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Clackmannan County v Murrayfield DAFS

Saturday 30th July 2022
The Arns

By Ravi Wadekar

Murrayfield DAFS (20) – 119 all out off 43.1 overs
P Hawkins 39, G Ramapriya 25, T Mehboob 5-10, R Ashraf 2-25

Clackmannan County (6) – 108 all out off 38.2 overs
M Sharif 25, T Ritch 3-12, J Rubly 3-16, N Yelland 2-14

Murrayfield DAFS won by 11 runs

It was yet another brilliant all-round performance by 1s, by the lower batting order guided by Phil the Hawkman & bowling unit which is ticking all boxes irrespective of weather or pitch conditions.

Rivals with rich legacy – Based in central lowlands, Alloa – also known for being centre of brewing industry; cricket in history dates backs to 1850s. Clackmannan was founded in 1868, following the likes of Perth and Grange cricket clubs. By the 1880s, Clackmannan County Cricket Club was successful enough to engage professional players, including some from Yorkshire. Current members of the club have managed to hold on and keep it on display the rich legacy of club. Very generous hosts & a bunch of spirited lads. Opponent team apparently had 3rd generation player(s) in playing XI.

         

Clackmannan CC in 1925 (on left), not much has changed since then. You feel same aura around the ground albeit less spectators

Conditions, not suitable for stand & deliver stuff – ground was wet with overnight rain around Stirling. Pitch, even though it was under hover cover, seemed soft as if it has sandy base & damp underneath. Outfield was well maintained however ball wasn’t travelling across the turf, so overall it was a day of hard grind for batters.

Not a good toss to lose – captain Viv lost the toss, and we were put into bat first. Clackmannan had won an important toss and MDAFS were keen to ensure batting display isn’t a repeat of Drummond Trinity Game (Round 10 – https://escalive.com/match/137112-6111114/scorecard/?period=1542487 )

Batting in 2 halves, again – Openers (TG & Sandstorm) started cautiously, in hope that pitch will get better as day progresses and see off new ball bowlers. TG unfortunately nicked a sharp rising delivery from Rizwan & walked off even before umpire had raised his finger (fairplay to set the tone!). Just 2 balls later, Spicy Mike was adjudged leg before to a ball, which seemed to have held in the pitch – MDAFS were 11-2 and under pressure straightaway.

Ravi W joined Garuda and tried to steady the ship. A partnership of 23 runs with some counterattacking boundaries & Clackmannan had to make first bowling change. T Mehboob, left arm orthodox was brought on. Mehboob started getting sharp turn and bounce from ball no.1. Garuda, trying to loft left arm spinner over mid-on, edged one to the wicketkeeper and departed for well made 25. Ravi W was trapped in front in following over to a carrom ball – MDAFS 38-4

Carlossal & Hawkman got together for another rebuild. Carlossal, however tried to sweep T Mehboob off the stumps and was given out leg before – MDAFS 50-5.  Another 2 quick wickets of Rosh, Captain Viv & T Mehboob was all over MDAFS – 54 FOW 7.

Jay Rod came in at no.9 & arguably looked the best bat against T Mehboob. He started reading left arm spin & carrom balls off the hand and negotiated precious overs. Jared got out trying to attack SaiTeja on 10, MDAFS 65-8. T Rich added 3 more before getting caught & bowled by Hunt.

In comes Mohawk & with Hawkman last pair added 42 – which turned out to be decisive in the end. They first saw T Mehboob off, who returned excellent figures of 5 for 10 in 9 overs. Mohawk hit 2 crisp boundaries & remained not out on 11. MDAFS set the target of 120 which for most part of the innings looked unlikely

Hawkman & the purple patch – highlight of the first innings was Hawkman’s batting. Came into bat at 38 FOW 4 when T Mehboob was on his peak & carried the innings till the end. Last 3 games – 3 different kinds of pitches & Hawkman has been a treat to watch. Against Edinburgh South on the seaming wicket at the Inch Park – he pretty much played exclusively in the V. On Classic Roseburn wicket against Watsonians, he showed excellent front foot defence. For this game, he had to adjust to the pace and play square of the wicket. Lot of late cuts and flicks. The best of the lot were swivel shots off the hip for deliveries on middle & leg.

Teas, rare part of Saturday games these days – Team looked relaxed during the break in anticipation of defending this target. Main attraction of dining area was a corner ,closet full of cricket biographies though. It covered wide array of personalities; Geoffrey Boycott, Dominic Cork, Richie Benaud, Viv Richards, Shane Warne, KP, Nasser Hussain …. an endless list. I kept looking one for my favourite book The Nice Guy Who Finished First written by D. Prabhudesai based on Rahul Dravid – didn’t find it. Would love to gift it should I get to play there next time!

Defending 120, all about basics – target seemed decent due to the conditions, form of bowling unit, variety & pitch which was still reacting like trampoline for most of the balls. Plan was simple – stick to the basics and let the pitch do its magic. By the start of 2nd innings, one would have hoped that pitch dries up and plays flat however it remained same all the way through – a big concern for Clackmannan who weren’t particularly proud of this part of their club.

T Ritch opened the bowling with Captain Viv and was on money from the word go. Standing in slips you feel sorry for batters taking evasive action trying to fend off most of his deliveries. During lot of play and misses, batters found splice of bats trying to drive T Ritch off the length. First to go was skipper Hefer, caught by Mohawk. Oliver was caught in covers by Spicy Mike – first of the 2 brilliant catches he took.

Catches win matches – T Mehboob and D Hunt played the conditions and tried to negate T Ritch and Captain Viv. Both were taken out by Captain Viv in succession. T Mehboob got castled on a brilliant inswinger whereas D Hunt nicked a harmless half volley down the leg side, caught by Hawkman – a regulation catch by his standards. Catch of the match was taken by Spicy Mike at extra cover running backwards and catching the ball passing over his head – reminiscent of Kapil Dev catching Viv Richards in WC 1983 finals at the Lords. This was to dismiss Clackmannan’s main batter SaiTeja, who looked composed and has been in good form, Clackmannan 29 – 5 looked in deep trouble at this stage given we had 27 possible overs to come from front line spinners (TG, Jay Rod & Rosh). T Ritch ended his spell with figures of 7-1-12-3, pick of the bowlers.

Jay Rod and TG followed on brilliant spells from T Ritch and Captain Viv. G Band & Sharif looked out of options and started slogging across the line. a lot of chances landing in no-mans land, play and misses – this pair added 32 runs to the total. Jay Rod trapped Sharif in front for 25 and G Band was caught by Garuda on second attempt. Jay Rod went on to dismiss A Oliver, LBW for 13. Clackmannan 85-8

Tail-wagging woe – T Hutchison and Rizwan played with lot of patience and dead bat defence most of the time. Inching closer to the target 1 run at a time. Mohawk took bowling reins in hand with Clackmannan needing only about 30 runs. Hutchison was bowled by Mohawk – a brilliant in swinging yorker. What followed for the fall of last wicket was nervous 20 odd minutes play. A drop catch, ball missing the stumps after deviating from batting guards, near run out misses. Final wicket was taken by Mohawk. G Fraser caught one handed in first slip by Carlossal which for its entire duration looked like Hawkman’s catch. Clackmannan all out for 108 in 39th over

A fantastic game of cricket & I am sure a memorable experience to all involved!

Nickname Key
Carl, Carlossal
Michael, Spicy Mike
Phil, Hawkman
Roshan, Rosh
Vivek, Captain Viv
Tom, T Ritch
Jared, Jay Rod
Neil, Mohawk
Tom Grey, TG
Garuda, Sandstorm

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