July and early August was not a good month for St Boswells 1st XI, having lost 4 of our 5 games – admittedly with a few injuries affecting the attack, but some poor batting not helping. As the end of the East League season approached, the drop to Division 2 wasn’t likely, but was certainly a slim possibility. With this in mind, we really had to pull our socks up and produce some special results.
The two games scheduled for the 17th and 18th August began with some trepidation as we travelled to Dunfermline on Saturday with the rain falling in sheets as the team bus crossed the Forth Road Bridge.
Play was delayed but the sun eventually came out and the covers came off, St Boswells won the toss and choose to bat as the game was reduced to 35 overs per innings. Scott Ruthven and Rich Young started steadily, with Young especially despatching the bad ball for boundaries. Two quick wickets came with both openers falling to Norman. Steven Broom and Elliott Ruthven quickly built a sensible partnership to take the score to 110, however Broom fell, caught on the boundary, two runs short of his half-century.
Ross Graham entered to try and see the team to a defendable total. He and Ruthven batted sensibly, hitting the bad balls and taking quick singles. Ruthven soon fell, and with Craig Paterson lasting only one ball, Scotland international Kathryn White came to the crease and she and Graham both took boundaries and singles when the opportunity arose. Ali McIlroy joined Graham after White was caught in the covers, and the two proceeded to take St Boswells’ score 187 for 6 wickets.
After an enjoyable tea Dunfermline began their innings in the sun, however bowlers Rory Elms and Elliot Ruthven quickly pegged the batsmen down with aggressive bowling. Elms struck first with the wicket of Asaduzzaman for a duck, and Ruthven joined him in the wickets column soon after.
With rain approaching St Boswells rushed through the overs to ensure a result was achieved, and play was stopped when the rain dutifully fell after the 21st over. However the weather did not last long and the players returned. Young, White and Broom bowled well and took important wickets thanks to some tight lines, some sharp stumpings by Graham, and excellent catching by Paterson and McIlroy.
With Dunfermline nine wickets down, Paterson came on to take the final wicket with his fifth ball and ensure St Boswells took the maximum 20 points for the game and a celebratory journey back home via Edinburgh.
On Sunday St Boswells hosted Eastern Knights Under 18 at the Green and again the match was affected by the weather. Some early showers allowed the match to begin 25 minutes late and reduced to 45 overs per side. St Boswells’ captain Steven Broom again won the toss and again chose to bat on a soft wicket with moisture in the air.
Elliott Ruthven and Ross Graham opened with attrition as Eastern Knights’ openers Adams and Khan hit good areas on a difficult batting pitch. Ruthven fell quickly, and Graham soon after, to bring Broom to the crease, joining Austin Lockington with St Boswells on 41-2 in the 13th over. Eastern Knights’ first and second change bowlers continued to bowl tight and pick up the wickets of Craig McNeill, Scott Marshall and Craig Paterson. Lockington capitalised on bad balls to get to his half century, however he was soon caught on the boundary with St Boswells on 104 for the loss of six wickets. James Gillan and Scott Hunter fell quickly, but Gavin Deans stoically saw the team to 143 before Rory Elms was caught to give Eastern Knights a target of 144 for victory.
As the second half began with the wind blowing fiercely in from the South West, opening bowlers Scott Marshall and Elliott Ruthven were miserly as batsmen Acheson and Carmichael found it difficult to score. Eastern Knights continued to lose steady wickets as the run rate began to increase, and St Boswells started to pile on the pressure after a dropped catch by Scott Hunter was quickly picked up and thrown for a direct hit to run out Eastern Knights’ skipper Aslam.
Acheson, however, thought otherwise and rode his luck on a number of occasions as the momentum started to shift in Eastern Knights favour as they continued to pick up important ones and twos to keep them in the game.
St Boswells were still the favourites when Elliott Ruthven came on for his second spell to try and put pressure on Eastern Knights’ lower order. However the change proved a turning point in the momentum of the game. Some quick bowling from Ruthven took the edge of the bat only for the ball to deflect of the glove of the diving Graham onto the nose of “Bossils” captain Broom. As the bloodied captain left the field to visit the BGH with a broken nose, St Boswells found themselves with only 10 men on the park and Eastern Knights slowly creeping towards their target.
As the game entered the final over Eastern Knights were 139-8, needing five runs for victory. Gavin Deans took the ball for the final over. The first ball went for no runs, however the batsmen were able to scamper a single off the second. A good shot off the third went for two, taking Eastern Knights to 142 with 3 balls to spare. Deans’ nerveless bowling took the wicket of Simpson, and with two balls to spare Eastern Knights were nine wickets down needing two runs for victory – and all possible results possible. Eastern Knights’ number 11 Khan drove the next ball to mid off and called Anderson through for the single, however Elliott Ruthven was calm in the ensuing chaos and expertly threw down the wickets to run Khan out, winning the game for St Boswells by 1 run.
With a 100% record from the weekend, St Boswell will hope that they have done enough to remain in Division 1 in their first year; and as they host Holy Cross at the Green this coming Saturday, the villagers will hope to end their season on a high note.
To add to the efforts of the 1st XI, St Boswells Ladies made the long trip to Dumfries, short of players, but with a keen desire to win this vital league and cup match. A couple of sparkling batting performances by Scotland internationalists White (83*) and Waldie (50*) in just 20 overs, for 2 wickets, made the task of Dumfries extremely difficult. Tight bowling and fielding by a determined St Boswells team, despite the gaps in the field, meant Dumfries were restricted to 100 for 5. This leaves St Boswells in the semi-final of the Scottish Women’s Cup, to play Carlton in what will be a tough match.