The Positively 4th XI battled the bridge traffic for the trip to Broomhall without skipper Bob Irvine who had an early evening appointment with Mahler. The match would see the welcome return to action of Angus Beattie after nearly two years out. Stand in skipper Al Murray was also back in action after a much less severe lay off, breaking his hand during fielding practice at the end of May. Young Gav Murray was also nursing a damaged hand so the keeping duties were passed to Kaz who was hoping that keeping was like riding a bike (it was 5 years since he’d last donned the gloves) which may explain why he arrived at the Cairns on two wheels. With this in mind it was not surprising that the selection illuminati had added two medical professionals to the 4s roster.
Al continued Bob’s impressive sequence of toss wins but broke with tradition and opted to bat first. Once the team had recovered from the shock, Gav and Angus strode to the middle. The openers got off to a decent start – Gav finding lots of gaps through the slip cordon and Angus building his innings nicely. With a century opening stand in sight Gav chanced his luck once too often and was caught at slip for 33. Anish joined Angus and looked to up the tempo with some trademark drives. Angus was also finding his feet, hitting some lovely shots straight down the ground. Anish miscued one to depart for 29 and Charlie entered the fray. The youngster rotated the strike well before he mistimed a drive to be caught for 7. Paul came out and took a slightly different approach – blasting several big 6s into the bushes. After scoring a rapid 22 he nailed one straight to long off. Kaz was the next man in and despite Angus’s best efforts to run him out he hung around long enough to see the 19 year old through to his maiden century. The opening bowlers came back and Kaz skied one to mid on bringing Ruth to the crease. She did a fine job getting Angus on strike for the majority of the remaining overs as the former Scotland U19 man punished anything loose. The 4s finished on 261 for 5 with Angus carrying his bat for a fantastic 130*, made all the more special as it was in front of three generations of his family.
After a fine tea, worthy of a Gav Rittoo rating, the 4s set out to defend what looked like an above par total. The Cairns artificial surface played true, however, and with a short boundary on one side it would need a good bowling performance to see the 4s home. Jamie and Ewan opened and kept things reasonably quiet. The young leggie, spinning the ball away from the short boundary, did particularly well keeping the left/right opening combination for Broomhall in check. Sam replaced Jamie and Ewan bowled out but the openers were intent on not getting too far behind the rate. Charlie came on at the pavilion end and Sam swapped ends but it took until the halfway point before the opening partnership was broken with Charlie bowling Hynd for 51. There were a few chances which weren’t converted but the required rate was climbing. The skipper brought himself on to replace Sam but failed to find any consistency and more often than not the strip. Paul replaced him and induced a false stroke from Millar (31), well caught by Anish at point. Ruth came on for Charlie to continue the trial by spin from the pavilion end and the pace off made it hard for the home side to keep up with the rate. Ruth got the reward of a stumping by Kaz but Paul conceded a big over as opener Ward went through to his century. Jamie replaced Paul and bowled an excellent off-stump line and although Ruth got hit for a few off the penultimate over Jamie successfully defended the last over the see the 4s home by 16 runs.
Many thanks to Broomhall for an excellent game of cricket – the game could have gone either way right up to the end. Quality centuries on both sides and, with the exception of the catching, a high standard of cricket to go with perfect weather conditions.
Final words must go the Beattie family – a great day to see Angus back playing cricket. After all they have been through over the last 2 years, not knowing if this day would ever come, to see him play again, and with such aplomb, and to play with brother Jamie for the first time – a very special day.