Pacific failed by three runs to match their long-time hosts score in a thrilling 40-over contest. After a flying start Broxbourne set a target of around 5 1/2 an over thanks to some accurate bowling at the end of their innings from John Baglivi and Jim Davies. Star of the home side’s innings was opener Dawson – who fell for 106 in the final over to Baglivi – trying to hit the boundary that would have given him an average of 100 for the season. He had enjoyed two lives earlier – Jim Davies spilling a fiercely struck low drive early on and skipper Nigel Wilkinson failing to hold onto another equally well hit shot a little later.
However Pacific looked on course to win with Steve Lay scoring a second consecutive fifty on the weekend – adding 53 in 28 minutes with Jim Davies for the fourth wicket. The Welshman went for 33 to a very good running catch on the deep midwicket boundary when everyone thought the ball was going for six – and it was perhaps that catch - and Pacific’s two equally difficult missed chances – that separated the teams at the end. Despite useful efforts down the order the scoring slowed and left just too much for the tail to do - despite some late hitting from Mike Alexander.
Broxbourne 215 for 5 (Dawson 106, John Baglivi 8-1-27-2, Jim Davies 7-1-29-2)
Pacific 213 for 8 (Steve Lay 54, Jim Davies 33, Dawson 5-0-21-3, Wilkins 8-0-34-2)
With the glorious summer weather continuing – Broxbourne opted to bat first on a lovely day. With two latecomers – Pacific opened the bowling with left-armer Ollie Haill and the previous week’s hero Marcel Boonaert. However Dawson and Blight showed from the outset that they had faith in the wicket and planned to attack. Boonaert in particular was plundered – his four overs going for 34 runs.
Haill fought on manfully and was unlucky to see Dawson dropped by the late arriving Jim Davies off a fierce drive that just carried to him at mid-off – particularly as the ball had hit the diving Welshman in his capacious belly and did not emerge to ground for a while!
Haill bowled through and deserved a wicket – although his 8 overs only went for an economical 27 runs. However Dawson continued to play freely as veteran seamers Mike Alexander (8 overs for 43) and skipper Nigel Wilkinson (5 overs for 26) felt the brunt of the assault. However Alexander had some joy as he clean-bowled Blight for a useful 34. He also had Dawson dropped again – this time by Wilkinson off another well struck but more uppish drive.
With new batsman Heap continued the assault – favouring the legside. Wilkinson shrewdly turned to the late arriving Davies and the even later arriving John Baglivi in the hope of restoring some balance as there was a danger of Pacific being batted out of the match. Varying their pace cunningly and keeping a good line and length – both men succeeded in stemming the flow.
They also took wickets – as Davies bowled Heap for 32 as he went for one leg side shot too many, and then had Sinden caught by Hollman at mid-off. Baglivi weighed in – having Glover brilliantly caught by the diving Mike Alexander at long off – after the same batsman had enjoyed a life to the same fielder only the ball before. Davies then bowled Cope – only for a “no ball” call to give the batsman a life – and a vital extra two runs as they scampered a bye. However 215 in 40 overs was at least 50 less than Broxbourne looked like getting at the halfway point and formed a challenging but gettable rate of nearly 5 ½ an over.
Wizened old pro Peter Hollman and his young apprentice Rob Bastin took up the challenge for Pacific. They struggled to get any momentum against right armer Stone and left armer Hardy – both men getting into a tangle with their feet as the ball slanted into them from one end and away at the other. Bastin connected for a couple of boundaries – but otherwise little seemed to be flowing for them – before the youngster backed away to an off-cutter from Stone and was bowled off his pads for 9.
Enter Steve Lay – fresh from his unbeaten half-century the day before. He made a solid start – but was soon timing the ball sweetly to the fence – as Hollman also looked to up the tempo. From 2 an over at the start – the rate went up to 3 when Hollman took on Dawson’s arm at cover – and a direct hit left him short of his ground and out for 15. Victorian Leon Yates – nursing a damaged finger – had barely settled at the crease when he mistimed a cut and hit it straight to point – departing for only 3.
81 for 3 at the halfway point meant a bit of acceleration was needed – and Jim Davies resumed his successful partnership with Lay as they set about trying to turn the game Pacific’s way. With both men hitting boundaries regularly and running hard – Broxbourne began to wilt as the asking rate started to drop dramatically.
However a full toss from Wilkins was smashed cleanly out towards the boundary by Davies – and was only prevented from going for six by a sprinting Heap who grabbed the ball out of the air whilst running flat out. A dramatic turning point as the Welshman’s innings of 33 (from 24 balls) came to an end.
Marcel Boonaert continued the assault briefly – before Dawson turned bowler and got one through him in his first over – the South African hitting 13. He was soon joined by the bulwark of the innings Lay – whose fifty had arrived off 64 balls – as he was lobbed by a slow full toss that hit the top of the stumps to end his effort somewhat unluckily on 54.
However the wind had been taken out of Pacific’s sails just at the wrong moment – despite the efforts of John Baglivi (8) and Ollie Haill (4) – who both fell to man-of-the-match Dawson. It was left to keeper Matt Holliday – unbeaten on a season’s best 15 – and Mike Alexander who smashed a quickfire unbeaten 18 to do their best – but despite hitting 17 off the final over the task was just too stiff for them.
“Obviously disappointed to lose – but what a fabulous game of cricket played in lovely weather on a great ground!” said skipper Wilkinson later. “And what a finale for Steve’s season – back-to-back fifties on the weekend. He reminded us that he is Pacific's leading run scorer and that he's scored over 8,000 runs for the club” he added.
Veteran batsman Lay was pleased with his weekend’s work “Rumours of my retirement were exaggerated! Mind you - I’ve waited more than 3 years for a fifty – then two came along at once – just like London buses I suppose.” he joked.
MOM – Steve Lay – a second fifty in the weekend for the club stalwart.
Packing the Kit – Nigel Wilkinson – Losing the toss when short – then a bad day with the ball and a dropped catch for the skipper. Now he’s off to Spain - so will be away for the last games of the season!
Stato Corner - 212 is the third highest score ever by Pacific batting second to lose.
Steve Lay has hit consequitive fifties five times for the club - but can not recall doing so on the same weekend before.
XI : Mike Alexander, Marcel Boonaert, John Baglivi, Rob Bastin, Jim Davies, Matt Holiday+, Oliver Haill, Nigel Wilkinson*, Leon Yates, Peter Hollman, Steve Lay.