The sun was out, the grass was cut (sort of) and the Roseburn Grass square looked like a bowling green after a month of sun (slightly exaggerating here). The 1st XI were up for their first home game of the Championship season against Freuchie, a formidable side we have come across many a time in the clubs history. Honours even with losses and wins up until this point.
Stand in Captain, Sam “The Sass” Fergusson taking the helm on this sunny day as Anand & Phil were away sunning themselves in South Africa at former club Saffa, JP “Why did I book a wedding during Cricket season” Cruz Rocha’s wedding. Congrats to you and Lisa mate, we hope the day was a good one!
Pitch inspection complete, the umpires took the two skippers to the middle for the toss, R Wright opted for tails – it came up heads and MDAFs chose to bowl…
With our usual opening bowlers, Gav “Loudest man alive” Poole & Nadeem “Second loudest man alive” Anjum firing on all cylinders, we set about the opening batsmen, R & G Birrell. Overhead conditions and a slightly green top gave both bowlers enough to work with and restricted the opening pair to 12 within the first 7 overs before Gav struck – a ball rising (unusually) to catch G Birrell’s glove on the way through to Chris “6 million dollar man” West’s gloves – a safe catch & we were underway!
The next 7 overs pretty much ran exactly the same, low scoring, tight bowling and a relatively uneventful completion of the opening bowlers spells. Tight lines and some excellent fielding from Alex “Club Physio” Dow restricting Freuchie to just 25 inside the first 15 overs. Time for a bowling change and with some sound advice from Mangesh “The Middle Order Marauder” Akerkar, we decided to keep seam up going for a bit. Neil “My way or the highway” Yelland replaced Gav at the River End and yours truly (for his first spell in a year) at the Stadium end. Yelland striking in his first over to take the scalp of I Stonebridge, caught by Alex for not much. Both bowlers bowled tight lines, both used the conditions superbly and restricted the batting side to just 14 runs over the course of 8 overs before Sam took his 1st wicket, R Birrell (20) LBW in his first of 2 consecutive wicket maidens.
Neil then took the skipper (R Wright) on the first ball of his next over to bring up drinks, 24.1 overs in. The less I talk about the remaining 5 balls of Neil’s spell the better, but I must mention the somewhat aggressive entry of D Stonebridge (15 off very little) who (to his credit) played exactly how you should on RB – get in amongst it and take it to the bowlers. Yelly finished up with tidy figures of 7-1-23-2. Sam, seeing how Stonebridge was playing, took the pace off a bit (don’t laugh – I know I bowl slow anyway) with him sending one straight up to Ash “The Import” Rhode. Reeling at 56 for 5, the away team needed a partnership.
Unfortunately, that partnership never came. Maggi came in to share the bowling duty with Sam, keeping it tight so that Sam could take the wickets at the other end. 5, 6, 7 & 8 all falling to Fergusson (LBW, Caught, Bowled & LBW). Finishing with career best, 10-3-13-5.
Maggi, Nadeem, Gav & Ash all had a crack at the tail end, but it was Nadeem & Mangesh that finished the job (after a sturdy and steadfast partnership between C Glasgow & C McMurdo) completing the innings on 79 a.o after 39.4 overs. A great display of fielding, keeping our heads and some good seam bowling!
The teas, as usual, were excellent. Scoffing curry pies, chicken burgers and strawberry tarts, we knew we had a job to get that score on an early season RBG. Opening pair, Maggi & Finlay “I’m now an opener” Ross were sent out to face a fired up Freuchie. Negotiating the interesting bounce, different paces of the opening bowlers, Maggi got an unfortunate riser that clipped his gloves and bounced back onto the stumps, departing the crease for just 3 after 6. Alex was next at 3 and the next partnership was really what won the game for us. Finn, the most patient of the 2, with Alex being more of the aggressor (at the right time) taking the scores to 42 before Fin was trapped LBW after a steadfast 63 ball 17… patience, time at the crease and good work from the young man!
His departure saw Sam enter the game for a brief cameo of 11 – chipping one straight back to the bowler (instead of going at it, like he should have). However, at this point, the damage was done. Only 25 needed with plenty in the bank, Ash came to the crease to assist Alex take away the game. Ash, to his credit, having never batted on RBG before looked somewhat scratchy, but eventually came to terms with it and hit the winning runs with a crunching drive to the boundary. Alex finished up on 32 not out, top score for the whole day and one of the better compiled innings we’ve seen.
Everyone learned the lessons from the previous week – heads up in the field, commitment and a good attitude saw the MDAFs 1s come away with 20 points and, more importantly, the first win in the championship. UTM