A Gala Day for Irvine; A Bleak Day for Selkirk

Gala have had much the better of their encounters with Selkirk in recent years and history repeated itself at Meigle Park on Saturday as the home side crushed their oldest rivals by 196 runs. By doing so they took the Border League points and retained the Rae Nichol Memorial Trophy for yet another year.

Not that the Souters could complain about the result. A thumping of this kind is rarely a fluke or the kind of defeat that leaves one pondering what might have been or sighing if only this or that had gone differently the outcome might also have been rather different. No facts are stubborn chiels that winnae ding and Gala’s supremacy was such that it brooked no dissent. Such is life and happily, in cricket as in life, there is always next year. That, at any rate, is the theory.

Gala’s victory owed much to a superb innings of 136 from Josh Irvine. It was a coming-of-age performance by the talented teenager as he skelped 12 fours and two mighty sixes in an all but chanceless 125 ball innings. Powerful drives and a marked facility for playing off his legs through midwicket were two of the stand-out qualities that made this an especially memorable innings that was only ended by a run-out as Gala looked to pile on the runs in the closing ten overs. It capped a remarkable few days for Irvine who had made his Scotland Under 15 debut earlier in the week.

Not that Irvine was the only Gala man to shine: Neil Crooks smacked a typically belligerent 65 before mistiming a pull to square leg while Graeme Ormiston compiled an assured 39 as he took advantage of some tired Selkirk bowling.

Earlier and in unseasonably fine, sunny, even hot (!) conditions Stephen Halls had won the toss and, unsurprisingly, opted to bat. The kenspeckled Gala skipper and his equally familiar partner David Boland got the home side off to a quick start before Halls was bowled by Darren Fenton and Boland by Ranald Wilkie. At 47-2 Selkirk sniffed an opportunity but that reckoned without Irvine and Crooks who put on 134 for the third wicket. Neither man, alas, was often troubled.

Selkirk had travelled to Gala minus the services to two first choice seamers  – one because he has been the victim of a brutal assualt in Gala the previous Saturday (itself a cautionary tale and a reminder that non-cricketing trips to Galashiels are dangerous too) – and their woes only increased when Darren Fenton suffered a side strain that prevented him from bowling his planned quota of ten overs. No bowler, however, managed to exert consistent pressure or find a way of stemming the Gala advance. There were too many loose deliveries but on this occasion some credit must be awarded to the batsmen for the manner in which they took advantage of every opportunity to punish the Selkirk attack.

Chasing 311 is rarely an enjoyable experience and so it proved for Selkirk. Much depended on the opening pair of John Everitt and Greg Fenton but though Everitt smashed Scott Paterson for a brace of early boundaries Fenton miscued a drive to mid-on with the score on just 18. Thereafter Everitt was becalmed while Graham and Peman came and went at the other end. Eventually Everitt was bowled by Irvine – the wicket capping a banner day for the 15 year old – for just 15 (off 47 deliveries) and Selkirk were taking on water at 29/4.

By this stage Selkirk’s ambitions had, like Greek government bonds, been downgraded to a craving for some measure of respectability. That – and a pair of batting points – was at least achieved thanks to a spirited 50 run partnership between Wilkie and Darren Fenton. All this, however, was too little, too late as Crooks and Ormiston mopped up the tail to seal victory for the home side in a match that will long be remembered for the excellence of Josh Irvine’s innings.

Gala vs Selkirk, Border League July 30th 2011. Gala won by 196 runs. Gala won the toss and chose to bat.

Gala Innings:

S Halls*        b D Fenton 10
D Boland        b Wilkie 23
J Irvine        Run Out 136
N Crooks        c Banks b Ford 65
G Ormiston     Not Out 39
K Mein        Not Out 16

Extras: 22
Total: 311/4 (50 Overs)

Bowling: G Fenton 10-0-53-0, D Fenton 5-0-18-1, Wilki 9-0-59-1, Ford 10-2-53-1, Everitt 6-0-40-0, Penman 2-0-22-0, Banks 8-0-52-0

Selkirk Innings:

J Everitt*        b Irvine 15
G Fenton        c R Patterson b S Paterson 6
J Graham+    c Millar b S Paterson 0
T Penman        c D Hancock b Mein 2
R Banks        b R Hancock 13
A Massie        c R Hancock b Ormiston 6
R Wilkie        c R Patterson b Ormiston 34
D Fenton        c Halls b Crooks 23
C Fairbairn    b Crooks 5
C Walker        b Ormiston 2
M Ford        Not Out 2

Extras: 7
Total: 115 All Out (39 Overs)

Bowling: Mein 7-0-15-1, S Paterson 6-4-8-2, G Ormiston 8-0-19-3, J Irvine 3-1-10-1, R Hancock 7-0-26-1, D Hancock 3-0-13-0, Crooks 5-0-19-2

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