A bravura all-round performance by Darren Fenton proved the key ingredient in Selkirk’s latest victory in Division Five of the East of Scotland League.
The senior Fenton in the Selkirk side has often been overshadowed by his younger brother’s exploits but he may plausibly claim to be the most improved player at Philiphaugh this season. On Saturday his 47 runs and 4 wickets for 15 were vital as Selkirk defeated Livingston 2nd XI by 96 runs.
The victory means Selkirk remain top of the league with just six fixtures left.
In perfect conditions for batting, John Everitt won the toss and opted to have first crack. Greg Fenton fell for just 8, however, and when Everitt was unfortunate to be bowled for 28 - the ball cannoning off pad and elbow onto the stumps - Selkirk were in some danger.
A characteristically dogged innings from Stuart Skeldon and some equally characteristically clean-hitting from Darren Fenton salvaged the innings, however, and saw the Souters on their way to a respectable, if hardly intimidating, total of 155 all out.
Selkirk took the field knowing that quick wickets were needed to establish immediate supremacy. Three balls later Livingston were 0 for 2. John Graham took a fine catch at silly mid-on off the first ball; two balls later Rory Banks took an equally sharp chance, diving forward at silly mid-off. Reward for Fenton but also for some smart captaincy from Everitt who had noticed the tendency of some deliveries to “pop” off a good length.
From this point on Livingston’s innings never really recovered. Andy McKirgan took a magnificent catch behind the stumps and, in general, the Selkirk fielding was sharp and secure.
Darren Fenton had ended last week’s victory over Peebles with wickets off consecutive deliveries. Consequently he was on a hat-trick at Livingston. And - would you believe it? - his first ball duly clattered into the off-stump, sending Fenton leaping around like a gazelle hopped-up on crystal meth. Sometimes it is just your day.
Fenton added three more wickets before younger brother, Greg, returned to the attack to mop up the tail as Livingston were dismissed for 59 runs.
The result confirmed that Selkirk have the most potent bowling attack in the league. The question for the remaining six fixtures is whether their batsmen can score heavily enough to give the bowlers a chance to wreak their havoc.