New 2nd XI Skipper Alan Meikle led a 2nd XI team missing a few personnel but still combining a nice mix of youth and experience. After tactically saving himself for the game by avoiding the Wilf Warm Up, the skipper proceeded to win the toss and insert Stenhousemuir on a typical early season wicket- damp.
David Healy took the new cherry with Nick Ralphs and whilst 'The Machine' was very steady in his 8 overs, Healy struggled to control his length. This meant that there was no breakthrough in the opening overs. This didnt last for long however as change bowlers John Hunter and Saqib Ali found their lines after a few overs and both took an early wicket. The dangerous opener Owens departing to Hunter courtesy of a superb catch at fine leg by Kieran Manchip. John continued to bowl very well, ending with a fine 4-for. This entire effort was well supported in the field with all bar one catch being taken. The dropped catch however was not costly as the culprit- Gareth Urquhart proceeded to run out the non striker by some distance immeidately after dropping the striker! This decent all round effort led to Stenhousemuir finishing their innings on 168 all out after 38.5 overs.
In reply, the Skipper decided to tweak with the usual batting order, dropping himself and Gareth down the order in order to give others some time in the middle. gavin meikle quickly departed- failing to apply himself on a tricky wicket. However, Garry Smith and Arjun Lalli dug in- seeing the shine off the ball and the better of the attack out. However, the chase was in danger of getting bogged down when EK were 33-2 at the 20 over mark. However this changed when the pairing of Ralphs and Kellett came together. They rotated the strike effectively and put anything loose away- using their experience to get their eyes in without getting stuck. History was made when Matt hit his first ever 6 for the club, depositing a full ball over long on as the run chase threatened to come down to the wire. Matt made a superb 51 before being cleaned up. At this point, the innings was finely perched with 8 runs needed off 7 balls. Kieran departed trying to club the ball and suddenly the equation was 4 off 2. However, Meikle came to the crease and hit the winning runs off the last ball with Nick R unbeaten on a simply terrific 66no which underpinned the entire chase.
This was a great win for the 2s to start the season with good bowling performances underpinned by sharp fielding and finished off with a superb run chase. If there is to be a targetted area for improvement, perhaps it could be in reducing the number of extras.
A final note to Stenhousemuir, who were great hosts and a top bunch of people. The game was played in the totally correct spirit and after the game, both teams shared a beer or two. How it should be. Looking forward to playing them quite a few more times this year.