In the 1st fixture of P's Cambridgeshire tour, P played the inaugural fixture against Jim Davies's previous club at the highly pleasant Gonville &
Caius College Ground - a ground where such luminaries as Ted Dexter once played. Meanwhile, Jim was made Captain for the day & his XI included David Murray amongst others.
PCC: 178 for 7 declared from 47 overs (P Hollman 76*, T Marshall 33, J Davies 2-13)
LHG: 103 for 6 from 34 overs (T Waller 37, M Ranatunga 33*, I Lay 2-14, M Ralph 2-22)
The nature of the game & the fear of losing on both sides lead to an almost visible degree of caution throughout. Jim inserted the oppo having won the
toss, P's Captain Steve Lay was cautious with his declaration which came after only 47 overs after Matt Ralph finally came to the crease to accelerate proceedings (X off X balls). Interestingly, the latter had wanted to yet bat on but the 173 turned out to be an ample total. Jim - a renown specialist death bowler brought himself on earlier & despite picking up the wickets of Matt Patel & John Hill was never likely to run through the Pacific batting - including a belligerent Peter Hollman. Yet runs were hard
to come by, hence Steve's reluctance to declare at 5pm with the score then at 138-6. A delayed start due to light drizzle did not help, neither did the
early loss of Ian lay in the 2nd over & Steve himself in the XX.
After the declaration & tea, again early wickets fell in an exciting burst from Mike Alexander & Matt Ralph , the latter in particular with Sidup X (o)
with his 1st ball. G's reply had all the overtones of consolidation & when Jim came to the crease they were 4 down with 7 an over required. The latter
saw this as challenge too far & was content to commence the battle to save the game. Ian Lay's introduction having already picked up the dangerous Murray 1st ball, later also picked up Davies himself when his defensive mode
assisted in a mistimed pull to X at square leg.
Some fine batting from Mahinder Ranatatunga (X*) & Ted Waller (X) prevented the required rate from
never climbing beyond 10 an over but the pitch which had offered good lateral movement earlier in the day was now providing less predictable
bounce too & as the light deteriorated only 1 further wicket - that of Ted Waller to a fine running catch by John Baglivi at mid on from the occasional slow left arm of John Hill added any later interest to an entirely predictable outcome. Handshakes all-round leaving top scorer, Peter Hollman,
to reflect on his pedestrian 76 not out. " At my rate of scoring I may have got my hundred by close of play but I did fell guilty at my inability to
accelerate. Mitigating circumstances being a slow outfield (only X boundaries were scored) & the pitch damp on the surface yet hard below encouraging plenty of seam & swing with the new ball in the 1st innings. Tellingly a poor start set the tone for both innings".
Griffins skipper Jim Davies writes:
Hollman Anaesthetises Medics in Snore Draw
Peter Hollman occupied the crease throughout the 47 overs of the Pacific innings - scoring an unbeaten 76 from 152 balls. With a delayed start - the marathon Pacific innings left the Griffins only 34 overs in return - and after an opening salvo from an impressive Matt Ralph and Mike Alexander - a draw remained the best result the Medics could hope for. This was secured with few further alarms as the game drifted to an inevitable draw.
The first match between these two clubs - played at the attractive Caius College ground in Cambridge - produced a very disappointing spectacle for the spectators who had travelled up to watch. With light rain falling - which thankfully soon passed - Griffins skipper Jim Davies hoped to find early movement in an otherwise benign looking pitch - and chose to field first. He was rewarded when Aidan Gill hit Ian Lay's leg stump in the third over and Nick Rollit found prodigious swing to do likewise to brother Steve Lay some 5 overs later - leaving Pacific at 10 for 2.
Tim Marshall and Hollman set about repairing the damage - Hollman getting off the mark from his 25th ball faced - as the Griffins medium paced openers were played with great respect. The introduction of James Eccersley's slow in-swingers usually produces either a clatter of wickets or a flurry of runs. Even with the field up - neither batsman was prepared to attack his flighted deliveries as he too went for around 2 an over. The introduction of Ralph Dunning did produce an increase in the run rate - as a few balls down the leg side went for byes!
Desperate to make something happen - Davies introduced leg spinner Ted Waller and again invited the batsmen to have a go by keeping the field up. Marshall was by now getting into his stride and was clearly disappointed to edge Eccersley to gully for 33. A further change then brought Davies into the attack - and he struck to remove John Hill in his second over - having earlier spilled an easy chance from the same batsman. Peter Czabotar took up the challenge - bludgeoning a six and two fours in a cameo innings of 15 from only 6 balls - before being well caught by Aidan Gill at deep mid-wicket. With Matt Patel bowled by Davies for a duck and Hollman and John Baglivi - in a welcome return to action - also enjoying some luck edging Davies deliveries safely - there was a brief prospect that Pacific might be bowled out.
Rather than press his advantage - Davies made the mistake of taking his foot off the peddle - reverting to Dunning and offering Choudray's off-spin as a further alternative - again with big gaps open in the deep. Baglivi fell to Dunning for 14 trying to up the tempo - and Aussie Matt Ralph injected some further much needed urgency with some well hit boundaries. Steve Lay eventually felt it was safe to declare after 47 overs at 5.20pm on 178 for 7. Hollman remained unbeaten on 76 from 152 balls - his 50 taking 122 balls. Overall it contained 2 boundaries and was the longest innings of his 19 year Pacific career - and the third longest for Pacific ever in terms of both time and balls faced.
With 45 minutes plus 20 overs - the makeshift Griffins batting line up needed a good start. With Matt Ralph claiming the wicket of Sudip Nandy first ball - and both Ralph and Mike Alexander producing impressive 8 over spells that brought the wickets of Choudray and Alistair Dunning - there was little prospect of a run chase that started around 5 1/2 an over and had reached 8 an over by the time the final 20 overs had started - despite the benign pitch and carpet like outfield. With darkness descending - the introduction of John Baglivi (bowling at first medium pace and then leg-spin) and Ian Lay's off-spin resulted in a few boundaries - but also brought joy for Lay as he snared first Dave Murray (18) and then a disinterested Davies (1) as the game went through the motions.
By now the only point of interest was the appearance of John Kollosche at slip in place of the absent Matt Holliday - making him one of the oldest Pacific players ever - and playing both with one son-in-law and against the other at the same time!
The brief return of Matt Ralph in the gloom was met by incredulity from the boundary - and more appropriately John Hill and Matt Patel then offered up some spin - Ted Waller cashing in with 37 before falling to a Baglivi catch off Hill. Mohinder Ranatunga impressed on debut with an unbeaten 33 - leaving Aidan Gill also unbeaten on 0 - as the tedious day's play closed with the Griffins having passed the hundred mark for the loss of 6 wickets.
"9 boundaries for the entire team in 47 overs has to have been disappointing for Pacific - especially with 7 bowlers used, on a good pitch with an outfield like a carpet - and never more than two fielders outside the ring." said a sleepy Jim Davies later. "I wish I'd been more ruthless in trying to finish off their innings - but thought by offering slow bowling - we might speed things up. We never really got going once Matt and Mike had done the damage at the top of the innings and I think everyone was disappointed at how things turned out. It was a difficult match to play - I guess the guys didn't want to lose to a team with Dave and me in it and visa versa. At least the spectators could go sightseeing or have a doze!" the Griffins skipper concluded.
P: P Hollman, I Lay, S Lay*, T Marshall, J Hill, P Czabotar, J Baglivi, H Patel, M Ralph, M Alexander, J Kollosche.