Ordinarily when you reduce the opposition to 26/4 matters are looking pretty promising. Alas, this general truth does not pply when you have yourself previously been dismissed for just 25 runs. That was Selkirk’s miserable fate at Langholm on Saturday, however, as the Souters slumped to a terrible defeat.
Granted Langholm, who won the toss, bowled tidily and granted too the wicket was soft and damp but it wasn’t a 25 all out pitch by any means. Batting required patience, restraint, application and sound judgement – all qualities sadly lacking from Selkirk’s display. Instead the visiting batsmen seemed determined to avoid getting in line or on top of the ball. Questionable technique was partnered with poor shot selection to disastrous, even calamitous effect.
The roll call of dismissals makes for dismal reading: Greg Fenton slapped a waist-high full toss straight to square leg, Thomas Penman was bowled through a wide-open gate, Rory Banks undone (again) by a yorker he tried to hit over long-off, Jordan Reid run-out at a moment when, with the innings subsiding already, Selkirk could not afford risks and so on. Only Paterson whose booming off-drive was, much to everyone’s surprise, casually snaffled by Elliott could consider himself unfortunate since as the bowler admitted himself this was the kind of catch that only comes around every few seasons. Next ball Darren Fenton spooned the ball up weakly (playing with too much bottom hand) and offered a much simpler chance to Elliott who duly made no mistake.
Nor did the tail offer much resistance, falling to Park whose bowling figures were, ridiculousy, 2.2-2-0-4.
Defending a total of just 25 is always a tricky business. Nevertheless Selkirk did at least win back a modest measure of respectability when they reduced the home side to 1 for 2 and, just for a second, an absurdly improbable fightback looked as though it might just be something less than wholly impossible. First some comic running between the wickets left Bell hopelessly stranded then Gregor Park made the mistake of trying to cut the ball before he was properly settled and was caught by Reid in the covers.
With such a small total to defend, however, it took only a couple of shots for Langholm to reassert their position and though Paterson produced a good one to bowl Wilson with the score on 13 and Wilkie held a fine catch at long-on to get rid of Pool it was merely a matter of time before Langholm completed a victory that was much easier and more comprehensive than it should have been.
14 wickets may have fallen for just 51 runs but this was no kind of unplayable or demon wicket: it was certainly tricky but neither the wicket nor the bowling could justify or excuse such a feeble batting display in which the depressing feature was not so much the lack of runs but an absence of resolution shown by too many players. Had Selkirk scraped their way to a score of, say, just 80 this could have been an interesting game. But few teams can ever hope to defend a total of just 25…
Better things will be expected, we hope, against St Boswells on Thursday night and versus Gala at Philiphaugh on Saturday.
Langholm vs Selkirk, Border League August 7th 2010. Langholm won by six wickets.
T Penman b Duncan Elliott 1
Greg Fenton ct John Bell b Euan Wilson 2
Kenny Patterson * ct & b Duncan Elliott 4
Rory Banks b Graham Park 9
Darren Fenton ct & b Duncan Elliott 0
Jordan Reid run out 4
Ranald Wilkie ct Euan Wilson b Duncan Elliott 0
I Buckley ct Colin Turk b Graham Park 0
Alex Massie b Graham Park 3
I Gardiner + b Graham Park 0
J Graham Not Out 0
Extras ( 2w ) 2
Total ( all out , 13.2 overs) 25
Bowling: Duncan Elliott 7-3-10-4, Euan Wilson 4-0-15-1, Graham Park 2.2-2-0-4
Andrew Bell run out 0
Gregor Park + ct Jordan Reid b Darren Fenton 0
Euan Wilson b Kenny Patterson 6
Jamie Ashton-Smith Not Out 10
Jack Pool ct Ranald Wilkie b Greg Fenton 3
Graham Park Not Out 1
Extras ( 2b 4w ) 6
Total (4 wickets, 10.5 overs) 26
Bowling: D Fenton 3-1-11-1, Buckley 2-1-2-0, G Fenton 3-2-6-1, 2.5-1-5-1