Doo’cot Park was the venue today for the Western Warriors Under 18s’ latest Inter-Regional Championship match. Their hosts in Perth were the Caledonian Highlanders. After winning the toss, the Warriors decided to bowl first. However from the very start of the Highlanders‘ innings indisciplined bowling from the Warriors‘ seamers would see them concede the advantage to their northern regional rivals. The very first over saw five wide deliveries bowled, and this set the pattern. Ten overs in and with change bowlers already called on, the wide delivery count had mounted to fifteen, with two no balls thrown in for good measure. For the Highlanders this took much of the pressure off their top order and, though wickets would eventually fall, the home region’s total kept ticking up. Their eventual 226 for 5 – Johnston top-scoring with an unbeaten 72* (112) – included 36 runs in wides and no balls, each of these extras coming from a single delivery. This meant the Warriors had actually bowled 56 overs by the time the first innings eventually closed.
In amongst the seamers’ struggles the two Warriors spinners used – Poloc CC’s Ahmed-Raza Hanif and Owais Shah – returned combined figures of 10-2-58-1, neither bowler going at more than 3-an-over. This simply went to highlight the travails of their seamer teammates. 226 for 5 then, meaning – after tea – the Warriors would be chasing 227 to win.
Shah and clubmate Amaan Ramzan opened for the Warriors in pursuit of 227, and they’d put on 36 when – in consecutive Shorton deliveries – both were then dismissed. Ramzan (16) tamely chipped a slower ball to backward point, whilst Shah (14) miss-pulled a full toss back to the bowler. 36 for 0 was suddenly 36 for 2, with two new batters in the middle. Zain Ashraf (Clydesdale CC) and Taimoor Ahmad (Poloc CC) were the new pair, but after guiding the total past 50, they were separated when the former was bowled by an Ejaz yorker for 13. Ahmad (44) would go on to top-score in the innings, with a couple of cameos from Clydesdale CC pair Ihtesham Ul Haq (23) and Aliyan Qureshi (39). However no Warriors batter could replicate Johnston’s contribution for the Highlanders, and when Sajjad was bowled by Shorton in the 47th over the side were 187 all out, and the Highlanders had secured a 39-run win.