A GREAT team effort and an ideal blend of youth and experience saw Gala lift the Borders Cricket Sixes title at Buccleuch Park on Saturday.
After being drawn with St Boswells, Kelso and Melrose in Group B, Gala made a strong start. Taking on Melrose first, Andrew McMenemy and Andy Lawrie impressed with the bat, showing some forceful hitting to take Gala to an imposing total of 51 after a muted start.
The Meigle Park men defended the total with relative ease showing accuracy with the ball and dynamism in the field, which would become the key features of their play over the tournament.
In the next tie Gala took on a strong-looking Kelso. Opting to bowl first they put Kelso under severe pressure from the outset and with frugal overs from all the Gala bowlers the Tweedsiders only managed to put 29 on the scoreboard. The highlight was Duncan Millar’s catch behind the stumps to remove Australian Tim Wightman.
Millar and McMenemy, who batted sensibly and always with an eye on the scoreboard, saw Gala home to a comfortable victory.
The final group game against defending champions St Boswells would decide who topped Group B and therefore secure a passage into the final. Gala managed a creditable 42 on a pitch that was becoming tough to bat on. They bowled and fielded with purpose and after losing Rory Elms first ball of the innings to Grahame Ormiston, and Elliot Hunter to a fine running catch from Lawrie off the bowling of McMenemy, St Boswells struggled, coming up 13 runs short.
The unfancied Biggar side topped group A to set up an exciting final alongside Gala who again struck in the first over, removing Biggar skipper David Adams. After Josh Irvine removed Richard Adams to a diving Ormiston catch at square leg, Biggar looked in trouble. However, after some good running between the wickets and a couple of hefty blows they recovered to a competitive 42.
McMenemy and Lawrie again opened the Gala innings and looked to have the target under control, taking 14 from the first over without loss. But with some tight bowling, Biggar coerced some ill-disciplined strokes out of the Gala batsmen.
This forced Ormiston, not renowned for his batting in the shorter format, to strap the pads on for the first time of the day. A tense finale ensued as Gala, four wickets down, required a further 11 runs from less than two overs.
Irvine looked confident at the crease and pushed the ball into the gaps to reduce the equation to two required from two. This brought the field up and allowed Ormiston to crash a lofted drive over mid-on to the fence to seal a well deserved victory.
Gala: S. Halls, A. McMenemy, S. Paterson, D. Millar, J. Irvine, A. Lawrie, G. Ormiston.
Group A: Langholm beat Hawick; Biggar drew with Selkirk; Biggar beat Hawick; Selkirk beat Langholm; Selkirk beat Hawick; Biggar beat Langholm. (Biggar win group due to having lost fewer wickets).
Group B: Gala beat Melrose; St Boswells beat Kelso; Kelso beat Melrose; St Boswells beat Melrose; Gala beat Kelso; Gala beat St Boswells. (Gala win group)
Final: Gala beat Biggar.