MATCH REPORT: Friendly – Oban (Home)

Won by Eighty-Three Runs

This fixture has been a long one in the making. COVID, the perennial frustration over the previous two seasons, prevented the bout taking place for two years but this year Oban were able to travel and it was a match worth the wait. In the end the contest wasn’t close but it was played with great friendly spirit. We would like to thank Oban for being brilliant guests and an excellent opposition to play against.

The match was quite eventful in the end. There were some stand out performances from our newest members, an injury that reminds one that cricket can be a dangerous game and some beautiful displays of batting.

Oban travelled with nine so I, and newest club member Raj, volunteered to play for the opposition, something that is not always easy even in a friendly. But I have to say what a pleasure it was to play for Oban, they were a fantastically welcoming and an enjoyable side to play for. It was also great to see Raj on the field as well, although he wasn’t expecting it at the beginning of the day!

Fort Augustus went in to bat first and despite an early wicket, with Neilesh falling for four, it was a wonderfully dominant display at all points. Ross was metronomic at the crease, quickly building his innings to fifty-three retired with ten boundaries. Charlie added another thirty before being caught by myself at mid-on, something he would later get me back for. Oswald, amazingly only now in his debut for the club – rain cancelling all his games last season, added an excellent twenty before Ash came out swinging and raced away to fifty-three and retired.

Early on in the innings, however there was one of those moments that reminds you that cricket is a deceptively dangerous game. A short ball zipped through to the Oban wicket keeper, bouncing a little higher than expected, and skipped through his gloves. The ball struck him just above the lip causing a gash which bled significantly and required a trip to A&E for some stitches, but luckily wasn’t any more serious than that.

It was a great batting display from some of our newest members too. Mayank looked confident, eventually being bowled for thirteen, and Prashant and Harshal, father and son, were able to bat together at nine and ten, which is one of the best things about friendlies. Fort Augustus ended their innings with two hundred and nineteen.

With tea finished and more than one beverage drunk, Oban’s innings started well, with Neilesh, not happy with his four, volunteered to help make up the numbers of Oban and bat again. He quickly raced off to fifty and then promptly returned to field and bowl for Fort Augustus. Oban’s innings was steady but never really looked like challenging the run rate needed. This was due to some excellent bowling performances. Ash and Ross were as reliable as ever but this game saw some excellent bowling performances from Prashant, Mayank and Oswald all making their bowling debut for the team.

Prashant and Oswald took three wickets between them, unsurprisingly – I myself (still batting for the opposition) faced Oswald and he was sending down some fiendish in swinging deliveries. Special mention needs to be made for Charlie as well. Having switched this match to off spin, he took three wickets, including my own with a delivery which kept low as it turned and caused me all sorts of trouble. It was fair recompense for my earlier catch. In the end Oban were out for one hundred and thirty-seven meaning Fort Augustus won by eighty-three runs.

A huge thank you has to go to Oban for making the trip. They were excellent opposition and we all really enjoyed the day. While I was scoring with Oban’s skip he commented on the quality of the FA team and particularly the sharpness of our fielding. Given how far we have come over the last few years, it was really heartening to hear someone else mention it unprompted and proves we are still making continuing progress. With good performances, we have the makings of a team that can put forth a stern challenge across the season.

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