In this dreadful summer at last a dry day was in prospect for Banchory’s league trip to Harlaw last Saturday to take on Queen’s Cross/Stoneywood-Dyce.
However, the recent rain resulted in a lush, slow outfield so drives along the ground died a death in the long grass.
Despite this, both sides batted well and at the end of the day there was little to choose between them, so a draw was a fair result.
The visitors were put in to bat and got off to a disappointing start with the normally prolific Sunil Chikkana (0) and Itaz Virk (4) falling cheaply.
At the other end Sean Hicks (17) looked in good nick and was able to counteract opening bowlers Andy Rayner and Neil Wright with some attractive shots, but when he was bowled, soon followed by Rahul Maheshwari (8), Banchory were at a precarious 39 for 4.
The home side made the mistake of bowling Rayner (2 for 20) and Wright (2 for 30) for their complete 12 over spells which meant that Tim Wilkinson and Kushal Ghuwalewala were able to see them off and capitalise on the lesser bowlers who followed.
This they did in style, amassing a partnership of 61 in increasingly rapid time and helping to swing the game Banchory’s way.
Admittedly Ghuwalewala had his share of luck surviving five catching opportunities but his aggressive knock of 28 couldn’t have come at a better time.
He was replaced by Ian Pennington who wound back the years with two trademark straight sixes.
As the declaration approached skipper Guru Sharma sent out instructions to attack the bowling even more and this worked a treat.
In the run chase that ensued Wilkinson’s fine knock of 38 came to a daft end when he ran himself out and Pennington (24) was caught.
Ashish Thakur then came to the wicket, a player whose untutored style is allied to superb hand-eye coordination, and he promptly smashed the ball to all parts of the field in his quickfire 23 not out. And he was ably supported by Zac Crawley (9 not out).
Banchory reached maximum batting points in the final over - a great achievement considering the start they had.
The home side’s response was almost a mirror image of Banchory’s: early setbacks (Rodger and Rayner falling victim to Ghuwalewala’s swing to make the score 25 for 2) were followed by useful partnerships.
They began slowly, too, the accuracy of Zac Crawley and Ghuwalewala allowing few scoring shots.
But Martin Reid (60) along with M McPherson (17) and in particular Farhad (34 not out) began to take the attack to Banchory whose ground fielding and catching began to deteriorate.
Tim Wilkinson’s 11 over spell of 3 for 50 was key in subduing the opposition and when Ghuwalewala finally bowled the excellent Reid the home side began to fall behind the run rate and the resulting draw was inevitable.
Ghuwalewala finished with 3 for 39, Crawley 0 for 28, Virk 0 for 18, Sharma 0 for 13 and Indradeep Sen 0 for 14.
This Saturday the Firsts travel to Aberdeen Links to play strugglers Academy.