This was a game of two halves, one hot and one wet – like a sunburnt holidaymaker floating on a semi-deflated lilo. Pacific bowled well on the whole and set themselves up for a win, only to see their dreams dashed by a dastardly summer downpour.
Black Rose 116 all out from 32 overs (Darryl Roberts 3 for 10, Mike Alexander 3 for 21, John Baglivi 2 for 9)
Pacific were 54 for two after 23 overs (Pete Hollman 24, Adrian Duffy 10, Dave Murray 10 not out, Steve Lay 2 not out)
Pacific troops arrived in Highgate hungry to avenge the terrible defeat they suffered at the merciless hands of the Black Rose men in this fixture last season. Apart from, that is, South African Marcel Booneart, who disappointed for the second week running and called in with a bad back only hours before the toss. Rumours that he was in bed with Matt Holliday and a Swedish waitress remain unconfirmed (and largely unfounded, although they are both known to own beds).
Having won the toss (at a guess) and chosen to bat, the Black Rose team were surprised to find themselves 3 wickets down with only 9 runs on the board. The destruction was wreaked by mean opening spells from John Baglivi and Darryl Roberts and a direct run out from backward leg by JB. Darryl in fact took a wicket with his first delivery, as the ball conveniently lodged in the pad and gave the umpire a nice ‘slow-motion’ of the plum lbw.
Star Black Rose batsman Mishra was next in and soon a change of bowlers brought the unrefined ‘talents’ of young Haill into the attack. After seeing his first balls go for four, four, six, he recovered well to end with fabulous figures of 0 for 37 off an exhausting, exhilarating, 5 overs. Experienced pair Mike Alexander and Nigel Wilkinson both bowled well and deserved their wickets in the middle order. Roberts came back on to clear up the tail, with another wicket in the first ball of his spell (something noted by all the Pacific captains playing – look forward to some 1-over spells, Darryl).
At tea, like 22 Middle-Eastern tyrants, the players all looked anxiously to the West as the ominous dark battalion (of clouds) rolled inexorably towards the cricket-torn fields of Highgate. The drizzle quickly became a downpour and continued past the food break. The weather eventually lightened sufficiently to allow the reluctant Highgaters to be persuaded to field.
Opening Pacific bat-boys Hollman and Duthie braved the foul conditions, finding it difficult to score freely or quickly. Despite a spongy ball and a few low shooters both openers eventually managed to play some nice shots. The rain continued. Then got worse, then looked like getting better, then got worse again and then – after Adrian and Pete had lost their wickets and Dave Murray and Steve Lay begun to cut loose – the rain turned to deluge and play ended, with the combatants sprinting to the boundary as a tsunami rose up behind them from the oceanic pitch.
Duckworth-Lewis have declined to comment so far, leaving the match to be declared ‘abandoned’ until we can work out how to formulate calculations that provide a Pacific victory.
Man of the match: Mike Alexander – took wickets of both oppo’s top scorers and took a catch.
Packing the kit: Marcel Booneart – for a very late cry-off. And God, or Michael Fish – for making it rain, the bastard.
David Murray*, Mike Alexander, John Baglivi, Rob Bastin+, Marcel Boonaert, Adrian Duthie, Oli Haill, Peter Hollman, Steve Lay, Darryl Roberts & Nigel Wilkinson.