It was not only the weather that was warm if not quite hot & sunny but also the familiar look of those who had gathered here. So many friends Ė both old & new made the setting a warm convivial one too.
Pacific President James Smith confessed that he hadnít made too many strong acquaintances from amongst his opponents & with his VP Allan Roberts being unavailable, he had gathered a familiar collection of players made up of debutants from 2007, some Associates & even a couple or lesser seen Full Members. Even the Baglivi brothers popped by to take in the scene & pass on greetings.
The setting of the stage was more literal than usual as Darren Temperny had provided his speakers & sound system & the President had worked on a track listing long into the early hours. Soon the batsmen were walking out to the sounds of Creamís Sunshine of your Love.
The outfield was very damp & dewy put the pitch had itsí spring & James Gleadow & in particular Chris Atkin kept the batsmen honest. Ben Gibsonís frustration saw him york himself & Atkin was soon on a hat-trick as Alistair Pritchardís late late cut saw him play on first ball. Jonathan Campbell survived the hat-trick ball & he opener Guy Wiehahn were soon repairing the damage until Campbellís preferred choice of aerial route saw a huge top edge off Gleadow go up a long way vertically. Keeper Rob Bastin called for it, there was no collision & he was on his way only to be joined by Wiehahn almost immediately after bowled Gleadow caught Bastin to a faint pad bat edge behind.
The heavy outfield had made for batsmen not getting full value but this was not going to deter the might of Darren Temperny & it was not too long before Captain Jon Webley spread his fielders to all parts. A dropped catch then at long on by the Captain off Shayne Rees did seem calamitous but the routine run out of Webley to Bastin also failed to dismiss the big man.
Returning from paternity leave, Darryl Roberts warmed up slowly but showed how heíd been missed with a miserly 2-12 off his 5 overs stifling Temperny. The tactics paid off & Webley snaffled the catch at wide mid wicket. Steve Emmins did a fine job of rotating the strike & allowing Temperny to exercise his destructive batting but after Ben Haley was out cheaply he rebuilt with Lucius Faisal until Webley took another catch. The mix up with Nick Fuller was particularly disappointing then but the latter squeezed out some runs despite late wickets from useful spells from Kurt Rademaker , & Oli Haill who finished things off Ė another smart low catch by Webley removing Peter Henry to stop the tail wagging. It was a useful total & with the slow outfield worth 30 runs more.
Captain & President of his XI, James Smith had a big job one Ė to keep his full side involved & to win the game & for his first go at captaincy he did an excellent job satisfying the criteria. He kept his side up for the challenge & bowlers fired up as the bruises on opener Peter Hollman showed - "I predict a riot" ? More I predict a search for the witchhazel.
Rob Bastinís counter attacking style failed to pay off on this occasion & after 6 overs it was 6-2. Peter Henry taking both openers & later too the free scoring Kurt Rademaker for 0. In the interim Joe Bennett had picked up his highest score of the season in probably the most testing of circumstancesĖ a platform for him to build on for 08 Ė but after he was out to a stunning one handed catch at point by Alistair Pritchard off Lucius Faisal Pacificís winning October was considerably under threat.
As ever Jon Webley was the man to give the home side hope & he found an able partner in Chris Atkin as they built a solid foundation. Smith kept things tight & Nick Fullerís swing was not always easy to pick up but their patience paid off as the 6 an over chase was maintained.
It was not until Man of the Match Darren Temperny gave Webley a wide one to have a go at only to see him edge behind on 49 that the game swung back the visitors' way. Shayne Rees filled the support role ably & still the target did not climb before the seam up Jonathan Campbell bowled him one that Rees played all around. Chris Atkinís noble effort came to an end also to Campbell & he then cleaned up the late riser Matt Holliday with a quicker ball. Darryl Robertsí 2 ball duck to the returning Smith & with 40 runs needed from 4 overs.
Alex Jessop-Emmins replaced Campbell at the Tollington End. Oli Haillís big hitting was required like never before but when he played across young Jessop-Emminís 4th ball the game was over. Nothing left then but for the teams to open their stellas as the sun set on another enjoyable season despite the lack of success in the middle.
The post match dinner at Porchettas was a highly enjoyable affair shared by 20 of the players & partners before most dashed off to the Larrick to witness England's historic win in Paris.
There is history to be made soon by Pacific on a far less grand scale as they set off to a 2 match tour of Alicante in what has been the longest season ever.
Players per side 12 (11 batting, 11 fielding)
Pacific:- Jon Webley*, Peter Hollman, Rob Bastin+, Matt Holliday, James Gleadow, Joe Bennett, Shayne Rees, Chris Atkin, Darryl Roberts, Oli Haill, Kurt Rademaker & Luke Hollman.
The Presidents XI:- James Smith*, Jonathan Campbell, Steve Emmins, Nick Fuller, Peter Henry, Ben Gibson+, Darren Temperny, Ali Pritchard, Ben Haley, Lucius Faisal, Guy Wiehahn & Alex Jessop-Emmins.