On the eve of the new season, the weather forecast that was meant to spoil the first weekend afforded St Boswells a reprieve when a pitch inspection carried out in bright sunlight gave the go ahead for the First XI East League Division 1 fixture against Largo. Winning the toss, Joint captains Craig McNeill and Kathryn White opted to bat first. Jamie Glover and Rich Young got stuck in straight away, with the later clattering 20 off one over before edging behind for 45, that brought big hitter Stephen Broom to the wicket and true to form he punished all bad balls all over the ground bringing up his 50 in double quick time. Glover went for 22, skying high when trying to hit over mid on, but by that point St Boswells were 135 for 2 and already well on the way to a big score. Overseas amateur Mark Williams was gradually finding his feet on the slow Scotttish wickets, whilst Broom continued his onslaught including one six that went over the houses heading for Lawries Garage and was never seen again. On 99, disaster struck when he was bowled by Gillin whilst trying for another massive blow. Aussie Williams eventually went for 25, and only Marsh with 20 was the other batsman who made a quick impact as wickets tumbled in the pursuit for fast runs as the overs ran out, the Villagers finishing on 253 for 9 from their 50 overs.
Stephen Broom on his way to a crushing innings of 99
With the forecast looking good, chasing 253 was always going to be a mammoth total for the visitors. 2 quick wickets for the positive Rory Elms started the rot (eventually finished with 3 for 9), Young added a couple, then Craig McNeill rolled back the years with his tempting floated off spinners, Largo’s batsmen’s eyes light up at the prospect and predictably three of them proceeded to hole out deep where the hosts and particular Scott ‘bucket hands’ Marshall snatched 3 great catches. McNeill finishing with 3 for 8 runs. Top scorer was opener Ali who reached 25 before being smartly stumped by Graham. So, St Boswells start the season with a comfortable win, with a tougher away game to come this weekend away to Musselburgh.
Sunday loomed damp and overcast, and what threatened to be a baptism of fire for new “A” Team captain Steven Laidlaw vs Gala 2nd XI in the Border Sunday League didn’t quite pass off as expected. Gala went in to bat and put on 20-odd for the first wicket against the tight seaming of Scott Marshall and young Joseph Flynn. Marsh took the first 2 wickets, both caught by a newly ensconced keeper, Scott Hunter and it was not long before Elliot Ruthven, in his first spell of the season, crashed through the middle order, ending with 4 for 6 runs, and Gala in tatters. The tail-end was mopped up by Aussie, Mark Williams, getting in some valuable early season practice, with figures of 3 for 7 runs.
Gala’s disappointing total of 60 should have been an easy call for St Boswells, but due to the extremely tight bowling of Pringle and Tharanga, life was not easy for the openers, nor numbers 3 and 4 who both fell for ducks. With Deans also falling cheaply, it was down to Williams to steady the ship, alongside a rock-solid, almost immobile Thomas Goodman, and finish up the game for the loss of 4 wickets. A proud moment for Steven Laidlaw, following in the footsteps of his greatly missed father, Kevin – with many more hopefully to come.
Weather was not a challenge for St Boswells Ladies’ Sixes team, competing in the fourth and final National Indoor Tournament, at MES Sports Centre in Edinburgh. Drawn in by far the hardest half of the competition, the young team captained by Rebecca Waldie, worked hard to win two of their three 5-over matches, including overhauling a strong Edinburgh University team. Jo Dixon was in impressive form, hitting sixes almost at will, but the whole team performed well in all areas, only overcome by Stirling County.
Reaching the semi-final against Stirling County 2, tight bowling kept the opposition score to a manageable level, but equally tight bowling from Stirling and some superb fielding meant a six was required off the last ball. Thus challenged, young Becky Farnish obliged to see St Boswells into the final, once more against Stirling County. A massive total of 83 in 5 overs was required due to the fireworks of Scotland keeper Lorna Jack but, incredibly, this was overhauled by the partnership of Dixon and Waldie to see St Boswells made champions, and round off a perfect weekend for the club.