Feudalism and futility
Pacific v Cranbourne CC at Home Park CC  Sat 20-Jun-2009 at 2pm
Lost 6 wickets
 

The cricket pitches of Home Park are among the most picturesque, historically rich locations among Pacific’s fixtures, forming part of the Royal grounds of one of the Queen’s many rungs of the property ladder, Windsor Castle.

Originally built as a fortress by William The Conqueror, Windsor has in recent seasons remained a stronghold for its latter day vassals Cranbourne CC against their assailants from North London. While last year’s victory for the home team required a nail-biting finish, the target being achieved from the last ball of that game, this year’s win spared everyone from any unnecessary keratin ingestion.

And it could have been even easier for the merry men of Windsor were it not for two last-minute additions to the visitors' side. Debutant Rich Cooke, who resembled a strawberry blond, right-handed Gower at times, contributed to a 40 partnership with Pacific stalwart John Webley in the difficult overcast conditions that had earlier helped the wily Cranbourne bowlers arrow out openers Haill and Lay for only four runs.

Then, after Pacific's fifth to the eighth batsmen were picked off by the Cranbourne sharp-shooters with only eight runs added, the Pacific total was on its knees, a figurative arrow in one eye, and longsword poised above its neck, at 100 for 9. Thankfully, a spirited last wicket partnership from skipper Dr Rob Bastin, batting at nine, and last-minute rescue package Kieran Mullens helped the score on to a defendable total. Bastin battled through despite a heavy previous night’s drinking, crafting a considered innings, with his powerful Kendoid forearms meting out slashing blows among his otherwise staunch defensive play, while latterly unpractised Mullens recalled his schoolboy lessons and unfurled a number of elegant cover drives in among some long-limbed forward defensives. Together they added 68, a record for the 10th wicket for the club.

Sadly this was, in the full Bayeux Tapestry of the match, to prove largely futile, with Pacific’s defence of a low total quickly undermined by a volley of early boundaries, as Naveej Vinod and John Brown were denied the same bowler-friendly conditions as their opponents. Not long into the second innings, the sun crowned through the clouds like a newborn's head, quickly making it apparent that the pitch was rejecting the advances of swing and now favoured spin.

Of the succession of twirlers tested by Pacfici, the most successful was Mullens, whose well-flighted off-spinners brought three wickets. Saif Shamsuddin’s darts and Haill’s slow left armers beat the bat on occasion but failed to remove the indomitable Cranbourne opener Moores, who continued to hit boundaries til the target was eventually surpassed with 15 overs to go. The Pacific fielders never let their heads drop, nor any catches, which was pleasing and ensured the game remained relatively compelling until the end.

Stat-watch:
The 68-run pairing of Bastin and Mullens surpasses by just one run Pacific's previous long-held record for the last wicket. This was held by Ged Murphy & Frank Baglivi since 1989, who were joined on the same score by Leon Yates & Peter Hollman in 1992.

Man Of the Match:
Between skipper Rob Bastin, who played an important, measured innings that was, in the circumstances, one of his most important even though it proved futile in the end, and third-time player in three years Kieran Mullens, whose resolute batting and ability to inveigle the opposition batsman to miss-hit was rare in the conditions.

Packing the kit:
Three ducks can fight it out between them, though 26 byes puts keeper Holliday in front of his contenders.

Pacific XI: Rob Bastin*, Joe Bennett, Jon Brown, Richard Cooke, Oli Haill, Matt Holliday†, Steve Lay, Kieran Mullens, Saif Shamsuddin, Jon Webley, Naveej Vinod.


Pacific v Cranbourne CC
 
Pacific innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Steve Lay b Spencer  1  22  22  0  0  
  Oliver Haill b Powell  3  8  4  0  0  
  Jon Webley lbw b Castle  76  97  69  11  0  
  Richard Cooke b Parag  7  35  30  1  0  
  Saif Shamsuddin c Spencer b Spencer  4  12  9  0  0  
  Joe Bennett b Spencer  0  1  2  0  0  
  Matt Holliday b Parag  0  4  4  0  0  
  Naveej Vinod c Castle b Castle  4  14  10  1  0  
  Rob Bastin c Jones b Jones  51  58  62  4  0  
  Jon Brown b Jones  0  8  5  0  0  
  Kieran Mullens not out  14  36  18  1  0  
 Extras (b 3, lb 1, w 1, nb 0) 5    
 TOTAL (39.4 Overs) 168    
 
 
 Fall of wickets:  1-3 [Haill] , 2-7 [Lay] , 3-47 , 4-64 [Shamsuddin] , 5-64 , 6-69 [Holliday] , 7-82 [Vinod] , 8-99 [Webley] , 9-100 [Brown] , 10-168 [Bastin]
 
Bowling O M R W  
 Powell 8 1 34 1  
 Spencer 8 2 27 3  
 Parag 8 0 28 2  
 Castle 8 1 41 2  
 Jones 7.4 2 33 2  
 
 
Cranbourne CC innings Runs Mins Balls 4s 6s
  Dainty c & b Mullens  20  0  0  4  0  
  Moores not out  79  0  0  14  0  
  Watson c Lay b Mullens  18  0  0  2  0  
  Rose b Mullens  5  0  0  0  0  
  Parag c Webley b Bastin  11  0  0  2  0  
  Kingsford not out  0  0  0  0  0  
  Chalmers did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Castle did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Spencer did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Powell did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
  Jones did not bat  0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 26, lb 0, w 7, nb 4) 37    
 TOTAL (29.4 Overs) 170-4    
 
 
 Fall of wickets:  1-51 [Dainty] , 2-84 [Watson] , 3-112 [Rose] , 4-151 [Parag]
 
Bowling O M R W  
 Naveej Vinod 4 0 24 0  
 Jon Brown 4 0 19 0  
 Kieran Mullens 8 2 30 3  
 Jon Webley 1 0 9 0  
 Saif Shamsuddin 4 1 17 0  
 Rob Bastin 5.4 1 29 1  
 Oliver Haill 3 0 19 0  
 
 

Other matches:
 Mown down by Rodnell, Sat 18-Jun-2011, Home Park CC, Lost 117 runs
 The Fifth Element, Sat 19-Jun-2010, Home Park CC, Won 11 Runs
 All Odds Conspire to the Inevitable, Sat 21-Jun-2008, Home Park CC, Lost 2 wickets
 Cranbourne Juiced, Sat 23-Jun-2007, Home Park CC, Won 3 Wickets
 Angus' Anguish, Mon 28-May-2007, Home Park CC, Cancelled