A Titanic struggle at Irvine sees Hillhead just lose

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Hillhead 199 for 9 after 50 overs ( 9 points ) Irvine 202 for 9 after 49.4 overs ( 25 points )

This WDCU Division 1 game at Marress had everything a neutral spectator would have wanted to see: high class all round performances from Lucas Farndale and Ross Jones of Hillhead, similar from the Irvine professional, Avontuur, and then a classic denouement which saw Irvine just pip the visitors on the 3rd last ball of the game for the win.

Hillhead made a steady but slow start with none of their top 4 accelerating after establishing themselves. It took Lucas Farndale, batting at 5, to inject some momentum into the innings. Arriving at the crease in the 18th over with the score at just 52 for 3, he remained undefeated at the end with 94 not out from 90 balls. He was particularly strong on the offside with a 6, a 5 and 10 4’s in his knock. He received invaluable support from Ross Jones with a bright 24, including a hook for 6 off the Irvine professional which landed on the roof of the adjacent changing accommodation. But the highlight of the innings was the last wicket stand of 49 between Lucas Farndale on 53 and no. 11 batter, Ayub Khan. They came together in the 40th over and Ayub dropped anchor sufficiently solidly to ensure runs came freely at the other end. In all Ayub kept 31 balls out without scoring to allow his side to reach the 199 mark and set a round 200 target for the Irvine X1.

Without some frontline bowlers missing, Hillhead fought hard in defending their total. Ross Jones used the new ball well and was his usual lively self in the field. Lucas Farndale took two fine outfield catches, as well as one off his own bowling to return figures of 10- 0 – 25 -2. Captain Shehroz Mehmood picked up the prize wickets of the Irvine professional for 44 and their amateur, Leander Lubbe, for 6 to finish with 10 -2 -27-3. The rest of the Hillhead bowlers chipped in and were well supported in the field.
At no stage in their reply were Irvine too far behind the required scoring rate of 4/over. At the start of the 49th over, Irvine had made 183 for 8 with 12 balls left to score the 17 needed to win. They lost a wicket after 2 balls with their no.11 batter, the 15 year old, Shaheen Barham, striding to the wicket. By the 4th ball of the 50th over, it was all over with the youngster’s 3 scoring shots, 4,6 and then a 4 racing his side to an exciting victory. Although shell shocked, Hillhead had given their all with an excellent performance.

While the defeat was disappointing, there was no doubt Hillhead had contributed well to a fine game of competitive league cricket. While there was doubt before, the players showed they can compete with sides with a professional and an overseas amateur in their squad. However they will require to reflect once again on their profligacy in bowling wides, some 28 in total, 14 more than their opponents conceded. It can be a tough old game at times!!

Next Saturday, August 13, Hillhead entertain table toppers, Stenhousemuir, at Hughenden with a 12.00 start.