CRESCENT 157 BANCHORY Ist XI 160 for 4
Crescent, with two wins under their belt already, were expected to be a challenge to Banchory 1st XI last Saturday, but the Deeside team swept them aside in a totally convincing fashion. Good weather throughout the week had at last succeeded in hardening the Burnett Park wicket, and warm still conditions promised a high scoring match.
Banchory stand-in skipper Sam Rotheram inserted the opposition on a hard, true wicket and the Aberdeen side got off to a steady, unspectacular start reaching 29 in 12 overs before the first wicket fell. Opening bowlers Zac Crawley and Noby Jacob bowled with great control, forcing Jeremy Skedge and A.Jando (18) to play and miss frequently, and it was the latter who was the first to fall being clean bowled by a gem of a delivery from Jacob. A second wicket fell almost immediately when Birajdan (2) was superbly stumped by keeper Wajahat Ali, again off Jacob’s impressive spell (2 for 36 in 10 overs). The aggressive Crescent skipper then came to the wicket and he and Skedge put together a decent 50 run partnership, the latter batting sensibly while Ahmed forced the pace. Zac’s fine spell of 9 overs for just 16 runs came to an end and he was replaced by brother Josh who soon clean bowled the stubborn Skedge (16). Ahmed and his new partner Shafiq, in a combative partnership, were threatening to amass a large score. Tim Wilkinson, despite being hit for three sixes in his first two overs, continued to have the support of his skipper and this was rewarded by three key wickets : that of Ahmed (54), superbly caught at deep midwicket by Sandy Richards ; then Shafiq (27) was yorked while Vikram (17) fell to a great running catch by Saad Khan. At the other end Josh (1 for 37) was replaced by Johnny Millar and he and Wilkinson slowed the run-rate dramatically. Millar bowled with bounce and swing, and the two veterans effectively stopped any late run chase in its tracks. Millar finished with an impressive 4 for 14 in his 5.5 overs and Wilkinson 3 for 35. Crescent’s final score of 159 was much less than than it should have been. Throughout, the home side’s bowlers were an effective unit while their fielders showed real commitment, not least Rahul Maheshwari and newcomer Arjun Ramesh. Most catches were taken, although Josh Crawley did drop an absolute sitter.
It was immediately evident after tea that Crescent’s bowling attack was the weakest Banchory had yet seen in Grade 2. And Banchory’s openers, Sam Rotheram and Saad Khan, made hay in the sunshine. The pair complemented each other perfectly : Sam, a powerful unit, prefers to take the aerial route, smashing the many wayward deliveries to, and beyond, the boundary while his partner is all elegance and finesse executing superb cover and off drives. The pair had reached 99 in only 15 overs when Sam was run out for an excellent 59 which included 8 fours and 3 sixes. Khan and the prolific Wajahat Ali then took the score to 144 when Khan (38) was out caught off Birajdan’s spin. Only at the eleventh hour did Crescent introduce two bowlers of sufficient merit to trouble the home batsmen. Two cheap wickets fell when Sandy Richards (0) was the spinner’s second victim and then Zac Crawley (3) was lbw to the visitors’ best bowler Ahmed. It was left to Ali ( a flawless 38 not out) and Tim Wilkinson (5 not out) to secure victory in the 28th over. Ahmed finished with 1 for 31 and Birajdan 2 for 11.
This comprehensive destruction of Crescent means that Banchory are now 2nd in the league and strong promotion contenders.
Saturday’s match ball was donated by WILLIAMSON’S CHARTERED ACCOUNTANTS.