Pacific’s tour match against Isis – named after the Oxford arm of the Thames river, in turn named after the Egyptian mother goddess – was not the mother of all cricket matches as some, perhaps misguided, people were expecting. Dogged performances with the bat by Wiehahn and Lay and a burley innings from Rademaker were eclipsed by a lethal spell of bowling from Haill that put the touring side in a position to win. Unfortunately, a negative, bull-headed defence prevented Pacific from getting the result.
Pacific 210 for 3, declared (Rademaker 65,Steve Lay 45, Guy Wiehahn 41)
Isis 120 for 7 (Oli Haill 5 for 16)
Last year, with only nine men, Pacific lost this fixture in the last over. We started this year’s game with ten, a disappointing situation, having had 18 players available for the game in the preceding week. The team was again further reduced to nine after Adrian Duthie was rendered lame by a calf injury while batting. He and his opening partner Guy Wiehahn had only managed to score at two and over for the first ten overs on a glorious batting track.
Until number three batsman Dave Murray’s arrival at the crease Wiehahn was becoming frustrated at his inability to find fluidity. But as the team were only in the twenties, Wiehahn was forced to assume the mantle of dominant partner and began to punish more of the poorer balls. Murray was another to find batting frustrating and was soon stumped, charging down the wicket, for ten.
Captain Steve Lay arrived and was soon playing his strokes – but was unfortunate to continue finding the field throughout his innings, limiting what could have been a much more productive performance. Wiehahn’s eventual dismissal introduced Pacific legend Jonathan ‘JC’ Campbell to the crease but he was quickly dismissed lbw for two runs on his third ball.
In trudged brawny Queenslander Kurt “Radio 10-93” Rademaker, who was not hesitant in dispatching the ball to the boundary and displaying some forceful strokemaking. With Lay at the other end scoring well but still unable to penetrate the field as often as he deserved, Rademaker took on the bulk of the load and pushed the score on towards an acceptable total. The innings finished at a slightly later than originally agreed time with Lay and Radders not out on 47 on 65 respectively having lifted Pacific to 210.
After a nutritious tea, it was Isis’ turn to bat but they were met by young Pacific cavalier Haill and the legendary JC. The openers were soon forced into trying to push for runs and Ian Lay took a fine catch, avoiding a collision with cat-like Murray, to remove the first Isisian off the bowling of Haill. A few overs later with the score on 30, JC induced a lofted shot that Rademaker clung to.
The next couple of overs from Haill brought scenes of pandemonium in the Isis dressing room as they were brought to their knees at the altar of incisive left-arm bowling. Locals crowded at the perimeter of the Queens’s College ground to witness the sheer terror that Haill inspired in the home side as he began to remove the top order.
First, the number three having got in and played a few shots was increasingly being lured by the line across his body and was caught behind by keeper Bastin, fishing outside his off stump. Two balls and two runs later, Bastin again gratefully received another edge into his gloves. This brought in a tigerish young tyke of a batsman, who was undone in his aggressive swipe at delivery angled across his crease and taken one-handed at second slip by the diving JC. The hat-trick ball was luckily dealt with and Haill had to wait until the next over to claim his fifth victim, yet again finding the outside edge, with veteran slip fielder Allan Roberts happily clutching the catch.
Having realised that they had no hope of winning now, Isis blocked and left the ball for the remaining 15 or so overs, only coming out of their defensive stupor to thrash the ball around off the efforts of Murray and Guy Wiehahn. Only one more wicket was given away, taken by Rademaker, before the match finished in a draw.
Man of the match: Clearly Haill, for his destructive onslaught with the ball and best figures for the club
Packing the kit: Whoever was responsible for reducing the team from 18 to 10. I don’t know who it was, though
XI: Rob Bastin, Jonathan Campbell, Adrian Duthie, Oli Haill, Steve Lay*, Dave Murray, Kurt Rademaker, Guy Wiehahn, Allan Roberts, Ian Lay.