The Famous Fives arrived at a sunny Craiglockhart for their friendly match with Watsonians 4s. The home skipper indicated that he had 12 players and it was agreed that both sides would field with 12 to ensure that everyone got plenty to do. Feeling buoyed by the 5s’ excellent win the previous week, skipper Keith Murray needed little persuasion to bat when he won the toss.
This proved to be a courageous decision on the bouncy arti and rugby pitch length outfield that made scoring extremely difficult. The 12th fielder also enabled the home side to have a packed slip cordon. Openers Keith and Rory slowly amassed 22 before the skipper was out caught off a leading edge and he was quickly followed by Rory, caught behind. The wickets of Mike, Ian and Stu quickly followed, courtesy of some superb catches by the numerous Watsonian fielders, and the 5s were reeling at 29 for 5.
However, a solid partnership between John Beattie and Ben Stronach pushed the score on to 56 with lots of quick singles, before Ben was the victim of another superb catch. Ferg quickly followed to catch number seven and when John was run out by a superb direct hit, the 5s were 66 for 8, and the skipper was heard muttering that fielding of this standard shouldn’t be allowed in the lower leagues.
This left u12s James, Oli and Robbie left to bat and it appeared a low total was on the cards. Undaunted, the youngsters proceeded to set about the Watsonian bowling with great skill and aggression, between them hitting four boundaries and running lots of singles. The shot of the day was Robbie’s one bounce four over mid on. As the home team had 12 players, Mike was able to return, but the hard work had been done by the juniors, who enabled the 5s to post a decent 110 off their 40 overs. Oli finished on 17*, an excellent knock in the circumstances.
Watsonians duly provided an extra fielder and began their chase. The youthful 5s attack and tigerish fielding quickly exerted control with opening bowlers Ben and Ferg bowling good line and length. The breakthrough finally came in Robbie’s first over with a great direct hit from James removing one of the openers, and Robbie removed the other opener in his next over, well caught by Ferg. Pressure began to build on the home side as the rate began to climb. The game was not made quicker by the numerous fielding changes required as the Watsonians team had 6 left handed batsmen, which resulted in a left/right combination for much of the match.
The dangerous Henry Teale hit James‘ second ball for six, only to be well caught by Mike the next ball. Oli then got in on the act with three quick wickets, all bowled, including a double wicket maiden. James picked up two more wickets, one bowled, one caught by Robbie, and Watsonians were now in real trouble. Their captain, Alan Borthwick, set about rebuilding, but wickets from Ferg and Rory kept the pressure up and Borthwick was eventually adjudged LBW in the 36th over trying to play one shot too many to keep up with the rate. This was the 21st and final wicket of the day, probably some sort of record. Watsonians were all out for 82.
An excellent win for the 5s, in large part due to the performances from the juniors. It is very unusual for the juniors in the 5s to score more runs than the seniors, but their contributions were vital to getting to a defendable total. John also played well to rebuild the innings and was unlucky not to go on and get more. The juniors then bowled and fielded superbly to restrict the home team. All outfield catches were taken. There were no misfields or overthrows. The bowling was full and accurate and the wickets were shared around all of the bowlers, although James and Oli both finished on impressive figures of 3 for 11.
Many thanks to Watsonians for hosting us and playing the game in such excellent spirit. Everyone in both teams got to bat and it was great to get such a competitive game that swung one way and then the other. We look forward to meeting them again next year, although hopefully they will not take quite so many great catches…
Photos from Watsonians photographer Graham Gaw can be found here.