JMS Nunholm 2008 Review

10 09 2008

Comfortable in the end for JMS Nunholm: JMS Nunholm’s 2008 season must rank ultimately as a very successful one. The players can be pleased with their eventual creditable fifth position in Division 2 of the Western Union – a division from which they had been relegated on their previous three attempts to stay there! The Dumfries second eleven were undefeated by any team from below them in the league and had two of their matches against the bottom two clubs cancelled.

Eight players – Trefor Williams, James Cox, Hugh Farries, Russell Johnston, Tony Weeks, Graeme Cross, Peter Johnstone and Robert McBride – were involved in 10 or more of the 14 matches played. Youngsters – Andrew Kyle, Chris Howard, Marcus Richardson, Adam Elliot and Cameron Telfer – got their chance to a greater or lesser degree. Thomas McBride shone briefly on his way into the first eleven who eventually allowed Chris McCutcheon to get a run and display his all-round skills for the club. The experienced campaigners – Trevor Newport, Colin Mackenzie and Jack Barnes – helped out when they were needed or able to play.

The bulk of the runs were scored by Russell Johnston and Hugh Farries who scored a couple of magnificent centuries each. Tony Weeks was prolific in the first half of the season and Graeme Cross took over in the second half. The leading wicket-taker was Robert McBride who took a “5-for” and he was backed up by the improving James Cox and Peter Johnstone. Andrew Kyle also managed a 5-wicket haul before his early season finish and in the final match of the “summer” Chris Howard gave us a hint of what we might be able to look forward to next season with a 4-wicket haul – 2 spells of real, proper bowling.

The season seemed to divide itself into quarters – the first 3 matches were against the eventual top 3 sides and the JMS outfit were reasonably content – robbed by the rain against Titwood and 12 points from 2 drubbings at the hands of Cambusdoon and Meikleriggs. The Meikleriggs match in particular was not one of Dumfries Cricket Club’s more auspicious days. Let’s just say that Russell Johnston got over half the runs with 21!

The next 3 matches were against the eventual bottom 3 teams and all resulted in victories. A total of 206 was successfully chased against Glasgow University Staff and 153 for 9 was just defended against Shawholm while Glenpark were demolished.

The Shawholm game was perhaps the defining match of the season. Having done well to eventually get their runs thanks to Robert McBride’s crucial cameo and having reduced the Poloc side to 63 for 6, Nunholm were staring defeat in the face due to such a revival that all Shawholm needed was 2 runs from 4 overs with 2 wickets left. A wicket-maiden from McCutcheon meant that vice-captain Cox was given a chance of redemption. The big man had gone for 11 in his previous over but his captain could think of nothing better than to give him a chance to make amends – one full-toss and one big left mitt was all it took!

Next came the low point of the season – 4 home matches resulting in 4 home defeats. Victoria came and duly conquered. Cambusdoon won in the final over despite an undefeated “ton” by Hugh Farries. Titwood won a crucial toss and restricted Nunholm to a hard-fought 132 for 9 and then survived against a top-effort from a below-strength Nunholm bowling attack. Meikleriggs gave us another cricketing lesson but were kind enough to leave us with 8 points.

The final 4 matches were about avoiding relegation. In the first one the batters did well to reach 181 against GU Staff on an under-prepared wicket and the bowlers did well to finish the job when under some pressure. Victoria came again but this time it was more of an escape with the spoils. Robert McBride’s 5 for 34 from 13 overs and Chris McCutcheon’s 31 deserved better.

With two matches still to play calculators were out but not required – Bothwell visited in party mode being already safe and were dealt with despite the weather closing in and threatening to rob Nunholm for a second time in the season. The Uddingston late-order batters did indulge themselves in some run-making after the rain but it came to nought. Russell Johnston’s earlier innings of 122 – his second century of the season – was more than enough.

The final match – against Anniesland – was in danger of becoming an anti-climax with some feeling that there was nothing to play for but on reflection was, in some ways, as good a performance as any in the season. The bowlers bowled as a unit, the fielding backed them up and the batters finished it off. Chris McCutcheon is still wondering what he has to do to get a man-of-the-match award. Two for nine from 8 overs and a top-score of 39 was still not good enough!

Not only was relegation avoided but, thanks to the magnificent run-in, JMS Nunholm ended fifth in a very competitive division and have the winter to contemplate how to do even better in 2009.

The side thanks the team’s sponsors JMS Cricket of Keighley for their support of the club in their first year of Dumfries cricket sponsorship.

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