If there had been any spectators at the Links on Saturday, they would have needed long-johns, thermals, thick coats and woolly hats. The players on the field looked as if they needed a few extra layers of warm clothing as well, and the cricket match itself was initially almost as dull as the weather.
Nairn put Elgin in to bat, and it was slow going, with the visiting batsmen barely averaging a couple of runs per over for the first hour. The opening pair managed a partnership of 37 before Stephen Anniss trapped Ewan Fairgrieve LBW for 12. In the next over Steven Neill bowled Wimble with only two more runs on the board. Elgin then sent a new recruit, Webster, in to bat and the game gradually picked up some momentum as he and David Fairgrieve added to the visitors’ total.
But a slow outfield meant there were few boundaries, and with the Elgin score on 91 a loose shot from Webster on 34 was well-caught by Dave Wolton. Fairgrieve battled on for a while but was caught behind the stumps by Alex Green for 31. There was a brief interruption as a rain shower obliged the teams to seek shelter for a short while. Despite the cold, Nairn’s fielders stayed alert, and after play resumed, two of the Elgin middle-order batsmen were run out. Stephen Anniss then took a catch off John Sargent’s bowling. The Elgin side eventually struggled to the 45-over limit making a total of 147 for 7 wickets. The bowling honours for Nairn were evenly spread, with Anniss, Neill, Calum Forsyth and Sargent each taking one wicket.
After tea the home side set about pursuing the target total and Dave Wolton and Alex Green both got stuck into Elgin’s indifferent and sometimes erratic bowling, which included an unusually high number of no-balls. Within 15 overs the opening pair had clocked up 70 runs, scoring at twice the rate of the Elgin side. Green was bowled for 35, while Wolton – as is becoming his habit – continued to score with style but without taking risks. He was joined at the crease by Nairn’s latest signing, Mike Davies (a regular member of the Forty Club team who has recently moved to Nairn), who added 16 before a top-edge sent the ball skywards for Elgin’s wicket keeper to catch comfortably.
Stephen Anniss then came in to partner Wolton, who progressed steadily to a good half-century. The home side were closing in on the target total when Wolton untypically swung what looked like a tennis forehand at a high delivery from the Elgin captain and was caught by the wicketkeeper for 58. That left Anniss (who ended with 20 not out) and Forsyth (5 not out) to finish off the game by getting Nairn’s total to 149 for the loss of 3 wickets in only 29.1 overs.
In the end an easy win for Nairn, whose batsmen were never much troubled by Elgin’s weak bowling, and the result puts Nairn at the top of the league table The local side seem to be on a winning streak….. but in the current spell of cold weather, it is not of the kind that involves removal of clothing!
Nairn’s senior team has no league cricket match next Saturday (11 May), but the Nairn Reserves will play Elgin Reserves at the Links on Sunday.