The Eastern Knights under-14 boys team edged out their Caledonian Highlanders counterparts in a cracking match at Freuchie on Sunday.
The four run victory means that all the regional sides – including the Western Warriors – have won one and lost one in the 40 over competition to date and, with the reverse fixtures still to come, anyone could still come out on top.
Batting first at Freuchie, the Knights got off to a great start thanks to a 117 run partnership between Gavin Murray (Carlton) and skipper Harry Armstrong (Stewart’s Melville).
They scored 60 and 48 respectively before they both fell to Adi Hegde, the Gordonians spinner going on to have a superb day with the ball and taking 6-39 in the end.
However, the Knights had a good platform and Murray Johnson took up the mantle, smashing 72 not out from 49 balls including four 4s and three 6s.
That innings from the Carlton man helped the Knights post 231 all out although Hegde’s bowling kept the Highlanders in things.
With the bat, the Highlanders struggle up top and were reduced to 35-4 in the 12thover.
Things looked to be going the Knights way at that stage, but a 95 run partnership from middle order batsmen Ken Yahathugoda (Aberdeenshire) and William Silcock (Perth Doo’cot) got the Highlanders right back into the match.
They fell for 41 and 48 respectively, but by the final over the Highlanders still had a chance with 12 runs needed and Meigle’s Joshua Edington still in.
In the end he finished on 50 not out and there was a run out from the last ball as they completed the innings on 227 all out.
The Knights bowler holding his nerve at the end was Rudy Adair of Carlton while Arjun Rajgopal (Mazars Grange) was the pick of the bowlers with 3-52 and Carlton’s Jamie Beattie (1-22 from eight overs with 37 dot balls) bowled well.
Knights under-14 head coach Neil Yelland said: “What a game, it really was a nail biter!
“The opening batsmen did really well and Murray played a fine innings coming in at number four, but we still let that the total was perhaps 20 or 30 runs short.
However, the bowlers stuck to their task well all afternoon and Rudy and Farhan [Khan, Watsonians] stayed calm bowling the last few overs to get us over the line and keep us right in the competition.”
Highlanders under-14 head coach Daniel Sutton said: “With the ball and the bat we had slow starts before recovering during both innings.
“Adi bowled very well and that will give him a lot of confidence while with the bat Ken and William really dug in when they had to and Joshua played well, but it wasn’t to be.”
Scotland under-15 head coach Alan Patterson was watching on Sunday and has been impressed by the standard of the regional competition so far.
He said: “All three matches so far in the series have been nip and tuck, which has created the ideal learning environment for those involved.
“It has been great to see how players respond under pressure and close games like Sunday emphasise the importance of putting your body on the line in the field to save runs, scrambling quick singles, limiting bowling extras and using all of your overs.
“All three teams now have one victory and one defeat and the side that wins the championship will be the one that learns the most from these first encounters – it makes for an exciting finale.”
This week’s pathways cricket:
Wednesday, May 22: Men’s Performance Academy v Durham Academy at Uddingston (50 overs, 11am)
Sunday, May 26: Boys Regional Under-14 Competition, Western Warriors v Eastern Knights at Clydesdale (40 overs, 11am)