Lost by six wickets
The start of any season is a chance to blow off the cobwebs, get rid of the rust that has gathered through a wet winter of inactivity and see how the team stacks up in competition. And while it is disappointing to lose the first game out, there were lots of positives to take from the match.
It was one of those matches where it is difficult to identify something specific where we could improve. There were a fair few extras given away, but nothing unusual for the first game of the league. A little rustiness in the field but nothing dramatic (in fact there was really positive energy in our fielding and some determined efforts to limit scoring as much as possible). In the end, luck wasn’t with us on Sunday and that may have been the defining factor.
Before going further it is important to say how delighted we were at Fort Augustus to welcome four new players who debuted at Sunday’s game. It was fantastic to see you all in action and we’re really excited to welcome you to the club. Special notice has to be given to the excellent snacks provided by Prashant, they were delicious! If anyone didn’t have a sample, you really missed out.
Having lost the toss RC opted to bowl first and so we led with tried and tested openers Ross Lavin and Nilesh Pote taking to the crease. They made a fantastic start with Nilesh racing away to thirty-six and retiring out (as per the reserve cup rules – to retire at thirty five). Ross showed typical rhythm and patience building a steady innings before being bowled by H. Singh for twenty-one.
With a solid foundation, two further retirements, Charlie Thornton (thirty-five) and Ash Anjum (thirty-seven), left us 127 for 3 after twenty overs. Unfortunately our middle order (me included) struggled to add many more runs, nine and seven being the most notable scores in the final six wickets. Despite this we managed to end our innings on 161 having seen out all thirty overs.
It felt like a competitive score, defensible given our strong bowling attack if a little bit of luck went our way. Therefore we took to the field fairly confident of at least taking the game to the wire.
Over the previous years we have seen a steady improvement in our fielding and this was obvious on Sunday. On this note a huge thank you has to go to our two youngsters, who were determined and hardworking both on the field and with the bat. And equally huge thankyou to Prashant and Charlie for your massive contributions in the match, as a club we are really grateful to have you join our team.
Our bowling attack started strong limiting Ross County to thirty-seven in the first ten overs with our first wicket coming curtesy of a run out in the seventh for seven runs. Following on from our opening bowlers (Ross Lavin and DJ Duncan) Nilesh Pote and Ash Anjum took over and despite our best efforts the scoreboard started to creep up.
Anjum bowled right through and his spell was excellent ending the day 1/14 from six overs but the chances never really fell FA’s way. It seemed luck wasn’t on our side. A nick behind would sail just out of reach of the keeper, an opportunity for a catch wouldn’t quite carry or sail just over the fielders heads, tantalisingly out of reach, a great ball would just skim past the wickets. We were threatening all game to create chances but they never quite materialised.
The longer the RC batsman were at the crease the quicker the score rate rose. The second wicket only fell in the nineteenth over and with a retirement at thirty-eight (R. Morgan) a thirty three not out (S. Embleton) and a twenty-seven (H. Singh) we just couldn’t quite hold them back. And so with a final boundary put away square the game ended with six balls remaining.
In the end the difference came from the extras. RC gave away eleven wides, while we gave away two byes, nine leg byes and twenty-five wides. In a tight game giving away twenty-five more extras than your opponent is always going to cause problems. However, first game back from the off season it is to be expected and it is something we have always been able to rectify as we head into the season!
In the end it was a great game. Close and hard fought from both sides. Its always a pleasure to play RC and we hope to get our revenge next time out at home. In terms of the Reserve Cup, it is a round robin format, so while the loss makes it more difficult, we are not down and out yet, we just need to make sure we win the rest and hope for the best!
Notable Mentions – Batting:
A. Anjum – 37 (Retired)
N. Pote – 36 (Retired)
C. Thornton – 35 (Retired)
R. Morgan – 38 (Retired)
S. Embleton – 33 (Not out)
H. Signh – 27
Notable Mentions – Bowling:
A. Anjum – 1/14 (6 overs)
D. Duncan – 1/16 (6 overs)
R. Lavin – 0/17 (5 overs)
S. Embleton – 2/21 (6 overs)
R. Belli – 2/22 (6 overs)
R. Morgan – 0/15 (4 overs)