Hard fought victory for Banchory’s 1st XI

Banchory 1st XI haven’t lost a league game since the beginning of June and last Saturday’s Burnett Park encounter between third and fourth in Grade 2 was a mouth-watering prospect. The Deeside team had convincingly knocked Knightriders out of the Bon-Accord Cup, so the Aberdeen side were keen on revenge and a win for them would boost their promotion chances; a defeat would effectively scupper their chances.

Banchory’s captain, Guru Sharma, won the toss yet again and asked the visitors to bat, and they lost an early wicket: Indradeep Sen, in his last game for the club, opened the bowling and even though his two overs were wayward he did bowl a beauty which beat Sony (3) all ends up.

The wicket showed some uneven bounce early on and the other opener, Zac Crawley, began a fine spell of accurate bowling. Eventually he was rewarded with three wickets in as many overs. The dangerous Rashid (0) was superbly caught by Sam Rotheram, one handed, in the slips, and Shiva (29), who was beginning to amass a decent score, was bowled by a ball which kept low. Knightriders were at 54 for 5 but fought back with an ominous partnership between Somu and Kannan which took them to 98. The hard hitting Kannan (19) was calmly caught again by Sam Rotheram, holding on to a steepling catch on the boundary. Hicks got another wicket via a fourth catch by Rotheram and Wilkinson cleaned up the tail with Knightriders finishing on 142 off 39 overs. As a unit Banchory bowled really well with Wilkinson taking 3 for 27, Crawley 3 for 28, Hicks 2 for 28, Sen 1 for 15 and Ghuwalewala 1 for 37.

Banchory’s openers, Sam Rotheram and Sean Hicks, got their side off to an effective start, reaching 35 in 11 overs against the visitors’ pace attack. But a mini-collapse began when Hicks (5) edged a Prasanna ball, which popped up off a length, to backward point. Prasanna was Knightriders’ most dangerous bowler and he then clean bowled Chikkana (2). Carl Counsell (2) then edged a ball by Somu and the keeper took a fine catch. Sam Rotheram, meanwhile, was the glue which was holding the Banchory innings together and he and Saad Khan (14) stopped the rot with a sensible partnership, but when Khan was superbly caught at point this brought another wicket when skipper Sharma (0) was caught behind from a rising delivery by Sella. 89 for 5.

Rotheram was in commanding form but when he was caught behind for a superb 58 his job was only three quarters done. The bustling, busy Kushal Ghuwalewala was joined by Ashish Thakur, sent in by his skipper to smash a few quick runs, but for once this didn’t work with Somu clean bowling him for 2. 117 for 7. By now the Aberdeen side were sensing victory but there was also a sense of frustration as their appealing became even more ridiculous. Banchory saw off the remaing runs in fine style with Ghuwalewala (24 not out) and Tim Wilkinson (10 not out) sealing a hard-earned victory.