The logic behind fielding first was impeccable so one may imagine the despair Clackmannan’s skipper felt as Selkirk’s openers put on 127 runs for the first wicket. In any circumstances such a partnership would have been rightly considered remarkable; that it was produced in such testing conditions made it all the more notable. As Clackmannan’s bowlers toiled dutifully but without reward the first ten overs produced just 17 runs. Kay led the way for the visitors, his first six overs costing just four runs. A slow outfield helped ensure that even when the batsmen timed the ball sweetly they could not count on receiving full reward for their shots. Indeed, Selkirk would only hit 7 boundaries in their innings.
Having seen off the new ball, skipper John Everitt and Greg Fenton began to take advantage of the opportunities afforded by Clackmannan’s supporting cast of bowlers. \after 20 overs the score was 65/0 and the hundred was registered just seven overs later. Everitt was happy to let his younger partner lead the way as both openers registered half-centuries. All good things must come to an end, however, and Fenton holed-out to cow corner in the 32nd over. His 70 runs were scored from 92 deliveries. Rory Banks fell quickly to Bryan-Nicholls before Everitt slapped a drive to extra cover and was dismissed for a patient and classy 52.
At 136/3 with ten overs left the stage was set for either a dispiriting collapse of a madcap dash to the finish line. In the event, the result was a little of both. Selkirk, pressing for quick runs, lost wickets at regular intervals but Michael Fenton, making a welcome return to cricket, took command of the situation, unleashing a series of powerful pulls and drives that reminded his team-mates how much they have missed him in recent years when work commitments have prevented him from representing his club and town. He led thw way as Selkirk plundered 27 runs from the final two overs to set a total that, given conditions of pitch and outfield, always seemed likely to prove formidable.
As, in fact, it did. Kenny Paterson produced a typically nagging, parsimonious spell with the new ball but, just as Everitt had been mildly overshadowed by a junior partner earlier, so it was 18 year old Jordan Reid who took the honours with an opening salvo of 2 for 6 from 7 overs of accurate medium-pace bowling. At 6 for 3 Clackmannan were plainly, so to speak, on the back foot and though Carman and then Rasul struggled manfully the visitors never looked like scoring at the required run-rate.
Nevertheless, Selkirk needed to keep their concentration and show some patience trusting that, eventually, fortune would turn their way. It was Rory Banks who made victory a formality. The atmospheric conditions had a Viagra-like effect on his gentle medium-pacers as Banks swung into action. A wicket in his frist over was followed by a brace of scalps in his second and Clackmannan’s innings was irretrievably broken, shipwrecked and washed upon a rocky, hostile shore. Since Banks had earlier taken a splendid diving catch at midwicket to dismiss Rasul, it was an afternoon in the field to remember for the Murray Place youngster.
The Souters’ challenge is to now to take advantage of this early season momentum. Their next assignment is a trip to Edinburgh next Saturday to play Teuchters CC.