So close, yet so far: Nairn First XI fall 6 runs short in a match that was theirs to win
With the Nairn Highland Games taking place on the Links, the Nairn First XI played Saturday’s senior league cricket match against Forres at Grant Park.
Nairn won the toss and chose to field. It looked like a good decision. The conditions favoured the bowlers, and Nairn struck early: danger man Dhami caught by wicketkeeper Alex Green off Steven Neill’s bowling for only 2. The Forres batsmen resisted for a while, but a change of bowlers brough Nairn more success. John Sargent claimed Durance’s wicket for 42 and Hayward took Gerrard (33) and Benn (0) in successive balls.
Nairn’s fielding was mixed. A couple of catching opportunities were missed, but Jordan Snitch took two good catches, and a direct hit on the stumps by John Sargent’s throw saw another Forres batsman run out.
Nairn were clearly in the driving seat. Forres reached 100 with 7 wickets down, and their tail-enders were soon dismissed by Dave Wolton (who ended on figures of 2 for 37) and Green (2 for 0). The host side were all out in 44.1 overs for a total of 122.
Reaching that target should have been a walk in the park for Nairn. But the reality proved rather less comforting. There seemed to be two possible reasons. Nairn might just have been a little too relaxed – even perhaps complacent. And it soon became clear that few of the Nairn batsmen could cope with bowlers who were able to make the ball swing significantly through the air. Only the experienced Dave Wolton showed the ability to deal with the Forres bowling. Around him the wickets fell alarmingly frequently: Green scored 5 before being caught, but four other recognised Nairn batsmen – Stephen Anniss, Martin Bronkhorst, Shane Hayward and Steven Neill – all went for ducks.
When Snitch (5) and Jason Brandsma (2) were out, Nairn found themselves in serious trouble. Wolton looked as if he was running out of partners. Iain Macleod came to the rescue and stayed in until, in what was becoming an increasingly desperate search for runs, he was run out for 24. When Sargent went for 1 and Tom Green for 0, the innings was over. Wolton ended not out on 65. Best of the Forres bowlers were Davidson (3 for 15) and Lamb (2 for 10). The Nairn total of 116 meant a victory for Forres by just 6 runs.
Despite this narrow defeat, Nairn County still cling to second place in the league table below Highland. Next Saturday the Nairn team is away to Fort William – probably at the Fort Augustus ground – if the weather permits.