Three in a row for Banchory
JUNE continued to be a successful month for Banchory as they won their third match on the trot away to Inverurie last Saturday.
The match was played in hurricane conditions and it certainly didn't feel like a mid-summer's day.
Banchory skipper Sajid Hasan called correctly again to win seven coin flips in a row and he put the home side in to bat.
Inverurie were boosted by the inclusion of Aberdeenshire's National League player Richard Lamb, the all rounder dropping down to grades cricket with no Saturday fixtures in the SNCL. Lamb opened the batting with Inverurie skipper George Hadden and the pair looked to get the home side's innings off to a good start.
Alex Starling and Craig Mason opened the bowling for Banchory but it was the batsmen who got the better of the early proceedings with any loose balls hit for boundaries.
The bowlers then did the obvious thing by stopping bowling the loose ones and quickly took charge. Mason was rewarded for his efforts in the 14th over when Hadden nicked one through to Itter behind the stumps for 13 with the Inverurie total on 34.
G. Coutts was next in and, together with the free hitting Lamb, added another 31 to the total before Mason trapped the former LBW for 8 in his 12th and final over.
The Banchory opening pair of Starling and Mason put in another formidable performance to restrict the hosts to 71 off 24 overs.
T. Norval joined Lamb at the crease and the game began to swing in Inverurie's favour, Josh Crawley's two overs proved too expensive and he was replaced by Wajahat Ali with Hasan taking over the duties from Mason.
Lamb notched up his half century with a 6 off Hasan's first ball and Norval came out swinging his bat. The latter hit a quick-fire 24 before Hasan took his first wicket of the day, the batsman getting in a tangle and getting bowled through his legs. The pair added 61 runs in six overs and took the score to 128.
Dunderdale came and went, Starling taking a skyer at mid-on off Hasan's bowling. The next wicket to fall was that of Lamb, Hasan trapping the batsman LBW 10 runs short of his century. This swung the game back in Banchory's favour and some tight bowling from Hasan and Ali, saw the Inverurie innings end on 174.
Hasan and Ali claimed the final scalps with Inverurie falling one run short of maximum batting points, a psychological boost for the fielders.
The final bowling figures for Banchory were: A. Starling 0 for 39 off 12 overs, C. Mason 2 for 29 in 12 overs, J. Crawley 0 for 18 in 2 overs, S. Hasan, 5 for 51 in 11 overs and W. Ali 2 for 31 in 10 overs.
The run chase would be a test of the Banchory batsmen's mettle but they proved up to the task with their finest batting performance of the season so far.
Hasan opened with himself and Richard Perry. The pair added 16 before Perry was adjudged LBW to the bowling of Coutts for 5. Ali came out at number three to join his captain and the pair set about the bowling, playing some sublime cricket shots.
The next wicket to fall was that of Hasan, the batsman attempting to play one off his legs but missing and getting bowled by P. Skevington with Banchory 54 for 2.
Ali was the next wicket to fall, Skevington snaring the batsman LBW for 30, 24 of those runs coming from boundaries.
Starling joined James Frost at the crease and the pair looked very comfortable against the bowling. Frost added 20 before being controversially judged LBW, a decision even the opposition captain could scarcely believe.
Banchory could have been forgiven for thinking the cricketing gods were against them. Carl Counsell joined Starling and another 29 runs were added before confusion led to the run out of Starling for 24. Matthew McPherson came out to bat with the score on 118 for 5 with just 11 overs remaining and Banchory requiring about six runs per over.
Twenty-eight more runs were added before Counsell (17) played back to a ball by Norval which he missed and was bowled. Dave Itter, returning after a two week absence, was next in with Banchory needing 28 runs from 5 overs.
Itter and McPherson put the bowling to the sword and saw Banchory home with eight balls to spare, each scoring a huge six apiece.
Itter finished on 26 not out in a rapid bludgeoning innings and McPherson hit the winning runs ending not out on 16.
The victory sees Banchory move up to fourth place with the team thoroughly enjoying their cricket at the moment. Next week sees the visit of Mannofield to the Burnett Park.