Banchory’s stunning run continues

Caledonian 144

Banchory 1st XI 145 for three

Banchory 1st XI’s fantastic run of results continued at Duthie Park last Saturday against a side which ran them very close in an exciting draw at the Burnett Park three weeks ago. This time, though, they were at the end of a convincing defeat.

The threatening weather, which put paid to the 2nd XI match against Ellon at Banchory, didn’t materialise in Aberdeen and most of the match was played in sunshine on a surprisingly hard wicket.

Banchory skipper Sam Rotheram won the toss and asked the home side to bat first and the visitors were soon in the wickets.

Noby Jacob, in his first over, seamed the ball away forcing Caley skipper Moizuddin (2) to edge the ball to Zac Crawley in gully. This was a prize wicket as Moiz scored an excellent 71 in the two teams’ previous encounter.

This combination was reciprocated a few overs later when Jacob held on to a gully catch in Zac Crawley’s fifth over to dismiss Alastair Smith (1).

The score was now 25 for two. Meanwhile, Caledonian’s other opener, Tahseen, was beginning to stroke and time the ball nicely, particularly through the covers, but his brief sparkling knock of 23 came to an end when Zac bowled him with a superb yorker. This tended to be the trend with the home batting: a series of batsmen like Irfan Khan (23), Safee Mohammed (13) and Choudray (19) threatened big scores but got themselves out needlessly.

The Duthie Park wicket wasn’t a secure place to bat on since the ball was seaming around and the hard wicket was providing more than the usual bounce. Luckily, and unusually this season, the Banchory fielders held on to every catch that came their way.

Caley’s final total of 144 was way below a viable target considering the potential of Banchory’s batting. The pick of the bowlers was Noby Jacob (four for 34) whose pace caused real problems throughout his 12 over spell but Zac Crawley (two for 38) bowled with good aggression. John Millar (one for 33) was a tad expensive by his usual standards while Sam Rotheram (one for 12) had a promisingly aggressive four overs. There were short spells from Tim Wilkinson (one for 12) and Josh Crawley (one for 6).

Caledonian, without their best bowler Giet Grover, opened with the nippy pairing of Safee and Irfan Khan. Both gained some bounce from the wicket and briefly troubled the Banchory openers.

The scourge of Grade 2, Wajahat Ali (8), had just hit two graceful boundaries through midwicket when he completely mistimed a lofted drive and was out to a difficult running catch by Moiz.

The score was 14 for one but the next wicket wouldn’t fall for another 77 runs as Sam Rotheram (53) and Sean Hicks (31) at first nullified the opening attack and then got stuck into the markedly inferior second string bowlers. Sam’s innings was one of controlled aggression while Sean, once he freed his arms, played a gem of a knock.

With heavy clouds looming and rain approaching, both sacrificed their wickets in the run-chase. Luckily the rain disappeared quickly but Zac Crawley (a sparkling 19 not out), sent up the order to attack the bowling, and Sandy Richards (an equally fine 20 not out) saw the visitors home in the 27th over, the last four overs going for 32 runs.

This was a good day at work for Banchory and they need to maintain this head of steam on Saturday, at home to third placed Fraserburgh.