The 4s travelled along the coast to Dunbar for their first league game of the season and skipper Al Murray called correctly and opted to bowl first. Local man Stu Dawson opened up from the town end and kept things tight from the off. Bruce Smith chose to come up the hill and was even more miserly. In the 8th over the pressure from the bowlers eventually told and Smith picked up both openers. Euan Murray replaced Smith and settled into a good rhythm as the 4s held the home side to 26 for 2 after 10 overs. Harry Charman came on for Dawson and after a couple of loose deliveries found his length well. The young left armer bowled 8 straight and only conceded 18 runs, Murray was not quite as tight but picked up 2 important wickets and when the pair were bowled out Dunbar were 80 for 4 after 25.
The captain turned to Joe Ward & Joe Griffin and the spinners did a great job of keeping the pressure on, despite the dangerous Dunbar no 5 pouncing on anything loose. Griffin struck first then Ward picked up wickets in successive overs to leave Dunbar 98 for 7 after 30 overs. The set batter was still there and managed the strike well and, despite a further wicket for Griffin, Smith was brought back to close out the innings. The plan didn’t account for the tall South African picking up a niggle and it was left to the Joes to complete the innings. Something they did with aplomb as each claimed another wicket and Dunbar were bowled out for 127 in the 38th over with their no 5 the last man out for a fine 53.
Although the home side had lost the services of the nearby hotel for tea, the spread laid on was excellent. Well worthy of a Gav Rittoo tea rating, but sadly the callings of the SPFL made that impossible.
Refreshed and refueled the 4s set about the chase just as a light drizzle descended. Skipper Murray opened up with Smith and saw off the opening bowlers to be 25 for none off 8 overs. The introduction of spin proved too much for Smith who top-edged a sweep to slip. Iain Hathorn came to the crease, slightly hampered by an injured thumb from his earlier impressive work in the covers. He too was undone by the spinner, pinned in front. Ben Stronach was the next man in and the youngster looked good until he was the first of 3 stumpings from the very impressive Dunbar keeper. Murray was next to go for 31 as the spinners third victim to leave the 4s 52 for 4 after 17 overs. John Beattie joined Griffin and the pair consolidated in the face of some accurate bowling and a slowing outfield limiting scoring opportunities.
Beattie tried to up the pace but walked past one to be stumping number two . Shuaib Farooq was the next man in and he batted with purpose until he top-edged a sweep straight into his nose and was forced to retire. Fortunately the 4s had selected an ENT surgeon in their ranks for just this eventuality, but as we can’t guarantee this every week it might be better to give Masuri or Shrey some business… Dawson came out but his stay was brief as he was run out with the rate climbing. Euan Murray was bowled shortly after bringing Charman to the crease. The youngster hit one glorious drive down the ground and scampered well until he was run out going for an ambitious third. This left Griffin and Joe Ward to try to get the last few runs with overs running out and the rate climbing. Disaster struck in the penultimate over as Griffin went for a drive but missed the ball and it cannoned off the keeper’s pads back on to the stumps to finish the game with the 4s 7 runs short.
A good competitive game which could have gone either way, but it was probably no surprise that the one batsman who got his half century ended up on the winning side.