Spinners star as Knights beat Warriors (U18s)
Eastern Knights Under-18s won by 78 runs
The Eastern Knights got their defence of the Under-18 Inter-Regional Championship off to a positive start with a strong win over the much-fancied Western Warriors in a match played at Myreside on Thursday 13th June. The visiting side’s skipper, Michael English, won the toss and elected to field, which looked a good decision as Abdul Sabri clean bowled Mikey Miller in the second over of the day. However, a solid stand of 57 between captain Chris Cash and Carlton opener, Kyle Macpherson, gave the Knights the impetus at the first drinks break.
Although Cash fell for a fairly rapid 37, Macpherson provided an anchor to the innings as Fraser Allardice joined him at the crease and together they added another 72 runs before Macpherson succumbed to spinner Hamza Tahir (2-23) for an agonising, but well-crafted, 49. At 150-3 after 32 overs, the home side looked like they would set an imposing total; however, a fine spell of bowling from Niall Alexander (2-40), coupled with some excellent fielding, led to four wickets falling for just 16 runs, and suddenly the Warriors were on top.
However, the Eastern lower order of Mark Watt, Cameron Sloman and Thomas Hilton stabilised the innings to lift the total to 236-9 from the 50 overs. Mixed feelings at tea – the home side, happy to have runs on the board, should perhaps have built on the solid start; the visitors will have felt that they could have dismissed the Knights for around 200 to put them in control.
In reply, the Warriors lost opener Willoughby to Sloman, but otherwise looked comfortable against the home seam attack. Knights Captain, Chris Cash, soon turned to spin to look for the breakthrough, and Haris Aslam made an immediate impact, picking up the wicket of Neil Flack to leave the Warriors on 43-2. The experienced duo of Michael English and Lyle Hill then took the game to the Knights as they hit the boundary sweepers and kept the scoreboard ticking over.
But with six spinners in his side, Cash was able to manipulate the bowling attack to make life difficult for the batters, and the introduction of Mark Watt led to the dismissal of Lyle Hill. Boosted by this wicket, the Eastern spinners went on the attack and soon had two more scalps before eventually picking up the prize wicket of Michael English, who had made a fluent 52. At 104-6, the result looked a formality. However, just like the first innings, the Warriors’ lower order dug in and attempted to get the chase back on track. The combination of Aslam (3-33), Chayank Gosain (2-24) and Watt (3-34) proved too much and despite Niall Alexander’s excellent 30 from 38 balls, the visitors were bowled out for 158.
In the end, the Eastern Knights were deserved winners by 78 runs. The Warriors will look forward to getting revenge in the return fixture; before that, however, they will travel to Arbroath this Thursday (20th June) to face the Caledonian Highlanders.