Western Warriors U15s got their season off to a winning start, by defeating the Eastern Knights in a match at Linlithgow Cricket Club.
After a near 3-hour delay, the match was reduced to 29 overs per side – with both sides wanting to bowl first. Therefore, upon losing the toss, the Warriors were invited to bat first! Despite the loss of an early wicket, skipper Bahadar Esakhiel (Clydesdale CC) and Max Byers (Dumfries CC) built a very useful 2nd wicket partnership of 44. However, this was somewhat squandered as 48/1 became 90/8! The 9th wicket partnership added a crucial 34 runs, as Ritvik Maheshwari (Glasgow Accies CC) and Robbie Walsh (Ayr CC) rotated the strike well and ran hard between the wickets. This would lead the Warriors to 136/9 – with Esakhiel top scoring with 35.
In reply, Walsh picked up an early wicket – but the Knights added 22 for their 2nd wicket and 33 for their 3rd. Although well-set, at 68/3, they were behind the asking rate, in a low scoring match. Ollie Jones (Stirling County CC) took his 2nd wicket (removing dangerman Burnet, for 34), Esakhiel took a sharp catch at short cover and two other wickets quickly fell – leaving the Knights 81/7. They then countered with 34-run partnership for their 8th wicket – although the Warriors managed to keep increasing the required run rate. The partnership was broken when Esakhiel returned to the attack to claim a wicket caught and bowled – and Fizan Rashid (Clydesdale CC) showed good composure, as a run out followed quickly thereafter. Knights 123/9.
A good win, with 4 batters making solid contributions in a low scoring match, including a game-changing 9th wicket partnership – and 6 of the 7 bowlers taking wickets. The next match is in two weeks’ time (after an intra-squad training match). The Warriors will hope to see batters go ‘on’ when set and reduce the number of dismissals ‘LBW’ (five!), the bowlers will aim to bowl a little straighter and more consistently – and the fielders will hope to sustain their committed and impressive start to the innings for the full duration.