Veteran seamer Darryl Roberts produced a vintage display of new ball bowling on a slightly damp Broxbourne wicket – claiming 4 for 11 from 8 testing overs. His spell left the home side reeling and was followed up by burly Aussie Kurt Rademaker’s 2 for 11 from 8 equally parsimonious overs. Despite a useful unbeaten 41 from Page – Broxbourne’s total of 103 for 8 from 40 overs never did not look like being enough on a wicket that was easing as it dried through the afternoon.
However Pacific openers Peter Hollman and Adrian Duthie were determined that the match would go the distance – as the scratched their way to 20 from 10 overs and then 37 from 20. As spectators and team mates fell into a trance watching the catatonic batting – skipper Nigel Wilkinson managed to rouse himself to demand more urgency after the drinks break. There was some acceleration until Duthie fell for a relatively brisk (compared to Pete!) 30. Jim Davies replaced his fellow Welshman and soon struck the second boundary of the innings – and with Hollman finishing on 29 from 117 balls (SR 0.247) – the job was done with less than 5 overs in hand. Effective – if not pretty – batting from the old timer - erasing memories of last year's 3 run defeat against the same opposition.
Broxbourne 103 for 8 from 40 (Page 41*, Darryl Roberts 8-2-11-4, Kurt Rademaker 8-2-11-2)
Pacific 104 for 1 from 35.5 overs (Adrian Duthie 30, Peter Hollman 29*)
It was a good toss to lose for skipper Nigel Wilkinson as hosts Broxbourne opted to bat first on a wicket that retained enough moisture to give assistance to the seamers. Veteran paceman Darryl Roberts suffered a nasty hand injury at the same ground when he last played here earlier in the year – but he put that behind him bowling one of the openers for a Golden Duck. He continued to find movement that encouraged him to pitch the ball up and reaped the rewards with three further wickets – all bowled - to claim 4 scalps in his excellent eight over spell.
At the other end West Indian Lucius Faisal’s shorter length was difficult to get away – but was also less likely to bring wickets. He was replaced by bowling legend John Baglivi and he was soon into the action – grabbing a caught and bowled chance. Burly Aussie all-rounder Kurt Rademaker replaced Roberts and started around the wicket – conceding little but limiting his chances of a breakthrough. A switch to over the wicket soon brought dividends as he hit the stumps with one that kept low and then trapped a batsman in front with a full toss that would have hit the stumps.
With Lucius Faisal taking a stunning tumbling catch in the deep of Frank Baglivi’s wily spin – Broxbourne were indebted to Page for ensuring they batted out the full 40 overs. He and Stone survived despite a number of close shaves – with Page making a vital 41 out of a total restricted to only 103.
After the usual excellent tea – Pacific's experienced openers Peter Hollman and Adrian Duthie knew that it was important to ensure that no early wickets fell in chasing a low total. With the pitch playing increasingly well throughout the day – they did this – but struggled against an attack relying on accuracy rather than pace.
This was Duthie’s comeback innings from a nasty calf tear and the old timers took it easy when running between the wickets. Unfortunately after a boundary from the Welshman in the first over – they also failed to pierce the ring – which was set back quite deep and might have encouraged a little more carefully judged nudges for singles once the pair were set. Indeed for the first twenty overs the score relied heavily on byes and midfields to keep moving at all. Both men were finding the middle of the bat – but neither was timing the ball at all and a type of stalemate developed – all the while knowing that the target was always within reach.
At the 20 over drinks interval skipper Nigel Wilkinson demanded more urgency – as only 37 runs had been scored – so despite the low target there was a danger of creating unnecessary pressure. The experienced pair responded with a number of well-judged runs – as they realised that the fielding was more Gary - rather than Jonty - Rhodes!
Duthie eventually perished for a patient 30 – caught off a top edged sweep. His replacement Jim Davies was set about upping the tempo – a few twos through the covers and a second boundary of the innings over square leg soon brought the target within sight – though some of the left-handers running later on was a bit sloppy with the ball hit into the deep.
However the target was duly overhauled with 4.1 overs in hand – Pacific having almost reached the giddy heights of 3 runs per over! Not pretty with the bat – but a dominant 9 wicket win in any event – with wizened old pro Hollman adding 29 runs to his average (from 117 balls) and Davies 18 not out at the end. It was only Pacific's second win against their long time hosts.
“I felt like Mike Atherton during his rearguard in J’Berg!” said Hollman afterwards. “We were worried about Adrian’s injury so we didn’t run our usual quota of quick singles.” he added.
“Slow scoring or not - it was a match winning innings!!!” Opening Batsman’s Union representative Duthie added defensively to the suddenly awakened and rather frozen crowd.
MOM – Darryl Roberts – a master class with the new ball from the veteran seamer.
Packing the Kit – Peter Hollman – runs at last for the old timer - but 29 in two hours was as dull as dishwater and sent his watching family to sleep!
Stato Corner - Pete's 29 from 117 balls (SR 0.247) looks like earing him the prize for the slowest long innings in Pacific's history - undertaking Chris O'Grady's record of 30 from 115 balls (SR 0.260)
XI :- John Baglivi, Rob Bastin, Lucius Faisal, Peter Hollman, Kurt Rademaker, Darryl Roberts, Nigel Wilkinson*, Frank Baglivi, Steve Emmins, Jim Davies & Adrian Duthie.