Wilkie Collars Melrose; Brings Eildon Men to Heel

A dashing half-century from Ranald Wilkie was the highlight of a grand team performance as Selkirk’s 2nd XI defeated Melrose by 74 runs on Sunday to remain unbeaten for the season. The Souters are currently top of the Border Reserve League, albeit having only played two games.

Wilkie benefitted from the platform established by Selkirk’s top order. The visitors had chosen to bat first and Penman and Fenton were untroubled as they put on 28 for the first wicket before the young wicket-keeper misjudged the length while pulling and was bowled. Though Gardner struggled against Furqan’s spin, Fenton was expecially severe on anything short on his way to a fine 45 before he missed a straight delivery and was LBW.

Gordon Branston and Wilkie then added 75 for the fourth wicket, ensuring that Selkirk would post a challenging total, especially since, thanks to a late start and the persistent threat of further rain, the captains agreed to reduce the match to a 35 overs a side contest.

Branston made good use of the shovel sweep while Wilkie was also harsh on bowling that too often drifted too far towards the leg-stump, regularly clubbing the ball through midwicket on his way to a maiden half-century. He thumped eight fours in all, four of them off consecutive deliveries from Stuart McKay.

A flurry of wickets in the final two overs did nothing to take the edge off the visitors batting performance and Selkirk took the field knowing that they had a more than defensible total.

Even so, in Furqan and Prabarkar Melrose had batsmen capable of swinging the match their way and so Selkirk needed to bowl with discipline and patience to prevail. Fortunately Oliver and Amos delivered and after 10 overs Melrose had amassed just 20 runs, putting the home side well behind the rwquired run-rate.

Neither Amos nor Oliver had much luck, though Wilkie took a good catch at mid-on to dismiss Furqan while Pritchard held on to a sharp chance at gully to send Ward back to the pavilion.

It was Graham, however, who made the vital breakthrough. Prabarkar was beaten in the flight and consequently mistimed his drive, sending the ball soaring towards Mitchell Branston at mid-off. The youngster, just 13 years old, held his nerve and the catch in equal measure and Selkirk now had an iron-grip on the game.

Wilkie took another fine catch at deep midwicket as Graham follwoed his five wickets at St Boswells with three more at Melrose. Gardiner also bowled nicely and could have been better rewarded for his efforts.

Though Alatair Irvine-Robertson swiped lustily for Melrose it was all in vain and in service of a cause that was clearly lost, the required run-rate having climbed to more than 10 an over.

A splendid all-round performance, then, with Wilkie the obvious Man of the Match though once again every member of the side contributed. Next test: a home fixture against Gala this Sunday.

Melrose 2nd XI vs Selkirk 2nd XI, Border Reserve League. Sunday May 22nd at Huntlyburn. Selkirk won the toss and elected to bat. Selkirk won by 74 runs.

Selkirk Innings:

Thomas Penman+        b Rhatigan 12
Darren Fenton            LBW b Prabarkar 45
Iain Gardner             b Furqan 3
Gordon Branston        ct AN Other b Ward 34
Ranald Wilkie             Run Out 59
John Graham             Run Out 3
Ryan Pritchard            b Ward 7
Alex Massie*             c Rhatigan b Ward 5
Blair Amos             Not Out 1
Lee Oliver                Did Not Bat
Mitchell Branston        Did Not Bat

Extras: 10
Total: 176/8 (35 overs)

Bowling: Irvine-Robertson 7-0-30-0, Rhatigan 7-0-35-1, Furqan 7-0-28-1, Prabarkar 6-2-12-1, McKay 4-0-41-0, Ward 3-0-17-3, Mehdi 1-0-8-0

Melrose Innings:

Furqan            c Wilkie b Amos 6
Ward            c Pritchard b Oliver 10
Prabarkar            c M Branston b Graham 13
Chisholm+        c Wilkie b Graham 4
Rhatigan            b Graham 6
Nav                b Gardiner 2
Irvine-Robertson    b G Branston 28
Mehdi            c&b Wilkie 9
Ali                b Pritchard 14
McKay            Not Out 0
Harren            Absent

Extras: 10
Total: 102/9 (33.4 Overs)

Bowling: Oliver 7-2-14-1, Amos 7-1-14-1, Graham 7-0-?-3, Gardiner 6-0-?-1, G Branston 2-0-?-1, Pritchard 2-0-?-1, M Branston 2-0-?-0, Wilkie 0.4-0-0-1

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