Selkirk 2nd XI’s unbeaten run was broken by a skilful Kelso side at Shedden Park on Sunday. The home side’s cause was greatly furthered by a chanceless 130 from their Australian professional Tim Wightman that left Selkirk chasing an impossibly improbable 303 for victory.
That never looked achievable and so the Souters were in the unsatisfactory position of batting for pride as much as for points. It would have been easy for the visitors to throw their wickets away; instead they battled gamely to the end and deserve some credit for their persistence in the face of unfortunate and disappointing circumstances.
Perhaps it was, in hindsight, a mistake for Massie to win the toss and offer Kelso first use of a typically fine Shedden Park track. The theory was that the overcast and chilly conditions might prove conducive to swing bowling; the practice was rather different.
Though Buckley produced a lovely delivery to topple Henderson’s off-stump that merely brought Wightman to the crease. This proved an unwelcome development. The Australian had made a big hundred against Manderston 2nd’s last week and neither this nor the 82 he’d registered versus Melrose the previous day had quenched his evidently gluttonous appetite for runs.
He was especially savage on anything short and sad to say Selkirk offered him too many opportunities to pull and cut. Then again, nothing pitched up was safe either and since Selkirk had travelled east a man short there was always at least one gap in the field offering an easy single.
Flannigan, meanwhile, had chopped one of Graham’s off-cutters onto his stumps when the the score was 49. If Selkirk thought they had an end open, they were frustrated by Henderson’s admirably mature innings. The youngster played his supporting role excellently as he and Wightman added 183 for the third wicket before the Australian was finally bowled by Buckley.
Since little had worked in the field, Massie took the view that a situation as dire as this demanded a noble but futile sacrifice. Accordingly he promoted himself to open the batting. What followed was a minor masterpiece in how to survive, if not thrive, while using a bat oddly-devoid of a middle and made up of nothing but edges. If nothing else repeated nicks through the slips frustrated the Kelso bowlers as the Selkirk skipper played a Tavare-esque innings.
There was method to this, however, as the skies darkened and persistent drizzle threatened to become proper rain. Alas, just as Napoleon waited in vain for Marshal Grouchy to arrive with much-needed reinforcements at Waterloo, so Selkirk’s hopes that the rain would finally save their day were thwarted by the perversity of the Scottish summer. It was wet and it was cold but it was never quite unplayable enough.
Massie was given excellent support by Chris Fairbairn who landed some heavy blows before being caught at slip and then by Jordan Reid who played with great sense and discipline for his 27. Reid eventually slapped a drive to mid-off and then Massie misjudged a pull shot and was caught at square leg.
Thereafter the tail wagged only modestly, though Mitchell Branston was not to blame for being run out before he’d even had the chance to face a delivery.
Overall, then, a tough day at school for Selkirk. Nevertheless, the players never gave up and applied themselves throughout. An opportunity to bounce back arrives this Sunday as the team heads to Hawick and the chance to return to winning ways.
Kelso vs Selkirk, border Reserve League, Shedden Park, Sunday June 5th. Kelso won by 163 runs. Selkirk won the toss and elected to bowl.
I Flannigan* b Graham 31
R Henderson b Buckley 5
T Wightman b Buckley 130
M Henderson+ Run Out 87
R Hogarth Run Out 0
A Gray Not Out 18
J Milner Not Out 1
Extras: (14b 5lb 11w) 30
Total: 302/5 (40 Overs)
Bowling: Reid 8-0-45-0, Buckley 6-0-44-2, Graham 6-0-50-1, D Fenton 8-0-58-0, G Branston 3-0-26-0, Wilkie 9-0-64-0
D Fenton LBW b G Davidson 6
A Massie* ct Wightman b R Henderson 45
C Fairbairn ct Flannigan b G Davidson 11
R Wilkie+ b G Davidson 0
J Reid ct Hogarh b R Henderson 27
G Branston st M Henderon b R Henderson 9
J Graham ct M Henderson b Baird 1
M Branston Run Out 0
I Buckley b G Davidson 2
C Haldane Not Out 1
Extras: (12b, 4lb, 19w, 2nb) 37
Total: 139 All Out
Bowling: G Davidson 6.2-1-24-4, Gray 5-1-13-0, C Davidson 4-1-16-0, Hogarth 7-2-19-0, Milner 3-0-11-0, R Henderson 4-0-20-3, Baird 3-0-22-1