Ramadhin and Valentine did it to England in 1950, Laker and Lock bemused the Australians in 1956 and at Gourock Park on Saturday it was the turn of spinners Singh and Watson to bamboozle Bute on a slow, sticky turning wicket.
Bute County Cricket Club had little option but to lick its wounds after falling to a 62-run defeat in the derby against Inverclyde after it looked as if they had every chance, having restricted the home team to 114 runs for the loss of seven wickets in their full 40 overs.
Making their first appearances of the season for Bute as part for their summer holiday were the former head of PE at Rothesay Academy, Chris South and his 14-year-old daughter Frances, who now plays for the Dorset County Under 15 Girls team, the family having moved to Sherborne last year.
In an innings interrupted twice by heavy showers, Inverclyde made a good start against the bowling of 12-year-old Adam Guy and Steve Mason who conceded 24 in the first four overs before spinner Alan Peacock was brought into the attack and had David Cooke caught by Chris South off his third ball for 7.
His opening partner, Cameron Gunn (8) went 10 runs later attempting a suicidal second run against the Peacock arm – simple enough for wicket keeper Greg Mercer-Brown to take the return and whip off the bails.
Gareth James and Douglas Pilkington dug in for the long haul in wet conditions, keeping the score moving in ones and twos until heavy rain forced them off the field at 20 overs. By the time Pilkington was bowled for 11 by a yorker from Richard Harding, the score had moved on to 73.
Playing on at times in light to moderate rain, the slow wicket, wet ball and slippery underfoot conditions didn’t suit Bute’s pace attack with Rukman Hewage finishing with 0 for 15 off eight overs, Harding 1 for 21 off his eight, Deans 0 for 18 in his four while South (1 for 23) bowled Craig Watson (9) in his eighth and final over.
It was left to Peacock to dismiss James, caught by Chris South for 24, and trap David Thomson lbw for no score, while Steve Gregory was run out for 0. Inverclyde were 114 for 7 after 40 overs with Scott Campbell unbeaten on 18 and Paul Singh not out 1. Peacock finished with fine figures of 3 for 8 off eight overs – if only fellow spinner Martin Crump hadn’t gone back to Australia!
Inverclyde opened with spinners Paul Singh and Craig Watson and the wheels began to fall off the Bute wagon as early as the fifth ball of the first over when Richard Harding took on Singh and lost, holing out to deepish mid off without scoring.
Promoted up the order, Rukman Hewage as ever tried to force the pace and hit Singh for a towering six over long on – the first boundary of the match – but after reaching 16 out of 22 he too was deceived by one from Watson that didn’t come on to the bat, offering a simple catch to cover.
Opener Greg Mercer-Brown (4) was next to go caught, behind off a top edge to a Singh delivery, Chris South was bowled by a real turner from Watson for 3 and Sam Miller became the bowler’s third victim three balls later when he too was bowled. Bute were looking the down the barrel at 27 for 5.
Alan Peacock didn’t last long being bowled by Singh for 1 but if there was one glimmer of sunshine it was Adam Guy’s dad, Craig coming in at number four, who hadn’t picked up a bat until this season, yet negotiated his way to a career best 11 including a four before being stumped off the bowling of Singh.
Frances South outscored her partner Jack Deans, her 4 including a well struck two before she was caught off the bowling of Scott Campbell. Steve Mason (0) hit a couple of firm shots without reward and was then bowled by Campbell.
Deans and Adam Guy hung around for another three overs until Deans was bowled by Stewart Blair for 3 leaving Guy 0 not out and Bute’s score on 52. Inverclyde’s spin double act, Singh and Watson finished with 4 for 20 and 3 for 20 respectively.
The Bute Pet Supplies Man ‘o’ Match was Craig Guy, match sponsor was The Card Shop and the match ball was sponsored by Ken Colville on behalf of his son Ewan Colville, former captain of fellow third division side, GHK. There is no match on Saturday because of the Bute Highland Games.