Selkirk continued their winning ways in Division Six of the East of Scotland league on Saturday to remain unbeaten at the top of the table. The 136 run final margin of their victory over Old Contemptibles was calculated by the league’s version of the Duckworth Lewis method for deciding rain affected matches but with the visitors 67/8 in reply to Selkirk’s 226/6 there was no doubting which side had the upper-hand.
The Souters supremacy was built upon a fine and perhaps overdue century from skipper John Everitt. Opening the innings, Everitt batted with admirable, methodical, patience to ensure the home side would post a challenging total. He hit only seven fours – the Philiphaugh outfield remaining on the slow side of pedestrian – and a brace of sixes, one of which clattered into the wall at the Ettrickhaugh Road end.
Since he arrived in Selkirk, Everitt has offered many glimpses of his ability. Too often, however his undoubted talent has been undermined by fatal lapses in concentration. As a consequence he has treated his team-mates (and spectators) to cameo performances when, with a little more luck and a touch more discipline, the Yorkshireman might have dominated opponents.
Perhaps a modest change of approach was needed. To put it in terms familiar to his native county, a little less Michael Vaughan and a little more Geoffrey Boycott would be no bad thing. Accordingly Selkirk’s skipper has suppressed some of his attacking instincts this season. This modified approach has paid off handsomely, producing scores of 17 not out, 52, 24 not out, 46 and then, on Saturday, this splendid 104.
Everitt’s discipline was needed too since, with Greg Fenton and Rory Banks falling cheaply, there was potential for the home side to be embarrassed by their visitors from Edinburgh. Michael Fenton helped steady the ship however and Kenny Paterson and Jordan Reid each also offered Everrit excellent support.
The visitors had actually won the toss and asked Selkirk to bat first on a wicket softened by heavy rain on Friday. They were confounded by Everitt’s commanding innings, however and only Mason was able to exert any real control.
After tea, Selkirk knew that the forecast was gloomy and that they needed to bowl a minimum of 20 overs to ensure a result could be calculated. By now conditions were helpful for swing-bowling; so much so in fact that Reid struggled to stop the ball swinging too much. Paterson, meanwhile, was producing a spell miserly even by his own parsimonious standards as he reeled off six consecutive maidens.
Making his season’s debut, Neil Gentleman took a smart catch in the slips to dismiss Watson before, in the 16th over, Michael Fenton struck to remove Charlwood. When Paterson produced a top class yorker to dismiss the classy and dangerous Joiner, Selkirk scented victory. Racing through the overs as conditions deteriorated, Greg Fenton struck three times and his brother Michael snagged another brace of victims as the Contemptibles innings collapsed.
The last four overs were played in appalling conditions as Selkirk strove for the final two wickets. Mason and Caldwell defended gallantly however and soon it became apparent that no more play would be possible. By then, however, Selkirk were far enough ahead to earn a convincing, if rain-affected victory.
Most of all, however, this was a day to remember for Everitt. His century was the first hit by a Selkirk 1st XI batsman in some years and his first since arriving in the Borders to work for the Forestry Commission. With luck – and this new approach – he may not have to wait so long before his next hundred.