Preseason win for West
By David Hinchliffe
Strong early signs from the performance squad
McCrea West of Scotland batted first in this 40 over preseason encounter with RHC. The RHC bowlers struggled to find accuracy, conceding several wides. However, batting was difficult on a slow wicket and West quickly found themselves 36-4 from 10 overs.
Farndale and Oliver (the latter on debut) calmed proceedings with stand of 76 in 21 overs that impressed observers. They both played spin well, using their feet on a sticky pitch. Both were unlucky to reach 50, but set the platform well. After a couple more quick wickets, the last push saw Etheridge, McNulty and Corner hit a few blows. West scored 23 from the last 4 overs to make a respectable 152.
The reply from RHC was always a little behind the rate. Smith and Gardiner found good lengths early and took wickets while McNulty performed his usual brilliant trick of being impossible to get away. His six overs cost just six runs. It was 19-3 from eight overs. RHC made a push to catch up just after halfway, getting to 80-5 from 25. However, even at this point, 4.9 an over seemed a hefty ask on a slow track with a long boundary.
Spinners Fennah (3-17) and Farndale (1-30) found grip and turn to keep RHC behind, and wickets continued to fall. The highlight was a boundary catch under pressure from Etheridge to break the budding partnership (38) of Khan and Whitefoord.
With the rate climbing to over six in the last few overs, RHC looked to take more chances. The final wicket fell with West more than 30 runs ahead.
In slow conditions, it was a work out for both teams to get back to outdoor cricket. Great thanks to RHC for providing such great opposition and staying after the game despite a long journey home. West wish the visitors the best for the summer.