Stirling County V Clackmannan County
by G. Anderson
Clackmannan started the 2012 season with a 40 over friendly against local rivals Stirling County. The game was played at New Williamfield in Stirling, which while giving a nice view of the Ochil Hills and Wallace Monument, doesn’t provide much protection from the elements. And with the temperature for the day peaking at 8 degrees Celsius it was a day for several layers and praying that you weren’t the fielder left standing under a skier.
Last season the two sides met in the East of Scotland division 2, with one epic encounter at New Williamfield and a one sided demolishing of Clackmannan at the Arns. Sadly the two sides won’t meet again this year, as Stirling has left the East of Scotland league to join the West.
Clackmannan skipper Noor Jhangir lost the toss on Saturday and was invited to bat first. Alan Oliver and Ash Rasul opened the batting for Clackmannan against the bowling of Akram Shakoor and Paul Bielby. The Clackmannan batsmen were looking to shake of the rust from the winter and both openers found it difficult to pick up many runs at the start of the innings.
After 7 overs the score was only on 12 before Ash hit the first boundary of the season of the bowling of Bielby, with a lusty blow to long on. He repeated the feet 3 balls later. In Bielby’s next over the first wicket would fall, as Alan Oliver was bowled for 3 runs, from 33 balls faced. This brought Graeme Anderson to the crease who smashed the first ball he faced to the cover boundary for 4. Clackmannan were 26 for 1 after 10 overs.
Anderson and Rasul then put on a handy 42 run partnership, despite some mix ups with the running between the wickets. The partnership was broken in the 20th over as Rasul was caught on the second attempt at mid wicket, for 21 runs from 51 balls faced.
This brought new recruit Anthony Huwatt to the crease. After a few nervous prods, he managed to get hold of one and dispatched the bowling of Chris Morton high over the fence for 6. However his success was to be short lived as Morton got his revenge in his next over. Huwatt advanced down the wicket without success and was out stumped for 7 from 14 balls. Blair Campbell then entered the fray but 4 balls later in the over he was out caught, giving Morton a double wicket maiden.
Jamie McCann had joined Anderson at the crease, but Morton’s next over saw Anderson depart with a chip to mid wicket for 39, having faced 49 balls. McCann’s batting seems to have come on a fair bit over the winter as he looked in good touch. The same can’t be said for the rest of the lower order batsmen, as Mehboob (5), Ashraf (0) and Jhangir (4) all departed within a few overs.
Clackmannan had worked there way to 105 from the first 30 overs, as Kash Ali joined McCann. Aided with a few boundaries and two sixes from McCann, the two moved the score on to 141 with some good running between the wickets. However after McCann drilled the ball straight down the ground, striking Ali with the ball and then calling for a run, Kash ended up being run out for 7, from 19 balls.
Last man in Daniel Heggie survived until the last ball of the game, before being out caught & bowled for 0. McCann finished up as the not out batsmen, with 44 runs from 43 balls. Clackmannan were all out for 147, a respectable total for the first innings of the year.
After tea Clackmannan’s opening bowlers Rizwan Ashraf and Blair Campbell were looking to make inroads into the Stirling batting line up. Taylor and Cordner opened for Stirling and moved the score to 9 when Campbell removed Taylor (7) with the last ball of the 4th over. Lees joined Cordner at the crease and the score had moved to 27 after 8 overs, when Cordner (18) offered a dolly of a catch to Rasul at cover off the bowling of Ashraf.
Paul Bielby joined Lees and the two settled in to try and stabilise the innings, as Mehboob replaced Ashraf after he had bowled 6 overs, and McCann replaced Campbell after he had bowled his full 8 overs. It was McCann who picked up the next wicket as he bowled Lees for 20 in his 3rd over, and in his 4th over he had Bielby caught behind for 12 and Chris Morton caught at cover by Huwatt for 0. Alan Oliver then trapped the senior Morton LBW for 3 and bowled the second Lees for 24, to leave Stirling 93 for 7 with 12 overs to go.
Clackmannan looked to have the game wrapped up at this stage and really took the foot of the gas. Some part time bowlers were introduced who proved to be quite expensive. This allowed Stirling’s batsmen Wilkinson and Shakoor to settle at the crease and put on a 54 run partnership to win the match. There were several streaky shots to the fine leg and third man boundary, but Clackmannan had allowed their efforts to become quite flat and were unable to pick things back up as the game slipped from their grasp.
Perhaps the cold can be claimed to be the main contributing factor to the sluggish end of the game, but some positives can be taken from the game. The batsmen managed a reasonable total and the core of the team got some time in the middle and the front line bowlers looked in good touch and each picked up at least 1 wicket. With 3 or 4 good cricketers still to come into the team Clackmannan are shaping up well for the season.
The highlights from the day’s game that will live long in the memory are Tariq’s delivery which landed at square leg, Rizwan being fooled by the spin of the ball on the boundary and Tariq walking after the ball at fine leg, while the batsmen sprinted 3. The Parkside Driving School man of the match this week goes to Jamie McCann, 44 not out and 6 overs for 13 runs, with 3 wickets.