lost by eight Wickets
Sometimes cricket seems like a sport of what ifs. What if we hadn’t dropped that catch? What if we had scored ten more runs? What if a fielder didn’t slip? And it is close games where those ‘what ifs’ become bigger, more prominent. Coming close to an important win can sometimes make it difficult to find positives in a forest of ‘what ifs’.
The reality of Saturday’s result is that Fort Augustus came very close to winning their senior league debut against a very strong team, one of the toughest in the league. In the end only fine margins made the difference. And while any loss is disappointing, there are so many positives to take away from the match that the season ahead is looking very promising indeed.
Having won the toss we elected to bat first and sent our openers out to get our innings going.
Strangely, the game started in somewhat desperate fashion as we lost our two opening wickets early. Neilesh being bowled and Ross catching a leading edge when flicking it off his pads to leg side, leaving us seven for two wickets off three overs. It was our stalwart Chairman who said it best, ‘In the past FA would have collapsed after such a difficult start’. At this point in came Ash and Charlie who stepped up and steadied our innings. Here is another positive to take away from the game. Having a steady batting line up takes the pressure off our opening pair. If things go wrong, as is want in the game of cricket, there are others who can come to the crease and confidently take over.
Charlie slowed the proceedings and built a route back into the game by hitting a half century on his senior league debut, eventually being bowled for fifty-eight. Ash’s innings was a similar story until he was given out LBW on twenty-three. Despite Ash’s disappointment we were back on track to at least post a competitive total, if the rest of the order can add some double figure innings to the board. Oswald, another senior league debut, did just that with an excellent knock of forty-four before being caught.
Unfortunately, on a day when we could have made an impact, myself and Kev were unable to add much between us. I was out for a duck with a terrible forward defence that nicked inside onto the stumps from an in swinging delivery. Kev was caught for two at mid off from the same bowler.
This left us with one hundred and twenty-five for six wickets off twenty-six overs. At which point Jim came out and once again steadied the decline. Playing sensibly, keeping Oswald on strike (who was still toiling away at this point) and hitting the occasional boundary, their stand lasted nearly ten overs until Oswald was caught and Jim bowled.
Our tail end came out and batted out the overs, some vital experience for our youngsters, leaving us with a final total of 155. Defendable, but not comfortable by any means.
After teas, where more amazing snacks were provided by our younger members, we buoyed ourselves up and headed out to field. There are so many positives to take from our time in the field. There was a determination and intensity which I haven’t felt for a while. A step up from our time in the reserve competitions and fitting for our senior league debut. Maybe it comes from the knowledge that Fort Augustus has built a very solid team over the last few years and we have a genuine chance of being very competitive.
Our bowling attack was something to be proud of, it was consistent, venomous at times and limited the scoring opportunities throughout Forres’ innings. Ash was the stand out bowler once again ending the day one for twenty-two off eight overs. But all our main attack bowled well. Neilesh, Ross and Ronan all pegging the opposition back to ones and twos.
Charlie made a great start to his senior league bowling career, opting to bowl off spin in this match. He was threatening a breakthrough each over but unfortunately luck was not on our side. A sniff at an LBW for Pal. Dhami was turned down which could have been a game changer. He was rewarded with the wicket of D. Durrance later in the innings.
The game was tight the whole way. Forres built a steady score and we were in contention all the way to the thirty-fourth over. And while our bowlers were doing incredible work, everyone on the field was doing their bit; chasing every ball, making few mistakes and limiting the runs at all occasions. But, Forres had their not so secret weapon.
Sometimes you just have to applaud an excellent performance and once again, something many who have played against him will testify, Pal Dhami was imperious.
It was a beautiful innings to watch. He was controlled, patient and merciless when the bad ball came. Knowing, as he would have done, that a steady run rate of four an over wins the game, he kept that scoreboard ticking over. He was ably supported by D. Durrance, who rotated the strike, and G. Farr who came out in strong form taking the game away from us (hitting six boundaries during his innings).
In the end it was a disappointing loss, we were tantalisingly close, twenty more runs for us may have made the difference. However, we were chasing the game from early on and throughout we kept our heads up, worked hard, and kept believing. On the day we lacked a little bit of luck and the thing about luck is, it will always even out in the end. We will be ready for another fiercely contested fixture when Forres comes to us.
Notable Mentions – Batting:
C. Thornton – 58
O. Crasto – 44
A. Anjum – 23
P. Dhami – 96 (Not out)
G. Farr – 30 (Not out)
D. Durrance – 19
Notable Mentions – Bowling:
A. Anjum – 1/20 (8 overs)
C. Thornton – 1/30 (8 overs)
N. Pote – 0/31 (7 overs)
G. Farr – 3/25 (8 overs)
D. Durrance – 3/28 (8 overs)
F. Du Toit – 2/35 (8 overs)
Just a quick apology for the length of time it has taken to write this report. It has been one of those weeks!