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Stumped!


After a week of drama off the field attention once again turned to events on it - and in particular whether the BBC could record three consecutive victories for the first time in its history.

The weather was perfect in Prestwick and the omens bright when it became clear that the 1st XI - who were training in the outfield when the team arrived - was not the opposition for the evening. Rather it was the St. Ninian's Development XI.

The BBC won the toss and boldly elected to bat, but it would be the last act of boldness from the visitors until well into their innings.

McGill and Mellis started tentatively, adjusting slowly to the low bounce of the Prestwick wicket that could not have been more different to recent experiences in Glasgow.

Nithin Sagaria bowled with intent and precision, regularly challenging both batsmen to dig out yorkers just to stay at the crease. And it was he who took the first wicket, drawing a fine edge from the BBC skipper (1) to Clelland behind the stumps.

McGill (14) produced a cover drive for four and looked to be finding some rhythm, seeing off the dangerous Sagaria in the hope of finding easier runs with the change of bowling. But the change down in pace instead prompted a mistimed attempt to repeat the earlier shot, which fell comfortably to the cover fielder. Jose (15), who had been building momentum of his own repeated McGill's mistake just two balls later, before Mishra (5) - hero of the Helensburgh game - dragged what had initially been an LBW appeal onto his stumps.

With the top order again failing to impose themselves on the game, Zohaib Ali took responsibility for the innings and looked to the lower order to support him and rotate the strike. Steve Collins (1), however, seemed to have other ideas, misjudging an attempted sweep and top-edging to square leg. Paul Tucker was the cameo BBC required and gave Ali licence to finally inject both urgnecy and power into the BBC innings, including one majestic six beyond the pavilion and boundary wall. His innings of 46 deserved a final flourish, but overly-anxious to rotate the strike on the second ball of the last over, Tucker forgot that Ali was the slowest runner in Scotland and ran him out. 

Tucker himself, only lasted one further ball, before Martin di Paola fell victim to a first-ball yorker from the impressive Euan McBeth. With McBeth on a hattrick in the last over - and Colin Moffat facing - the youngster would have hoped from more from his hitherto excellent keeper, but the edge from Moffat was put down and the hattrick chance gone.

BBC finished on 105-9.

St. Ninian's opener, Rafiq, looked capable of inflicting some damage on the BBC openers, so it was ith some surprise and considerable relief that the visitors celebrated his wicket in just the second over - Moffat taking a tidy c&b.

Depsite the tenderness of their years, the hosts showed no signs of panic and the second wicket partnership of 66 offered few chances to the fielders and offered only furstration to the bowlers. McDonald, in particular, demonstrated a willingness to play within himself for the benefit of the team, notching up 39 in 39 without a single boundary. 

Although the game was only ever one bad over away from getting away from the BBC, a tight spell from Tucker and Mishra, kept the target defendable. With no obvious big-hitters at the crease, the BBC could perhaps have afforded to be more aggressive in the field and the movement and liveliness that had characterised previous fielding performances ebbed in the middle of the innings, as singles and twos leaked away.

Two wickets for Jose broke the rhythm of the St. Ninian's batsmen at just the right time to keep a lid on the run-rate, which was withering to less than four an over by the 18th over.

It led to a dramatic last over, in which St. Ninian's required two runs from the last three balls. Callan Turner looked nervous at the crease and dabbed at a full length ball arrowed at leg stump by Baibhab Mishra. He missed completely, but the ball flicked the outside of leg stump, beating Collins, and ran for two byes. The bails were unmoved. The BBC were left scrathcing their heads, but their involvement in the Glasgow Cup is now all but over.

St. Ninian's: 106-4 (19.4o)

St. Ninian's wins by six wickets.

 




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