Sunday 13th June saw the Western Warriors under 15s travel to Doo’cot Park, Perth to play the Caledonian Highlanders in the deciding fixture in the U15 50-over Inter-Regional Championships.
Batting first, Max Byers (Dumfries CC) was the main feature of Warriors early innings efforts. His 59 (including 5 of the Warriors 7 boundaries – in a match where there were only 12!) saw him form two good partnerships with Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC) and Ollie Jones (Stirling County CC). However, 110/1 quickly became 119/4 as the Highlanders spinners stifled the Warriors batters – with only 30 runs being added between overs 31 and 40. Ritvik Maheshwari (Glasgow Accies CC) scored 28 and Shlok Thaker (Clydesdale CC) added 20*, as the Warriors added some much-needed busyness towards the end of the innings. Warriors 187/7 (50).
Arguably the defining moment of the second innings came off the very first delivery, as Thaker induced dangerman Hegde to chip one towards midwicket where Ewan McCartney (Helensburgh CC) took an excellent diving catch. Although a 50-run partnership formed of the 2nd wicket, good bowling meant this took almost 20 overs – as the required run rate rose. Four quick wickets, including two to Jones, left the Highlanders 65/5 at the halfway mark – before Thaker returned to pick up wickets in both his second and third spells, finishing with outstanding figures of 10-4-21-4. A 26-run partnership for the ninth wicket threatened to make things interesting – but Qasim Khan (Ferguslie CC) returned to take his second wicket, before Ahmad followed suit. Highlanders 159 all out (49.1).
In such a crucial match, and missing two of the top five the batting order, it was great to see Byers build on his good starts and go on and make a significant contribution, with Ahmad, Jones and Maheshwari providing good support – before Thaker’s simple but busy approach at the end of innings allowed the team to carry real momentum into the second innings. This was momentum which never looked like being relinquished – with Thaker’s ‘4-for’ being key and all the bowlers offering good support.
As always, huge thanks must go to the parents of all the players for their support during our 50-over campaign. There will now be a few weeks off – before we start to build towards the T20 day later in the season.