Pacifics match was overshadowed by news that began to reach the team just before the start about the tragic murder of Tom Brown. Perhaps almost not wishing to believe that it was the death of someone we knew - and who had played a part with the ball in two earlier wins in the competition it was decided to continue with the match. However the subsequent sad confirmation of our worst fears puts everything that follows into context and perspective.
Pacific fell to the Brondesbury Eagles in the quarter final of the Middlesex Federation Shield. There was a solid performance in the field dismissing their opponents for 180 within their allotted 45 overs. All this despite losing veteran seamer Darryl Roberts who injured his hand in attempting a catch in the deep and had to go to hospital for stitches leaving the side reduced to ten men for most of the innings.
A target of exactly 4 an over looked on for a strong Pacific batting line-up but unfortunately it totally failed to fire. A series of tame dismissals left a somewhat sedentary Miles Picknett unbeaten carrying his bat for 18 as the side slumped to a meagre 68 all out.
Brondesbury Eagles 179 All Out from 44 Overs (Fabien 38, Japhet 34, Jim Davies 8-1-37-3, Kurt Rademaker 7-0-40-2, Darryl Roberts 6-2-9-0)
Pacific 68 All Out from 32.4 Overs (Miles Picknett 18*, Sneider 5.4-0-13-3, Japhet 9-1-18-3)
After a bit of confusion the game started on the main square at Broxbourne with Pacific electing to field. Darryl Roberts impressed with an excellent 6 over spell the veteran seamer regularly passing the outside edge with exaggerated movement off the pitch. The wickets he deserved did not come but he conceded only 9 runs to keep things tight while burly Aussie Kurt Rademaker also bowled a decent opening spell from the other end.
The change to wily grey fox Nigel Wilkinson brought a couple of boundaries and then a wicket as the master tactician struck having lulled the batsman into a false sense of security. A sharp run out from a direct hit at the bowlers end from keeper Ed Blake and a wicket each to Wilkinson and spinner Braden Grigg had the visitors reeling at 44 for 4. Unfortunately during this flurry two chances were spilled a caught and bowled from Grigg and a drop in the deep from Roberts. The latter resulted in a nasty split webbing on his left hand forcing him to go to hospital for stitches and leaving Pacific a man down in the filed for most of the innings.
A number of mistimed shots fell into gaps as the fifth wicket pair began to rebuild before Fabien began to take the attack to the bowlers by advancing to the slow medium pace of Foxy Wilkinson and Rob Bilbo Bastin. However old Welsh warhorse Jim Davies did for the Kiwi with the first ball he bowled him a trademark leg stump yorker.
From here on in wickets fell regularly but some big hits also connected while Japhet continued to find gaps between the fielders with skilfully played chip shots. Davies grabbed a further two wickets thanks to well taken catches from skipper Murray and vice-skipper Wilkinson there was a further (more comical) run out and Rademaker returned to bag three wickets. 179 all out with an over unused was a good return bearing in mind the fact that the pitch seemed to improve as the innings went on and the absence of veteran seamer Roberts for much of the innings.
A fine tea was followed by a calamitous and feeble batting performance. It was felt that if one of the openers was there at then end with a run rate of only 4 an over needed Pacific should win. In the event one opener was there at the close but instead of being on around eighty not out Miles Picknett was on only 18 as he became the first Pacific batsman to carry his bat.
At the other end things started quite well against a well-organised attack. Dave Murray seemed to be guiding the ball around well but fell when on 9 when the skipper played around a full straight ball. Left-hander Jim Davies looked out of touch but still found the gaps to pick off twos and threes and carry the score past 30 with only one wicket down.
A re-arrangement of the slip cordon and an excellent one handed catch from a well-timed late cut brought his downfall for 12. This paved the way for a dreadful collapse as Braden Grigg (1) and Sammy Purcell (0) fell quickly. Aussie gloveman Ed Blake found the boundary early on but he too fell to impressive off-spinner Japhet (3-18) going for another big hit when on 9. Burly all-rounder Kurt Rademaker went too slowly for a second run and was well short while Vaibhav Puri offered some resistance before being bowled.
With Bilbo Bastin and Gandalf Wilkinson unable to manage any magic and with Roberts returned with stitches in his hand unable to bat it was all over for a limp 68 with only Davies and Picknett reaching double figures. A tepid and panicky effort against an attack that (Japhet apart) was workmanlike rather than inspired particularly with such a gettable total.
However when taken into context of other events over the weekend it really was totally inconsequential.
MOM Miles Picknett the lofty opener became first Pacific batsman ever to carry his bat.
Packing the Kit Miles Picknett only scored a glacial 18 in nearly 2 hours batting!
XI:- David Murray*, Miles Picknett, Jim Davies, Braden Grigg, Sammy Purcell, Ed Blake+, Kurt Rademaker, Vaibhav Puri, Rob Bastin, Nigel Wilkinson & Darryl Roberts.