Superb spells of pace bowling from openers Matt Ralph and Marcel Boonaert were the key to unlocking the Bank of England's defences on a hot and muggy day. Steve Lay and Jim Davies' second wicket stand of 88 then ensured that the deficit was comfortably dealt with.
Bank of England 121 All Out (M Boonaert 3-15, M Ralph 3-37, Shayne Rees 2-13)
Pacific 123-2 (J Davies 71*, S Lay 27)
Pacific skipper Steve Lay inserted the Bank of England on winning the toss – hoping to get the most out of the hot and humid conditions early on. His new ball pairing of Matt Ralph and Marcel Boonaert did not let him down with excellent spells of bowling. Ralph struck with the very first ball of the match – a rising delivery caught behind by Tim Marshall. The next five batsmen were all clean bowled. Boonaert’s pace and accuracy – and Ralph’s movement in the air and off the pitch – reaped the rewards their skill deserved – breaking the back of the Bank’s innings.
There was little respite when Lay turned to veteran spinner Allan Roberts (1-32) and South African Shayne Rees. Runs remained difficult to come by – despite a good track and a short boundary on one side – which said much for the discipline of the bowlers and the efforts of the Lay brothers in the field. With memories of last year’s 100 plus last wicket stand against the same opposition – Pacific gave little away. This year’s last wicket resistance yielded 36 before Ian Lay broke through – setting a target of 121.
Matt Holliday and Steve Lay set about the task in contrasting styles – and after a couple of well-hit boundaries – Holliday perished for 10 – bowled by one that swung into him. Jim Davies narrowly avoided getting a touch to the first ball he received from impressive off-spinner White – but also announced his intentions by hitting 3 of the next 5 balls to the boundary. He set about putting the quality of the Pacific bowling in context – while Lay was content to get some time in the middle following his long injury lay off. Two difficult chances were missed as Davies raced to 50 off only 42 balls – as his teammates kept urging him to hit the ball higher and higher!
Lay survived a life when a routine edge was dropped behind – and was spurred on to hit the next two balls for four – before falling soon afterwards to the deserving White for 27. This brought a welcome return to the crease for Dave Murray – who hit the winning boundary in only the 29th over. Davies equalled his season’s best with 71 not out – including 14 boundaries.
“The bowlers – especially Matt and Marcel – really did the business for us early on” said a delighted Steve Lay later. “As ever the facilities and the wicket were excellent here – so I was banking on the bowlers to make the most of the atmospheric conditions – and none of them let us down. I was pleased to get some time at the crease after my injury – and Jim was cashing-in at the other end! I know it’s getting a bit repetitive – but this was another great all-round team effort.” the skipper concluded.
Pacific : Ian Lay, Steve Lay, Dave Murray, Matt Patel, Matt Ralph, Shayne Rees, Allan Roberts, Jim Davies, Tim Marshall, Matt Holliday, Marcel Boonaert.