Jun 28 2012 Blairgowrie Adv
Coupar Angus 90 all out (4 points)
Rossie Priory91 for three (25 points)
EARLY morning rain at Rossie Priory on Saturday put this eagerly awaited contest in doubt and when the Coupar Angus team arrived, the strip had been cut, but not marked.
It is not the firmest track in the league so it was never going to be conducive towards easy batting.
Rossie skipper Raymond Lynch had the easy decision to make on winning the toss and so Bobby Edington selected his batting line-up to see what they could do on Coupar’s bogey ground, where few can ever recall a success at the beautiful ground which is currently up for sale.
Openers Mike Nelson and Alan Neave knew that they had to hang around, survive, and concentrate on deliveries that couldn’t be predicted in terms of bounce.
Mike was caught behind the stumps in the 11th over with Coupar struggling on 21 runs, and as feared Peter Milne captured Gordon Croll’s wicket when he scooped up to Ray Lynch at silly mid off.
Thereafter followed a procession of visiting batsmen, none of whom could muster a proper forward defence to avoid playing into the air. But it is never easy when the ball isn’t coming on to the bat which invariably results in batsmen playing their shots too soon and lofting the ball in the air.
All the while, Alan Neave was showing his seniors what to do and the only other batsman who demonstrated any gumption with the bat was Roland Thorn and his approach was to meet the challenge with out and out aggression which is sometimes the only answer.
Prior to Roland’s arrival at the crease, Coupar were living up to their reputation at Rossie with six wickets down on 33.
Rossie made good use of their bowling attack, as they have always done over the years, whereby if bowlers aren’t taking wickets they would make the appropriate changes.
Their fielding is also well thought out and enthusiastic, while Alan Rodney held five catches.
The recruitment of Roland Thorn and Mike Ancell has strengthened the Coupar bowling attack, but it was a big ask to defend a low total under 100.
The bowlers contained the Rossie openers who also struggled on the strip. Both bowled flat out and with the wicket drying out, several deliveries from Thorn and Ancell were passing the batsmen and being taken by wicketkeeper Bobby Edington at chest height, although the majority of deliveries were passing through at ankle level.
Coupar had the home side sweating on 28 for three, but thereafter a couple of easy catches were spilled and the experienced Derek McAlpine and Bruce Stephens steered their side home, albeit needing 35 overs to pass the Coupar total.
Coupar enjoy playing at the Priory, but three factors may influence whether they will lock horns again next season.
Rossie look like winning promotion, Coupar are staring relegation in the face, while uncertainly remains due to the pending sale of the Priory and grounds, including the cricket field, which has been played on for around 180 years.
Rossie Priory 91 for three (Roland Thorn 40, Mike Nelson 16, Alan Neave 13; C. Robertson four for 23, R. Lynch two for 11, P. Milne two for 15, S. Rooney one for 4, B. Stephens one for 16), Rossie Priory 91 for three (B. Stephens 33 not out, D. McAlpine 29 not out; Michael Ancell two for 24, Roland Thorn one for 9).
Both Coupar’s league victories this season have been achieved at Larghan, but Coupar must start to cope on grass wickets. Dooc’t Park is another Twenty20 encounter on Wednesday evening this week and Mike Ancell will hope his Occasionals can again inflict defeat on the Dooc’t select.
On Saturday Coupar must dust themselves down from the disappointment of Rossie and see if they can make amends for the hammering inflicted by Kinloch at St Andrews last month.
It is hoped that the batsmen can back up the bowlers in the games to come, but the unavailability of key players may be a factor in Coupar’s survival hopes.