Millar keeps a cool head as Gala record huge victory

Cricket. Gala v Edinburgh. Gala wicket keeper catch.
Cricket. Gala v Edinburgh. Gala wicket keeper catch.

A partnership of 135 between Josh Irvine and Duncan Millar saw Gala bag a vital win over Edinburgh in the race for the East Division Two title.

The pair came in with the score at 41 for 2, but played initially with patience, and then broke loose to see the hosts home with eight wickets and 12.3 overs to spare.

Gala had already faced Edinburgh twice this season, the capital side inflicting the Meigle Park men’s only defeat of the league so far on the opening day, but they then beat the visitors in the President’s Trophy final.

Edinburgh had only lost once this season as well and have scored more than 300 runs three times this season, but Gala skipper Stevie Halls chose to put them in to bat when winning the toss, backing his side’s bowling attack.

Edinburgh made a solid start before Kris Mein snared the dangerous Zabasir Ul-Haq with the score on 32 thanks to a fine catch by wicketkeeper Millar. Fellow opener Kashif Hussain followed soon after, again to Mein, and when Scott Paterson was introduced and claimed the wickets of Atif Hussain and the talented Qasim Farooq, Edinburgh were reeling at 54 for 4.

Robbie Pringle then made an impact, taking two victims as Edinburgh slumped further to 75 for 6.

However, the league’s top run scorer, Farooq, was still at the crease, and he batted well with the tail to keep his side in the contest. Punishing the bad ball, Farooq also enjoyed a fair amount of luck, with four dropped catches frustrating the home side.

Edinburgh were eventually all out for 174 as the final four wickets added 99 runs, but Farooq was left stranded at the end on 96 not out.

Top bowlers for Gala were Paterson with 3 for 23 and Mein with 2 for 39, while Graeme Ormiston bowled eight overs despite suffering a painful wrist injury in the warm-up.

In reply, Gala started in positive fashion as Halls and Graeme Ormiston took the game to Edinburgh.

However, Halls was bowled by Usman Haider and Farooq made a great catch in the slips to see Ormiston depart.

There was a moment of controversy early in the Irvine-Millar partnership with the score on 68 when Edinburgh were convinced Millar had nicked an Ul-Haq delivery to wicketkeeper Kashif Hussain. However, the student PE teacher was equally adamant he had not touched the ball and remained at the crease.

Amid the hostility, Millar kept his head superbly and finished up on 55 not out, while Irvine hit 11 boundaries in his unbeaten innings of 61.