A day after rain wiped out Selkirk’s Border League match against Melrose more of the wet stuff ruined an intriguingly-balanced Reserve League fixture between Hawick and Selkirk at a chilly Buccleuch Park on Sunday.
Chasing 182 to win the hosts were 83/2 when persistent rain forced the players from the field and ended any prospect of a result.
Each side doubtless feels as though they were denied victory by the elements: Hawick will claim that Baillie, who recorded a belligerent half-century with a six off what would prove to be the last ball of the day – had given the home side the upper hand while Selkirk will suppose, with some justification, that they were only a wicket or two away from putting their hosts under real pressure.
Batting first the Soutars owed much to Thomas Penman’s carefully crafted 61. The teenager’s innings was a model of good sense, mixing stout defence with sensibly-judged aggression. He was especially strong through the covers and quick to latch on to the short ball. Alas it was Penman’s turn to be the victim of the weekly running-between-the-wickets fiasco and this brought an abrupt, unfortunate end to a hitherto chanceless innings. The young keeper-batsman was sensible to avoid playing cross-batted strokes until he had gained the measure of the soft, sluggish, pitch. If only his skipper had been so sensible. Instead, leading by dreadful example and demonstrating what not to do, Massie mis-timed a pull shot in the second over and was bowled by perhaps the rankest long hop of the season.
Pritchard was then busy rattling up a quick 38, thumping seven boundaries and somehow persuading Hawick fielders to spill two shockingly easy catches before he was bowled by Alexander. At the other end Gary Alexander – the senior of a father and son combination doing duty for Hawick – was the pick of the Teri bowlers, demonstrating to all and sundry, the time-honoured values of line and length. This nagging spell slowed Selkirk’s momentum and kept the Souters below the 200 mark.
Gordon Branston made good use of his now patented shovel sweep en route to a watchful 25 but Neil Darling discovered how cruel and capricious a mistress cricket can be when his debut innings lasted precisely one delivery.
Meanwhile, John Everitt is owed thanks for answering the call of duty when it was discovered that Selkirk otherwise might have to play with just 10 men. He did so at some risk to his domestic reputation and thanks are owed to Jenny who now romps to the top of the Cricket Widow league table.
Hawick’s innings began dreadfully when Boyle played all around a straight one from Wilkie and was trapped LBW. Baillie soon showed that he was in good, pugnacious form as he set out to dominate the Selkirk bowling.Graham, however, had Solley caught behind and Alexander, batting with a runner having done some damage to a hamstring while bowling, was fortunate not to be run out.
As each over passed, however, the skies darkened and the rain swept ever closer. Before long conditions had deteriorated to the point that it only stubbornness or some doomed sense of optimism kept the players on the field. It soon became impossible to grip the ball and as the rain continued it was evident that persevering was a fool’s business. Hawick were respectable opposition but rabbits compared to challenge set by the implacable Gods of Rain who, as they have several times already this so-called summer, showed they remain the toughest opponents of all.
Hawick vs Selkirk, Border Reserve League Sunday June 12th. Selkirk won the toss and elected to bat first. Match abandoned due to rain.
Alex Massie* b J Boyle 4
Thomas Penman+ Run Out 61
Ryan Pritchard b R Alexander 38
Greg Fenton ct D Bryant b R Alexander 0
Ranald Wilkie ct S Hair b D Anderson 12
Gordon Branston Not Out 25
Chris Fairbairn ct L Nichol b G Alexander 2
John Everitt ct D Anderson b D Bryant 15
Neil Darling ct A Moffat b D Bryant 0
John Graham b D Byant 4
Mitchell Branston Not Out 1
Total: 181/9 (40 overs)
Bowling: Bryant 8-0-36-3, Boyle 4-0-28-1, R Alexander 8-0-43-2, P Solley 7-2-36-0, Anderson 6-0-31-1, G Alexander 7-4-5-1
J Boyle+ LBW b Wilkie 0
D Solley* ct Penman b Graham 11
G Baillie Not Out 52
G Alexander Not Out 14
Total: 83/2 (18 overs)
Bowling: Wilkie 5-1-19-1, Graham 8-0-33-1, Pritchard 4-0-18-0, G Fenton 1-0-13-0