A lotus land for batsmen

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IF PHILIPHAUGH, blessed by gorgeous sunshine on Saturday, was not quite the Trent Bridge of yore, a place described by the Guardian’s Neville Cardus as “a lotus-land for batsmen where it is always afternoon and 360 for 2”, conditions were at last – that is, for the first time this summer – grand for batting.

About bleedin’ time too, batsmen might say.

This being so, it was clear that whoever won the toss would choose to bat first. It was the visitors who won that battle but, as it turned out, this was the only serious reverse suffered by John Everitt’s side as they maintained their unbeaten record in Division Six of the East of Scotland league.

The 10-wicket victory against Dunbar was just as commanding as the scorecard suggests.

Credit for this happy state of affairs chiefly lies with Selkirk’s bowlers. Greg Fenton and Jordan Reid put Dunbar’s openers under pressure from the start, bowling good lines and offering no cheap runs to the visitors.

The steady accumulation of pressure earned its reward in the 10th over when Dickinson clipped a leg stump full toss straight to Kyle Gillie who took a smart catch at square leg. This, ironically, was perhaps Reid’s worst delivery in a miserly spell in which he conceded just one run off the bat.

Miller then skied Reid to extra cover where Everitt took the catch before Michael Fenton trapped Duff LBW and then produced a splendid inswinger to bowl Wanless. By this stage, with Selkirk conceding just one run per over, it was clear that Dunbar’s innings was both becalmed and besieged.

This was a team effort as Selkirk’s bowlers drew inspiration from their colleagues’ successes. There was a notable – and pleasing – sharpness in the field, too, as Selkirk kept the pressure on.

After 20 overs, Dunbar had crawled to 20/6 and faced an invidious dilemma: cling on and hope for the best at the price of scoring even more slowly or risk their remaining wickets in a bold counter-attack?

Though Carr enjoyed some success by flashing hard and edging Michael Fenton through third man, in general Dunbar’s batsmen adopted a cautious approach.

They battled hard and earned the respect due to batsmen who, though under the cosh, do not throw their wickets away. Selkirk had to chisel them out. Carr was caught and bowled by Greg Fenton for 15 and, though Amabilino offered some rearguard resistance, the visitors were only able to muster 59 runs.

Everitt and Greg Fenton had put on 127 for the opening wicket in Selkirk’s previous league game and they carried that form into Saturday’s encounter. Though Dickinson managed to extract a modicum of movement with the new ball, Dunbar were unable to prevent the home side’s openers from getting off to a fast start.

Defending such a small total, the visitors had little choice but to set an attacking field and this necessarily left swathes of open prairie through which Everitt and Fenton could hammer the Dunbar bowling. They rattled along at nearly a run a ball and secured victory in just the 11th over.

z This victory was dedicated to club stalwart Kenny Paterson and to the memory of his father who died last week.