A magnificent innings of 95 from Joe Phelan illuminated Pacific’s win in the traditional season finale – avenging last year’s 10-wicket drubbing! Despite having two men struck down with disease - a strong Pacific batting line-up blasted their way to an impressive 271 from only 42 overs – giving the bowlers enough time to wrap up a comprehensive victory – before everyone adjourned to the pub to review a successful season.
Pacific 271 for 7 declared (Joe Phelan 95, Miles Picknett 36, Leon Yates 33, Dave Gluckman 7-0-53-4)
President’s XI 157 All Out (Chris Richardson 58, Matt Holliday 35, Allan Roberts 10-0-80-4, Jim Davies 6-2-17-2)
***click here for scorecard***
The Indian summer continued into October as the teams gathered for the traditional send-off for the season at a sunny Wray Crescent. With Pacific President Matt Holliday unavoidably detained (he later claimed it was not at Her Majesty’s pleasure!) – Washington stalwart Dave Gluckman had the surprising honour of leading the President’s XI at the outset. He found himself tossing up with pox-ridden Pacific skipper Steve Lay – who showed true dedication to the cause turning up unwell. He changed in isolation having announced “It’s the same as the herpes virus!” before brandishing his shingles sores.
Having won the toss Gluckman invited Pacific to bat – hoping for an early breakthrough with the new ball. It nearly came – as Joe Phelan offered a difficult chance to Matt Ralph – fielding as a substitute for Holliday – but he couldn’t hold the fiercely struck shot.
Meanwhile Peter Hollman was nervously seeking the handful of runs he needed to reach 500 for the season - whilst simultaneously trying to overcome an upset stomach! He twice almost gave chances to gully – before enjoying a slice of luck when sub Darryl Roberts’ throw narrowly missed the stumps with the batsman well short of his ground. Like Lay - Hollman was also not a well man – saying before the start “If this was a work day I’d be off sick – but I’m not going to miss the chance of getting to 500!”. It was a huge relief when he lashed a short ball from UCS Old Boys seamer Doran Garfunkel to the boundary for the runs he needed.
Thereafter the opening pair accelerated as the MCC’s Oliver Haill and Garfunkel struggled to breakthrough. With 50 passed in the 11th over – skipper Gluckman decided to give his occasion spinners a go to try to break the partnership – and he managed to induce an edge from Hollman (23) that was well held by keeper Mohinder Ranatunga.
This brought Miles Picknett to the crease – who immediately went on the offensive against Gluckman – forcing him out of the attack. With Phelan now in full flow at the other end – the Pacific batsmen plundered runs as Jeff Babon, Richard Lawrence and Colin Black were all tried. Not even the arrival of Holliday could inspire a breakthrough as the runs flowed as the pair put on 121 in less than an hour.
It came as something of a surprise when Phelan tried to reach his century with a big six – only to find the safe hands of Richard Lawrence at deep cover. His 95 came from 100 balls and contained 16 fours – and marked a career best for the Highgate and Grasshoppers man. Picknett (36) was also soon on his way – as Black induced a catch to sub fielder Rob Allum.
Chris Richardson, Gluckman and Garfunkel were all given a bowl towards the end – with Pacific’s Steve Lay (17) scoring in boundaries and shingles - while Leon Yates (33), Matt Ralph (15) and Rob Allum (14*) all went on the offensive to push the score along. Only Jonathan Hardisty (1) missed out when he was adjudged lbw to Gluckman. Indeed it was the Washington veteran who enjoyed most success – claiming a total of 4 wickets – thanks in part to a smart catch from Richard Ash and a stumping from Matt Holliday. 19 were plundered from Garfunkel’s final over – including 2 huge sixes from Allum – but he did at least pick up a deserved wicket with a caught and bowled from his final delivery.
With plenty of time left and Presidents missing the absent Tim Marshall’s bulk in the middle order – Pacific felt confident if they could make an early breakthrough. With Mohinder Ranatunga and Richard Lawrence fresh from scoring more than a hundred for the first wicket on the same ground two weeks before – this was even more important.
Skipper Steve Lay opened with Jim Davies at one end and with Allan Roberts’ spin at the other. It proved an inspired choice – as Davies found steep bounce to surprise Ranatunga (1) – forcing him to spoon the easiest of return catches. The following over Lawrence (14) was undone by some smart thinking from Roberts - and an even smarter stumping from Yates from a ball bowled deliberately wide to lure the classy batsman. When Jeff Babon’s leg stump was knocked over by one from Davies that moved back from outside leg for a duck in the following over – the President’s team were reeling at 20 for 3.
Indeed had El Presidente Holliday’s second ball hit to Darryl Roberts off his brother been taken – things would have looked even worse. As it was – along with Oliver Haill – the President fought back. Holliday managed to narrowly avoid a head high bouncer welcome from Davies – as Haill set about attacking Allan Roberts. However – Haill was to fall to a bizarre dismissal – as he middled a fine sweep – only for the ball to lodge near keeper Yates’ box – and he was out caught for 20. Yates' high-class keeping display reminded Pacific what they had been missing this season.
There followed a resolute stand between Holliday and Aussie Chris Richardson. As Darryl Roberts strove in vain for the wicket that would leave him at the top of the pile for Pacific this year – and chances from Holliday continued to be spurned by the fielders – runs started to flow steadily. 79 were added for the 5th wicket before Holliday offered one chance too many off Allan Roberts and man of the moment Phelan made no mistake – Holliday departing for a well struck 35. Richard Ash (2) was then somewhat unfortunate to pick out Matt Ralph in the deep – giving Allan his fourth wicket.
However it was Darryl Roberts who was desperate for a wicket – and as difficult chances either evaded the fielders or were put down – it seemed that he would remain wicketless. However Doran Garfunkel guided his final ball into the waiting hands of Rob Allum in the gully and there was relief and joy for Roberts. Garfunkel later said “If I'd known that my fishing outside off stump would make Darryl leading wicket taker I would have left well alone."
Chris Richardson had continued to play his shots throughout – and he passed a well-deserved fifty before falling to a Rob Allum yorker for 58 – made from 54 balls. Matt Ralph finished things off by removing Colin Black for two - appropriately to a fine one handed catch from Hollman - leaving Dave Gluckman undefeated on 6 as the game ended with a comprehensive win for Pacific.
“I really enjoyed it.” said Dave Gluckman later – summing up the end-of-season atmosphere that led on to the pub and Porchettas later. “An enjoyable finale to an enjoyable and successful season” said Pacific’s Lay.
Steve Lay*, Jim Davies, Peter Hollman, Matthew Ralph, Darryl Roberts, Leon Yates+, Allan Roberts, Miles Picknett, Rob Allum, Jonathan Hardisty, Joe Phelan.
Matt Holliday*, Mahinda Ranatunga, Doran Garfunkel, Chris Richardson, Richard Lawrence, David Gluckman, Tim Marshall, Jeff Babon, Richard Ash, Oliver Haill, Colin Black.