Pacific Dreadful – Walker Disgraceful
Pacific v Washington at Alexandra Palace
Sun 19 May 2002 at 2pm
Friendly fixture

The local derby against Washington ended as a very one-sided draw – with Washington well on top. A pathetic batting collapse by Pacific – going from 52 without loss to 57 for 8 - left them clinging on for a draw over the last 12 overs.

Washington 197-7 dec Brown 64*, Demitri 37, Moffatt 29, Rees 2-5, Ralph 2-39
Pacific 69-9 Picknett 29, Evans 5-14, Minion 2-38

However the game will sadly not be remembered for the fine performances of Steve Brown with the bat and Gary Evans with ball – ably supported by an all round team effort that almost brought victory. Instead it will be remembered for two controversial umpiring decisions – and the outrageous conduct of home skipper Dave Walker towards the end of the Pacific innings.

After a steady start of 41 for the first wicket, Washington’s innings was rebuilding after the loss of 3 wickets – including Pete Demitri for a typically well-crafted 37. Shortly after coming to the wicket – Alan Moffatt appeared to be run out by Craig Jones’ return to the bowlers’ end – only for the umpire to give him the benefit of the doubt. Moffatt made the most of this close call – putting on 59 with Steve Brown - despite a painful pulled hamstring.

With Brown gaining in confidence – and given a life when badly dropped by Jim Davies at slip – Washington went on to post a commanding total of 195-7 in 45 overs and in a touch over 3 hours. Shayne Rees – having arrived over an hour late having gone to the wrong ground – took 2 late wickets – while Matt Ralph was the pick of the attack and deserved better than his figures of 2-39.

The Pacific innings started cautiously in the face of some very accurate bowling from stalwart Richard Minion and newcomer Kennedy – who conceded only 2 runs in his 6 overs. Guy Wiehann (20) and Mile Picknett (29) took the score onto 52 with 20 overs to come – leaving the match interestingly poised. When both openers fell in successive overs – Jim Davies stood and watched from the other end as 5 successive Pacific batsmen were dismissed for ducks.

The bowlers put the ball in the right areas and largely saw the batsmen self destruct – none more so than when Shayne Rees was deceived by a slow long hop and was bowled missing a wild pull shot. Credit must also go to Demitri for a stunning diving slip catch to dismiss Craig Jones.

Davies himself was then bowled off his pads playing feebly half forward – leaving the two Matts – Holiday and Ralph at the crease. They showed admirable concentration and resolve and survived largely without alarm until the return of Minion and the introduction of Demitri’s leg spin.

With three overs to go it seemed Pacific would limp to the draw – when a wide Demitri leg-break brought a wild swipe at the ball from Holiday. The Washington fielders went up for a catch behind – the batsman stood firm – and the umpire ruled not out. The fielders looked stunned and heated words were directed at the batsman – loud enough to be heard on the sidelines. The ball was thrown away – and for a moment it was not clear that the game was going to continue.

Continue it did – but by now the chat and movement of close fielders as the bowler was bowling became even more noticeable. When Ralph was bowled in the penultimate over by Minion’s final ball – the departing batsman had the good grace to compliment the bowler on delivering a good ball. Contrastingly - as he left the pitch – he found himself being shouted at by Washington skipper Dave Walker – use of the “F” word ringing clearly up to the spectators in the pavilion.

A resolute Mike Alexander came to the wicket – the last over was successfully negotiated – and a draw secured by Pacific. It was the first time the batting has failed this year – and it did so in a spectacularly self-destructive way. Well done to the guys who held it together towards the end in difficult circumstances.

Walker was unrepentant about his behaviour after the game – clearly suggesting that Pacific had cheated. It is a sad way for a man - who is old enough to know better - to behave. Close decisions don’t always go your way – Pacific have had half a dozen or so go the other way against Washington over the past few years – including today’s run out – but you just have to get on with it.

“It’s a shame the game descended into such bitterness” said Pacific vice-captain Jim Davies afterwards. “I feel embarrassed on behalf of most of the Washington guys for the way one or two of them behaved”.
“Dave Walker behaved like a primary school kid – you’d expect a grown man to have more self-discipline – and a captain to lead by example. I expect he’s regretting it now – and I hope when we play them again in September we can get back to the competitive but friendly games that we have enjoyed over the past couple of years. Roll on the return fixture!” Davies concluded.

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