There were astonishing scenes on Elie Beach on Saturday as the Ship Inn match against the ‘Rugby Has Beens’ ended in that rarest of cricket results – a tie.
The visiting side was made up of a slew of former Scottish rugby stars who were turning their hand, for the day, to the round ball on Elie’s sands.
Both teams were dismissed for the same score of 115 as the large crowd enjoyed some glorious weather and a tight finish with an astonishing late collapse from the visitors.
Replying to a very sub-par 115 from the home team, the visitors looked absolutely home and dry.
Hugo Southwell, 59 caps for Scotland at centre, fullback and wing – and a Scotland trialist at cricket – had already plundered a quick-fire 50, including four enormous sixes.
After him came captain, and Calcutta Cup hero, Duncan Hodge, who with partner Adam Shaw took the visitors to 111 for 5, only five runs needed to win and still with five wickets in hand.
Staring at a first defeat of the season, home captain Graham Bucknall made an inspired double-bowling change, bringing back youngster Hamish Spilsbury and overseas amateur Paul Bodger. Spilsbury was too quick for Hodge and then claimed Matt Cornwell for a second ball duck.
Bodger followed up with the wicket of Shaw, and then a calamitous run-out saw Niall Burns crash out – four wickets lost with the score on 111.
The last pair edged the score nervously to level the scores on 115.
Wardlaw then lured last man Dey out of his ground, he was well stumped by keeper Iain Murdoch and the match ended in the most spectacular fashion.
Earlier, after winning the toss and choosing to bat first, the Ship Inn batting line up struggled massively against some fast, tight bowling from the visitors.
Of the top seven batsman, six failed to get past 10, with only Jeremy Williams’s 37 a reasonable score.
With the home team in big trouble at 63 for 6 off only 16 overs, Ship Captain Graham Bucknall came to the crease.
Two more wickets quickly fell at the other end leaving the Ship on 71 for 8, and seemingly holed below the waterline.
But Bucknall batted with patience and skill to try to post some sort of total.
With good support from his tail end partners Bodger and D’Ath, and helped by a magnificent six straight back over opposing captain Duncan Hodge’s head, he took the Ship to the last over, when he was finally caught on the boundary for a hard-fought 27.
Hodge (2 for 13) and Southwell (2 for 2) were the pick of the opposition bowlers.
And then came the late collapse from the Rugby Has Beens which allowed the Elie side to haul themselves back into the match.
For his great all-round performance Hugo Southwell rightly got the judge’s nod as man of the match.
Result: Ship Inn (115 all out). Rugby Has Beens (115 all out).