Selkirk travelled to Duddingston last Saturday knowing that Marchmont 2nd XI were likely to be the toughest opponents the Souters have yet faced in their debut season in the East of Scotland league. So it duly proved as Marchmont offered stubborn resistance in this top-of-the-table clash. This being so, Selkirk’s five wicket victory was arguably the most satisfying performance of the season.
Yet if Selkirk were worthy winners John Everitt’s side also rode their luck at times. Chasing 121 Greg Fenton and Everitt passed 50 for the opening wicket for the third consecutive game. Each, however, enjoyed some good fortune. Fenton was dropped twice en route to his 35 while Everitt was also granted a life as Marchmont spilled a regulation chance in the slip cordon. Had the home side taken those opportunities Selkirk might have been put under real pressure for the first time this season.
As it was, Everitt played a captain’s innings and though he fell just short of a half century he had by then ensured Selkirk’s victory. Rory Banks entered the fray and duly crashed a drive striaght down the ground to secure the win.
121 was, Marchmont assured your correspondent, about par for the conditions prevailing at Cavalry Park. On an overcast day and with a chill wind sweeping across the ground Everitt won the toss and chose to field, presuming that the conditions would favour Selkirk’s medium-pacers.
They did but only up to a point. Though Kenny Paterson and Jordan “Boyband” Reid extracted some movement from a green wicket the ball did less than might have been – indeed was – expected. It was Reid who struck first, toppling Ramachandra’s off-strump. Van Jaarsveld adopted a hit-or-miss strategy and though this brought him a six and a four over and through long-on it also secured his downfall when another heave went awry and Reid rooked him.
Granger and Ahmed proceeded to build a partnership of some substance. True, the scoring rate barely edged above two runs an over but they were beginning to frustrate the visitors. Though Granger was badly dropped in the covers the suspicion built that a run-out might be the most probable way Selkirk could break through their defences. One gilt-edged opportunity was missed but not the second as Ahmed endured the misfortune of being run-out by a mere 20 yards.
If Granger rejected responsibility for that fiasco he had no grounds for pleading not guilty when he ran Smith out too. A single to gully always seemed improbable…
With one end open, Selkirk began to look livelier in the field. If Paterson had bowled with characteristic ill-fortune Greg Fenton enjoyed his usual dollop of good luck. The Bannerfield teenager appears to have the priceless ability to conjure wickets from tripe. This week his wickets came from a full toss and a rank long-hop respectively; Penman and Massie taking simple catches to send the batsmen home cursing their inability to deal with the bad ball. Nevertheless, let it also be noted that Fenton’s nine overs cost just 5 runs.
Though Selkirk had previously been denied some useful LBW shouts, Banks – another bowler sometimes blessed by Dame Fortune – had Healy trapped LBW. The batsmen traipsed off ruing the fact that, in league cricket, hitting the ball does not always immunise you against your own umpire’s mistakes.
Reid returned to the attack and claimed two more wickets before Granger – who had batted with admirable determination – completed a trio of run outs off the last ball of the Marchmont innings.
A solid victory for the Souters, then and they top the table with five wins from five.