Won by five wickets
Skye was the first team I faced in a competitive match when playing for Fort Augustus and it was during that game that the cricket bug really bit. That first game was a fantastic match, which FA lost, but was played with a very friendly atmosphere who just wanted to enjoy a brilliant day of sport in the sun. Since then I have always looked forward, and tried to make myself available for, the fixtures against Skye. They are excellent opponents.
This time round I was asked to skip, which made it an even more enticing match. But thanks has to be offered to Kev, the actual FA Skip, and Shep, Chairman, along with all those who made themselves available. We were struggling for players as the game was on the Sunday of a double header weekend and so without the endless efforts of those mentioned above, we would have had to forfeit.
It did mean, however, that we were able to include club patron Bim and his son Dillan in the final eleven as we tried to make it a winning weekend (FA having won their first ever senior league match the day before). Having stepped onto the pitch with the opposition skip, I achieved another club first by winning the toss, something I had yet to manage on the few occasions I had captained the side in the past. We elected to bowl first. I want to claim this was some form of tactically genius decision making but was really because we had a number of players who had to leave by a certain time and I wanted eleven in the field.
This actually was a must win game in some senses as we had lost the first reserve cup match against Ross County. And so with that in mind, Ronan and Prashant opened our bowling attack. Both were steady and consistent, keeping the initial run rate down but neither made a breakthrough against the opening pair, which was a shame as they both deserved a wicket.
I then came on for Ronan, and bowled my six right through, which is not something I would normally do as I am not that type of bowler, being slower pace and somewhat erratic. I ended my spell with my best bowling stats to date, something I was so surprised about at the time that I had to double check the scorebook. It was in my second over that we took our first wicket when Angus, looking confident at the crease, cut a ball outside off straight to point and unfortunately, one of our best fielders.
The second wicket fell to a brilliant catch from Harshal, who took it on the move after it was hit straight and high from a slower ball (well only slightly slower in my case).
After that though, it was all about the youngsters. Yule, Harshal and Dillan all bowled two or three excellent over each, again, keeping the extras down and limiting the run rate. We are so fortunate this year to have some youngster join the club. They are enthusiastic, energetic and determined both in the field and when batting. A Sunday reserve game is the best time to get them bowling and batting up the order to build their confidence and (mentioning it again) when playing an encouraging and friendly side like Skye, it will have hopefully boosted their confidence no end!
Mayank needs a special mention too, keeping for the first time in a competitive match, and he was fantastic. He was a wall behind the stumps, letting very little past him and he ended the day with a catch and stumping. Very well deserved after a great performance.
After thirty overs Skye finished their innings on one hundred and thirty-two for seven. A decent target for our young side to aim for.
With that in mind, we sent Mayank out to open with Kev, an experienced hand, to get things going. Both hit double figures, Kev was stumped on twenty-one and Mayank bowled on twenty-eight. A good start. I headed out at three and played one of my best innings. The other reason I secretly like playing Skye is I seem to bat with much more confidence and usually end up scoring well. Bim joined me at four and we each raced to retirement.
In cup games, each batsman must retire at thirty-five. Once I reached that target, Dillan made his way to the middle. These moments are what makes reserve games so special; father and son being able to bat together at the crease. Unfortunately, it wasn’t destined to be a lengthy partnership as Bim was already close to retirement and a final boundary saw him replaced by Harshal. Dillan was bowled soon after and Charlie joined Harshal at the middle.
By this point we only required five more runs and with some quick singles, Harshal was able to hit the winning shot with seven overs to spare.
It has already been said, but a great game needs a great opponent, so thank you Skye for a wonderful day. It could not have been better for Fort Augustus, the second win of the weekend and great performances from our younger contingent: Mayank, Yule, Harshal and Dillan. Excellent bowling from Prashant and Kev also kept the game within reach during our time in the field. The match could not have gone any better.
Notable Mentions – Batting
M. Varma – 21
B. Sandhu – 35 (Retired – Not out)
H. Vaidya – 3 (Not out – winning run)
P. Curtis – 30
E. Findlay – 27
A Robins Snr – 19
Notable Mentions – Bowling
K. O’Meara – 3/20 (4 overs)
P. Vaidya – 0/15 (6 overs)
Y. Crasto – 0/5 (2 overs)
A. Robins Snr – 0/18 (4 overs)
M. Bliss – 0/17 (4 overs)
T. Bental – 1/26 (5 overs)