This year’s beach cricket season finished with two hard-fought and close victories for the Ship Inn against strong opposition.
Firstly against the mighty Grange, perennial Scottish club champions, where the home team prevailed.
And then the season finished with a match against Scotland women’s team, the Wildcats, and again the Ship Inn team scraped home.
Captained by former Scotland player John Blain, Grange opted to bowl first, and with a strong attack kept pinning the Ship back.
At 49 for 4, and then at 82 for 5, the Ship looked in danger of not even batting out their overs.
A good 59 from Jeremy Williams established a platform, and then good contributions from David Davies (25), home skipper Graham Bucknall (27) and a free-flowing 50 from Andrew Robertson saw the home team reach a powerful 215 from their 30 overs.
In reply Grange’s Lachie Hillis and a very talented 12-year old Rhett Hussey built a strong middle order partnership, but once they were out the Grange late order failed to deliver.
John Blain was left somewhat stranded at one end as wickets feel regularly. Hamish Spilsbury (2 for 7) and Jeremy Williams (3 for 10) made good inroads, but veteran Gav Morris (3 for 7) was the pick of the Ship bowling as the clatter of wickets saw Grange fall ultimately well short of the total.
The following day, the season closed with a game against the Scottish Wildcats.
The Ship batted first and there were good contributions from all of the top order.
At 66 for 2 and at 100 for 3 the Ship looked like posting a string total, and Jeremy Williams carried on his good form from the day before with another well-paced 50.
But the Wildcats bowled tightly throughout, and the Ship tail failed to perform, leaving the Ship at 173 some way short of where they should have been.
In return, sisters Kathryn and Sarah Bryce both batted with skill and good shot selection, but both fell too early when looking well-set. The pick of the partnerships was between Sam Haggo and young Charis Schott, whose 41 kept the women well up with the scoring rate.
Again they both fell when appearing set, and indeed it was only the regular fall of wickets which restricted the total. Needing 42 off the last 5 overs, and then reducing this to 20 off the last 2, and a fine away victory seemed on the cards.
But the last wildcat, Charlotte Dalton, aiming to set up the victory, was caught in the deep and the Ship had just prevailed.
The Ship have now ended the season with 14 wins and a solitary defeat, their most successful season in their 29-year history.