PHs pass Litmus test but it's not catching.
Pacific v Yarl at Langlebury CC
Sun 08 Jun 2008 at 2pm
Lost 1 wicket
Friendly fixture

In a memorable match that went down to the wire, Pacific’s two PHs – founding member Pete Hollman and new signing Pete Henry, a winter transfer from Old Fallopians – were outstanding, however in the field the Islington side too frequently dropped the ball and their hopes of winning.

Pacific XI :- Chris Atkin, Jon Brown, Oli Haill, Peter Henry, Peter Hollman, Ian Lay†, Shayne Rees, Allan Roberts, Darryl Roberts, James Smith & Jon Webley*.

The beautiful tree-ringed ground at Langleybury was lit up by a glorious sunny day, seemingly perfect for batting. On winning the toss there was only one decision for captain John Webley and the opening partnership of Hollman and Australian Chris Atkin proved the veracity of this.

Hollman was able to display his favourite short-arm cut for a few boundaries but was lucky a couple of times, being dropped by both keeper and slips, with Atkin more secure but slower scoring. They had built a foundation of 74 when a delivery from a second-change bowler stayed low and was judged by the umpire to be heading for the stumps. Seemingly innocuous, this decision heralded a rapid flow of Pacific batsmen onto and quickly back off the pitch as the ‘home’ side lost four more wickets for just 25 runs, including Jon Brown for a Primary Club membership. (“I was about to look at the field placings but then the bowler started his run up,” was his just as flimsy defence later.)

This brought another PH to the crease – the latest in a long and proud line of Pacific’s ‘burly Aussie allrounders’ – to join the increasingly tired and dehydrated Hollman. Pete Henry, who was beginning his cricket season after having just emerged from a layer of geology exams, soon started to dig in. He began to busily excavate the sedentary Yarl bowling, laying down run after run like a sedimentary rock formation, eventually rocking and rolling his way to 42, with the occasional satisfying clunk of leather on sight-screen. On his way he lost his exhausted partner Hollman, who'd reached a fairly rapid half century, and then three more for single figures, with only the last man Alan Roberts making his way over ten runs and helping the total to 169.

Not batting out their overs was a crime and most Pacifcians admitted to wasting their wickets with poor shots, as the pitch was flat and dry and only one of the Yarl bowlers reached any troublesome pace.

After a lunch that included lamb wraps – possibly a first for a Pacific game – the Yarl men briskly set about demolishing Pacific’s paltry total. After a fruitless opening spell from Darryl Roberts and the newly engaged Shayne Rees, Pacific heads were poised to drop when skipper Webley’s decision to pull South African Rees off after 3 overs proved opportune.

Chris Atkin’s dangerous cutters quickly put the Yarlers on the back foot and he removed one of them in his first over. But it was another 20 precious runs into the total before ‘Smiffy’ Smith lasered a perfect delivery to remove the off bail of the other opener.

54 for 2 and already by this time Pacific had dropped at four catches – although a hard-hit return back at the following-through Smith was barely a chance. Still Yarl advanced toward their target, and although conceding little and creating genuine chances, Atkin was unable to make another break-through and Smith proved as unlucky as his demeanour when bowling usually suggests.

Then came another spark of tactical genius from Webley as he replaced Atkin with P Henry, and immediately saw the latter snaffle the fifth wicket, caught by Darryl Roberts. Henry then went on to dismiss two more, one bowled and one leg-before to leave Yarl with 50 runs to get and 5 wickets remaining.

The runs continued to come as frustration abounded for Pacific, with chance after chance going begging, dropped catches all round (no need to mention names as it might embarrass Ian, Shayne, the Roberts brothers, Jon or Jon).

Left-armer Oli Haill, in the side for the first time this season after a back injury, was brought on and after warming up for a few overs chose not to rely on the fielders (who dropped him twice, no names this time) instead swinging the ball back into the stumps two balls in a row to make it 134 for 7. The next over, fielding at short third man, he effected a diving run-out to get the eighth wicket and soon after bagged his third wicket, bowled again.

With only one wicket to go there was another drop of Haill that could have seen Pacific home by 5 runs, but it was not to be. Yarl’s experienced number 11 saw them home with some calm blocking into the fast outfield and, together with the number three Rangan who made 50 in the process, took the score from 160 to the winning 170.

