This Grade 2 league match played at the Burnett Park had everything: excitement, controversy, beautiful hot weather and - for once - a true, hard wicket.
This was the second encounter between these two sides and, because of a quirk of the fixture schedule, on both occasions Cults 1st team didn’t have a game and so Banchory were faced with a side packed with players who would not normally grace Grade 2.
The visitors were put in to bat and got off to an ominously rapid start, smashing 34 off the first four overs.
Banchory’s normal opening bowler, Itaz Virk, was late and so Sam Rotheram volunteered to bowl instead but this was a bad move in retrospect as he couldn’t find any consistent line or length and was dispatched for 24 in his two overs. Sree was striking the ball to all parts of the ground but Banchory did make an early breakthrough when in Virk’s first over Dougie Anderson (3) gifted him an easy caught and bowled chance.
Zac Crawley, at the other end, was bowling a particularly tight line and should have had an early wicket but Tim Wilkinson at mid-off failed to hold on to an important catch.
Steve Redpath, who had been drafted in to the 1st team due to the injured Rahul, then replaced Crawley and immediately his gentle swing began to cause problems. Cults were on 114 for 2 off 22 overs when the home side began to make inroads into the visitors’ batting line-up: Sarasawat (48) was caught at the second attempt by Zac Crawley fielding in the covers and was Redpath’s first wicket. He then clean bowled the dangerous Poornesh (0) with a beauty which beat the batsman all ends up.
Phil Gill (22) then fell to a smart reaction catch in the slips by skipper Guru Sharma off Itaz Virk and finally Sree (52) was caught by Sean Hicks at point off Tim Wilkinson’s spin.
In the space of only five overs Cults were reeling at 138 for 6. Rahul (16) and Jaydeep (11) then stuck around dangerously but the former fell to an excellent running catch by Itaz Virk at the end of Redpath’s wonderful spell and the bowler, narrowly avoiding a serious collision with Virk, held on to a great catch to dismiss Will Liversedge (0) in Wilkinson’s effective spell.
Indradeep Sen then struck with a fine run out of Jaydeep. Cults were all out for 171, but the key factor for Banchory was they had all of 52 overs to get the runs.
Wilkinson finished with 3 for 17, Redpath 3 for 28, Virk 3 for 54 and Crawley 0 for 39.
Banchory’s main objective at the start of their innings was to see off the two Grade 1 bowlers, Rahul and Sarasawat. This they did slowly and they lost a few wickets in the process-Saraswat was particularly dangerous with his variety of length - and when these two bowlers finished their 12 over spells the home side were 66 for 5 and Cults were sensing a quick end to the game, but at this point the match situation swung dramatically in Banchory’s direction.
It became obvious that Cults’ back-up bowlers were not a patch on the openers and Banchory’s batting, centred around a fabulous knock of 51 not out by man-of-the-match Steve Redpath, began to capitalise.
Cults’ baffling tactics were odd because Banchory only needed a rate of 3 an over to win and yet the fielders backed off, became ultra-defensive, and this played into Banchory’s hands.
The early batsmen Sean Hicks (5), Sam Rotheram (17), Sunil Chikkana (4), Tim Wilkinson (6) and Itaz Virk (14) had helped to nullify the openers. Now it was up to Banchory’s lower order to support Redpath in the race for victory.
This they did superbly via Guru Sharma (12), a whirlwind 12 from Ashish Thakur and a more patient but promising 12 from his younger brother Manish including a huge 6 over midwicket, and Zac Crawley (6).
The game flared up at one point when Manish very nearly ran out Redpath. It was a controversial decision and Dougie Anderson, not for the first time, lost his cool. Redpath survived and continued to manufacture easy runs but he was rapidly running out of partners.
When Crawley was out the score was 166 for 9 and Banchory’s last man, Indradeep Sen, came to the wicket. Any obvious nerves were dissipated when he hit a cover drive for 2 and a few moments later Redpath lobbed a ball to deep midwicket to secure a famous victory and to cap a great personal performance.
Banchory’s batsmen were helped by the cheering of every single run and showed great team spirit.
For the disappointed visitors Sarasawat finished with 2 for 25, Rahul 2 for 31, Jaydeep 3 for 31 and a word for Cults/Artisans’ two juniors, Lewis Munro and Alex, both of whom fielded very well with Lewis taking a wicket.
Banchory have made 4th spot their own but are knocking on the door of 3rd - this Saturdeay they are at home to 3rd placed Knightriders.