On Sunday Nairn County’s 2nd XI cricket team hosted Fochabers for a Reserve league match at the Links. The Fochabers club – which in recent years has lost a number of players – is competing this year only in the Reserve league.
Nairn batted first, on the same grass wicket as had been used the previous day for the Senior league match. After seeing several deliveries bounce high, opening batsman Stephen Anniss was deceived into leaving a ball which kept low, and he was bowled out for only 1 run. Iain MacLeod stayed in to make 27 before giving away a catch off a top edge. Martin Bronkhorst, unusually, seemed to struggle with his timing, and he too was caught after scoring 19.
Shane Hayward (who scored 25) was unlucky: he assumed that a strike by his partner Ben Booker-Milburn had reached the boundary for four, and was simply walking back towards his crease when the fielder threw the ball in and hit the stumps. The umpire (who had not signalled the four) inevitably gave him out. Booker-Milburn (33 not out) and Mike Davies (38 not out) batted on against relatively unchallenging bowling to complete the 40-over innings and post a total for Nairn of 163.
The Fochabers batsmen proved unable to cope, and fell well short of that target. Bronkhorst, who had decided to try out the wicket-keeper’s role, took a good catch off Hayward’s bowling to dismiss one of the Fochabers openers in the first over for just 2 runs. But in his quest for speed Hayward became erratic. Meanwhile Ben Booker-Milburn’s consistency and accuracy brought results: in the end he took four wickets for just 14 runs, and also held two catches in the field.
Veteran Fraser McBean and junior player Joe Elvines then took on the task of bowling, and although young Joe gave away a lot of wides and no balls, he also tempted two of the visiting batsmen into giving easy catches. The only Fochabers batsman to reach double figures was Sanders, who made 16 before hitting his own stumps. Fochabers were eventually all out for 75 in little more than 20 overs. It was perhaps an embarrassment to both teams that the biggest contribution to that Fochabers total was the 32 ‘extras’ (wides, no-balls and byes) which came from the Nairn bowlers.
Nairn Reserves play an away game in Elgin next Sunday. One objective will be to cut down on the number of runs given away by wayward bowling.