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Half-ton at Hamilton Crescent for Edwards


 

BBC Scotland cricket matches rarely attract general spectators, so it was gratifying to see that a group of teenagers had chosen the boundary at Hamilton Crescent for a place to have an evening picnic in the glorious sunshine last Tuesday. Though some were sitting with their backs to the game protecting their eyes from the sun, those that could saw that having won the toss West of Scotland decided to bat first.

 

After a brief warm-up in which Martin di Paola kept to the BBC tradition of breaking his fingers before the game had actually started, Edwards and Moffat opened the bowling. They kept the run-rate to a reasonable level, but the West openers managed to build a steady partnership, until Farndale (19) was bowled by Mishra. It was Armanath coming in at number three that caused the problems for the BBC. He increased the run-rate with a steady stream of fours and the occasional six, ably assisted by both Galloway (24) - before he was bowled by Jose - and then by Clews.

 

The partnership of Armanath (67) and Farndale (26) gained a frustrating solidity, which appeared to be causing excitement for the teenage spectators. But sadly they were more interested in a police car going past the ground, and then a few minutes later retrieving their alcohol from behind various bushes.

 

In the sixteenth over Leithead made his first competitive bowling appearance of the season. The runs continued to come, but in the fifth ball of Leithead’s second over he pitched the ball at Armanath’s feet who sent it soaring straight to the safe hands of Jose at deep cover point. The batsmen had crossed, so the next ball was bowled to Farndale. Possibly more out of fluke than intent, Leithead bowled the exact ball with the exact same result. Two wickets from two balls, and murmurs of ‘Alex is on a hat-trick’ went round the field. Shortly followed by ‘you don’t hear that often.’

 

But the hat-trick didn’t come. A no ball was called for too many players on the off side, and the next legal delivery resulted in neither wicket nor run. But it was a good spell, and this writer certainly hopes to see more of Leithead’s bowling in the remainder of the season.

 

West finished their innings 159-4, with the teenagers unimpressed by their total, the BBC’s fielding, or even that Martin di Paola had played the whole innings with broken fingers. Perhaps the BBC’s openers would take hold of both the game and their interest.

 

Sadly McGill (1) and Jose (2) did not produce the start that both batsmen are capable of. Good bowling and equally good catches left them both walking back to the pavilion earlier than expected. Mishra (24) and Mellis (15) helped steady the ship, but there was a lot of ground to make up. Even without taking wickets, the West bowlers kept the run-rate down, and the excellent diving catch to remove Mellis who had struck the ball superbly from the middle of the bat seemed to sum up both the innings and Mellis’s season generally.

 

The swarthy figure of Edwards showed just how good the BBC can be. Scoring his first half-century for the club, he took the game by the scruff of the neck and showed West’s bowlers how they play cricket ‘down under’. With a series of boundaries, that included sixes scored at all four points of the compass, he finished the innings on an unbeaten score of 52. But when he and Leithead (7*) walked off the field, they were 16 runs short of West’s total.

 

In all it was a thrilling match played in the best of conditions. There is a determination and collaboration in the field about the BBC these days, demonstrated by the figures if not the results.




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