Wily old skipper Nigel Wilkinson led his team of Pacific veterans to victory in the battle between the Old Guard and New Boys to celebrate Pacifics 20th Anniversary as a club. There were major contributions from aging all rounder Jonathan Campbell, experinced paceman Mike Alexander, veteran Victorian Leon Yates and the skipper himself - as all the Old Guard contributed in a real team effort.
93-03 122 All Out (Dave Murray 36*, Jim Davies 31, Mike Alexander 4-21, Jonathan Campbell 2-11, Nigel Wilkinson 2-15)
83-93 123 for 5 (Leon Yates 32, Jonathan Campbell 27, Jim Davies 2-12, Lucius Faisal 2-25)
With places decided on the date of their club debuts, the two sides met at Gonville & Caius College Ground, Cambridge wearing their smart new blue kit sponsored by TravelExtras.Com. Despite the lack of rain a crafty phone call to the groundsman from experienced skipper Wilkinson had ensured that the pitch had received a good soaking - to negate the extra pace in the New Boys attack.
On the still damp track the Old Guard opted to bowl first and soon had joy as aging all-rounder Jonathan Campbell brought one back in to rattle Paul Atwoods stumps without a run on the board. However skipper Jim Davies and South African Guy Wiehahn seemed to be repairing the damage until Campbell struck again this time through a rather generous leg before decision against Wiehahn for 13. With the Old Guards ailing eyesight meaning they offered variously all three stumps as likely destination for the ball the opener could count himself unlucky.
However Davies and returning burly Australian Tim Marshall took the score onto 44 but Marshall was clearly a bit rusty after his long injury lay off and he perished when giving veteran Victorian Leon Yates the charge turncoat Matt Holliday making the stumping.
With Dave Murray and Davies then making steady progress to 69 on the tricky surface the match took a decisive turn thanks to a double wicket maiden for Old guard skipper Wilkinson. First Davies fell for 31 miss timing a drive to Jonathan Campbell at cover who remarkably was not using his mobile phone at the time and took the catch. Then he clean bowled Peter Czabotar for a duck as the Aussie aimed his trademark swipe at his second ball.
However with Washington old hand Dave Gluckman joining Murray again a mini-revival was managed until the late arriving Mike Alexander (I was waiting for everyone in the pub!) was finally given a bowl. He soon trapped Gluckman in front and the very next ball bowled Aussie dangerman Martin Cowling for a Golden Duck. On his hat trick ball Lucius Faisal responded by giving him the charge and was nearly stumped by the unusually alert Holliday from behind the stumps!
However the West Indian was not to last long again going for a charge only to be bowled by old-timer Peter Hollman for just 4. With Rob Bastin then caught with remarkable agility by Campbell for 7 and Marcel Boonaert hitting two fours and then being bowled for 8 off his third ball the unfortunate Murray was left high and dry on 36 as the innings closed on 122.
The state of the pitch gave the New Boys some hope if they could break through early. Old-timer Hollman and regular partner Adrian Duthie (the man behind the kit sponsorship) led the way for the Old Guard. A steady start against the attack of Boonaert and Faisal was eventually undone when a clearly disappointed Hollman dragged a loose delivery from the St Lucian back onto his stumps for 14 - with the score on 24.
Aging all rounder Campbell strode out to meet the challenge and the gods (with whom it is said he went to college) were on his side. Top edges fell safe, his flying pads kept umpires guessing during numerous lbw shouts one of which umpire Darryl Roberts found particularly taxing and even the usually safe hands of Peter Czabotar let him down when an edge finally did go to hand! In between he unfurled a number of (the absent) Steve Lay-like leg glances and nudges into the gaps.
However he lost partner Duthie with the score on 45 another victim for Faisal. It was veteran Victorian Leon Yates who then joined him in the stand that was effectively to win the Old Guard the match. With Yates punishing anything short and wide they took full toll of leg spinner Tim Marshalls waywardness to take the score up to 97 and to put on the only 50 run partnership in the match.
Indeed so dire was the situation that Davies had to turn to himself in desperation and he soon broke the stand by yorking Yates for a priceless 32. With Rob Bastin also given a bowl he managed to find the edge of Campbells bat and keeper Paul Attwood did the rest to end his innings for 27.
Soon keeper Matt Holliday was joining him another bowled victim for Davies and there was a glimmer of light with the Old Guard wavering on 104 for 5 and carrying a tail fit for a Brontosaurus.
The pressure mounted on John Hill and Ben Hardisty. The ball passed the edge and hit the pads on a number of occasions but runs were also ground out by the experienced duo. Martin Cowling was recalled into the attack and failed to find his line immediately a fact pounced on by Hardisty.
With the tension mounting Wilkinson turned to his seasoned umpiring duo of Hollman and Duthie to see his side through and they resisted numerous convincing leg before shouts as the game moved on. Three unsuccessful appeals in one over from Davies was too much for the volatile Welshman as he questioned the eyesight of his countryman Duthie.
However the tide was in the Old Guards favour and their greater experience paid off as Hill (5 not out) and Hardisty (8 not out) saw them home with nearly 10 overs in hand.
A great day for the whole club especially those of us who won! said club captain Wilkinson later as he clutched his winnings. Its some achievement after 20 years to have a side playing two games a weekend and in an evening league during the week when we dont really have a home ground. The team spirit Pete Hollman's organisational skills - and the amazingly low subs keep us going! he concluded.
The better team won on the day! said Davies as he emptied his wallet.
MOM Jonathan Campbell runs, wickets and catches for the aging all rounder.
Packing the Kit Jim Davies for backing his troops with his own cash!
Mike Alexander, Jonathan Campbell, Adrian Duthie, Ben Hardisty, John Hill,Matt Holliday,
Peter Hollman, Ian Lay, Darryl Roberts, Nigel Wilkinson*, Leon
Paul Attwood, Marcel Boonaert, Martin Cowling, Pete Czabotar, Jim Davies*, Lucius Faisal, Tim Marshall, David Murray, Guy Wiehahn, Rob Bastin, David Gluckman.