Cricket, like all games, is part of a wider social context, something brought into sharp focus this weekend at Tillside Cricket Club.
The occasion was the dedication of Tillside’s new practice nets in memory of popular young player Duncan Sim, who tragically lost his life last year. He played for both Manderston and Tillside and, watched by a large crowd, the ribbon for the new facility was cut by his mother and brother.
The concensus was that cricket loving Duncan would have loved to test out these fantastic, state of the art, practice pitches. Tillside generously announced that they are available for anyone to use in keeping with the friendly, community spirit of the club.
On the field, a beautiful sunny May day saw Manderston captain Rich Thomson win the toss and opt to bat. An experienced top order made a solid start in the face of some accurate bowling and excellent ground fielding, with Mark Conington (13), Shaun Walsh (10) and Eddy Richards (29) all contributing. Along with Max Renwick (9), all perished attempting to increase the scoring rate.
Fortunately the Scott brothers were on hand to accomplish this, with Charlie S. top scoring with 42 not out (6 fours) and Mike S. getting in on the action with 25 not out. A total of 149 for 4 from 35 overs was respectable but not intimidating.
Tillside’s response was more explosive but riskier. Veteran quick David Ebner was unlucky not to pick up more than one wicket in his 1 for 15. At the other end Laurie Blackburn took some tap but also bowled some mesmerising balls, spinning it both ways, and eventually bowling the befuddled batsman.
Dickson took advantage of every loose ball and hit five fours and a six on his way to 43 before being bowled by Walsh, the pick of the bowlers with 2 for 18, with an effective style of bowling round the wicket into the pads.
At the other end Whittle survived some early scares to wrest control of the match from Manderston, scoring 57 (8 fours, one six) with some huge hits, Rory Hindmarsh (27 not out) finishing things off to take the home side to 151 for 6 with overs to spare.
Although Manderston’s ground fielding was good, the catching was lamentable, with not a single chance taken out of half a dozen attempts. Although they came at situations where it probably made little difference to the final result, nevertheless it is an aspect of the game that they definitely need to work on during the Thursday evening practice sessions!