Saturday saw Stonehaven Thistle CC 2nds entertain Banchory 2nds in the league. After an impressive run of form Stonehaven would have normally been looking forward to the game, but with only eight players on the teamsheet at the start of play, this was not the case.
Stonehaven captain Dave Long won the toss and chose to put the visitors into bat. With gaps in the field, there was immense pressure on the Stoney bowlers from the off.
A, Long started things from the river end and looked quick and accurate. D, Long opened at the hill end with his spin bowling.
In the tenth over captain D, Long turned to J, Gibson to find the breakthrough. Although accurate, the wicket did not come as he too found it hard to dislodge the visiting openers. With the Score on 63 off 16 overs, the captain turned to J, Gouws to find a way through.
After 6 overs of excellent pace, bounce and accuracy, Gouws had put a slight strangle hold on the run rate, and in his 7th over got the breakthrough his effort deserved by having C, James given out LBW on 45.
After a frustrating afternoon with the ball, J, Gibson was replaced by opener A, Long, and 2 overs into his second spell and only 5 runs added since the first wicket fell, he struck with a thunderous delivery and clean bowled the experienced T, Wilkinson for 1.
Banchory finished on 198 for 2 from their 45 overs with Hicks not out on 101. His great effort was well recognised by the Stonehaven players with many of them taking a moment at the tea break to offer a hand and congratulate him on his effort.
Stonehaven started their innings fairly confidently despite being down on numbers. With the boost of having batsman E, McElarney join them halfway through the first innings, the total set by Banchory was not beyond them. Openers J, Gibson and S, Kerr took to the field knowing that they could not give their wicket away cheaply. However this is exactly what they did.
With the score on 8, and after a couple of overs gone, Gibson was caught at Gully off the bowling of Hicks. McElarney joined Kerr at the crease and together looked fairly solid. With Kerr holding up one end, McElarney was free scoring showing his class and hitting boundries and 2s for fun. The pick of which was a glorious shot over mid-on for 6.
With the score on 51, Kerr tried to join in on the scoring by hitting a looping delivery from Garret back over his head, but did not get to the pitch of the ball and spooned it straight back to the bowler. With Kerr departing for only 7, A, long walked out only to see the impressive McElarney depart for 36, being bowled by Garret. This brought the Stonehaven captain to the crease who had no intention of getting out cheaply.
With A, Long bowled by Wilkinson for 0, Stonehaven were in big trouble and to even get a draw from the game looked out of reach. T, Swallow joined D, Long with the score on 56, and together set about rebuilding the innings. With some big hitting from Swallow and an impenetrable defence from Long, the Stoney batsmen were starting to frustrate the bowlers who were now finding it hard to get a wicket.
After using up some valuable overs, Swallow fell to the bowling of Sharma for 19. The wickets of Buchanan and Roberts fell in short order, which left the captain Long and Jason Gouws to see out the remaining 14 overs to rescue a draw for the home side.
Gouws was not content with just defending his wicket, and he went on the attack with a flurry of 2s and boundaries, the pick of these was a brilliant 6 over cover. With the Stonehaven captain frustrating the bowlers, by his willingness to come forward to the ball and not be intimidated, and the draw getting ever closer, Banchory were starting to get to get worried, with captain Hicks trying all kinds of bowlers in search of the last wicket. However, Stonehaven’s resolve did not last as Gouws chipped the second ball of the last over straight to the catcher in close.
Stonehaven finished 142 all out, 57 runs short of the set target. With only 9 men batting, Stonehaven with a full side could have easily drawn if not won. With a score of 29 and 1 wicket for 25, Jason Gouws was the pick of the Stonehaven players.
The match was sponsored by the Staion Hotel.