The 3’s made the short trip to St Andrews on Saturday, skipper Paul Elphick calling correctly at the toss and choosing to have a bowl. The returning Ryan Jackson opened up down the hill and bowled with good pace under clear skies on what looked to be a cracking pitch, ably supported by Alec Hepburn, trundling up the slope and looking to assert some early control. St Andrews started steadily, putting the occasional bad ball away and growing in confidence. With the score on 34, Ryan made the first breakthrough inducing a loose pull shot from Angus Hill, which was well judged and snared by Tom McCreadie. St Andrews rebuilt before a slower, well=flighted leg break from Alec snuck under the advancing Stuart Murray to clip off stump. Michael Platt then nicked a quicker delivery from Alec into the bucket hands of the skipper at slip.
Ryan was replaced by Tom McCreadie who produced a beautiful yorker to castle Sam Kirwan and leave St Andrews reeling at 69-4. Gavin Hills looked to take the attack to our bowlers and struck a couple of boundaries before slapping a full ball straight to Curly at mid-off, Curly finally taking a catch off a Hepburn at the eighth attempt. 81-5 became 91-6 when Tom claimed his second wicket, another victim bowled on his way to finishing with excellent figures of 2-15 from 7 overs. A tiring Alec was replaced by Adam Hughes who removed Ryan Blake, courtesy of an outstanding catch by Tom Booth at midwicket, leaping to take the ball high above his head. St Andrews countered with a partnership between Alfie Dale and Freddie Nehls, the former launching a delivery from an off colour Joe Hartley over the medical centre. Adam struck again, bowling Dale before dismissing Saints skipper Nick Ellis, well pouched by Charley Hepburn at point. Adam’s spell ended with impressive figures of 3-21. With one wicket needed for maximum bowling points, Elph brought back the senior Hepburn who grabbed his fourth wicket with a fortunate lbw decision as St Andrews closed on 163 all out.
After tea, Tom McCreadie and Charley opened up, Charley falling early as she pulled a ball against her hip and then onto the stumps. She was quickly followed back to the pavilion by Billy who flashed at a wide ball and was caught behind. Joe and Tom then set about putting a partnership together, Joe bludgeoning his way to 41, supported by a watchful Tom. Our third wicket fell with the score on 45, Tom being bowled by a ball that nipped back from Josh Smith. Joe fell 12 runs later and 57 proved to be an unlucky number for us as Tom Booth was adjudged lbw and then Andy McNiven got a leading edge to loop a simple catch up to cover. Alec joined Curly in the middle and had a lucky start, nicking a ball from Josh Smith between the keeper and first slip to get off the mark. With no danger of a recurrence of last season’s run out between the two batters, they watchfully navigated some useful bowling while being severe on the bad ball. Curly misjudged a quicker ball from Nick Ellis and walked for an lbw decision, his 8 runs a vital part of the 40 run partnership while he was at the crease. Elph joined Alec as the game entered a key phase, the pacy Nehls returning for a second spell down the hill. Between Alec and Elph we edged closer to our total, Elph surviving a scare when the St Andrews close fielders felt he had nicked a ball through to the keeper only for the umpire to remain still and silent. With the score on 142 Alec fell lbw to Josh Smith for a well made 46 that included 9 boundaries. Adam Hughes came in and batted calmly, while Elph proceeded to attack launching a six over long on and following it up with a couple of well struck fours. Adam played over a full ball from Nick Ellis with four needed, meaning that the game was going right down to the wire. Fortunately, Elph kept a very calm head and it was fitting that he should hit the winning runs as we crept over the line to claim a hard fought win.
Overall, an excellent game played on a great deck. A top performance from all 11 players on the pitch, supporting each other and enjoying the individual successes while still offering time and advice for those who it didn’t quite happen for. Entertaining and nerve-wracking at times but a great feeling to come away with 30 points. Some great individual performances but more importantly, one superb team effort.