Young debutants Braden Grigg and Sammy Purcell came together to build a match-winning partnership of 72 runs. Just as well, as the last 5 wickets fell for 6 runs – 4 of which fell with the total on 164 as Phillips' spin undermined Pacific’s charge towards an unreachable total. The initial 5-an-over scoring reply was unnerving Pacific in the field but the Captain's doggedness paid off and, as wickets fell, so the required run-rate rose.
Pacific 170 all out (Braden Grigg 47, Sammy Purcell 33, L Faisal 21, Phillips 5-50)
Barclays Bank 151 all out (Qayyum 43, Nigel Wilkinson 4-21 off 8 overs, B Grigg 2-13 off 3)
Out to avenge last season’s pitiful 50-run defeat, Pacific arrived at the Wilf Slack Memorial Ground eager to succeed. An in-form Lucius Faisal and an out-of-form Pete Hollman were sent out by captain Nigel Wilkinson to open the batting. The sky was heavily overcast and the opening bowlers were getting considerable swing. Despite this impediment Faisal played a measured innings: hitting some nice shots, only getting one top edge, a single six and not once charging up the pitch. At the other end Hollman was still playing himself in, aiming to score an inning entirely in singles according to Captain Wilko.
Eventually Faisal was bowled on 21 by a very low one, and young Aussie Braden Grigg came to the crease. Playing straight to a fielder and calling a single off his first ball, the newcomer put the wind up old timer Hollman. Duly inspired, Hollman hit his first four of his innings and seemed to be just getting in when he got out, caught off a weak shot. This brought in another debutant, Angel Islington resident Sammy Purcell, only called up on Saturday and not having played for 6 years.
Freshly invigorated by a holiday in Turkey and a rousing ANZAC day in Gallipoli, antipodean newcomer Griggs made his assault on Barclays’ bowlers, including some hefty sixes – the third of which was a beaut’ of a lob into the nearby tennis courts. 40-love, mate! At the other end Purcell was having some difficulty in getting the ball to go where he wished, playing enough shots behind his legs to inspire thoughts that he may have French or Chinese blood. He got going after a while, however, and began to play some expansive strokes all round the wicket to help bring the partnership up to 72.
Then having received a stirring round of applause from the pavilion Grigg’s was, next ball, questionably given out thigh-‘before’-wicket, and came back to dressing room to find he had only really got 47. Bad luck, cobber! Rademaker and Haill consequently came and went for 8 each, interspersed by Purcell’s dismissal for 33, all three out to slow bowler Phillips, bringing his total then to 4 wickets. Only 6 runs were subsequently added, with Holliday adding to his marathon run of ducks, Alexander and Bastin both going for golden ones, and chatterbox bowler Phillips getting his Michelle, giving Barclays a target of 171 to win.
After a hearty spread Faisal and Haill opened the bowling, with the batsmen going for their shots. Faisal bowled tightly and Haill more loosely but had a few catches put down off his overs (the three sinners shall remain nameless, although details can be provided on request) before Hollman took an easy catch to get the first wicket. The run rate had been somewhat abated when veteran pair Mike Alexander and Captain Wilko came on to bowl, and both gave evidence of their huge experience with tight spells. The captain took all the spoils though, and soon had the bankers reeling at 102 for 5. Grigg and out-of-practice Ulsterman Black both took wickets, involving a brilliant diving catch from ‘The Wiz’ Hollman and a razor-sharp stumping from the highly charged Matt ‘On’ Holliday. A tight one-spell over from ‘Bilbo’ Bastin, a run out by Down Under combo Rademaker and Grigg, and the final wicket for Faisal gave Pacific the win.
“Yessss!” screamed emotional Captain Wilko after the game, “I’m over the moon. The young lads done well, especially Braden and Sammy. Great to have two young strokeplayers like them on board; I’m sure Wilf Slack, if he were watching, would have approved. I bowled well though, didn’t I? And sorry about that dropped catch, Oli.”
Other players chose to wax lyrical about a particularly glorious cover drive from Haill, which really didn’t get enough of a mention in the bulk of the report above. Purcell: “Great!” Hollman: “A pleasure to watch!” Haill: “Mmm, yes, I agree.”
XI:- Mike Alexander, Rob Bastin, Colin Black, Lucius Faisal, Oli Haill, Matt Holliday, Peter Hollman, Kurt Rademaker, Nigel Wilkinson* , Braden Grigg & Sammy Purcell.