Selkirk took revenge on Hawick with a 32 run victory at Buccleuch Park on Saturday. There were some concerns about the weather but the rains never quite came and Selkirk were asked to bat first.
Either batting line up would have to overcome both the guile of the bowlers and the unpredictability of the wicket. Murphy didn’t last long but the score picked up pace with the arrival of M.Fenton coming in to join younger brother Greg, who had been, up until that point, uncharacteristically patient. They rattled the score on as the Hawick bowlers were becoming a bit sloppy and not making use of the pitch, G.Fenton flicked three consecutive over pitched balls to the square leg boundary (including 2 sixes) off of the tiring Johnston (2-32). Hawick changed the bowling and whilst one of these changes proved costly for the hosts, G.Alexander (5-12) had an immediate impact and showed the way for all bowlers on the day with steady line and length. G.Fenton (34) fell first and when the rested Johnston returned early to finish his overs he took the wicket of M.Fenton (19) with the score at 61.
At this stage Hawick would be confident that they could restrict the visitors scoring and get started on chasing down another low total. I.Gardiner managed to keep the score rolling along, smacking a four over the fielder at mid on and then followed up with two boundaries in the next over. G.Alexander however was making short work of his partners removing Henderson and Hughes in short order, although the latter raised a few cheers with his first runs off the bat in 4 attempts. G,Alexander eventually picked up the wicket of Gardiner (20) but the lower order managed to wring out valuable runs, including a first boundary for L.McCulloch (5*). The innings ended with P.McTaggart delivering the slowest arching full toss of the day, J.Allan took aim and imagined the ball soaring over the high fence at square leg on to the rugby field, rather than what it did – plopping on to the top of the bails.
For some the total of 101 looked like an easy target but for others there was the suspicion that the Teries would find it hard in the conditions.
G.Alexander, a thorn in the side of the souters at Philiphaugh earlier in the season, opened with the fiery J.Tait and both looked at home in the middle, playing some elegant shots. However, the longer grass in the outfield was holding water from earlier rain so they weren’t getting the same reward as the Selkirk players who had taken a more aerial route. After six overs they were comfortable, 28 runs to the good and the opening bowlers frustrated enough for the captain to change himself out in favour of Heard. M.Fenton continued and despite a growing frustration, almost trying too hard at times, he began to get some reward, toppling Tait (12) who hadn’t looked totally at ease facing M.Fenton’s pace, nor the popping ball. The game changed over the next four overs with Heard giving nothing away and Fenton removing, in succession E.Alexander and then the important wicket of G.Alexander (17).
Having bowled all of his overs M.Fenton was replaced by Gardiner who opened with a wicket maiden and the game then made sharp progress to its conclusion as wickets began to fall and in the field players took their catches, John Allan erasing the memory of that looping first ball duck to take two. G.Fenton returned with Heard having bowled his 8 overs and removed the last hope for the hosts as P.McTaggart (14) rapped the ball to J.Allan at gulley. Gardiner capped a solid all round performance with the final wicket ending the Hawick innings at 69, giving the visitors a great win going in to the final fixtures of the season, which starts with a visit from Holy Cross next Saturday.