After Pacific were bowled out for just 46 a fortnight ago, match manager Kieran Mullens called for a special performance against league foes Hadley Wood Green. A new ‘brand’ of Pacific team, including debuts from a few newcomers to the game*, answered that call emphatically.
As light rain over Enfield became bright cloud, skipper Tom won the toss and decided to bowl first.
Ravi and Pranav applied pressure from the start and despite Pacific squandering some early chances, Ravi soon made the breakthrough, disturbing the stumps of the frustrated opposition skipper. Pranav joined in the fun with a peach from the other end.
As the sun came out the drying green pitch began to misbehave, assisting first change Tom. He beat the bat from various angles and picked up two more HWG wickets as HWG’s run rate slowed to a crawl.
Despite the regular fall of wickets, HWG’s best bat was still at the crease and the game was nicely poised. Cue the arrival of the one they call The K-Dog, who removed HWG’s last recognised batsmen with his first ball, a full offspinner that took the edge and was nicely snaffled by Vamsi at slip.
After a mini-recovery, great contributions from Riz and Phil Smith then wrapped up HWG’s innings in double quick time. Riz, having been waiting to bowl for 17 overs having arrived 17 overs late**, channelled his frustration into sharp yorkers, bowled off his stripped-back Ramadhan run-up (3 paces). He finished with the downright silly figures of 3 for 4 off 1.1 overs. Phil Smith also prized out two of HWG’s lower order batsmen, one of them a sharp caught and bowled.
After an excellent team performance from Pacific***, HWG were all out for 143. Special mention to stand-in ‘keeper Paul Rajkumar, who took three brilliant catches and generally kept wicket like an old pro.
At lunch Pacific chewed the fat both literally (jerk chicken & doughnuts) and metaphorically (about how to approach a deceptively tricky target on a difficult pitch). When the game restarted opener Paul was in no mood for caution, pumping the first two balls of the innings for crisp fours and taking about 20 off the first two overs.
When he fell blasting to mid-off, Riz arrived at the crease and continued the onslaught. There was no sign of the seam movement that had troubled HWG, and Pacific flew towards their target at 8 or 9 an over. Riz blasted 67 off just 40-odd balls, and at one point more than 60 runs came in just 4 overs.
As HWG heads dropped, it became clear the memory of 46 all out had been avenged. Tom retired to give others a bat, not knowing he was on 48 and not realising Riz would blast the winning runs within a few overs anyway.
Pacific cruised to victory in just 14.4 overs, allowing the elated team to retire to the bar and then make bad puns about cruising to Crew’s Hill, the nearest station****.
*Thanks to Mark and Anan for travelling a long way and playing at short notice.
**Riz witnessed a minor traffic accident and was required to make a statement.
*** Well done Vamsi, who bowled and fielded despite hurting his thigh diving for a catch.
****Thanks to Allan Roberts for shuttling people to and from the station.