Pacific ran up a hat-trick of victories against their longest running opponents in the late summer sunshine in Twickenham. They produced a great team effort to overwhelm a challenging Crossbats total in this 35 over encounter – led by a trademark 75 from Jim Davies in the run chase.
Crossbats 206 for 8 from 35 overs (Wright 75, Groves 63, Peter Hollman 6-2-34-3, Darryl Roberts 7-0-34-2, Jim Davies 7-0-39-2)
Pacific 207-5 from 32.5 overs (Jim Davies 75, Matt Holliday 37, Matt Ralph 26*)
Skipper Steve Lay won the toss and inserted the home side on the astro turf strip. In form paceman Darryl Roberts produced a beauty in the first over to remove Collier for a duck. However home skipper Alistair Wright steadied the ship with Jones in a 49 run second wicket stand as Roberts and Matt Ralph searched for a further breakthrough in vain.
Skipper Lay decided to opt for reduced pace courtesy of Peter Hollman and brother Ian Lay – and after an expensive second over Hollman came back with a wicket maiden – clinging on to a return catch. He followed with two wickets in a double wicket maiden – removing danger man Clive Lawrence thanks to a catch from Ted Szusman and there was also a catch from Ian Lay at backward square leg.
There followed a blistering attack from kiwi left-hander Groves who demonstrated a great eye for the ball and hit a number of booming sixes over the mid-wicket region – including one massive blow off Ian Lay that cleared the road on its way into a neighbouring garden. Steve Lay recalled Roberts – who troubled the Kiwi before removing him thanks to a vital catch from Jonathan Hardisty at mid-off.
The run rate was immediately brought under control. Jim Davies’ first two balls had been dispatched for 10 runs – but he, Roberts, Ralph and Adrian Duthie stemmed the flow of runs. Davies first bowled Rapley with a slower ball and grabbed the vital wicket of Wright for a well-made 75 with another slower ball – thanks to a second safe catch from Ted Szusman. With a run out as well – Crossbats were indebted to Gumby for some useful late hitting to take their total to 206 from their 35 overs at around 6 an over.
Adrian Duthie and Matt Holliday opened the batting putting on 19 before Duthie miscued Frank Lippitt to cover for 8. With Jim Davies, Holliday set about building a solid platform for the later assault. Holliday judiciously picked the bad balls to hit through mid-on and square leg – while Davies drove selectively through the covers for a series of boundaries. They added 64 in 12 overs before Holliday was defeated by an excellent yorker from Lawrence – the wicketkeeper-batsman departing for 37.
Skipper Steve Lay joined Davies in a stand of 62 in 11 overs – producing some trademark leg glances and square cuts as the target run-rate was kept in sight – without taking any unnecessary risks and keeping wickets in hand. The tempo was gradually built up as they put pressure on the Crossbats fielders – as Davies blasted a six and a four from consecutive balls from spinner Groves.
With Lay bowled for 20 – Matt Ralph was intelligently promoted by his skipper to keep the rate going. He and Davies added 22 in only 7 minutes – Davies repeating his 6-4 treatment off Collier with the ball smashing into one of the parked cars. However the Welshman was soon to depart – caught behind off Fitch for 75 made from 71 balls.
Jonathan Hardisty came to the crease and played some elegant shots to the boundary – which combined well with Ralph’s more muscular approach – the ball twice passing through Wright’s hands at short-midwicket on the way to the ropes - but Hardisty fell just short of the target after hitting a brisk 16. There was no respite for the home side – as Peter Czabotar smashed a big six to bring the scores level – and a wide gave the game to Pacific with more than two overs and five wickets in hand. Matt Ralph capped a good all-round performance with an impressive unbeaten 26.
“The boys kept going all the way,” said a delighted Lay later. “It says a lot that we felt confident of chasing over 200 at around 6 an over – and in the end it was quite comfortable. Wickets in hand were vital. Jim paced his innings to perfection and Matt, Jonny and Peter finished things off beautifully.” the skipper concluded.
Stato Corner: The need for quick runs means Peter Hollman was not given a chance to get the 6 runs he needs to reach 500 for the season – while Darryl Roberts’ 2 wickets means he has pulled up alongside Marcel Boonaert with 31 wickets for the season.
XI:- Jim Davies, Adrian Duthie, Ted Szusman, Matt Holliday+, Peter Hollman, Ian Lay, Steve Lay*, Darryl Roberts, Matt Ralph, Peter Czabotar & Jonathan Hardisty