Tim Hart reports, “The Western Warriors Under 13s were left to reflect on what might have been after an agonising 8-run loss to Belfast in the final of the triangular festival, held at Prestwick CC.
“Batting first Belfast scored 157 for 8 in their 30 overs. Their innings was based around a couple of early partnerships (32 for the first wicket and 19 for the second wicket) and then a big partnership of 65 for the fourth wicket. During this partnership the Warriors will have been disappointed with their effort in the field – particularly as this has been a recurring theme and because it happened at a crucial point when the bowlers needed some support to try and build pressure on the batters. However, when Hunter (35) became the first of three victims for Uzair Ahmad (Ferguslie CC), it triggered a mini collapse – with 118 for 3 becoming 135 for 8. Ahmad’s wickets in a very encouraging spell of 5-1-9-3 were backed up by two run outs from Bahadar Esakhiel (Ferguslie CC) and, although the bowling figures don’t reflect it, Ibrahim Faisal (Clydesdale CC) was actually the pick of the Warriors bowling attack, with Hassaan Mehmood (Poloc CC) also bowling a very tidy set of overs.
“Needing 158 to win, the top order was challenged not to lose early wickets but also to judge the pace of the chase effectively. Wickets were kept in hand well – but another recurring theme (dot balls) became a problem. The early dots left the team needing to double their score in the final ten overs. Despite a very positive and fluent innings from Nikhil Koteeswaran (Clydesdale CC) the task proved just too much – with only 71 runs coming in a very good effort in the final ten overs. Koteeswaran’s 48* was supported by Ahmad (42) and Faisal (18).
“Ultimately a loss in a very close match – but the Warriors can reflect on having played some very good cricket for large passages of play during the match and tournament. Thanks to Prestwick CC for hosting, the umpires for standing and congratulations to Belfast on their victory.”