After the disappointment of a postponement due to weather the previous week, it was a great relief to see the sun shining on Saturday morning. Nairn’s ground, situated almost directly on the shore, is definitely picturesque. Slightly more unnerving were the crowds surrounding the ground enjoying the warm weather because this game was full of big hitters knocking it over the boundary time after time.
By agreement we fielded first, and buoyed by our previous showing against Northern Counties, we were confident of a decent start. Despite a healthy bowling attack, the combination of a relatively quick out field and an excellent performance by both opening batsmen meant the runs ticked steadily upwards for Nairn.
D. Wolton and I. MacLeod kicked things off for Nairn and they faced our opening bowlers of Ross Lavin and Anjum. Even with steady and consistent bowling the runs ticked up continuously. We fielded well at the beginning without any major mistakes yet we generated very few chances. Even when we shook things up by bringing Nilesh in for a spell, it took four overs before we finally made a breakthrough when MacLeod lofted one into the air which, held up by the wind, fell into the grasp of Iain Chadburn, just five short of a half century.
Wind was actually a feature of this game, as the sun went in and the wind picked up it became noticeably colder and our fielding became noticeably worse. The mistakes began to creep in and tired limbs led to extra boundaries. By the time Wolton was caught out on 61 the home side had clocked up 123 in 21 overs. And that was the story of the game. With one or two quick wickets we kept ourselves in the match, but some expensive final overs, particularly two very costly ones from myself, left us chasing a target of 275 to win.
However, we had a decent batting side ourselves and walked out to the crease with some confidence, which wasn’t misplaced. Ross Lavin, once again, was the main threat, finding the boundary again and again with some exhibition hitting. Nilesh backed him up with some quick hitting too but was dismissed on 21 when caught behind. Even so, CJ and Anjum were still up and both looked ready to make some big scores. In the end though, impressive bowling dismissed them for 15 and 5 respectively. By this time our run rate had fallen and our lower order were unable to generate steady runs.
When Ross was dismissed for an excellent 118, a successful chase seemed increasingly unlikely and so it proved. M. Webster and J. Ryder saw out the overs and we posted a total of 219 – 9. In the end, it felt like a decent score but it highlights our continuing problem. We are a capable side, but mistakes in the field and over reliance on our top order to produce a big innings was the thorn in our side. Lack of game time has meant we are yet to really put everything together successfully in one game. It is coming though, every match we are improving and making steps in the right direction.
I just hope our next game isn’t quite as cold!