Pacific ended a mixed bag of a season on a high note with a comfortable 116 run win over Chats Palace. Jim Davies weighed in with a first ever Pacific century - and the Welshman then fittingly finished off Chats’ defiance with a wicket maiden.
Basking in unseasonably warm weather – Pacific’s innings was built around Davies’ 77-ball ton – with most of the other batsmen making useful contributions – particularly Adrian Duthie with a season’s best 31 and Craig Jones with 22.
Skipper David Murray varied his limited bowling resources well – with Rob Allum (2-29 from 10) and Ollie Haill putting on the early pressure – before the skipper’s own leg-spin (4-17) and resurgent swing bowler Peter Hollman (1-11) did the main damage – helped by two smart catches from departing Aussie Peter Czabotar in his last ever game for the club.
Pacific 216 for 6 Dec. (Jim Davies 101*, Adrian Duthie 31)
Chats Palace 100 All Out (Tom 30, David Murray 4-17, Rob Allum 2-29, Jim Davies 1-0)
With glorious weather more suited to early summer than to mid-October – Pacific’s gamble of adding an extra fixture paid off as an enjoyable and warm game of cricket ensued – the early start the only concession to the time of year – and also to the England soccer game that was to follow!
Chats won the toss and opted to field first. Aussie Tom looked their most threatening bowler and he nipped one back to bowl Rob Bastin for 2. Adrian Duthie had by this stage already had a life having been recalled after he top edged a beamer to keeper Horsman – before the delivery was correctly called a no-ball!
Duthie made good use of his chance by striking some sweet boundaries – and it was a surprise when he followed a delivery from Sam and edged it through to Horsman for a season’s highest 31.
After a cautious start the burly pair of Jim Davies and Joe Phelan began to dominate – Phelan striking a big six off a slower ball that he picked up early. However Davies was to prove the death of his partner - as he called for an over-ambitious single and Tom threw down the wickets with a direct hit with Phelan well short of his ground – the big man leaving the pitch to an apologetic cry from his partner!
Craig Jones added some well hit fours before he offered a chance to point. As the ball was spilled it rolled near some local youths who took offence – and the lack of a park ranger (that had earlier resulted in the teams changing outside a locked changing room) meant the problem became worse. There was a delay as the matter was dealt with and the police called.
After the resumption – Jones gave a further chance to point – and this time it was taken smartly above the fielder’s head. Davies meanwhile was picking off the bad ball ruthlessly – while enjoying two slices of luck as fielders failed to hang on to chances.
He was joined by his brother-in-law - Aussie Peter Czabotar – who was nursing a badly sprained ankle that he picked up during some exuberant leaving celebrations the night before. Despite this handicap - the pair added 48 in quick time before Czabotar was caught to end his last Pacific innings.
Skipper Dave Murray contributed some classy drives as the race to declare quickened – and Davies completed a first-ever Pacific century – containing 18 fours and a six – and coming from only 77 balls. The innings ended soon after when Murray was stumped for 15 in what would have been the last of 33 overs faced by Pacific – with a total of 216 posted – Davies unbeaten on 101.
Bowling sides out on the astro surface at Wray Crescent is seldom easy – so it was a bonus when Joe Phelan returned the compliment for his own run out to hit direct to remove opener Ingram for a duck. The opportunity arose due to the pressure applied by both Rob Allum and Ollie Haill not conceding a run in the first 3 overs – backed up by the big man’s fine throw.
Aussie Tom then showed he was a fine all-round cricketer with some good shots and Chats’ skipper Gary Horsman provided stout support – although neither man was able to dominate the accurate Pacific bowlers. It was Allum who struck – removing the Aussie thanks to a smart catch from Pete Czabotar at gully – making light of his injury.
Craig Jones had missed a difficult chance as he spilled one coming out of the dazzling low sun – but he made amends with a safe catch to provide Allum with a second wicket – as he this time he made no mistake to remove Horsman.
The persevering Haill got his just deserts when he finally broke through to bowl his first victim – but Chats had by now dug in for the draw – and luck did not seem to be with the bowlers.
Skipper Murray acted by bringing himself on to bowl his occasional leg-breaks – and he immediately looked threatening. With revitalised seasoned swinger Peter “The Wiz” Hollman also introduced – the batsmen faced a new challenge.
There were second catches for Jones and Czabotar – along with one for the veteran Hollman off Murray. The skipper’s baffling variety also brought him a leg before decision and bowled a batsman – as 82 for 4 became 98 for 9 in a collapse Pacific would have been proud of!
However the left handed Andy had stood firm through the carnage and with only 4 over left Murray bravely removed himself from the attack – having claimed 4 for 17.
Suggestions of jug avoidance were put to one side as Jim Davies capped a very good day with a wicket maiden to finish proceedings – bringing one back into the left-hander to bowl him – and wrapping up the Chats innings on an even hundred – with Pacific winning by 116 runs with three overs in hand.
"It was a good way to round off the season." said skipper Murray afterwards. "Once a side decides to dig in on that wicket it's difficult to get them out - and it needed a good bowling and fielding effort from the whole team to prevent the draw. Pete Czabotar's two good catches when playing with a twisted ankle sum up what he has brought to the side - we'll miss him and Tim Marshall next year." he added.
"I had a couple of outrageous slices of luck with the dropped catches!" Jim Davies acknowledged about his century. "That said - I'm more than happy to send Pete Hollman back to the trophy shop - just when he thought he had everything organised!" the burly Welshman joked.
MOM – Jim Davies – a long threatened first Pacific ton for the Welshman – and the final wicket to boot!
Packing the Kit – Matt Patel – came to watch – but ate his lunch instead of fielding when the team was one short!