Bates edged out in national cup competition

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BATES Cottages lost out in the fifth round of the National Village Cup when former winners Freuchie scored the winning runs in the final over.

Freuchie won the toss and chose to field, with Malcolm Welch and Ross Sample opening the batting for the home side.

Welch had an early let off when he skied a pull shot to mid-on which was dropped.

Disaster then struck in the fifth over with Welch paddling a shot around the corner and appearing to set off, only to change his mind as the fielder circled, leaving Sample, who was looking for the quick single, almost at the same end.

Cue a mad dash back to his crease and a great dive only to be agonisingly run out just short.

This brought young number three Doyle to the crease, and he started to assist Welch in knocking the ball around for some easy singles.

Despite a couple of strong cover drives, Welch did not look at his best and failed to get hold of a delivery that got up on him and he was caught.

Skipper Baston arrived, and with the change bowlers proving less of a challenge than the openers, he and Doyle started to up the scoring rate.

A succession of boundaries were cheered by a crowd of almost 200.

A series of fierce drives by Baston in particular moved Bates up towards the 100 mark at the halfway stage.

But Freuchie spinner M A Cowan reacted well to the Bates skipper, looking to score quickly by dancing down the track as he pulled his delivery down and found the gap, clean bowling the disappointed Baston.

Enter Mark Allan, once a Bates captain and a long-serving player who has not featured much in the last two seasons.

He rolled back the years with a virtuoso innings full of intent, purposeful running and clever shot placement - coupled with some awesome power, again targeting the cover boundary with a succession of fours.

Inspiring his junior partner Doyle, who by now was beginning to cut the ball at will into the gaps, an excellent partnership ensued that took Bates to almost 150 by the 32nd over

Doyle fell agonisingly short of what would have been a deserved 50, his one bad shot of the day punished as he played across the line and was bowled by D Cowan.

From here Bates continued the momentum, finally Allan was out in the 38th over for 54 from only 44 balls.

Quick wickets fell towards the end, however Gary Dennis lifted the spirits by hitting the last ball of the innings for four to leave Bates 196-8 from their 40 overs.

Desperate to keep the pressure on the visitors, Bates’ opening bowlers failed to find their line or rhythm.

Despite hitting only one boundary of note, Freuchie raced to 46-0 off the first six overs.

So bad was the bowling that Bates resorted to spin in only the seventh over, with veteran Cragg making an immediate impact, clean bowling Wright.

After two consecutive wides, Cragg struck again with the next ball, deceiving Sutherland who looped up a simple return catch for a caught and bowled dismissal.

What followed could only be described as a massacre, with a superb partnership of 121 between both Freuchie opening bowlers D Cowan and S Gourlay.

They took the attack to Bates in a superb display of aggressive stroke making.

With 24 overs gone, Freuchie had moved onto well over 120, so, requiring only four an over to win the game.

With skipper Baston bravely returning to the attack after his previous troubles in bowling 12 wides, his courageous decision paid off as an excellent delivery just back of a length drew Gourlay into nibbling one behind, and Bates had the breakthrough.

A superb second spell from young opening bowler Michael Telford then followed, and he bagged the big prize, Cowan’s amazing innings finally coming to an end, clean bowled for 75 off 123 deliveries.

With three overs left and only seven needed, it was still going to be an almost impossible ask, however, two tidy overs took the game into the final over as Telford struck again in the 39th.

With two to win off the last over, Freuchie were determined to take their chance and a strong hit off the first delivery saw it sail away for four.

Bates had conceded 53 extras in an ill-disciplined bowling performance that had cost them.

Full credit for the sparkling batting performance and the strong recovery towards to the end, but the experience of the former National Village Cup winners showed.

Bates’ man of the match: Mark Allan, 54 from 44 balls.