Final over pain for Linlithgow Cricket Club as they are pipped by rivals Stenhousemuir
It was a painful end to the short season for Linlithgow Cricket Club on Saturday at old rivals Stenhousemuir, writes Grant Raven.
The fact that the game even took place after the previous week’s rainfall was a testament to the Stenhousemuir ground staff and shows the benefit of having your pitch laid on top of sand.
Batting first, Linlithgow got off to a flying start with openers Dougie Voas and Gregor Thomson putting on 48 for the first wicket in only seven overs.
This momentum didn’t last though and after Thomson was dismissed for 14 and Voas for 40 wickets continued to fall at regular intervals with the only telling contributions coming from Kev Stump (24), Grant Blackwell (22) and John Strachan with 19.
Linlithgow’s final total of 162 appeared to be 20 runs short on a reasonably quick Stenhousemuir outfield but after a couple of early wickets leaving the home side 21 for 2 things looked to be going well.
A few partnerships later and momentum had swung back in favour of Stenhousemuir as they reached 118 for 5, thanks mostly to numerous dropped catches by the visitors but wickets then began to fall taking the match right to the wire with 17 required from the final three overs.
Another chunk of bad luck then struck for Linlithgow as a ball hit the wicketkeeper’s helmet which was on the field of play and this resulted in five penalty runs to the home side and took them to within touching distance of victory.
Into the final over and seven runs were required with two wickets remaining and the Stenhousemuir captain (Rodgers) produced a beautiful strike for four to take them over the line by the thinnest of margins in a gripping encounter.
Pick of the bowlers for Linlithgow were Harry Blackwell on his debut with three wickets, Andy Raven and Dougie Voas with two and one for skipper Grant Raven who produced a great spell when the pressure was on.
Special mention to Grant Blackwell who suffered a fractured and dislocated finger while attempting a catch and also to his father who replaced him in the field while visiting on holiday from Gloucestershire.