A busy and successful weekend of cricket for Nairn at the start of the official 2019 season with the Senior team and the Reserves in action, both against Huntly.
The wind blowing from the Firth may have been chilly, but the Nairn first team were hot stuff on Saturday at the Links, with Dave Wolton scoring an impressive century.
The visitors won the toss and put the hosts in to bat. The game started slowly with Nairn’s openers Wolton and Alex Green running mostly singles. The slow outfield meant there were few boundaries, and the Huntly bowling was consistent if not particularly threatening. Then Green gifted a catch with the team’s score at 24, and Macleod lasted only a couple of overs before hitting one off the top edge to be caught close to the boundary. Anniss too was caught after facing only three balls, and the outlook for the home side was looking ominous. But Wolton got his eye in and was scoring steadily, with Calum Forsyth playing a solid and determined defensive role in support. That partnership clocked up 39 runs together, and the Nairn score was 83 when Forsyth decided to push for a risky run and just failed to make his ground.
Martin Bronkhorst joined Wolton at the wicket and the runs kept coming, with Wolton dominating all the Huntly bowlers. A moment of drama when Bronkhorst was almost run out as well, having to dive for the crease in a tangle of arms and legs after dropping his bat. He was eventually dismissed LBW for 15 by Petrie of Huntly, who in his next over bowled Shane Hayward with the Nairn team total at 150 and Wolton on the brink of a century. Neil Doherty stepped into the supporting role and he and Wolton saw the 45-over innings to its conclusion with Wolton undefeated for an impressive 125 and Doherty with 21 not out. The final Nairn total was exactly 200 runs for the loss of 6 wickets.
The Huntly innings by contrast was distinctly lacking in fireworks. Nairn’s opening bowlers Anniss and Hayward pinned the visiting batsmen down, and the first breakthrough came in the 11th over when Brian Stewart held a catch to dismiss Clarke, the Huntly side’s big threat, for only 14 runs. In fact the Nairn side, usually embarrassed by the number of catches they drop, kept a tight field and took five catches in total. Only two other Huntly batsmen reached double-figure scores. Bronkhorst did much of the damage, taking 3 wickets for 20 runs while Colin Owens, returning to the team after several years’ absence, showed he had not forgotten how to bowl, taking 2 wickets for 24. The lower half of the Huntly batting order suffered a dismal collapse with Forsyth and MacLeod claiming 2 wickets each at a cost of only 3 runs. The visitors were all out for 79 in 31.1 overs.
The victory – and the extra “batting points” for reaching a total of 200 – has got the Nairn senior team off to a great start in the 2019 league; and there are some new players for the local team who have yet to make their debut.