Banchory 1st XI 74 for 1
Banchory 1st XI’s favourite fixture, away to Crathie at a sun-kissed Balmoral, would have whetted most appetites.
Crathie, undefeated in the league after three games, faced a Banchory side who have promised much but had yet to register a win in Grade Two. And yet it was the Banchory side who enforced a comprehensive defeat on their Deeside rivals.
Put in to bat on a typical Crathie wicket (mossy, uneven bounce and with the occasional ball popping up off a length) openers Peter Cunningham and Andy Shore put on 30 for the first wicket, the former cutting the ball effectively, with the latter pouncing on anything slightly wayward.
Zac Crawley and Johnny Millar bowled well in tandem, only giving away about two an over despite a couple of chances being scorned.
A difficult caught and bowled attempt was dropped by Millar while Zac spillled a chance at forward point. However, Zac had Cunningham (17) trapped lbw soon after to make the score 30 for one.
At this point, Crathie’s innings began to rapidly unravel. Millar’s spell of seven overs for 17 runs was replaced by budding spinner Rahul Maheshwari (up to this point he had only bowled eight overs in competitive cricket). What followed was remarkable: Rahul’s spinning style is to give the ball lots of air above the batsman’s eye-line, and to deliver the ball on a length with the ball spinning prodigiously. Crathie simply caved in, with batsmen torn between attempting to attack and being beaten in the flight, or playing back and being beaten by the spin.
This was one of the most effective spells of genuine spin bowling ever seen from a Banchory bowler. Rahul’s spell of 8.2 overs cost only 20 runs in which he took seven wickets including a rare hat-trick.
His performance tended to eclipse the fine work by Zac Crawley (two for 23) and a promising spell by Noby Jacob (one for 11) whose pace augurs well for the future.
Banchory’s reply after a splendid tea was fairly clinical. Sam Rotheram (10) failed to adapt to the Crathie wicket and was smartly caught and bowled by Baldry (one for 17) but thereafter Sunil Chikkanna (22 not out) and especially Wajahat Ali (42 not out) eased the visitors home to a resounding victory in only 14 overs.
Banchory’s climb up the rankings in Grade Two continues while Crathie must regroup, as they inevitably will.
This result simply underlines how open Grade Two is this season.
Saturday’s match ball was donated by Alistair Cameron.