Pacific players slowly gathered at the remote ground near the M4 under an ominous looking sky. The Dragons won the toss and chose to bowl. The game was shortened to 35 overs as rain was expected - it did not arrive despite the clouds. The skip Bastin confidently predicted the pitch was a belter apart from one green patch!
Bennett and Sylvester opened solidly as they discovered the pitch was far from a belter as inconsistent bounce reined. Bennett was bowled for 2. Sylvester hit some nice drives before edging behind for 18. Bastin was yorked just into double figures. Parkinson hit a lovely straight six and was looking good on 22 before top edging a hook to square leg. Bird was bowled first ball by a ball that went through two foot lower than it should have. 66/5 did not look promising.
Roy and Faisal rebuilt the innings with a very solid stand. Roy looked in good nick until he decided to try and play baseball rather than nudge the ball around - after several swings and misses (or edges) he was bowled for 25. Faisal, for the second week running, was a superb mix of solidity and big hitting as he top scored with 39. Cramer was another victim of the variable bounce. In the last over Brown was run out dubiously (did the fielder have the ball when breaking the stumps?) before Rees was a bemused victim to the Gleadow speciality of a mad dash on the last ball (missed by Gleadow and picked up by the keeper!) of the innings.
A surprisingly good tea (a sparse ground with no pavilion or toilets did not look promising) was leisurely consumed. Some fielding practice was undertaken - although there would be no discernible improvement.
Gleadow struck second ball with a ball that leapt and took the edge to gully. The wickets kept tumbling as Gleadow charged in and exploited the variable bounce from the lucky end to claim 5-18 - which obeyed Bastin's instruction to bowl straight and let the wicket do the work in a way the oppo had failed to. Brown induced several play and misses at the other end and was unlucky Parkinson was not having his best day at slip. Brown only really suffered in one over where the line strayed onto leg. The Dragons batting was full of agricultural hitting to leg. As the change bowlers came on the score was 70/6.
Rees and Faisal bowled well but the catching and ground fielding went awry whilst the number eight swung from the hip and at 110/7 the game seemed to be slipping. Parkinson came on and claimed two wickets in his first over - the first was a nick behind decision that enraged the batsman (clear sound but little evidence of deviation) who claimed he missed it by a foot. Faisal wrapped up proceedings with a deserved wicket.