The Famous Fives arrived at the Inch on Sunday 20th September for their final match of the season against Ed South 2s. There were a few weary seniors and juniors from the exertions of the Carlton 6s the day before and skipper Keith, still enjoying his team’s win, appeared wearing a bush hat. After some early morning rain, the sun came out and the players were able to enjoy some late summer sunshine for their last match before the long Scottish winter.
The toss was quickly negotiated. The skipper indicated that the 5s were quite strong and offered to bat first. Ed South who were skeptical they could bat for the full 40 overs eagerly agreed.
The match had an end of term feeling from the outset and in that spirit the 5s sent in Mike “Boom Boom” Kennedy and Rory Ledingham to open, anticipating a high temp start. They were not disappointed. Mike set about the home opening bowlers from the first over and Rory despatched anything loose to the boundary with aplomb. There was one collector’s item – a Mike Kennedy forward defensive shot, but only one. After the opening bowlers had taken quite a bit of punishment, the Ed South skipper decided that what was needed to halt Mike’s rapid progress was the introduction of some slow bowling on a length from Graham Smith. Keith watching from the boundary turned to John and said “I’m not sure that’s a good idea.” The first five balls of the over promptly went for 4, 6, 6, 4, 6 as Mike hurtled towards an amazing 20 ball 50. The bowler was struggling to see the funny side of this and the skipper, deciding enough was enough, retired Mike for the fastest ever 50 in 5s history.
John joined Rory but was narrowly adjudged stumped. This brought Keith to the middle and Rory continued to attack, reaching his 50 in 41 balls – his second half century of the summer. Rory duly retired and Keith was joined by Paul. The pace slowed somewhat, but the skipper progressed to 17 before attempting to smack canny leg spinner Bhatnager out of the park was out stumped. Euan Murray then came out looking to take advantage of being promoted to the dizzy heights of number 6. Unfortunately, he perished early, bowled by an absolute Jaffa, and Kyle Burgess also was removed cheaply by the same bowler. This brought Dougie Firth out to the crease and he started to up the scoring with some well timed drives and hooks. Paul retired at 30 overs for a dogged 9, and James Stronach and Dougie began to really accelerate taking the 5s past 200 for the first time this season. Dougie played very well, eventually missing a good ball while selflessly trying to hit out for an excellent 42. Lewis joined James for some aggressive hitting and running at the end of the innings until Lewis was eventually run out for 5. Oli came out and hit 6* off the last 4 balls. James finished on a very useful 22* with the visitors reaching an impressive 242 off their 40 overs, a record score for the 5s.
After a quick alfresco tea, Ed South commenced their chase. Despite some chances being created by the opening bowlers, Euan and Kyle, the home team openers played well very well and progressed to a 50 opening partnership. Dougie came on and slowed the rate, ably assisted by James. Eventually, with the score on 84, Dougie made the breakthrough, inducing a fine edge well caught by Mike. The Ed South bat duly walked, exemplifying the sportsmanship that both teams have shown in these friendly matches. Dougie then removed the No 3 first ball to get two in a row. James repeated the same trick shortly afterwards taking 2 wickets in two balls and the home side were in real trouble. There was stubborn resistance from Graham Smith, but wickets started to fall regularly, with Lewis and Oli both getting in on the act, including a super catch at square leg by Euan. As the rate climbed, the skipper turned to John “4 for” Beattie, but he was unable to repeat his heroics of earlier in the season. Paul “Pebbles” Stones then bowled a tight over, and finally the skipper succumbed to the repeated requests of the U12s to give himself a bowl, shipping 8 runs in an experiment that is unlikely to be repeated. Lewis then picked up the wicket of Graham Smith, caught by Oli with an outstanding one handed grab, before taking the final wicket with the last ball of the innings. The home side were all out for 174, with Lewis finishing on 4 for 20.
A fantastic way for the 5s to finish the season. A brilliant opening from Mike and Rory, with fine contributions from Dougie and James, saw the 5s post their best ever score on a wicket and outfield that were not particularly easy to score on. Ed South then had a fine opening partnership themselves, but they were always going to struggle to chase the 5s score and the bowlers and fielders showed good patience to keep them pegged back and then get the wickets.
Many thanks to Ed South for hosting us once again and playing with their customary sportsmanship and good humour.
This has been a very strange season, but we have played a great deal of cricket in a short space of time. In the last three weeks, the 5s have played 8 matches, and whilst there are some tired bodies (both young and old) it has been fantastic to get so many games in. The cricket has consistently been played in excellent spirit and there have been many fine performances, particularly from the juniors. In the end, it has been a very memorable season. Many thanks to all the players for their efforts and to the committee, ground staff, parents and opposition who have made it possible.