A MAGNIFICENT all-round performance from John Graham proved the vital difference as Selkirk’s second string opened their Border Reserve League campaign with a thrilling eight-run victory at St Boswells.
Batting first in glorious, sun-soaked conditions, the visitors slumped to 44 for 5 before Graham arrived at the crease and bailed out what seemed to be a sinking ship.
Batting with commendable patience and discipline, he eschewed flashy or ambitious strokes and was content to take what the bowling gave him. Assisted by some aggressive running between the wickets, he and Massie helped take Selkirk past the century mark before the skipper fell to Wilson.
Nevertheless, by that stage Selkirk had salvaged their innings and, assisted by some wayward home bowling, had amassed a respectable total.
It could have been better still had the top order not succumbed to a series of rash shots: Gordon Branston slapped a full-toss straight to extra cover while Cammie MacDonald lifted his head and played all around a straight delivery.
Gardiner, Wilkie and Hughes each looked comfortable, only to falter when on the point of establishing themselves. Mitchell Branston, however, batted with greater application than his score suggests and Chris Fairbairn’s runs at the death would prove more important than they may have seemed at the time.
Thanks to Graham, however, the Souters were able to bat for the full 40 overs and, as it transpired, every run would prove crucial.
The Villagers innings began confidently, though Massie should have caught Goodman before the one-legged Rastafarian had made much progress. The chance was spilled however and the West Indian punished the visitors on his way to 38 before he skied a Graham delivery to Gordon Branston at deepish mid-off.
Although they needed fewer than four runs an over, the home side were soon behind the run rate thanks to some accurate and nagging Selkirk bowling
With two overs left St Boswells needed just eight runs. Graham, however, was to have the last word, persuading Elms to sky a catch to Hughes at mid-off.
Showing admirable concentration and knowing the match was, in a literal sense, in his hands, the youngster juggled the ball at least three times before finally, and happily, clutching on for the vital catch that won the match.
G. Branston, c G Lane b A Ruther 7
C. MacDonald, b G Dean 4
I. Gardiner, b G Dean 2
R. Wilkie, c A Ruther b G Lane 10
L. Hughes, c & b R Elms 7
M. Branston, b G Lane 3
J. Graham, not out 42
A. Massie, c G Dean b C Wilson 16
C. Fairbairn, c T Goodwin b C Wilson 7
I. Buckley, b C Wilson 2
C. Haldane, not out 0
Total for nine 136
T. Goodman, c G Branston b Graham38
G. Lane , hit wicket b Buckley 4
C. Wilson, b Gardiner 2
K. Borthwick, b Wilkie 2
A. Ruther, b Graham 5
R. Elms, c Hughes b Graham 32
L. Troustail, b Graham 0
S. Hunter, b Buckley 2
G. Nichol, b Graham 1
G. Deans, b Hughes 14
H. Bacher, not out 0
Total all out 128