Schoolboy spinner lifts Cambridge blues
Pacific v Gonville & Cauis College at Gonville & Caius
Sat 30 Apr 2011 at 2pm
Lost 6 wickets
Friendly fixture

Gonville and Caius College’s ground provided a fittingly regal backdrop to Pacific’s latest fixture, but unlike Will and Kate’s Friday matrimonial there would be no happy ending on Saturday. 

Such a conclusion seemed improbable after Pacific had posted 245/5 by tea. Craig Jones and Lahri Mohamed’s talents seemed to marry agreeably, the new pair putting on 70 in decent time. After Jones was bowled for 15, Mohamed put the partnership break behind him to create a platform for our substantial total, contributing to stands first with Webley (31) and then Richards. His innings was remarkable for its belligerence as much as its elegance; anything short was dispatched disdainfully, the stand out being a six which ricocheted off the pavilion with an awesome thump. But tiring as he approached three score and ten and with tempo slowing, it was not a surprise when he was out an hour before tea for 77.  Richards took on the responsibility of finessing the rest of the innings as his terrific April form continued. Unrushed, unhurried, fluent off his legs from the start, he accumulated with rhythmic certainty to reach 73 not out. Looking to make quick runs at the end, Lay walloped a delivery straight into the hands of a close mid on who clung on to a chance he might have dropped several times out of ten. Earlier Gonville had shelled several presentable chances off Lahri, but such is cricket’s capriciousness.

This week’s loanee, Gonville and Caius student Justin Tadros, opened the bowling with Webley and produced a diverse spell, perhaps appropriate for one born in Perth to English and Egyptian parents, mixing conventional seamers, off cutters and slower balls. A tight Webley/Tadros unit helped produce a wicket for Jon, Pacific’s current leading wicket taker finding good areas to dismiss opener and captain LBW.

Then Akshay Deshmukh, reputed Cambridge University second team batsman, dismantled Pacific’s bowling attack and evaporated our hopes in an instant with a muscular brutality, utilising one short boundary to flat bat a succession of fours and maximums. He reached a reported 44-ball ton by interspersing his onslaught with erudite cuts and drives, so as to farm the strike and continue his punishment at both ends. Once up to the required run rate, he opted, and not unexpectedly for an academic, for percentage plays, a series of first class straight batted shots within the V ensuring he would guide Gonville home not out 162. 

But not before Pacific's very own junior mystery spinner, Owen Davies, had imprinted his mark on the game with a scintillating cameo. Thrown the ball by Webley with the sun dipping beneath Gonville’s pavilion, the stripling brought his prodigious gift of spin to bear with a triple wicket maiden and near hat trick. Approaching the wicket with the poise of a young Warne he extracted acute turn from the off, disquieting a previously settled opener into sending a leading edge straight back from where it came. The second, steered into Mohamed’s hands at fine square leg was met with whoops of unexpected delight from bowler and team mates alike. The hat trick ball was perhaps the best of the lot. Seeming to respond to the youngster's exhortations in flight, it fizzed sharply in from outside leg, past the batsman’s indeterminate prod and into his right thigh. So close! But undeterred, the schoolboy spinner struck back next ball, making use of his extensive bowling armoury to prize out a third academic in quick time with the judicious use of the googly. It was testament to Davies’ threat that even Deshmukh, who club statistician Steve Lay later described as being among the top dozen batsman he had watched in Pacific’s near 30 year history, played him with studious attention, just as he had played the other bowlers with abandon. So we lost the contest, but in just 12 deliveries Davies had established his own biospheric bubble of excellence, a cricketing version of the Eden project within which this Pacific team could retreat and rejoice.


Pacific v Gonville & Cauis College
Pacific innings  R  M  B  4  6
Lahri Mohamed   lbw b Kennedy   77  119  0  8  3  
Craig Jones   b Kennedy   15  47  41  1  0  
Jon Webley   c W.K. b Sookal   31  35  36  6  0  
Steve Richards   not out    73  64  0  7  2  
Steve Lay   c Deshmurh b Laing   0  4  5  0  0  
Kieran Mullens   b Downie-Dear   8  19  15  1  0  
Allan Roberts   not out    1  2  3  0  0  
Luke Hollman   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Moses Hutchinson-Pascal   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Justin Tadros   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
Peter Hollman   did not bat    0  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 21, lb 5, w 7, nb 7) 40    
 TOTAL (43.0 Overs) 245/5    
 Fall of wickets:  1-70 , 2-141 , 3-194 , 5-239
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Judd   4  0  23  0  
 Downie-Dear   7  2  25  1  
 Kennedy   8  0  58  1  
 Sookal   4  1  32  1  
 Laing   6  0  43  1  
 Ekblom   7  2  22  1  
 Khlosla   3  0  16  0  
Gonville & Cauis College innings  R  M  B  4  6
Judd   c & b Hollman   59  0  0  0  0  
Toothill   lbw b Webley   10  0  0  0  0  
Deshmurh   not out    162  0  0  0  0  
Davies   c Mohamed b Hollman   0  0  1  0  0  
Khosla   lbw b Hollman   0  0  2  0  0  
Laing   not out    5  0  0  0  0  
 Extras (b 4, lb 1, w 6, nb 1) 12    
 TOTAL (32.1 Overs) 248/4    
 Fall of wickets: 
Bowling  O  M  R  W  
 Jon Webley   6  0  28  1  
 Justin Tadros   6  0  21  0  
 Kieran Mullens   5  0  51  0  
 Allan Roberts   4  0  49  0  
 Steve Richards   4  0  35  0  
 Craig Jones   3  0  40  0  
 Luke Hollman   2  1  3  3  
 Peter Hollman   2.1  0  21  0