Despite missing skipper John Everitt and vice-captain Rory Banks, Selkirk proved much too strong for West Lothian 3rd XI at Beeslack School in Penicuik on Saturday. Stand-in skipper Kenny Paterson led the way as West Lothian were dimissed for just 64 runs, a total which Selkirk overhauled for the loss of just a single wicket. Paterson, who had bowled without much luck against Falkland the previous week, took 5 for 25 as West Lothian’s batsmen struggled to make any headway against Selkirk’s accurate bowling.
Only Brown, swiping and hitting more often than he swiped and missed, troubled the bowlers. Taking advantage of the short boundaries – half the distance of those found at Philiphaugh – he hit five sixes in an adventurous, sometimes fortunate, innings of 39. His luck ran out, however, when he top-edged a thigh-high full toss from Greg Fenton to Blaine Gillie who took a good, solid, catch at deep square leg.
Earlier, Paterson had been deprived of a hat-trick when keeper John Graham spilled Brown first ball up. That was the only dropped chance of the day, however, as Selkirk’s catching showed (welcome and overdue) signs of improvement.
In other respects the trip to Penicuik was a reminder of how fortunate the Souters are to enjoy the excellent facilities at Philiphaugh. No pavilion at Beeslack meant changing in the car park while the outfield more surely resembled a meadow than a cricket-field; indeed a flock of Blackface sheep could profitably be employed to cut grass so long in places that it was barely an exagerration to wonder if it might be possible to lose a ball in the most overgrown corners of the outfield.
Not that such concerns troubled Selkirk’s batsmen. Though Greg Fenton was dropped twice he, Jordan Reid and Darren Fenton saw Selkirk home in rapid fashion. Reid hit one six while Darren Fenton clubbed a brace of “maximums”.
This, however, was another victory set up by seam-bowling supremacy. Indeed, Selkirk’s bowlers have made life easy for the club’s batsmen this season; in two matches the Philiphaugh outfit have only needed to bat for 16 overs in total to overhaul the paltry totals posted by their vanquished opponents.
Stiffer tests doubtless remain ahead and West Lothian were hampered by only bringing nine players to the party (though Selkirk only had ten themselves). Nevertheless, since West Lothian won nine games and lost only four in this league last season there are, perhaps, reasons to hope this might prove a successful season for Selkirk. Next week the Souters host Clackmannan County 2nd XI who, having lost their opening two games will presumably arrive at Philiphaugh lean and hungry and desperate to kick-start their season.