Saturday 29th April 2017
Westquarter & Redding
MDAFS II 46ao lost to Westquarter & Redding 68ao (J Baikie 3 for 5, N Anjum 3 for 7, A Singh 3 for 14) by 22 runs.
The two’s welcomed suspected construction-company-cum-cricket-club Westquarter & Redding to Roseburn for the first trial of the season on grass, as the Edinburgh Cricket season got underway.
Roseburn looked suspiciously like a cricket pitch due to the good work from Philip Hawkins chasing Edinburgh council and Luke Hayes for operating the heavy machinery and rolling the pitch in his own time. However, it wasn’t difficult to predict the demons that lay in wait: with Lewis Mulholland* losing his house key in a crack around the crease and a flurry of stud marks on a good length amongst other deformities. The outfield is in excellent condition this year though, so runs will always be available with bat on ball.
After an extended debate in the middle around which side of the new pound coin is tails, the W&R skipper conceded and Carl Barton invited them to bat. Tentatively they accepted the invitation and faced up to Rob Hayward and Nadeem Anjum. Rob started sharply, frustrating the opener Mumtaz with a disciplined line outside of his off stump, torturing him with the variable bounce. Nadeem took a few balls to find his line but the looseners went unpunished, to the misfortune of the openers. Rob trapped Mumtaz in front, in the seventh over, for the first LBW and first wicket of the season.
Having slipped into his miserly groove, Nadeem opened his account for the season, making a mess of the opposition skipper’s stumps. Shortly after, he picked up another, clean bowled, and frustrated the number three, Aslam, into attempting to hit over the top. Cue Russell ‘The Chest’ Beretta**, at mid-off, audibly absorbing the impact with his sternum before completing the catch. After a quick dose of adrenaline***, Russell was good to carry on and the twos were well on top. Nadeem took a breather with figures of 3-7 off 6 overs – only conceding runs from three balls.
Lewis Mulholland faced up to number five Singh in an irritating mood, swinging through the line of the ball. So, we switched up with a Singh of our own, Ama Singh. After a handful of loose balls, Ama found his rhythm and caused the batsman no end of problems. It in the end it was a short ball from Singh to Singh that Singh sought to free his arms but could only glove to celebrity keeper Chris ‘Executive Saloon’ Owens. Rob Hayward was as surprised as anyone when he stunningly plucked a one-hander rising sharply at first slip – which capped an exemplary fielding effort from everyone. Russell then took a conventional catch at mid-off, opting against the breastbone-snatch technique he had pioneered earlier in the game, to give Ama three valuable wickets on debut.
At the other end John Norman Baikie, replacing Lewis, was tying the batsman down with ruthlessly persistent line and length. It wasn’t long before Norm embarrassed number seven Mahzar into ‘the flamenco defence’ – theatrically shouldering arms to an arching yorker to be trapped LBW for 0. Another LBW left W&R 9-down until a final partnership of 15 was broken when Norm removed the stumps of the number 11. Not to be outdone in the miser stakes by Nadeem Anjum, Norm returned with an economy rate of 0.751 in figures with 3 wickets for 5 runs from 6.4 overs.
W&R had limped to 68 in the face of a fierce fielding effort and tenacious thirst for wickets. Roseburn is an unmistakable bowling wicket, with some balls lifting off a length and one scooting through the undergrowth every other over. However, bad balls could be put away and the freshly prepared outfield meant that batsmen were rewarded for finding the gaps with good shots.
W&R were keen to get on their way but with a Nadeem tea in the locker, the home team took the chance for a break before the run chase.
W&R were a strong bowling unit and their discipline and skill with the ball was evidenced with unrelenting consistency on a good length and a fourth stump line. They didn’t bowl a single wide or no-ball which can only be commended so early on in the season. Saurabh ‘Rumour’ Raman and Russell opened up, reducing the deficit to 51 in characteristic style, The Chest finding the gaps with good-looking stroke play and Rumour taking any opportunity to hit over the top to relieve pressure. We were 17 without loss with a heavily-stacked batting order.
END OF TRANSMISSION****
A stunning effort with the ball and from everyone in the field. I asked the team to focus on the things that were under our control. It was the first game of the season and I expected that we would bowl wides and no balls, drop catches and miss chances. However, we could back up all throws, chase down every ball and get behind the bowlers. As it happened, we were ruthless and took every opportunity. The fielding effort lifted the bowlers and good balls that deserved wickets, took wickets. No batsman was allowed to settle or given a life and W&R never got an inkling of a foothold in the game.
Roseburn has its demonic mystery and W&R are probably the strongest bowling unit in the division. Roseburn is undeniably a bowler’s playground but it doesn’t need to be a batsman’s graveyard. We can and will do far better with the bat.
Elsewhere in the division, Edinburgh II helped themselves to 375 in their 40 overs against Linlithgow II; and next week’s opposition Glenrothes II were beaten heavily in Edinburgh against Boroughmuir. Scratch the final hour of the game and we’ll carry forward the momentum into next week.
**Suggested alternatives: Chesty, Thorax, Breastplate.
****As it’s the first game of the season, I’m giving us a bye in this week’s report. This is a one-time offer.