Manderston returned to action at the weekend with a friendly against Carlton – a thriving club from Edinburgh who like to travel down to the attractive Berwickshire setting.
A poor weather forecast on a September Sunday meant an early start for the match – the first home game for some time because of all the rain.
Amazingly, the match was played without interruption and in good light throughout – although this was more down to the difficulties the batsmen had in staying in, resulting in a rather curtailed game.
Carlton had a number of youngsters and it must be said they all batted, bowled and fielded well – a credit to their coach, who captained the side.
Manderston won the toss and decided to bat first, with a father and son combination opening up.
Unfortunately, the next few overs saw a procession of forlorn Mando batsmen retreating to the pavilion after a brief stay in the middle.
Will Conington was bowled first ball, a snorting yorker from P. Gill that zipped through his defences.
Neil Johnson hit a couple of good shots before attempting a rash drive and was bowled by S. Smith.
Mark Conington edged one and was out, like his son, without troubling the scorers.
Shaun Walsh steered the first ball from change bowler Sam Haggo, a rank full toss, to the point fielder. This left the score a rather limp looking 6 for 4.
There was then a slight improvement but wickets fell regularly and the score reached 42 for 8 in the 16th over.
With Rich Thomson playing a captain’s innings with a straight bat, and tailender Eddy Richards channelling his inner Geoffrey Boycott, several maiden overs brought a sense of respite.
This partnership then began to prosper, with Richards hitting the first, and only, fours of the innings before being rudely adjudged lbw for 15.
A couple of late cuts from Dave Ebner increased the score further until Thomson was bowled by a good one, joint top-scoring with Richards, leaving the visitors needing 77 to win.
The bowling was disciplined and straight, and some of it quite nippy, but the ball wasn’t doing much.
The top order batting lacked patience and, although some were the victims of the inevitable good ball, other dismissals were rather sloppy.
Opening bowlers Gill (2 for 3 and S. Smith (2 for 15 from 5) were excellent, as was S. Haggo (3 for 15 from 6).
Although two wickets were from full tosses hit to fielders, she put pressure on the batsmen an accurate spell.
Stronach, bowling very fast off a couple of paces (1 for 10) and youngster Dulisse (2 for 9) were hard to score from and only C. Kentish (0 for 18) took some stick from Richards’ assault.
A score of 76 certainly isn’t imposing score but you never know in cricket.
And, when Dave Ebner charges in with malicious intent, anything is possible.
Moving the ball both ways off the seam, he bowled seven overs on the trot, picking up the first four wickets – three bowled and one well caught behind by Jack Cuddigan, for just nine runs.
At the other end, Chuck Scott (1 for 14) kept the game live by winkling out top scorer P. Kentish (20), well caught by his brother Mike at cover and, with the score on 25 for 5, the home side’s hopes rose.
However, a couple of good partnerships made the chances of victory recede.
Although Shaun Walsh (1 for 17) and Mike Scott (1 for 8) took further wickets, in the end Carlton scrambled over the line seven wickets down.
A close game in the end, which the bowlers enjoyed more than the batsmen, but enjoyed by all nonetheless.
Anyone who is interested in cricket is welcome to come along on Saturday, when Manderston will be hosting Eton Ramblers in what should prove an exciting match.
And, as ever, the club will be looking for players for next year.