Kelso’s march towards the Division one championship hit a bump against Heriots II at the weekend while Gala and St. Boswells made it a hat-trick of off-days for Borders sides in the East of Scotland Cricket Division One.
Kelso had threatened to run away with the first division title at one stage this season but after a blistering start the league leaders have allowed the title parade to remain on hold with stuttering performances in recent weeks.
The Shedden Park side, however, still remain favourites for the title but must win at least two of their remaining three league fixtures to guarantee success and to secure back-to-back promotions for the first time in club history.
“It was a sore one to take on Saturday but if we win two of our last three games then we are promoted, which was always the aim at the start of the season,” said Kelso Captain Dougie Wilson.
“We basically played Heriots at the worst time as they had a full squad with some real stud players while we were without a few lads due to call-offs. That being said we still managed to make a game of it and only miss out on the victory by three runs in the end.”
Batting first, Heriots fought reasonably well on a slow and damp wicket, reaching a not that momentous 118 - 9 in 45 overs. Heading into bat with dark clouds above and an increasingly slower wicket, Kelso struggled to make much of a chase as their batting order collapsed. Opener, Craig Adams, managed to put up the only real resistance, batting well and surviving until the final over but the league leaders ultimately ran out of batsmen as they were bowled all-out for 115 in an agonising three-run loss.
At the other end of the table, cellar-dwellers St. Boswells welcomed second-placed Dunnikier to a damp Green and the title challengers put on a show with bat and ball, thrashing their hosts by seven wickets.
Winning the toss, the visitors sent St. Boswells in to bat first and using a combination of spin and pace managed to skittle the home side out for a poultry 52 runs from 26 overs.
After lunch, the Kirkcaldy side wasted little time in wrapping-up the victory, taking just 17 overs to pass 52, reaching 55-3.
For fourth placed Gala their inconsistent 2015 season continued at Myreside, losing to Watsonians 2 by 34 runs in a rain interrupted contest. Batting first Watsonians took advantage of a good wicket and early mild-conditions to knock 233 all-out in 50 overs.
In reply, the Maroons could only manage 188 from 40 overs as the rain and poor conditions slowed their chase.
This weekend’s fixtures, Kelso travel to the capital to take on Watsonians II while Gala and St. Boswells square-off in a Borders derby at Netherdale.
Down in division Six Hawick recorded a five wicket victory over Kirk Brae to ensure they keep their hopes of gaining promotion alive.
Christo Beukes and Stuart Hair guided the Teri’s home within 28 overs as they chased down their target of 101. Opening bowlers Ryan Johnston and Neil Storey each claimed a wicket to reduce the visitors to 15 for two.
Kirk Brae looked to rebuild and took the score to 42 before three quick wickets put Hawick in the driving seat as they restricted the visitors to 45 for five. These wickets came through a run out with a direct hit from Phil Mactaggart before Hair and Gary Alexander each took a wicket a piece.
A rapid 39 from Afzal brought the only fightback but the final four wickets came from Beukes who took three in another excellent spell of bowling with Gary Alexander taking the final wicket as the Edinburgh men were all out for 100.
It was another solid display in the field from Euan Hair as he claimed three catches in the innings. In reply Gary and Ronan Alexander made a measured start and took the score to 23 without having any real problems before the latter was given out lbw and the former was bowled to put Hawick into a dangerous position.
With the Buccleuch Park men all out for 90 in the away game to Kirk Brae, the fact they were reduced to 54 for five brought nerves to the Hawick side as if it could happen again with another collapse. However, Beukes and Stuart Hair eased any nerves and coasted Hawick over the line as they both finished unbeaten on 35 and 28 in vital knocks.
The promotion chase took more twists and turns with leaders Old Contemptibles being defeated by Dunbar which make the last three matches even more important as Old Contemptibles, Hawick and Livingston all compete for the closely contested title.