Brilliant Team Win

Dominant position turns into a nail-biter

In the lead-up to Saturday’s fixture against Linlithgow the weather was glorious, which made the forecast even more staggering – heavy rain, and a yellow warning indicating thunderstorms.

Luckily, Saturday morning at New Field brought sunshine, and the wicket and outfield were in perfect condition. Upon winning the toss, Accies captain A. Cosh elected to bowl.

Opening the bowling for Accies, L. Mann and O. Saigal had a great start with the ball. Early pressure allowed L. Mann to get the breakthrough in his third over, C. Ronalson caught at point by A. Kumar. Linlithgow were 6 runs for 1 wicket after 5 overs.

After the initial wicket loss, Linlithgow dug in and accumulated a decent 50 run partnership, before A. Ali dislodged K. Smith’s off stump. Linlithgow were 56 runs for 2 wickets after 18 overs. A. Ali bowled extremely well – 6 overs 14 runs for 1 wicket.

A. Amir’s rapid bowling put Linlithgow on the back foot, with several deliveries just flying past the stumps. The stage was set for A. Francis and M. Gani, who together put Accies into a dominant position. A. Francis took the wicket of Linlithgow’s captain, G. Raven, quickly followed by bowling R. Thomson, and A. Newman, who was caught & bowled.

Tight bowling and fielding by Accies achieved a steady fall of wickets. Linlithgow’s attacking batsman K. Stump was bowled by M. Gani, who also took the key wicket of C. Miller, caught & bowled for 59. Linlithgow went from 90 runs for 4 wickets, to 115 runs for 8 wickets.

Spectacular bowling figures from A. Francis and M. Gani – 10 overs 19 runs for 3 wickets, and 10 overs 22 runs for 3 wickets respectively. O. Saigal finished the innings by clean bowling both J. Hamilton and G. Kellet. Linlithgow finished on 133 all out.

At tea, Accies depth in batting made 133 look very achievable, but with a few batsmen still to hit top form, the conclusion turned out to be a nail-biter.

Accies opening batsman A. Ali and M. Gani had a quick start – A. Ali smashing a six and four, but a full toss went aerial and A. Ali was caught in the second over, immediately followed by A. Kumar, who was trapped in front lbw from a delivery that didn’t bounce.

Captain A. Cosh came in at 4, in the second over, and on a hat-trick ball. M. Gani and A. Cosh built a partnership, Cosh hitting three consecutive boundaries, taking Accies to 47 for 2 after 12 overs when the rain fell and play was temporarily stopped.

The rain shower was brief, and the covers didn’t reach the square by the time it had turned into a drizzle. Ten minutes later play started again. Dark clouds circled overhead and appeared on the horizon over the castle. The threat of imminent rain, and chasing such a low total may have attributed to two quick wickets, M. Gani and A. Francis were both caught at mid-off. And then down came the heavy rain and thunder.

Only 16 overs of Accies batting innings had taken place, and with 20 overs required to initialise the Duckworth-Lewis method, it was unclear whether the match would continue. The heavy rain poured down for around 20 minutes or so, until it gradually cleared up.

The match restarted once again, A. Cosh and O. Saigal steadily ticked the score along until Cosh fine-edged the ball to the keeper for 23. A. Amir came to the crease, and played some nice shots, but a tempting full toss was caught by C. Ronalson. Accies had collapsed to 66 runs for 6 wickets, and the match was in the balance.

Up stepped S. Abdullah to join O. Saigal in a pressure situation, and together developed a solid partnership. O. Saigal played an outstanding innings of elegant stroke play and well timed shots down the ground, while Sammy provided the valuable anchor. Impressively, Sammy even defended a slow full toss to ensure no risks were taken.

Linlithgow were trying everything in the book, including bowling from well behind the bowling crease to change the flow of play. Sammy and O. Saigal put on a crucial partnership of 59 runs, Accies advanced to 125 runs for 6 wickets and were comfortably closing in on the 133-run target.

The sun and blue skies returned which accelerated the outfield, however it wasn’t going to be so easy. Looking to finish in glory, O. Saigal skied the ball and was caught for 48 – a superb knock that almost certainly took Accies into a winning position.

Accies batting line up should have strolled over the finishing line, but a good delivery from K. Stump bowled A. Douglas, and a sharp catch to remove T. MacLachlan, left Accies on 130 runs for 9 wickets. A real pressure situation for L. Mann and Sammy Abdullah. Both held their nerve, and Sammy smashed home the winning runs.

A brilliant team performance. Excellent bowling and fielding by Accies to set up the win. A great batting partnership between Sammy and O. Saigal, and plenty of contenders for the man of the match.

For an incredibly patient and well-judged batting innings, and ensuring Accies got the victory, the Moet Moment goes to Sammy.

Moet Moment Man of the Match: Sammy



Andrew Cosh