Pre-Season Round Up
A hat-trick of pre-season weekends concluded this past Saturday, following three fixtures for the First XI and a single run out for the Second XI.
The talk of the club is that these three weekends proved valuable in the build up to this coming weekend's league openers, and some of the performances would certainly point to that.
The first game of pre-season saw the First XI take on Marchmont at New Williamfield in a well-matched encounter between two sides in equivalent leagues in the East and West of the country. The wicket was, as to be expected, a bowler friendly one but that didn't stop the skipper, Matthew Tweedie, leading the way in the innings with a determined 66. At one point the First XI had been reduced to 41-6, but a good partnership from Matthew and the returning Paul Bielby (28*) carried them up to 126-7 from their 40 over innings. In reply, the bowlers of County showed how difficult the wicket was to bat on as all chipped in with wickets to skittle the Edinburgh side for 83 and secure an opening victory by 43 runs.
The second game pitted the 1s against Ayr in a match for the Irvin Iffla Trophy. Originally scheduled to take place at New Cambusdoon, the match was switched to New Williamfield at short notice but the pitch was a lot easier to bat on than it had been the previous week. Following early contributions from Graeme Taylor (34) and Gavin Anderson (33), newcomers Tom Jones and Akash Rawal put together a phenomenal partnership that carried the First XI up to a big total. Akash made his first half century for the Club, while Tom went one better reaching his maiden century in a well-compiled knock. The 1s ended up posting 276-7 and, although the Ayrshire side threatened to get going on a few occassions, regular wickets insured that the total was always going to be enough. Following up on his century, TJ helped himself to 4-32 while a controlled spell from Rukman Hewage, returning to the Club this season, of 3-28 sealed a 104 run victory and the retention of the Iffla Trophy.
The final pre-season match for the First XI was their biggest test, as a full strength Ferguslie side travelled to New Williamfield. Having batted first in both previous games, Matthew Tweedie opted to bowl first in this contest. There were a few cobwebs in the bowling attack and, although there were wickets falling, runs were flowing. Ali Mubarak, in his first run out of the pre-season, will have been happy to finish with figures of 3-57 and, although wicketless, Andrew Paterson got through a fine spell of 0-27 in an innings that eventually produced a score of 274-9. The 1s reply never really got going as they collpased from 60-2 to 75-8. Brief resistance from the lower order in Ross Macgarvie and Ali Mubarak helped steer the First XI up to 138 all out, with Tweeds proving the star of the innings carrying his bat for 73.
The Second XI's one match was a Test-style t20 match with Ferguslie 2nd XI, in which a depleted but spirited side went down by 154 runs in Paisley. Iain Wilkinson, the captain for the day, made contributions of 36 in the first innings and 25 in the second innings but Ferguslie were ultimately too strong for the 2s as well.
Following all that action, focus now switches to the first games of the season. The First XI kick off their campaign away to Drumpellier, who were demoted from the WDCU Premier Division last season. Following the decision to allow promotion and relegation between the Reserve Leagues last season, the Second XI will be at home to Greenock 2s, as Drumpellier 2s were not relegated from the Premier Reserve League. Our Sunday XI also begin life in the Strathmore and Perthshire Cricket Union this weekend as they host Callander.