Muir Holds It Together
Last Saturday RWS Forestry St Michael’s travelled to play Glasgow Accies in a Western Union Division 1 match at New Anniesland, emerging with a morale boosting 87 run victory in their first away win of the season.
Tom Holmes, on winning the toss for one of the few times this year, elected to bat first and his side totalled 149 all out in 46 overs. To reach this total Saints were indebted to a fine match winning partnership of 85 between Duncan Muir and Juan Martins, who made 31 while Muir held the batting together to finish undefeated on 55 not out. The
experience of Muir was crucial on a pitch which was never easy to bat on and where it was vital to play the good balls on merit and punish the loose ones.
The home team’s wides total 35 was crucial to Saints’ final score as Muir and Martins were the only two batsmen who attained double figures. But at least some of the other lower order batsmen hung around long enough with Muir to get a defendable total.
In support of this total Saints produced their most complete bowling and fielding performance of the season. All the bowlers bowled at the stumps giving the Accies batsmen no width to play expansive shots and conceded very few extras.
They were rewarded by the demolition of Accies for 62 in 30 overs, Brockwell taking four wickets, Holmes two and Martins polishing off the tail with three.
The John Pagan Funeral Directors Man of the Match award was deservedly won by Duncan Muir for his priceless knock of 55 not out
Scores: RWS Forestry St.Michael’s 149 all out (D. Muir 55 n.o., J. Martins 31) : Glasgow Accies 62 all out (Brockwell 4-15, Martins 3-5, Holmes 2-20)
RWS Forestry Toppled Again
Last Saturday RWS Forestry St Michael’s 1st XI played host to Irvine in a Western Union Division 1 match at Kingholm Park losing comprehensively by 8 wickets.
The only bright spot in Saints’ total of 117 all out in 32 overs was skipper Tom Holmes’s positive knock of 52 which included six fours and two sixes. The only other batsman to achieve double figures was overseas amateur Juan Martins with 14, who not for the first time this season was the recipient of an lbw decision when the ball hit the bat first.
In reply Irvine coasted to victory in 26 overs,with the only two wickets to fall being snapped up by Tanzeel-ur-Rehman and John Woodhouse.
The John Pagan Funeral Directors Man of the Match was deservedly won by Tom Holmes for his sparkling half century knock and his tidy wicket-keeping, not conceding a bye.
RWS Forestry Harvest First Win
Last Saturday could prove to have been the most crucial match of the season for RWS Forestry St Michael’s Cricket Club.
By getting their league match versus Weirs played at the Kingholm Park when all other matches in the West of Scotland were victims of the rain and then fashioning an unpredicted win by six wickets with their most complete performance of the season, it gives the side a palpable lifeline to escape relegation.
If the weather stays fair for their next three consecutive home games against teams that are definitely beatable and the side maintains Saturday’s all round performance, a Houdini act of escapism could be achieved.
Weirs opted to bat first on a firm pitch in drizzly conditions, probably because they are a strong bowling team and didn’t want to use a wet ball. They started positively against the Saints opening attack of Kieran Moore and Tom Holmes, and put 36 on the on the board in just six overs before Z Shahid became Holmes’ first victim, caught smartly in the gully by Juan Martins.
Martins then joined Holmes as first change and the pair bowled tightly, restricting Weirs batsmen from playing their favoured expansive shots, and soon frustration saw wickets fall as Holmes captured another two and Martins also took two, one an athletic diving catch by wicket-keeper Farrukh Naqvi.
At 86 for 5, Chris Brockwell entered the attack and proved to be unplayable. He bowled his best spell of the season and took the last five wickets to fall for a personal cost of only nine runs, with Weirs finishing 108 all out in 30 overs.
Saints realised that scoring the 109 for victory wouldn’t be easy against a sharp bowling attack in view of the club’s recent batting fragility. But the pitch was drying out and in Brockwell, who was recently chosen for a WDCU Select XI, they had the man for the occasion
He held the batting together with a polished 59 runs, always playing in an aggressive manner and not letting the bowlers settle. At 48 for 3, skipper Tom Holmes joined Brockwell and a partnership of 50 settled the nerves and the match, Holmes finishing on an accomplished 30 not out and leading from the front.
This win should certainly give Holmes and his side the confidence and impetus to finish the season in the manner that they played last season, with a winning mentality.
Chris Brockwell was the John Walker & Son Man of the Match for his match-winning all round performance, and dedicated the win to Tom Woodhouse for his unwavering encouragement and support of the club.
Scores Weirs CC 108 all out (M Akram 24, G Raja 16 ; Brockwell 5-9, Martins 2-26, Holmes 2-32) : RWS Forestry St Michaels CC 111- 4 (Brockwell 59, Holmes 30 n.o.)
RWS Forestry Felled
Last Saturday RWS Forestry St Michael’s Cricket Club travelled to play Renfrew in what was a bottom of the table encounter. Unfortunately for a very young Saints side they did not get the result hoped for as they lost by six wickets.
