Pacific chucked away a winning opportunity against New Barbarian Weasels when they collapsed from 84 for 1 to 110 all out. Adam Michaels claimed 6 wickets with his unconventional medium-pace action - despite burly Aussie Tim Marshall hitting his second successive half-century for Pacific. Earlier Michaels had rescued the Weasels with a well-hit fifty as they reached 171 for 7 – having been 58 for 5 at one stage.
NBW 171-7 (Adam Michaels 50, Ollie Haill 3-26, Jim Davies 2-36)
Pacific 110 All Out (Tim Marshall 50, Adam Michaels 6-20)
On a damp pitch, Pacific skipper Paul Attwood chose to bowl first – despite losing veteran opening bowler Mike Alexander to the opposition as they had turned up 2 short. It was particularly disappointing that no notice of this problem had been given – as Pacific had at least two players available following the cancellation of Sunday’s match at Hartley.
With players struggling to find the new ground – Attwood opened with Rob Bastin’s medium pace and Tim Marshall’s leg spin. Bastin almost had an early breakthrough as Jim Davies clung onto a diving effort at slip – only for the ball to be jarred loose as his bulky frame hit the turf. The Hobbit then put down an easier chance off his own bowling – before getting his reward when keeper Attwood took a good catch down the legside and John Bishop sportingly walked.
The introduction of left armer Ollie Haill stretched Attwood behind the stumps as the ball sprayed around alarmingly – and Haill also put down a difficult caught and bowled chance. However when on the right line – Haill was proving difficult to play – and he soon removed Richards for 14 and Ashraf padding up for a duck – as well as removing opener Imran for 23.
Attwood then turned to Jim Davies – who found an unusual amount of swing (for him!) to remove Ashraf for 1 and frequently troubled both Michaels and Hurley. This pair had put up stiff resistance in the corresponding fixture the previous year – and so it was to prove again as they ground out the runs.
Haill claimed impressive figures of 3 for 26 from 9 overs and Davies’ 11 over spell went for only 28 – but runs were picked off at the other end – and a wayward returning Bastin allowed the rate to increase. However Tim Marshall claimed the wicket of Hurley for 20 – thanks to a good catch from the safe hands of Matt Patel – but this brought in Kirkwood determined to add some quick runs.
Davies was forced to return to stem the flow – and his slower ball was hit by Michaels to Ollie Haill at long on for an even 50. Davies finished with 13 overs - 2 for 36 - and the Weasels disappointingly declared before veteran Alexander could face a ball – their 171 coming from 41 overs.
With no teas and no drinks breaks – the Pacific innings started with Shaun Cochrane and Tim Marshall knowing that a good start was needed. However the South African Cochrane was surprised to get a straight one first ball from veteran seamer Alexander – so surprised that he missed it and was bowled!
Having had precisely one ball’s rest – a clearly knackered Jim Davies joined Marshall in what both men knew would be a vital stand. Alexander was soon disappointed to see a routine chance at long off spurned – giving Davies an extra life. The mixture of seam and spin on the damp track was taxing – but Aussie Marshall was soon finding his range and the run rate was maintained. Alexander persisited with a good spell and deserved better than his 1 for 48 from 10 testing overs.
With 20 overs to go Pacific needed another 82 with only 1 wicket down – but the introduction of Michaels changed the whole complexion of the match as he threw down the gauntlet (and the ball). He broke the 84 run second wicket stand when he accounted for Davies in his first over – the Welshman unable to pick up the ball from his whippy bent-then-straight arm action – and hitting it straight to mid-off for a tired looking 22. With Marshall going in his next over for an even 50 – disappointingly hitting a full toss back to the bowler – there was now pressure on the Pacific middle order.
A couple of sweetly timed boundaries from Jonathan Hardisty flattered to deceive as he was caught and bowled by Imran – and then Michaels cleaned up as he flung down the stumps of Joe Bennett (0), Paul Attwood (3), Rob Bastin (1) and Jon Brown (4). This despite being warned and then no balled for throwing by Davies – who was now umpiring – and it was perhaps unfortunate that the Weasels skipper did not take the hint sooner about his star man’s clearly dubious action. However he finished with figures of 6-20 from 6 overs – and effectively won the game single handed for the Home Office team – although it was left to Kirkwood to finish things off when he trapped Matt Patel in front for 4 – Ollie Haill left not out 4 at the end.
“They were obviously keen to avenge last year’s 9 wicket thrashings - and we threw away a good position to win today.” said skipper Attwood later - who suffered his first ever defeat as Pacific captain. “However it’s a shame their win was tarnished by being reliant on a bowler who was warned and eventually "no balled" for throwing – especially when we rely on players to umpire rather than having proper officials. Still we could have been firmer - so it is our own fault in a way - and we will just have to be more stringent with the rules next year.” he added.
MOM - Tim Marshall - a second fifty in as many games for the burly Aussie.
Packing the Kit - Everyone apart from Marshall and Davies - 84 for the second wicket - and 26 runs for the other 8 wickets!