Stand-in skipper is star

ACTING captain Guy Crichton took five wickets and three catches and was 28 not out at the crease as Bute eased to a second successive league win in the only WDCU Championship fixture to beat the weather on Saturday.

Without their captain and opening bowler, Bute were forced to draft in some old faces alongside one new player, and in the early stages it was Anniesland - who won the toss and chose to bat first - who fared better, getting off to a steady start and reaching 46 for one off their first 18 overs.

The wickets column, though, should have looked much more healthy from a Bute point of view; several chances were spurned early on, with Chris South particularly unlucky with the ball.

That opening phase, however, was to prove the best part of Anniesland’s innings; none of their following batsmen were able to make an impact on the game, and though Bute’s fielding was on an odd occasion below par - though there were two stunning catches from a couple of old stagers! - some good bowling saw the visitors’ wickets fall at regular intervals.

The Anniesland innings followed a similar template to that of Kirkstyle seven days previously, and some excellent bowling saw acting skipper Crichton take the last five wickets to leave Anniesland all out for 104 off 38 overs.

Pick of the bowlers for Bute were Guy Crichton with five wickets for the loss of only eight runs, Gary Dickinson with two for 32 and Taff Barnsley with one for 13.

After tea Bute knew they had to be careful in their reply on a pitch still holding on to a few of the demons from that Kirkstyle game, but the hosts’ hopes of a steady start were once again dashed by the loss of three wickets in the first three overs, to the great delight of the Anniesland attack.

Guy Crichton and Jonathan Mann calmed things down with a steady spell at the crease, reducing the deficit by 23 before Mann was out to Shields for nine runs.

Two small partnerships followed, but Bute kept losing wickets, and at 65 for six the result of the game remained well and truly in the balance.

Crichton remained at the wicket, with the template of that Kirkstyle win still being followed, until Dickinson came out to the crease; the pair took Bute’s total to 96 off the next six overs until Gary tried to guide a delivery to third man and was bowled.

With the winning total only nine runs away, but three lower order batsmen to come for Bute, the game could still swing either way - and after the loss of an eighth wicket with the score on 100 and a ninth on 104, Danny Moir strolled out to the crease to make his Bute debut - and also to play in his first outdoor cricket match!

Happily for Bute, a rapidly-run single finally secured the win, with the clinching run greeted by whoops of joy from the rest of the team, who had been holiding their breath on the edge of the boundary for some time.

* This Saturday, June 18, Bute hit the road for their first WDCU away fixture since early May.

The team will travel to Motherwell, and players should meet in time for the 9.30am ferry.