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Musings of a young player - Livingston 1st XI v Boroughmuir 1st XI
Written by Ali Bukhari   

It all started at noon on a fine Saturday, when Livingston cricket team arrived at Meggetland sports complex for their away game of the season to Boroughmuir.The weather was ideal for cricket as the high sunlit clouds drifted across a clear blue sky with a hint of cool breeze running through Ali, Fahad, Kashif and fearless Captain as they got out of the car. There was a feeling of excitement in the squad as this was Livingston XI’s first away game, it felt like nothing could go wrong. The team began to make way to the cricket pitch which was no small feat to say the least. We began our long walk passing stunning hockey, football and rugby pitches and heard the crackling sound our kit bags being dragged on a slightly rigid pathway. The surrounding made our opening batsman and bowler, Kashif and Bilal reminisce about their home towns and the cricket grounds and where it all started for them. We walked past the tall tree trunks as the cool breeze ran through the branches and leaves, seeing the path that led us on to the much anticipated cricket pitch. The ground was beyond our expectation which possibly was the case with the whole complex; we could see the sun shining bright as we smelled the fresh green grass.
Livingston team prepared for the task ahead and we got together to warm up for what seemed like a nice long day ahead of us at the time. The excitement was in the air on this astonishing day, as the 2 Captains walked to the square for the toss, unfortunately the toss did not go Livingston's way as we lost. It wasn’t complete doom and gloom as the Boroughmuir Captain decided to bat first which was exactly what Livingston wanted. Livingston proceeded to the square to evaluate the batting track, as the bowlers started to mark their domain as lions would when getting ready for their prey as the Boroughmuir batsman walked out to bat. The wicket didn’t look like something you would normally get in Scotland’s cold and rainy climate. The field was all set, batsman were ready with the umpire holding out his left arm as Kashif lined up to bowl. The umpire dropped his arm to signal the start of play as Kashif ran in and smashed the off stump out of the ground on his very first ball, everyone was left bewildered by the pacey ripper. The team ran in to congratulate the bowler and it seemed it was going to be Livingston's day from the get go. This didn’t deter the 2nd opening batsman A. Hussain as he started the second over against Bilal with some blistering hitting with sheer power and timing. A. Hussain broke the shackles took the competition to the Livingston bowlers and it seemed like it might be a long and tough road ahead for bowlers on what was an excellent batting wicket. This didn’t deter Livingston as they picked up the intensity in the field, backing their two opening bowler’s ability to get another breakthrough. A. Hussain was like a runaway train using the bowlers pace, and was striking the ball magnificently but sadly for Boroughmuir it didn’t last very long, much to the joy of Livingston. Bilal finally got the breakthrough and his man after a very hard fought competition. He pitched the ball full which was muscled to David standing in cover who plucked the ball out of thin air by nudging it up into the air to stop the ball in its track and catching it on the second attempt. It was quite the spectacle as the Livingston players ran in to celebrate a jaw dropping catch of a much needed wicket of a player who looked very dangerous but ending his tally at 28.
Boroughmuir were unable to capitalise on the start and threw the game away when Livingston made the first bowling change and brought Travis in to bowl. Travis took a liking to the wicket and picked up 2 wickets from his first over with his incredible pace. Pressure continued to be applied, Boroughmuir’s crumbling batting line up with great fielding by the team with some great display from our wicket keeper Fahad and newcomer Jamie. Boroughmuir started to make a comeback with some nice strokes by R. Boyapathi and looked threating before he was run out by Ahmed with a stunning throw from mid-on and leading his team by example to end his inning at 24. Boroughmuir’s luck didn’t change and it was all downhill from there on, Livingston’s great academy product, young Jack aged just 14 steps up to bowl and struck twice with an amazing bowling display with his swing and clever variety. It didn’t get any better for Boroughmuir from there when the Livingston Captain Ahmed stepped up to take 2 wickets off as many balls to finish off Boroughmuir and the tail enders to bowling them out for 89 off 20 overs.
Livingston went into tea with all the confidence in the world and full of excitement after a good all-round team effort and were electrifying in field. After the nice tea break Livingston openers Kashif and their overseas amateur from Australia made their way on to the pitch excited by the prospects of batting on a rock hard wicket which reminded Hannah of the tracks she normally bats. Boroughmuir did have a decent start but it didn’t last very long as Kashif broke the shackles and took their bowlers to the cleaners with some power hitting with Hannah anchoring the innings with some amazing strokes. Kashif’s blistering batting came to an end when he let a ball slip through to be bowled. This brought in Fahad who was coming off a year and half break but didn’t look rusty once at the crease. Hannah and Fahad put on a show and chased the total down in just 15 overs with classy batting from the pair and to wrap up an outstanding performance from Livingston with Hannah getting to 34 and Fahad with a cameo of 21 runs.
It was a very successful outing for Livingston and wrapped up their second win out of 2 matches for the season which gives them confidence as they chase for the title. The match was full of jaw dropping moments and especially the intensity it was played at and above all it was a friendly atmosphere. The Man of the match award was taken by Kashif for his blistering inning and the brilliant start with the ball.




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