For once, glorious hot sunshine bathed the Burnett Park for last Saturday’s penultimate league game in Grade 2.
Grammar, second bottom, needed a victory to help stave off relegation while Banchory were hoping to make it seven consecutive matches without defeat.
With skipper Guru Sharma on holiday vice-captain Tim Wilkinson took over his captain’s lucky mantle and won the toss, inevitably asking the Aberdeen side to bat first.
A wicket fell immediately when Grammar captain Iain Johnston spooned a Zac Crawley wide full toss to Steve Redpath fielding at gully. There then followed an embarrassing pause as the opposition discovered that Banchory were fielding 12 players, a rather inexplicable oversight on the part of the Banchory skipper. Carl Counsell volunteered to step down and the game resumed.
Ramamantha (5) was then bowled by Steve Redpath to make the score 9 for 2. A stubborn partnership between Arul (13) and Pehlaj (22) took the score to 45 when the latter was victim of a diving catch by Wilkinson at mid-off. Arul soon followed his partner, smartly run out by Sean Hicks, making the score 45 for 4.
This brought South African Kieran Whyte to the wicket and after a shaky start he began to take control of proceedings. However, Karthik (13) fell to 15 year old Sandy Richards’ spin and Magesh (0) was run out by Steve Redpath.
Two wickets fell in new bowler Manish Thakur’s fourth over when Justin (7) fell to a fine Donald Redpath catch and Rahul (0) was caught by Crawley.
At 109 for 8 Banchory were looking to wrap things up but Grammar had other ideas. Lickson resisted the bowling while Whyte (66) began to farm the strike. He raced to a fine 50 but eventually fell to another Crawley catch off Thakur and Saad Khan’s run out of Sandeep (0) completed the innings.
Thakur finished with 3 for 30, Steve Redpath 2 for 26, Zac Crawley 1 for 43 and Sandy Richards 1 for 34.
Banchory’s reply after tea was quite ruthless, reflecting what a fine batting side they have become.
Openers Sean Hicks and Sunil Chikanna kept Whyte at bay while punishing the wayward Karthik at the other end. Racing along at a rate of four an over they provided a fine platform for the later batsmen. Sunil (21) led a charmed life, though, being dropped four times. He finally fell to Rahul’s slow slow spin being trapped lbw.
Sam Rotheram (1) then came to the wicket with the score on 47 for 1 but luck wasn’t on his side. He swept a Magesh ball to deep mid-wicket that was heading for the curling pond when Kieran Whyte stuck out a hand on the boundary and it miraculously stayed in.
The rest of Banchory’s innings was plain sailing as Hicks and Saad Khan took the attack to a rapidly deteriorating bowling side. Hicks was heading to a well deserved 50 when he ran himself out on 49. Rahul Maheshwari (4) sparkled briefly until Saad ran him out but at that point he stepped on the gas and this promising batsman then smashed the ball to all parts of the Burnett Park, finishing with three consecutive fours off the unfortunate Karthik (0 for 50). Steve Redpath (4 not out) secured a comprehensive with a four over mid-wicket and Khan ended on 48 not out. Banchory took just 32 overs in their race to victory.
This Saturday Banchory’s final game is against table-toppers St Ronald.