Pacific were blown away after lunch against Lord Gnome where a promising position of 119 for 2 became a disappointing 168 all out in the space of 13 disastrous overs. Despite a defiant 45 from Jim Davies - there were 6 wickets for perennial scourge of Pacific Matt Cannon and 4 for the equally deserving Anton Finneran. With plenty of time in hand to chase the unexpectedly low target Twiggy Selwood with an unbeaten 88 made sure there were no alarms for Gnomes on their way to a well deserved 6 wicket win.
Pacific 168 All Out (J Davies 45, G Wiehahn 27, M Cannon 6-54, A Finneran 4-29)
Lord Gnome 169 for 4 (E Selwood 88*, B Clargo 43, N Wilkinson 2-28)
With a strong looking batting line up and little depth in his bowling attack returning skipper Nigel Wilkinson took the brave decision to bat first in this all day game on a beautiful looking Queens Oxford wicket.
His decision looked a good one as openers Guy Wiehahn and Adrian Duthie looked comfortable early on. However Duthie (6) got one that brushed the glove on the way through to the keeper from Matt Cannon who shrugged off some early stiffness to generate a bit of pace from the good track.
Wiehahn and Jim Davies upped the tempo with a string of boundaries in what looked like becoming a very productive partnership when a Cannon full toss was struck tamely back to the bowler by a surprised Wiehahn (27).
With Miles Picknett batting carefully at one end Davies waited for the rare loose ball from an accurate Gnomes attack the boundaries helping the pair to add a further 51 before lunch without the loss of another wicket. The only concern was a slight strain to Davies leg that required the use of a runner.
103 for 2 from 26 at lunch seemed a solid base for Pacific and it was soon taken to 119 after the interval as the batsmen began to up the tempo. However this was to be their undoing as Davies aimed a loose drive at Finneran and Selwood took an excellent low diving catch at second slip to dismiss the Welshman for 45.
Picknett soon followed playing on to Finneran for a patient 20. There was a brief rally from the two Petes Hollman and Czabotar. They added 15 - before Finneran struck again by trapping wizened old pro Hollman in front for 10. With a lower order packed with Antipodean talent Pacific still looked well placed to accelerate to a challenging total.
However Victorian Leon Yates (8), West Australian Czabotar (8), burley Melbourne-man Tim Marshall (8) and Tasmanian Martin Cowling (0) all fell in quick succession to Cannon and Finneran.
Only South African Shayne Rees (11 not out) stood defiant skilfully placing the ball between gulley's hands on numerous occasions to keep the score ticking over. He was left high and dry as first Cowling (second ball) and skipper Wilkinson (first ball) fell to Cannon who is left on a hat trick in his next game.
168 never looked likely to be enough on such a good track with the early demise of the Pacific innings ensuring that plenty of batting time was left as well. However with Gnomes already two batsmen short an early breakthrough could make things interesting.
So it was when Tom Godfrey slapped a Shayne Rees longhop straight to point that the Pacific fielders stood with baited breath as the target for the shot was none other than Peter Hollman. Having dropped a record 21 consecutive chances this season there was much jubilation (and relief!) as Hollman finally got off the mark for the season by grabbing this chance!
However that was to be the last moment of joy before tea for Pacific as Rees, Cowling and leading wicket taker Yates all struggled for any consistency. Clargo and Twiggy punished the loose bowling and tea was taken with the chase over half done.
Following tea skipper Wilkinson relied on his own accurate medium pace and Tim Marshalls leg-spin. Full marks to Marshall who played on despite injuring a finger keeping wicket before tea he was now holding an ice pack to his injured hand whilst fielding!
Veteran Wilkinson rolled back the years with a vintage spell of accurate seam bowling breaking the stand after it reached a hundred by bowling Clargo for 43. Twiggy continued to attack occasionally flirting with danger as the ball sailed close to Shayne Rees in the deep. However he and Bracken added a further 62 before Wilkinson claimed a deserved second wicket thanks to a well judged catch from Peter Czabotar.
This brought Anton Finneran to the crease a batsman suffering from a string of ducks apparently induced by an unhealthy obsession with poultry manifested by an over indulgence in take-away chicken. Having watched his team-mates blast the ball to all parts Finneran seemed transfixed by the first ball he received from Miles Picknett and the ball dipped under his defensive stroke to bowl him for a Golden Duck. It was difficult to judge which team was happier with this turn of events - as the unfortunate batsman clucked to himself as he trudged off.
The end was nigh however and Gnomes romped home with plenty of time to spare by 6 wickets Twiggy remaining unbeaten on 88.
"It was disappointing to be in a competitive position at lunch and then let it slip away - although credit to Matt and Anton for bowling well on a good batting wicket." said a clearly devastated skipper Wilkinson later. "We have to start playing to our potential and showing a bit more steel in the lower order. We must improve our performance when we return here for our tour in August." he added firmly.
MOM - Nigel Wilkinson - a vintage spell of bowling from the skipper in difficult circumstances.
Packing the Kit - Leon Yates - Missed out with the bat and four expensive overs.
XI:-Adrian Duthie, Guy Wiehahn, Jim Davies, Miles Picknett, Peter Hollman, Peter Czabotar, Tim Marshall, Leon Yates, Shayne Rees, Martin Cowling, Nigel Wilkinson*.