Banchory’s home match against Academy last Saturday was one of only a handful of matches to be completed in the Aberdeenshire Grades thanks to the use of the club’s covers.
Although the wicket was perfectly playable the constant drizzle made conditions unpleasant throughout and matters weren’t helped by the long, wet grass prevented ground-shots racing to the boundary. Both teams were keen to play, however, and the visitors were asked to bat first.
Academy’s total of 132 included nine sixes, reflecting the aggression and timing of some of their batsmen.
Opener S.R.Singh (22), for example, looked as if he was playing 20/20 cricket, hitting Josh Crawley for two huge sixes in his opening over.
But his stay at the wicket was thankfully brief when Ian Pennington had him superbly caught by Saad Khan at long-off off a well disguised slower delivery.
Crawley had the other opener Majeed (5) caught at square leg by Tim Wilkinson but then Academy’s best batsman, Karthik, took up the hard hitting reins and he, too, added to the six tally with four huge blows.
Academy were now 66 off only 9 overs but then their wheels began to come off. Tim Wilkinson had Karthik (44) trapped lbw and then Crawley tore through the middle order taking three wickets in 15 balls.
Some late resistance at the end between Abhinav (18) and Ashin (12) gave the visitors’ score some repectability.
For the home side Josh Crawley took 5 for 46, Tim Wilkinson 3 for 36, Kushal Ghuwalewala 1 for 7 and Ian Pennington 1 for 36.
Banchory’s reply, in increasingly heavy drizzle, was clinical.
Opener Sean Hicks (10) played two lovely hallmark drives but then was victim of the only ball of the match which kept really low.
Thereafter Sunil Chikanna (53 not out) and Sam Rotheram (26) put together a 50 run partnership of increasing authority until Rotheram mistimed a drive and spooned an easy catch to mid-off.
Kushal Ghuwalewala (24 not out) and Chikanna then steered Banchory home capitalising on Academy’s lesser bowlers and appropriately Sunil, by smashing a six over midwicket, not only secured a comprehensive victory for his team but also had reached a richly deserved half century.
Karthik (1 for 24) and Deshmukh (1 for 28) were Academy’s only wicket-takers.
The visitors were a particularly friendly side who applauded good shots and never once moaned about the conditions. All credit to them.
Grade 2 seems to be gradually splitting into two clear halves with Banchory well placed in the top half.
This Saturday they travel to Rubislaw to play Grammar FP’s.
Saturday’s match ball was donated by Williamson’s Accountants.