Dean Park 157 for 5
Gourock Park 66 for 1
INVERCLYDE Cricket Club is taking many positives from a midweek league game in which its development team Gourock Park fielded a number of junior players.
Five older juniors too part, and this would have been six had an errant skateboard not ruled out Thomas McInnes.
Displaying great habits they have learned at training, it was the juniors who started the on-field warm-up, with which the senior players then joined in.
Renfrew side Dean Park batted first, with the outfield lush and slow and the wicket showing variable bounce and movement.
Frederick Smith opened the bowling with a fabulous maiden of sharply turning leg spin. He continued this throughout his spell, troubling the batsmen with just about every ball, and can consider himself unlucky not to get a wicket, while conceding only 14 runs off his four overs was a fine effort.
Elizabeth McInnes also bowled with good control for four overs, beating the bat several times when the ball was pitched up outside off-stump. If a couple of catches had stuck she would have deservedly had some wickets in her bowling figures.
Brothers Brodie and Bobby Stone came on for an over each near the end of the Dean Park innings. Against batters who were set, they both acquitted themselves very well.
As ever, all the juniors in the field were sharp and focused. Bobby was backing up nicely and both Frederick and Brodie made good efforts to catch very high shots in the deep. Rory Smith was alert in the field and always looking to help out.
The awareness of all five to use the relay throw method was great, along with excellent teamwork and fine communication at all times.
With Dean Park’s more experienced batters attacking the bowling to boost their total, the score rose rapidly but Inverclyde’s team can be proud of their performance in the field. Gareth James took two wickets, Ross Blair and Brodie Stone took one wicket each, and captain David Thomson was sharp in the field for a run-out.
The light was already fading when Inverclyde’s innings started. Despite not getting near to the target score, the innings was a perfect example of what these development games should be about — a game played in a wonderful spirit, whereby the juniors are allowed time and space to develop and experience new match situations, whist having lots of fun.
After the loss of Thomson for 12 in the sixth over, young Rory strode to the crease looking every inch a first class player. He proceeded to stay there for the rest of the innings.
With a combination of stout defence, a full range of attacking shots and a run-scoring cover drive, he had a whale of a time. A broad smile accompanied the raising of his bat and there was a wee fist pump and arms aloft celebration when he scored his first run, a sweetly-timed drive over the head of the fielder at cover.
In the end he made a superb seven not out. Gareth Smith, father of Frederick and Rory, rounded off a good day for the family, unbeaten on 41 runs.
The Dean Park players were magnificent in the field; quickly sensing that here was an opportunity for some fun and to create a long-lasting memory for a nine-year-old.
As the teams came off the in the near darkness, everyone pestered by midgies, it was clear that this was an evening worth far more than the scoreboard suggested — the future is looking bright for Inverclyde Cricket Club.