Ship Inn 2016

A first visit to the Kindgom of Fife, was a lesson that there is more to beach cricket than meets the eye. The Ship Inn match report covers it all:

The third day of the Cricket Festival saw some tired remnants of the victorious team from the day before joined by some (hopefully) fresh-faced Ship Inn cricketers. We welcomed the Borderers to the beach for the first time, and they were certainly one of the better turned-out teams we faced this season. A rare (3 from 9) toss win for the Ship and we were delighted to send the opposition into the field and for us to bat on a dry wicket which was probably going to get worse as the match went on.

To say it wasn’t the start we wanted is an understatement. What Paul Bodger was doing opening the batting having been on the sauce into the wee hours is anyone’s guess, but presumably seeing two balls he went for the wrong one and was cleaned up first ball to Ollie Farr. Farr then bowled a good in-swinger to defeat Callum D’Ath (“it was unplayable” was his view – “you missed one which hit your stumps” was everyone else’s) and the Ship were 1 for 2 off the first over. A mix up between Jamie Frost and Murdoch (both also seen celebrating the night before) saw Iain Murdoch run out for 4, the Ship 5 for 3 and the skipper thinking that three games on the bounce was maybe a tad ambitious. And with Jeremy “One Night” Williams crawling to the crease, things didn’t look good. But against all the odds Williams got stuck in. He lacked the strength to get it off the square most of the time, but he and Frosty just stayed put against some very tight bowling from Farr, Malloch, Blake and Balfour-Melville in particular. Frost was dealing in singles or sixes, but with 3 of the latter and 9 of the former he moved to 27, and the partnership to 49, before he edged one behind off Malloch. 54 for 4 off 11.

Tom Brown joined the party, Williams was starting to look very laboured, wheezing his way through the overs – if he was a racehorse, the jockey would have had the whip out. Skipper asked for crease time at drinks, but the runs came slowly and the Ship moved to 82 off 21 overs before Brown holed out having scored a patient 8 (all in singles). Steve Hunter joined Williams, and it was now time to get going if the Ship were going to set any sort of target. A bit of loose stuff from Fraser took a bit of pressure off, and Williams with his last breath before the knacker’s yard was called heaved one more boundary and saw him get his 4th fifty of the season. Skipper Graham Bucknall came in at 114 off 23 overs, and it was time to move things on. The bowling remained tight, especially from some very good Farr leg spin, but the Captain and Vice Captain saw out the rest of the innings with a spattering of boundaries and singles, and the penultimate ball saw them reach 150. A good effort in the end from the Ship who had left it late, but the Borderers had fielded well and bowled tightly – especially father and son Farr.

150 felt about par, but quick wickets were needed, and thankfully for the Ship there were a few good breakthroughs in the opening overs against some very useful looking batting. Malloch looked very good, swinging at anything but not quite connecting, until Alex Nairn got him Caught and Bowled in his first over, then Iain Murdoch claimed Balfour-Melville in the same way. Ollie Farr looked like he could bat as well as he could bowl, but a returning Steve Walker bowled him with a good one, and when Walker also claimed the threatening Fleming LBW, the Ship had finished a good opening 10 overs and claimed 4 very good wckets. Fraser batted better than he bowled (just) but the Borderers’ 5th wicket went down with the score below 50. The very tidy looking Chamberlin (advised by Fleming when he came to the crease that “It’s not like cricket. It’s more like tennis…”) proceeded to show how it’s done, hitting the ball well and being particularly brutal on Jamie Frost. With Henry Stouts offering good support at the other end, the match was in the balance.

The Ship were looking tired, Murdoch’s spaniels were the liveliest thing in the field, and the Ship’s total was looking threatened. But then Chamberlin lofted a ball from Tommy “he fell into my trap” Brown, and Iain Murdoch, normally behind the stumps but for some reason stuck out on the midwicket boundary, dived, threw out a hand and caught an absolute screamer. Not just a great catch but also their danger man, and in hindsight the champagne moment which won us the match. 74 for 6 off 16 overs, so there was still plenty of time, and the Ship were tiring, but the bowlers kept at it, the batsmen struggled to up the run rate, and the Ship edged towards a win. Frosty bowled Stouts, Thomson was run out after a patient knock, and Bodger removed Blake. 9 down, and victory was surely coming, but Farr was going nowhere, Carroll struck a good six, and the Ship just wanted it finished. D’Ath’s last over had been kept back to the end and with his first ball back he claimed Carroll, edged off bat via forearm, and a relieved Ship had won.

A good match, excellent opposition who were somewhat bedazzled by the unusually dry wicket and outfield, and the home team equalled the Ship Inn record of 7 consecutive wins. Many thanks to Julian Blake and the Borderers for rounding off our festival in such good spirits, and we look forward to welcoming them back in the future when no doubt they will return somewhat craftier. Man of the Match was awarded for the 4th time this season to Williams for an astonishing knock given his pre-match preparation. Iain Murdoch had claimed a rare catching ‘McNab’ – a caught and bowled, a caught in the deep, and a caught behind. And the sun set on a very well-attended cricket festival.

Hopefully more to come in future years...