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Senior Roundup - 6/7/21

1st XI

League vs Poloc – 26/6/21

Many years ago, before T20 took the world by storm and when cricket was viewed as a far more sedentary sport, there was such a thing as a losing draw. It worked on the (now outdated) principle that, to truly win a cricket match, the team bowling second had to bowl the opposition out. It also served to give the team batting second something to fight for when all realistic hope of chasing the target seemed lost, with the bonus points granted for the draw often proving vital later down the road.

It is true that the hope of salvaging something from a seemingly impossible run chase would, quite often, result in the seriously boring run chases in which the chasing team would not even make a passing attempt at victory. But there were some occasions where the possibility of claiming a draw would give the second innings meaning and tension that it otherwise wouldn’t have.

Oh, how we longed for the losing draw on Saturday! If the losing draw were still a possibility, Poloc’s ultimately doomed run chase would at least have had a modicum of interest and tension. Instead, after it quickly became clear that the visitors wouldn’t come close to reaching the target of 257 set by Stirling, the only question that remained was how quickly victory for the hosts would be completed; would they finish things early by bowling Poloc out or would they be forced to go through the motions as Poloc continued to bat out their 50 overs, long after the result ceased to be in any doubt. If Stirling were required to take all 10 wickets to secure full points, the fact that Poloc managed to delay the inevitable until the 49th over would have, at least, added some intensity and excitement to the game’s denouement.

This isn’t to say that Poloc didn’t show any determination or intent during the match, far from it. In fact, they did well to even restrict Stirling to 256 as, at one point, a total of closer to 300 seemed more than possible. And their batsmen deserve huge credit for the way they fought and grafted to frustrate County’s bowlers and postpone their moment of victory for as long as they did.

Batting first (after captain Matthew Tweedie uncharacteristically and rather unexpectantly won the toss), Stirling got off to a fast start, with a near constant stream of wides and plenty of boundaries ensuring that they were able to score at over 5 an over from the very beginning. At one point, with Brandon McMullen and veteran Amir Shazad in and looking to accelerate even further, a score well in excess of 300 was on the cards. However, some tighter bowling and the odd example of questionable batting from the Stirling players, resulted in a middle order collapse that was only saved by some lower order hitting from the evergreen Rukman Hewage. County eventually finished on 256 all out, with Shazad and McMullen top scoring with 80 and 64 respectively.

Any concerns that the Stirling players may have had that their failure to fully capitalise on a fantastic start would come back to haunt them soon evaporated as it became blindingly obvious that the required rate would prove too much for the game Poloc batsmen. And when the wickets began to tumble and the batsmen retreated even further into their shell, the battle became whether or not the men from South Glasgow would bat out the 50 overs. In the end they fell 1.2 overs short and the Stirling players could celebrate the victory that everyone knew was inevitable long before.

League vs Dumfries – 3/7/21

Oh Rain. How strange this summer has been without your ever looming presence! How weird it’s been to actually get the chance to play some cricket without the threat that you’ll soon come to spoil things with a soggy inevitability. But this is Scotland, remember, and we knew that you’d return some day. And boy what a comeback you made, stopping Stirling’s run of wins dead in its tracks before turning streets across central Scotland into raging torrents the following day!

In truth, it would likely only have taken an act of God to put the brakes on a winning run that has seen Stirling reach the semi-finals of the Rowan cup and surge up the table to 2nd place in the WDCU Premier Division. Indeed, before the rain came and turned the cricket field into something more akin to a marshy wetland, County’s batsmen were in the process of building a formidable score, having reached 146 for 1 from just 27 overs. Captain Tweedie managed to recapture a bit of form in reaching 44*, but it was young Saffa Brandon McMullen who would have felt most aggrieved by the day’s watery intervention. Just beginning to really open up, he had recently passed 50 and surely had his sights set on reaching the next milestone when the heavily predicted rain finally arrived and ruined any hope recording his first ton of 2021.

The 1st XI’s next match is the much-anticipated Rowan Cup semi-final against West of Scotland. The game will be played at New Williamfield on Thursday 8th July and begins at 6pm. Then, on Saturday 10th July, they will travel to Hamilton Crescent to take on West of Scotland for the second time in three days.

2nd XI

League vs Torrence House – 3/7/21

Having been forced to forfeit the previous week’s match against Hillhead due to lack of available players, just getting a team together to make the trip to East Kilbride could be seen as a victory in itself. Although the young team that did take the field against Torrence House didn’t disgrace themselves, they will still be disappointed to have lost by 8 wickets to the team who were one place above them in the league.

Things started brilliantly for them, largely thanks to a crazy first over that saw 10 wides and more than 20 runs. And when the score passed 50 inside 10 overs, with both openers still at the crease, the team known in the West as ‘Williamfield’ were looking good to post a sizeable total. Unfortunately, the loss of both openers halted the batting side’s momentum and some accurate bowling thereafter cruelly exposed the side’s young and inexperienced underbelly. In fact, it was only thanks to some impressive hitting from young Charlie Saunders and some determined batting from not-so-young Stephen Hopper that Stirling were able to post something that they could hope to defend, finishing on 161 all out.

Alas it wasn’t to be. Defending such a modest total requires that one’s bowlers are on the money from ball one, giving nothing away and applying pressure to the opposition batsmen from the very beginning. Sadly, it took Stirling’s bowlers a while to find their grove and, by the time they did, the damage was largely already done. Torrence House opener M Osman was particularly clinical, using his impeccable technique to keep out the good balls while jumping on any chance to dispatch the bad ball to the boundary. In the end, East Kilbride cantered to victory and reached their target for the loss of just 2 wickets and with almost 25 overs to spare.

The 2nd XI will be playing Motherwell at home this Saturday and will be keen to bounce back from last weekend’s disappointing result.

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