Sunday’s Reserve League match at the Links was a good example of how the Reserve League competition offers a good opportunity for younger players – both male and female – to gain experience of match-play cricket. It also incidentally gives scope for some of the older veteran players to keep engaged in the game.
The Forres team included several young ladies as well as a few regular and familiar faces. They won the toss and put the home side in to bat on the grass wicket – which was still in good condition. The combination of experienced left-arm bowler Lamb and the very accurate junior Max Carty initially pinned the two Nairn opening batsmen, Shane Hayward and Jason Brandsma, down to around one run per over. Brandsma was out LBW for only 5. Captain Bronkhorst and Hayward then put in a long shift, taking single runs when they could.
Only with a change of bowlers did they begin to score more freely. At the halfway pause for drinks, the Nairn total had reached 61 with no further loss of wickets. Hayward was beginning to find the boundary, and his score progressed past the half-century mark. Bronkhorst similarly batted steadily; when the team total was above 120, and his own score 54, he then retired to give young Joe Elvines the opportunity to bat. Then as the innings was drawing to an end, Hayward when on 91 gave a top-edge catch to the Forres wicket keeper off the bowling of Charlotte Farr, and two balls later she also claimed the wicket of Colin Owens who was caught without scoring. Steven Neill then saw out the 40 overs with 12 n.o., giving a final Nairn total of 187 for 4.
Forres struggled from the start and never really got going either against Owens (who delivered three maiden overs in a row) or Joe Elvines who – once he ceased to bowl wides – picked up a wicket. But the star bowler for Nairn was the experienced Magnus Neill, whose accuracy delivered 4 wickets for only 11 runs. For Forres, only Al Farr (14) and Lamb (14) reached double figures. Gentler bowling from Mark Elvines (2 for 22) and Jason Brandsma (1 for 8) gave the other junior players in the Forres team a chance to bat. But the visitors could only muster a total of 62 all out in 34.3 overs, and the largest contribution, of 25 runs, came from the wides and no-balls of the Nairn bowlers!
Next week Nairn’s Senior team will host Ross County at the Links, and the Reserve T20 finals will take place at the Links on Sunday [with Buckie, Ross County and Nairn as the three competing teams……. TBC]