Grange's Former Scotland Stars too strong for young Shire
By Kenny Reid
A young Dons side go down to an experienced Grange side
Twas 7:45am and the bus, supplied by our newly appointed Travel Partner MW Nicoll of Laurencekirk, had set off on the first of many lengthy journeys to the capital this season.
Two and a half hours of joyful and optimistic chat had passed when we reached the Forth Road bridge, looking across Edinburgh it looked pretty dark. Following some extremely skilful manoeuvring from the bus driver on Raeburn Place the team were off the bus and entered the grounds of the Grange Club. To much dismay in front of the eyes of the players was a wet and squelchy outfield. It was quite clear that the start would be delayed and with the clearance from captain Venske some of the team went for a wander around the local Stockbridge streets looking for some refreshment.
At 11:30am it was announced that the game would be starting in an hour's time at 12:30pm. Both teams started warming up and after a game of football which the youngsters won (not to mention some great finishes from Indy) the Toss was underway. As the coin flipped through the air both teams were full of excitement to see the outcome and it was the first and only win of the day for captain Venske. With the win of the toss under his belt the captain chose to field first.
As previously announced the game started at 12:30pm and opening the bowling on his league debut was overseas amateur Mackaness, there must have been a few nerves floating about as his first ball was flicked off the pads confidently for a one bounce four to the square leg boundary by former Scotland player Goudie. A few more boundaries in that first over followed and Grange were off to a flyer. After the first few overs from Mackaness and Gamblen it looked like it was going to be a long, long, long, long day in the field.
Finally a good delivery from Mackaness was hit towards the new pro, Fernando, and as the ball flew through the air everyone thought the breakthrough had come, until the ball hit the pro's hands hard and subsequently the ground below. The Kiwi Mackaness was then replaced by another new signing in off spinner Davies. Over the next few overs the Gamblen and Davies partnership had pulled the Stags back a little bit and after a build up of pressure from both ends and some pacey bowling from Gamblen, a breakthrough was made by Davies. He spotted Goudie coming down the track early, subsequently cacking his pants and bowling a half tracker which was slapped straight into the hands of pro Fernando at cover who actually caught the ball this time. Goudie finished on a very quick and flamboyant 51, well played sir. Farrar was the next batsman to the crease and a few overs went by and by this point our resident Aussie had overtaken the pro in dropped chances and had already dropped half a dozen catches. This is the part of the game where it all got a bit boring and samey samey, runs were ticking over, wickets were falling, just good cricket really.
The second wicket to fall was Flannigan for 32, who was spectacularly caught in the deep by bucket hands Gamblen off the bowling of pro Fernando, the ball went rather high and I am almost positive that Gamblen himself opened up his SkyBet app and put a bet on himself dropping the ball, but he didn't so bravo. Farrar was the next Stag to fall, he was sent back to the changing room after Venske bowled a ball that just rolled under the bat and crashed into the stumps, Venske looked rather delighted from what I can remember.
It was then time for drinks which were a good mix of cordial and water, good work the Grange bar staff.
After this a few more runs were scored (Editor: this feels like it is dragging on a bit, I feel you went a bit too hard too early). Mommsen and Budge were now at the crease and they were batting very well however new signing Davies didn’t seem to be enjoying this, and made it a bit more interesting by ACCIDENTALY throwing the ball on the bounce into Mommsen’s chin. The way he went down you would of thought Davies was Canelo Alverez and Mommsen was Amir Khan. After a few minutes for Mommsen to get his jawline contour sorted again, play continued. After this disastrous event happened Budge decided to spoon a ball from Mackaness straight to Fernando at midwicket.
This brought former Scotland veteran McCallum to the crease who batted a fine innings until he found his match in the youthful Davies. Davies surprised McCallum with a ball on off stump which went straight like all his deliveries because funnily as a spinner he can’t spin the ball. McCallum managed to snick the ball into the gloves of Reid and he was finally given out after Kenny decided he wanted to leave home and join the circus by showing us his juggling act.
After this Brock and Mommsen batted sensibly to the end of the Innings, with Mommsen being particularly brutal on anything that was slightly loose, Grange ended on 264 which was a good score but also a good recovery from the Dons because the predicted score after 10 would have been around 450.
After an underwhelming tea, Venske and Reid led the Dons out to bat. Reid got off to a flyer and was creaming fours through cover and to the straight boundary. Whereas Venske looked as though he hadn't picked up a bat from last season and when he couldn’t get Brock away he decided to start kicking straight ones. After an enthusiastic appeal was given not out Venske decided to repeat the trick of kicking the ball the very next ball and he was not so lucky following the second appeal and Venske was sent packing his bags. Although Venske kept on telling us it was not out, the book was testament to the fact he was out.
Next in was our resident Aussie Knight who still hasn’t got a new lid and insists on wearing the atrocious white plastic Albion from 1997. He was in and thus quickly out again (Potential TFC). Reid managed to gain a little revenge for the Dons bowlers by planting a Goudie delivery out of the ground over midwicket but it was Goudie who had the last laugh after he bowled Reid with a delivery described by Carnegie as "an absolute seed". This brought two of the Dons new signings together in the form of Fernando and Davidson. Fernando was striking the ball with complete elegance, whereas at the other end ex-Stoneywood-Dyce player Davidson was hardly striking the ball at all and was eventually out after making 28 off 77 balls at a strike rate of 36. Fernando was first to go out of the two new signings in a desperate attempt to hydrate the scorebook from the drought Davidson was creating at the other end.
Wickets were consistently falling until the 9th wicket brought Munro and Gamblen to the crease. Munro decided he wanted to take the game to the Stags and started smashing the ball to the boundary in all areas of the park and he was accompanied by Gamblen who looked like he was on track for a match winning hundred until Munro was stumped by Mr Carnegie.
That was the end of the innings and the end of the match, The Stags had beaten the Dons and in true pretentious fashion they sang that howler of a match winning song about rutting and strutting. Rumour has it that Shorten and Sidebottom are away at a vocal camp tuning their singing voices for the rest of the season.
Overall a good run out for the Dons, the result didn't go our way but plenty to be positive about and things to work on going forward.
Written by Owen Davies