Tim Hart reports, “The Western Warriors Under 16s were invited to play a one-off, 40-over challenge match against Birkenhead School (“Birkenhead”), as part of a George Watson’s College school festival. The high-scoring match was played on the Craiglockhart ground, in Edinburgh.
“Batting first, Birkenhead made steady progress – despite encouraging opening spells from Taha Khan (Clydesdale CC) and Sean Fischer-Keogh (Greenock CC), which left the score at 14 for 0 off six overs. However, the pace of the scoring then picked up – aided by some poor fielding. At the drinks break it was suddenly 104 for 0 and Birkenhead were well set up to post a very big total. Rafay Khan (Renfrew CC), Jamie Nowell (Greenock CC) and Humza Zulfiqar (Clydesdale CC) picked up wickets during the next short passage of play before Faizan Rauf (Clydesdale CC) and Taha Khan bowled their variations well at the end of the innings, to keep the score to 238 for 6 off the 40 overs – with Rauf picking up two wickets and Khan one.
“In reply, the Warriors did not start as well as Birkenhead had done earlier. Although Muhyamen Majeed (Renfrew CC) scored 43, the Warriors found themselves 83 for 7 after just 22 overs. A key problem had been the 101 ‘dot’ balls faced to this point (out of 132 deliveries bowled), including a passage of play where 1 run was scored off the bat in 38 deliveries! The situation had also not helped by some ill-advised shot selection and less than ideal execution. Given the score, and state of the game, it was a somewhat remarkable effort for the Warriors to end up on 206 for 9 off their 40 overs! This was based round a very positive 97-run partnership (off just 80 deliveries) for the ninth wicket between skipper David Sturgess (Clydesdale CC) and Rauf. Sturgess scored 63 (off 48) and Rauf 43* (off 48) – and there was more than a little hint of panic in the field as the combination of very good running between the wickets and eleven boundaries nearly made the highly improbable become vaguely possible! Unfortunately, despite the fantastic effort from the two batters, the poor fielding in the first innings and the early ‘dot’ balls in the second left the batters with just too much to do – and Birkenhead finished as winners by 32 runs.
“Overall, it was a good game played in a fantastic spirit – with a high quality tea and a great common-sense approach to the day from the umpires. The match has created a great opportunity for both sides to look back on some passages of positive cricket and on some things they could do much more effectively – and, on behalf of the Warriors, I would like to thank Alan Patterson and George Watson’s College for the invite to take part. The challenge for Warriors will be to learn quickly before Sunday’s Under 16 inter-regional match against the Eastern Knights.”