The St Michael’s team arrived early at the ground and found a very soft wicket which was clearly going to be bowler friendly. But skipper Tom Holmes lost the toss and St Michael’s were put into bat.
The opening batsmen, Chris Brockwell and Connor Bowie, found out the pitch played as as it looked and had to play conservatively against some tricky early bowling. When the first wicket of Bowie fell in the 12th over, the score was sitting on 22 and the batting side were aware a large total would not be needed to win the match.
South African overseas player Juan Martins and Brockwell attempted to rotate the strike until Brockwell was caught at mid-on off the bowling of Alam for a fighting 22. Martins followed a couple of overs later after being stumped, which left skipper Holmes and Mike Lumb to try and repair the innings.
The partnership lasted for eight overs when Holmes was bowled for 12, leaving the score on 48-4 with half the innings to play. There was not to be much joy for Saints from this point on, however, as a collapse started when Bourner was given out lbw after some excessive appealing despite the ball appearing to have hit the bat first. Saints were eventually all out for a mere 63 runs.
The only bright spot in the latter part of the innings was the performance of Mike Lumb who played responsibly on a very tough pitch, not giving the opposing team any chances to take his wicket. He showed application in the middle that should be a great lesson to many members of the team.
Despite the low total, Saints were not downhearted and knew some early wickets would give them a great chance of stealing a victory. Hope was provided when the returning Kieran Moore had Nawaz out lbw in the second over. However the wickets then dried up until Alam was caught behind off the bowling of Brockwell with the score on 39.
Saints never gave up in the field as they knew anything could happen on this particular wicket, and with the score on 46 Brockwell took another two wickets to keep the game interesting. Unfortunately, that was to be it for Saints as the Renfrew captain Shabbir Baig, 12 not out, and birthday boy David Graham, 23 not out, saw the home side over the line.
Despite the loss, Saints showed great fighting qualities in the field, reminiscent of what had brought them some success last season. They are going to need it again this coming Saturday as they face top of the table West of Scotland at the Kingholm. Although bottom of the table, St Michaels are still hopeful of surviving relegation with a long run of home games coming up, in which they will hope to use the home field advantage to good use.
Scores: RWS St Michaels CC 63 all out (Brockwell 22) : Renfrew 64-4 (Brockwell 3-17)
Another Bad Day At The Office For Saints
Last Saturday RWS Forestry St. Michaels CC played Stenhousemuir at Kingholm Park and once again emerged a disappointing second, losing by 104 runs.
This margin would have been a lot less if four regulation catches had been pouched early on in the away team’s innings. One of the drops was especially costly enabling overseas professional R. Jappie to take full advantage of his good luck, scoring a ton and holding the Stenhousemuir innings of 236 for 9 in 50 overs together.
Pick of the bowlers was skipper Tom Holmes with two wickets for 29 in his ten over spell. Other wicket takers were Juan Martins with three, Ross Lamb with two and Ross Dalling and Alan Lamb with one apiece.
If Holmes was pulling his hair out after the poor catching display, it was all but gone after the home team’s batting performance, RWS Forestry only scoring 132 in 25.3 overs on a pitch that was improving as the match wore on.
Chris Brockwell carried his bat for 67 not out showing that a win wwould have been a distinct possibility if he had received any support from the other end. Brockwell batted splendidly, showing grit and a varied shot selection, but the only partnership of note was one of 59 with Alan Lamb who scored 20.
Martins was unlucky, being the victim of a harsh LBW decision, but a veil will be drawn once again on the rest of the batting effort, determination and therefore result.
RWS Forestry St. Michael’s are at the wrong end of the table at the half-way stage of the season, and unless each individual player and the team as a whole can regroup and galvanise behind skipper Holmes, relegation is sadly a distinct possibility.
Chris Brockwell was an easy choice for Nith Place Dental Practice Man of the match.
Score: Stenhousemuir CC 236 for 9 (R. Jappie 100, H. Martins 3-44, T. Holmes 2-29, R. Lamb 2-72) : RWS Forestry St. Michael’s 132 all out (Brockwell 67, A. Lamb 20)
RWS Saints Come Up Short Again
After the previous home fixture against Glasgow Acies was cancelled due to the rain, RWS Forestry St. Michael’s 1st XI journied to Stirling to play the local county with a greatly weakened team.
Saints had never defeated Stirling away from home since being in Division 1 and unfortunately this match proved to be no exception.
Stirling put RWS Forestry into bat on what turned out to be a difficult pitch with an outfield longer than normally experienced at this level of cricket.
After Chris Brockwell and Tom Holmes back in the hutch for 7 and 4 respectively against a lively opening Stirling attack, the writing was on the wall after 10 overs with Saints 18 for 2 .
