Welsh all-rounder Jim "Two Jugs" Davies enjoyed success with bat and ball against the Foreign & Commonwealth Office – firstly hitting 59 in helping nuggety South African opener Guy Wiehahn (68) add 111 for the second wicket – and then claiming 5 wickets for 15 at the death to derail the home side’s impressive run chase. Not since the active playing days of Pacific legend Jonathan Campbell (in the last millennium) has a payer completed the 5 wicket-50 run all-round double for the club.
Pacific 235 for 6 from 40 overs (Guy Wiehahn 68, Jim Davies 59)
Foreign and Commonwealth Office 197 for 9 (M Field 66, A Janjha 26, D Stock 25, Jim Davies 6-2-15-5, Marcel Boonaert 8-1-32-2)
FCO skipper David Stock opted to field first on what looked a belter of a pitch in a sunny Chiswick. The diminutive pair of Rob Bastin and Guy Wiehahn opened – with Bastin in particular soon taking the attack to the bowlers. However his run-a-ball 23 ended when bowled by Rutledge’s leg spin with the score on 30.
With the ever reliable Richard Bielby bowling economically but with no luck – left-hander Jim Davies set about Rutledge – hitting three boundaries in an over. Change bowler Ian Noble fared no better – his first three balls also dispatched to the ropes. Indeed at one point Davies first 8 scoring shots were boundaries – with the pint-sized Wiehahn also enjoying the lightening quick outfield to get full value from his shots at the other end.
The introduction of Janjha and Chilcott induced chances from Davies when in his forties – but both were put down – allowing him to blast another few boundaries for a 42 ball 50 – before one ambitious shot too many gave Noble a chance at mid-wicket and he departed for 59 with the score on 141 in the 26th over.
Skipper Steve Lay joined Wiehahn to smash a run-a-ball 15 before being undone by one that kept low. By this stage Guy was accelerating – his fifty coming off 83 balls – then a few more boundaries flowed from his bat - before falling for 68 to a sharp catch from Bielby off the returning Noble.
With Stuart Mullin chasing a wide one to give Chilcott his second victim – caught behind by his father – the stage was set for Sammy Purcell and Marcel Boonaert to stop the rot and build on the work done earlier. They did this in contrasting styles – the more measured Purcell complemented by the belligerent burly South African – who blasted 16 before being caught behind.
Enter Matt “The Slugger” Patel – who immediately set about the bowling with gusto – hammering 12 from only 9 balls and helping Purcell take 17 from a toiling Noble’s final over – with Sammy left unbeaten on 23 and the score a respectable 235 for 6 – although it had promised more half way through the innings.
After a pleasant tea – opening Aussie pair of Kurt Rademaker and Martin Cowling kept things tight – but again anything loose raced away over the quick outfield. A change of fielder at gulley however brought the breakthrough – as Guy Wiehahn replaced Marcel Boonaert - and immediately took a head high catch (waist high to many in the team) off the bowling of burly all-rounder Rademaker.
Both Aussies completed economical 6 over spells without any further wickets. A deceptively slow opening over from stocky South African Marcel Boonaert was followed by something noticeably quicker – the ball not only bowling home skipper David Stock for a useful 25 – but also shattering the bail. Boonaert continued with an impressive spell – while left-armer Olli Haill was varying between the sublime and the ridiculous from the other end – troubling the batsman with beauties - and the keeper and slips with wides in equal measure! Despite (or perhaps because of) 11 wides – he proved quite difficult to get away off the bat – so the run rate remained well below the required rate.
However with wickets in hand the assault started – before another Boonaert jaffa ended Janjha’s innings on 26 – rounding off his spell with 2 for 32. Meanwhile medium pacer Stuart Mullin was coming in for some treatment at the other end – particularly from left-hander Field - his five overs costing 56 runs.
Suddenly with Field and Brooks batting well – the target seemed a lot closer as the score raced to 170 for 3 with 8 overs left. Skipper Lay was forced to call up veteran seamer Davies to try to stem the flow – and he made the breakthrough when he bowled Brooks (24) in what was to be a wicket-maiden. With first Cowling and the then Rademaker completing the bowling from the other end – all the FCO hopes now rested on Field. However he mistimed a drive at Davies and Haill took an excellent catch at cover from the swirling ball - and the man from the ministry departed for a well-hit 66.
From then on it was a procession as Davies hit the stumps twice - either side of a crazy run out to keeper Rob Bastin. When Bastin took a catch behind from the first ball of Davies’s final over – it brought Ian Noble in to face the hat-trick ball. The veteran survived (“Somehow!” he said later) and also kept out the rest of the over – leaving Richard Bielby to finish the match with a boundary off Rademaker – still leaving the Foreign Office 38 runs short of the target. Davies finished with 5 for 15 from 6 overs – his final 4 overs bringing 5 wickets for 2 runs.
“An excellent match that could have gone either way in the last 10 overs” said skipper Steve Lay afterwards. “I’d hoped for a few more runs when Guy and Jim were going so well – and then was quite worried they might get there until Jim managed to bowl it straight at the end. Ollie’s catch and Marcel’s spell were vital too.” he added.
MOM – Jim Davies – a fifty and five-wickets for the burly Welsh all-rounder.
Packing the Kit – Stuart Mullin – missed out with the bat and clobbered with the ball.
Stat Corner - There have only been three previous 50 run - 5 wicket all-round performances for Pacific - the last of these coming in 1995 from the mythical Jonathan Campbell.
XI:- Rob Bastin, Marcel Boonaert, Martin Cowling, Jim Davies, Steve Lay*, Matt Patel, Stuart Mullin, Kurt Rademaker, Guy Wiehahn, Sammy Purcell & Oli Haill