It was not a good day to be a bowler! A chanceless unbeaten 151 from Kent Under-18 batsman Lee on a beautiful batting track set up a total of 340 from 40 overs. Thanks to a classy 78 from Dave Murray and contributions throughout the order – Pacific replied with 278 from their 40 overs at around 7 an over.
Hartley 340-2 from 40 overs (Lee 151*, Coster 127)
Pacific 278-9 from 40 overs (D Murray 78, G Wiehahn 47, Carter 5-44)
A clear blue sky and a perfect looking strip persuaded the home skipper to bat first in this 40-over contest. As has become customary – Matt Ralph claimed a wicket in Pacific’s first over – Tim Marshall taking the catch at short-cover. Indeed both Ralph and Marcel Boonaert impressed again with good pace, accuracy and swing on what was clearly a blameless pitch. The luck that was needed did not go the bowlers’ way – and the second wicket pair set about building their innings in contrasting styles. Opener Coster was prepared to chance his arm somewhat – occasionally giving the fielders a glimmer of hope – while skipper Lee was more circumspect – prepared to wait for his opportunities. There was a confident appeal for a catch at the wicket off Coster from the bowling of Nigel Wilkinson – but otherwise little seemed to go to hand.
With Wilkinson swinging the ball in - and Mike Alexander accurate – the 20-over drinks break saw the home team on around 100 – and both sides quite content. The drinks however inspired the batsmen – with Coster in particular taking the attack to the visitors. He survived a difficult chance at long-off from Wilkinson (0-47 from 8 overs) – but the change to the spin of Marshall and the return of Ralph (1-60 from 8) did little to slow the onslaught. Coster enjoyed further life when keeper Paul Attwood spilled a difficult diving chance that he did well to get a glove on – before Coster failed to quite clear the ropes off Jim Davies and was well caught by Peter Czabotar at long-off – ending a stand of 226.
If Pacific had hoped this would slow things down – they were mistaken – as Lee now cut loose – taking 19 from one Boonaert over, 20 from a Davies over and 21 from Dave Murray’s solitary over. He ended on an unbeaten 151 – with the last ten overs yielding 140 runs.
Faced with such a huge target – Guy Wiehahn and Tim Marshall took stock before pushing the run rate up – before Marshall (12) fell to a smart catch off the bowling of spinner Carter. With the pitch still playing true – but the setting sun causing some problems from one end – Jim Davies joined Wiehahn – and the pair continued to keep the rate ticking over. Davies struck three boundaries in one Carter over – but fell hit-wicket in the next for 22 - bizarrely late cutting both the ball and his own stumps!
Dave Murray and Wiehahn took Pacific through to just before the drinks interval – both men getting fully into their stride – before Wiehahn became Carter’s third victim when he was bowled playing across the line for a typically well-made 47.
Peter Czabotar (0) was unable to repeat his heroics from the previous week – and two well-hit fours from Matt Ralph were followed by a third big hit being caught at long-on – bringing Carter his fifth wicket. At 136 for 5 the Pacific innings might have folded – but Murray and Marcel Boonaert continued to score the runs at a good rate in a stand of 83 in 8 overs. Boonaert added some muscular blows to the cultured hitting of Murray.
Returning opening bowler Thompson (Kent Under-16) accounted for Boonaert for 20 and Murray for 78 in the same over – effectively killing whatever slim hopes Pacific may have harboured for an unlikely win. Murray’s innings was a gem – his fifty taking 40 balls and his 78 only 55 balls – including one six and 11 fours.
The tail wagged healthily as the sun set behind the sightscreen – Paul Attwood (9 not out) enjoying stands with Kevin Alexander (5), Mike Alexander (12) and skipper Nigel Wilkinson (9 not out). The innings ended with 278 on the board for the loss of 9 wickets.
It was a record breaking day – Pacific both conceding and scoring their second highest 40-over totals. Pacific also made their highest ever score batting second and losing – 278 comfortably eclipsing the previous record of 234. Finally - it was the highest single-innings match aggregate in the club’s 19 year history – a total of 618 runs scored for the loss of only 11 wickets!
“340 at 8 ½ an over was a pretty daunting target – to put it mildly! It says much for the character of the Pacific team that we set about the task in such a positive manner.” Wilkinson said later. “Lee was a quality bat and it was no surprise to learn he plays for Kent Under-18 and for a team in the County’s Premier division. However I think Dave Murray’s innings – under pressure – merits comparison with anything played today.” he concluded.
XI: Mike Alexander, Kevin Alexander, Paul Attwood, Marcel Boonaert, Jim Davies, David Murray, Matthew Ralph, Nigel Wilkinson*, Peter Czabotar, Guy Wiehahn, Tim Marshall.