Pacific, who certainly didn’t warrant a win in the dim light of this fielding performance can perhaps take heart from delving into their annals. History was against them.

Blowing the dust from the club’s records, professional archivist Steve Lay reminds that the only previous game versus these same opponents at Bethune Park on 24th August 1996 saw a similarly butter-fingered routine. He goes on: ‘Yarl batted first and scored 254-5 from 36.4 overs. A guy called Mano scored 160! We batted second and by then the rain was falling – the scorebook has that mottled look. We called it off after 12 overs leaving us 23-4 with you [Pete Hollman], Steve Emmins, Lucius and JC all gone cheaply. Rest of the team was me (6*), Simon Stockbridge (0*, he hadn't faced a ball - possibly his last game for Pacific?), Ian Craven, Mark Walker, Andy Leeks, Nigel Wilkinson and Adrian Palmer. The notes say there were fines for 9 dropped catches and 20p fine for John Campbell [keeping] for "stopping R.O."!’

Man of the match: Pete.......Henry. 42 not out, a wicket with his first ball plus two more, pips the Hollman and Haill to the award.

Packing the kit: Ian Lay. He claimed two dropped catches, but some of the bowlers might have thought it was a higher figure.

Historical notes, numbers two and three. Nearby Langleybury House, upon whose ground the pitch no doubt was once located, was bought in 1711 by Robert Raymond, later Baron Raymond, who was Lord Chief Justice of England from 1724 until 1732. At this location the unforgettable TV drama Hope and Glory was filmed, starring Lenny Henry. More interestingly, the Leavesden film studios across the other side of the A41 have played host to such classics as Star Wars: The Phantom Menace and all of Harry Potter’s film escapades.

Pacific v Yarl
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Chris Atkin   lbw b Sen   20  56  64  2  0  
Peter Hollman   c Sen b Roban   53  104  69  6  0  
Jon Webley   lbw b Tharma   4  5  9  0  0  
Jon Brown   c Kulan b Sen   0  2  1  0  0  
Shayne Rees   c Ramana b Sen   5  8  12  0  0  
James Smith   b Roban   5  11  11  1  0  
Peter Henry   not out    42  48  31  4  2  
Oliver Haill   b Ram   4  9  7  1  0  
Darryl Roberts   b Ram   5  7  6  0  0  
Ian Lay   b Ram   5  6  10  0  0  
Allan Roberts   c & b Ram   11  8  11  2  0  
 Extras (b 2, lb 4, w 8, nb 2) 16    
 TOTAL (35.3 Overs) 169 all out    
 Fall of wickets:  1-74 , 2-79 [Webley] , 3-80 [Brown] , 4-88 [Rees] , 5-99 [Smith] , 6-119 [Hollman] , 7-131 [Haill] , 8-141 [Roberts] , 9-146 [Lay] , 10-169 [Roberts]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Roban   8  3  30  2  
 Theepan   3  0  10  0  
 Nathan   8  0  34  0  
 Jube   4  0  15  0  
 Tharma   3  0  17  1  
 Sen   6  0  26  3  
 Ram   4  0  17  4  
 Therh   1  0  14  0  
Yarl innings  R  M  B  4  6
Sayantha   c Webley b    15  0  0  0  0  
Jude   b Smith   23  0  0  0  0  
Rangan   not out    56  0  0  0  0  
Kulan   c Roberts b Henry   3  0  0  0  0  
Tharma   b Henry   0  0  0  0  0  
Ruban   lbw b Henry   32  0  0  0  0  
Rangan Jr   b Haill   3  0  0  0  0  
Sen   b Haill   0  0  0  0  0  
Thirm   run out Haill    0  0  0  0  0  
Ramana   b Haill   15  0  0  0  0  
Nathan   not out    3  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 18, lb 3, w 2, nb 0) 23    
 TOTAL (37.5 Overs) 170-9    
 Fall of wickets:  1-34 [Jude] , 2-54 [Jayantha] , 3-72 [Kulan] , 4-72 [Tharma] , 5-119 [Ruban] , 6-134 [Rangan Jr] , 7-134 [Sen] , 8-136 [Thirm] , 9-160 [Ramana]
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Darryl Roberts   7.5  1  23  0  
 Shayne Rees   3  0  23  0  
 Chris Atkin   6  2  13  1  
 James Smith   7  1  32  1  
 Peter Henry   7  0  46  3  
 Oliver Haill   7  2  16  3