Match Report from Berwickshire News (written by Manderston’s Eddy Richards)
Although they are ostensibly the same game, international cricket and club cricket run in completely different ways. For a start, you can't imagine the England selectors phoning up their Australian counterparts to explain that they had an extra player (for a change) and would they like to borrow one if they were short; nor the latter replying that they weren't absolutely sure how many players they had, but depending on the harvest, burst pipes, hangovers and childminding arrangements, it was somewhere between 6 and 15 but that obviously everyone who turned up would get a game even if this meant somewhat flexible fielding and batting set-ups.
The fixture between Manderston and visiting team The Borderers (a hodge podge of cricketing folk drawn from a huge area) has been played for several decades, and players know each other well. It was natural then to start off the day with a tribute to good friend and team mate Duncan Sim, whose tragic death was recently confirmed. We will remember him for a long time.
After some horse-trading each team had eleven, so a perfectly normal game was on. As ever the Manderston ground looked picture perfect, and on a glorious June day the pitch looked true and full of runs. The Borderers, with a side packed full of promising young players, elected to get first use of it and set a total.
This they did in fine style with N. Johnson opening the batting and top scoring with 45, ably supported by L. Baird (44) and L. Milne (32). Whilst they rode their luck at times they hit some great shots to all parts of the ground, the short grass making hitting boundaries a little easier than usual. Pick of the bowlers was Michael Scott with figures of 7 overs, 1 for 14 – he was a constant threat and unlucky not to pick up more.
The most successful was Dan Wright with 3 wickets, with Shaun Walsh picking up two wickets in the last over. One fielding highlight was a direct hit from point by Jamie Lindsay to run out a batsman attempting an unwise single. In the end the total of 177 for 9 from 35 overs certainly looked competitive, though by no means impossible.
Another difference from international cricket is that fielders are stationed for positive qualities – great slip catcher, rocket like arm from the deep and so on. In club cricket, the reasons (at least for the more mature players) tend to be more based on negatives – can't catch, can't throw, can't run and in extreme cases, can't see properly.
This means that if you end up with five slips and two gullies it isn't because your opening bowler is swinging the ball like the proverbial banana, but because you have two hip replacements, one gout, one sore shoulder and three inexplicably tired after the Highland Show. We also have a better tea, to which spectators and anyone passing by are warmly welcomed.
Manderston's reply began solidly but slowly; however just as batsmen got set, they got out to unlucky (and in some cases foolish) shots. Thus Jim Hickey (17), Michael Scott (19) and Shaun Walsh (25) all got starts but couldn't build on it. Runs and boundaries seemed harder to come by, and the asking rate increased exponentially.
Henry Strouts (ironically on loan from the Borderers for the day) did his best to save Manderston's blushes, hitting several powerful fours behind square, but in the end his excellent 38 not out was not enough, and the home side finished on 143 for 5. The visitors were thus victorious by 34 runs, but on a lovely day, with friendly rivalry the order of the day, club cricket (the only real sort of cricket) was the winner.