Nairn County’s senior team delivered a convincing victory in their match against Forres at the Links on Saturday, in a match which offered little drama but showed the home side’s determination and discipline.
Forres won the toss and opted to put Nairn in to bat under grey and overcast skies. Dave Wolton and Alex Green set out to establish a solid platform for the innings, and spent the first ten overs simply resisting the accurate bowling of Lamb and Gus Farr and taking the occasional singles when opportunity offered. Gradually they built the total – averaging scarcely two runs an over. Play livened up after a change of bowlers and both batsmen began to look more aggressively for runs. With the Nairn score on 52 Green went forward to a tempting ball from Benn, missed, and was out for 21. Mike Davies went in next, looked in control, but then gave away a soft catch after scoring 13.
Wolton was eventually out – stumped when going forward – for 36. This meant that the task of the middle order was to push on towards a respectable total. The slow outfield meant that boundaries were hard to come by. Stephen Anniss added 8, and then Shane Hayward and Steven Neill started to do serious damage. Hayward scored 23, including a fine six towards the flagpole before being bowled by Durance. Steven Neill’s top score of 37 included three sixes. He too was bowled out, leaving Martin Bronkhorst and Richie Thompson to take the team total on to 168 for 6 within the 45 overs.
After tea, Forres opened the batting with Dhami and Gerrard, and Nairn had early good fortune when Thompson clean bowled the danger man Dhami in the fourth over for only 14. Soon after that, Steven Neill got Merricks out for 1. Gerrard remained solid and was eventually dismissed LBW by Bronkhorst for 27; and Bronkhorst also took the wicket of Gus Farr who made 25.
With more than half the innings gone, and the visitors’ total only at 80, John Benn was run out for 12 and the Nairn side began to realise that a win was very much on the cards. Durance (10) and Tony Farr (12 not out) put up some resistance, but the target was beyond their reach. Green took three catches as wicket-keeper, and none of the last three Forres players scored at all. The visitors’ innings ended on 122 all out in the final over. Best of the Nairn bowlers was Bronkhorst with 3 for 16. Hayward took 2 for 16, Wolton 2 for 29, and Neill and Thompson 1 each.
The game was not exactly gripping edge-of-the-seat entertainment, but it showed that the methodical approach adopted by the Nairn players was capable of bringing results. The next three Saturdays see three more home games in succession for the First XI at the Links against Fort William, Northern Counties and Buckie, so the team will be hoping to sustain their current good form.