Potter’s 126 too good for Stonehaven

Stonehaven were the visitors to the Burnett Park last Saturday hoping to maintain their 100% start to the season. Banchory Captain Alex Starling was unavailable so captaincy duties were handed to Craig Mason and upon winning the toss the stand in Skipper chose to field. Banchory welcomed former captain Phil Potter back who is on a brief holiday back home from his job in America.

Mason opened the bowling with himself and Johnny Millar and faced the opening batting pair of Ali Milroy and Russell Balsillie. Mason was bowling a tight line and should have claimed his first wicket when Milroy miss-timed a leg side ball, spooned the ball up in the air but James Stirling just failed to take the ball, diving forward from mid-wicket. Another drop at long-off saw Milroy survive again and Banchory were starting to think it may not be their day. Stirling replaced Mason when the latter’s calf injury flared up again and started off well. Milroy however was settling in and starting to dictate the bowling. Stonehaven had reached 53 in 20 overs when the 1st wicket fell, Balsillie (14) failed to connect properly with a lofted drive and was caught by Sunil Chikkana at Mid-off. Clive Hinchcliffe came in number 3 and immediately settled in with his captain, the pair putting on a 2nd wicket partnership of 102 and dispatching the bowling to various ends of the ground. Milroy passed his half century with a boundary and Mason was running out of ideas of what to do to break the partnership, he was not helped much by several dropped catches in the field. Millar was brought back on and finally a wicket fell, that of Hinchcliffe for 31. Stonehaven 155 for 2 but having used up 38 overs. S. Jacobsen was next in and survived an early caught and bowled chance before playing some big shots. A huge six brought Milroy to his century, an excellent innings consisting of 9 boundaries and 5 sixes although Banchory rued the fact he was dropped on just 17. The next ball young Zac Crawley claimed the prize wicket, Milroy going for his 3rd six in a row and getting bowled, the big Geordie proving a thorn in the side of Banchory yet again, amassing 102 of his sides 169 runs to that point. Stonehaven then went on the rampage for 4 overs led by Jacobsen and took the score from 169 for 3 off 40 overs to 204 for 5 off 43 overs before their innings was declared. Crawley claiming Jacobsen’s wicket for 24 and Phil Potter taking a wicket in the last over. Banchory left the field disappointed with their bowling and fielding display which had been of the highest standard so far this season.

After a rather large tea it was Banchory’s turn to bat and having being bowled out for 86 the previous week, could have been forgiven for lacking in confidence. Nobody told Phil Potter or Dave Itter that though and after Itter survived a couple of big LBW shouts in the 1st over of the game from left arm, round the wicket Hinchcliffe, the two batsmen settled down very quickly. Potter was very much the aggressor; his first 5 scoring shots were boundaries. Itter was playing the supporting role and never looked in any danger. Stonehaven tried 7 different bowlers but to no avail, the 50 run partnership came up in the 13th over and 8 overs later that total had reached 100 with Potter already well passed his half century. Opposition captain Milroy was scratching his head and was at as much a loss as Mason in the previous innings of what to do. Potter brought up an emphatic century with a 6 but he wasn’t done there, he had his personal best of 120 to aim for. The 150 run partnership was notched up in the 30th over. A fantastic anchor role by Itter was rewarded when he reached his half century, an innings that consisted of just 3 boundaries for the Banchory opener who was playing his first game for 4 weeks after a shoulder injury. Next on the radar was the club record partnership for the 1st wicket, that total was 188 set by Potter and now Stonehaven opening Bat and former Banchory captain Tim Donald, it was surpassed in the 38th over. Banchory had reached 194 before Stonehaven finally got their 1st wicket, Hinchcliffe trapping Itter LBW for an excellent 53. Banchory were to lose another wicket as Sunil Chikkana (1) played his shot too early and was bowled by B. Campbell. Josh Crawley came out number 4 and together with Potter notched up the remaining 10 runs required for victory, Crawley hitting a boundary to finish the game with a possible 4.4 overs still remaining. Potter finished with a personal best of 126 not out including 13 boundaries and 5 sixes and tied the 2nd highest ever single total for a Banchory batsman. A wonderful effort from the former captain, it’s just a shame he now lives a few thousand miles away. Banchory will be doing everything in their power to find and hide his passport.

A great victory for Banchory to take into next week’s tough trip to Cults.