Only Connor Bowie and overseas amateur Henri Martins showed the necessary application and technique to combat a hostile attack, and provided the one partnership of note of 65 runs. Martins top scored with 42 and Bowie added 12.
In addition to them being the only double figure scorers in RWS Forestry St. Michael’s innings of 98 all out in 47.4 overs, five batsmen scoring ducks tells its own story.
In reply Stirling passed the Saints team’s score in 25.4 overs with only one wicket down, captured by Bowie. The bowling and fielding was tight but not enough runs were scored to put pressure on the home side.
Scores: RWS Forestry St Michael’s: 98 all out (H. Martins 42, C. Bowie 12) : Stirling County: 99 for 1
Saints Bat Poorly
Last Saturday RWS Forestry St.Michael’s 1st XI travelled to Irvine in search of their second win of the season, but once again the journey up the A76 was in vein, the team losing by 118 runs.
Irvine won the toss, chose to bat first and scored 204 for 9 in 50 overs. Saints got off to a decent start and had the opposition 63 for 3, both openers having departed, one bowled by Martins and the other caught by Chris Brockwell off the bowling of Tom Holmes.
Professional J.Waspe was the third to fall, run out by Recce McNay. At that point there was a rain break, and on the resumption RWS Forestry never got back into the match. B.Harwood and M. Ali put together a match winning partnership of 120 to put the match out of Saints’ reach.
The bowling and fielding was reasonably tight with none of the bowlers being expensive, Holmes and Tom Jackson each picking up two wickets, Martins, McNay and Dalling one each. Brockwell, although remaining wicketless and not finding the pitch to his liking was the most economical bowler and 15 year old McNay on his 1st Xl debut showed decided promise with his off spin in his 10 over spell.
Craig Bourner, also debuting, kept wicket with great aplomb while Connor Bowie and Ian Naysmith made some fine stops in the field with Bowie running out op[position wicket-keeper Conway.
Unfortunately RWS Forestry St.Michaels replied poorly, batting for just 33 overs and were dismissed for 86. Only three batsmen Brockwell (16), Chris Lumb (15) and Tom Jackson (17 not out) achieved double figures, and Jackson was left with no partners at the end.
Scores: Irvine 204 for 9 (M.Ali 75, B.Harwood 48 ; T.Holmes 2-42, T. Jackson 2-24)
Beaten by an Old Foe
On Sunday RWS Forestry St Michael’s had a home Cricket Scotland Challenge Cup match and came a cropper against a young Kelso side who bowled, fielded and batted better than Saints, winning comprehensively by 8 wickets.
Saints only mustered a total of 130 on a decent pitch, having been 62 for 1 and looking in relative control early on in their innings.
The majority of the players were at a loss at how to deal with the vagaries of the away teams spin bowlers and the determination and game savvy showed 24 hours before was sadly missing.
Torrential Rain Halts Saints
Last Saturday RWS Forestry St Michael’s CC travelled for their fourth consecutive away match, this time to Coatbridge to play Drumpellier who were relegated from the Premier League last season.
The side were missing a few regulars including Australian Tom Jackson but had skipper Tom Holmes back at the helm.
On winning the toss Holmes elected to bat first on a firm looking track, but after 13 overs Saints were 51 for 3. Chris Brockwell was bowled first ball, fellow opener Derek Heron was also bowled by a shooter from Aziz for 21 having looked solid and skipper Holmes caught by D. Pryde for 16 off the bowling of his brother J. Pryde.
Overseas amateur Juan Henri and youngster Chris Lumb started to steady the situation, both batting fluently and running energetically between the wickets and in 17 overs put on 79 runs. Just as Martins on 56 not out and Lumb on 20 not out were taking the match away from Drumpellier, the heavens opened and the intensity of the rain forced the match to be abandoned with Saints on a promising 130 for 3.
RWS Forestry St Michael’s CC have so far only managed to get two matches finished as three away matches have either been cancelled or abandoned. This Saturday RWS Forestry travel to play Irvine, the last of a tough run of away matches. Hopefully, with a series of 5 home matches later in the season Saints will be able to consolidate their position in the league.
Bad Weekend for Saints!
St.Michael’s Cricket Club had a tough Saturday last weekend with only 18 players available from the 50 on the registration list, and of these only three were recognised 1st team players.
So RWS Forestry St.Michaels 1st XI travelled to top side West of Scotland and were well beaten. Unfortunately they lost the toss and were consigned to 50 overs of purgatory on the field with a lot of ball chasing.
It was certainly a chastening experience for the young players who travelled, but even in such a heavy defeat there were some long-term positives. The bowling of Levi White, who produced an excellent 10 over spell was a highlight, proved how much he has developed as a seam bowler, and on this display he will be pushing for a regular first team place on merit.
The fielding of both Ross Dalling and Dan Turner, both making numerous fine stops on the lightening quick outfield, was a great example to their teammates. A veil will be drawn over the team’s overall batting performance in reply to West’s first innings total.