The bowlers to benefit were Colin Black who picked up 3-16 and Azhar Mushtaq (2-6) as Woodstock's batsmen perished to a series of injudicious shots. The bowlers were backed up by an excellent fielding performance, highlighted by Matt Patel's brilliant diving catch at cover. Woodstock's score of 52 included 21 extras and their innings lasted just 17 overs.
Attwood was confident enough to re-jig the batting order for Pacific's reply. Openers Matt Patel (0) and debutant Aamer Mushatq (5) didn't last long however, both bowled by the impressive Fernando (4-10). When the in-form Shaun Cochrane lost his leg stump first ball to a Fernando yorker Pacific were reeling at 8-3. Worse was to come when Joe Bennett, making his first appearance of the season, was run out for 5. Fernando then picked up Phil Spearpoint for one, caught behind. At 17-5, Pacific's lowest ever score of 31 seemed in real danger. There was a brief respite as Pete Czabotar (5) and Azhar Mushtaq (4) took boundaries from the tiring opening bowlers. Both were to fall to cross-batted shots in last over of Dowman's allocation of eight overs. Oli Haill (1) and Rob Bastin (1) both fell to spin leaving Pacific on the ropes at 34-9.
Colin Black (13 not out) and Attwood (7 not out) gradually started about scoring the 19 runs required to win. There was a moment of drama when Black was dropped on the cover boundary, a difficult diving chance but the ball tricked over the boundary to bring the scores level. The fielders were brought in to save the single but Black kept his composure and found the gap to ensure a dramatic one-wicket victory.
Paul Attwood, a very relieved captain, was full of praise for his bowlers. "Oli bowled superbly and was well supported by Colin, Rob and Azhar. I was particularly pleased for Matt Patel who caught a blinder at cover. To be frank, our batting was dreadful today but thanks to Colin who showed real determination to see us home!" Pacific's most successful skipper added.
Oli Haill adds:
A sloping but not a poor pitch which the bowlers struggled to bowl accurately on (15 wides in W's total, 7 in P's) but they struggled barely in comparison to 18 batters of which only 2 reached double figures. Having pegged W to 20-4 before Darren (10) & L Lorn rebuilt with a 24 run partnership - the 2nd highest of the match - before Mushtaq bowled the former. This sparked off a collapse of 6 wickets for 8 runs thereby closing the innings nearly 23 overs early.
8-3, 17-4 & 34-9 was not the reply P's most successful Captain (7 wins 2 draws) was hoping for but by keeping himself back, despite being a regular opener, prooved a wise move. The final partnership proved the highest partnership but not for the weak hearted though, as the penultimate ball hit by Black went for 4 only after a catch was parried towards the boundary. Next ball Black struck Osbourne through mid wicket for 1 & hearts could be returned from mouths.
XI; H Patel, Ahmir Mushtaq, J Bennett, S Cochrane, P Spearpoint, P Czabotar+, Azhar Mushtaq, O Haill, R Bastin, C Black, P attwood*.