Brave Hillhead can’t catch Stirling – but show First win could be in sight
Stirling 222 for 5 ( after 50 overs ), Hillhead 174 all out ( after 48.5 overs )
A 48-run defeat seems at first sight seems pretty comprehensive – but there were sufficient signs of improvements in areas of the Hillhead performance to give encouragement their first win in the demandingly competitive Western Union First Division might not be too far away.
On a batting friendly new Williamfield wicket, the Hillhead spinners in particular did well to restrict their opposition, after the Stirling openers had raced to a commanding 52 in the first 10 overs of their innings.
Between Patel, Adrees, Ahmed and Nair, some 36 overs of slow bowling yielded only 132 runs with Ally Fergus adding a sound back up behind the stumps. The team will, however, pause to reflect on indifferent ground fielding with frequent fumbles that gave away easy runs but Holland and Khan were both alert enough to take good catches in the outfield.
While 223 runs did not seem an impossible target on a ground with a huge outfield, a team that has previously struggled to reach three figures was always likely to come up short and so it proved as Hillhead reached 174 all out after 48.5 overs.
Yet there were sound contributions from Bartlett ( 24 ), Azhar ( 23 ), Patel ( 41 ) and Mehmood ( 23 ) with young Jack Holland adding a very mature 24. The partnership of 60 in 11 overs between Patel and Holland provided the backbone of the innings.
Three needless runouts, however, undermined the run chase but some over-cautious batting and a reluctance to rotate the strike by taking quick singles were the core reasons for falling short.
The second junior in the team, Keshev Soni, fielded enthusiastically and helped Mehmood add a priceless 19 runs for the last wicket in the last wicket partnership thereby taking his side over the 75 per cent threshold for a third batting bonus point.