Lost by six wickets
Fort Augustus headed to Nairn with their confidence riding high after a record win over Elgin the previous week. This time they were travelling with a strong team, almost their ideal starting eleven with depth in both bowling and batting.
Having won the toss Kev opted to bat first after some back and forth and openers Ross Lavin and Oswald Crasto headed out to the crease while the rest of the team settled in their seats, glorious sun shining, to watch some excellent cricket.
Unfortunately, the confidence it didn’t last long. Ross fell early (1) to an excellent ball that swung in and clipped the top of his off stump. Even walking in disappointed, Ross praised what was a quality delivery. And so Ash Anjum headed out to the crease and once again showed his prowess. Fort hoped him and Os could form a decent partnership but Os fell quickly too, cleaned bowled once again by Nairn’s Haywood on 0.
While disappointing, we had depth and with Nilesh heading to the crease there was no need to panic. But again, Nilesh fell quickly (0) and Hardwood was looking likely to claim man of the match in the first 4 overs.
It fell to Kev and the middle order to pick things up and try to build a competitive total. At this point Fort Augustus were sitting on 16 for 3 after 4 overs. But with Ash still at the crease and hitting the ball sweetly there was every chance they could revive their innings. The intention now was to see out the overs and simply keep the scoreboard moving.
When Ash fell (caught on 35) it was really time to dig in. The opening two bowlers (Hayward and Whitehorn) were proving dangerous but if Kev and DJ who was now heading to the middle could see them off, there were still a lot of runs on the table. With some batting potential still sitting in the lower order we were not out of this yet. So when DJ fell to LBW on 5, Dave Peers took over to hold out against the opening attack.
However, when the first bowling change took place, and Macleod took over, the pace was taken out of the attack and, caught between two minds to place or slog a delivery, Dave Peers was caught (7) from a lazy shot pitched right to mid on. Fort Augustus were now at 72 for 7 after 15 overs.
Kev lasted a little longer with Jim at the crease but was again caught trying to lift one over covers (29) and Jim’s wicket fell for (5).
It fell to our ten and eleven, Tim and Ronan, to try and put on a final tally we could defend and they did the team proud. A final wicket stand of forty-seven gave us a chance and meant we finished on 145 with most of their runs coming from boundaries and an excellent maximum of the bat of Ronan.
There was still a chance, we could defend the total with the bowling attack we possessed but we would need a couple of wickets to fall cheaply to expose Nairn’s tail. However, this was obvious to Nairn too and with a required run rate of less than four an over needed they could dig in, block the good ball and attack the bad.
Ronan kicked off the bowling, deserved after his batting performance, but found the openers got on top of his line and length quickly. The outfield was concrete hard and fast, anything through the gaps in the field was likely to run for a boundary and it was hard work out there for Fort Augustus in the warm sun.
Ash Anjum at the other end of the track delivered another master class of contained bowling. It was accurate, quick and offered little for the openers to work with. He was eventually rewarded with the wicket of Woodward on 18.
Nairn were sitting on 23 and another quick wicket would give us the opportunity. Despite the best efforts of Ross Lavin, whose bowling was excellent, and another wicket falling from a of a nick behind (Davies 8)), the runs kept ticking up. Nilesh and DJ took over the bowling but were unable to make another breakthrough. Meanwhile, led by Dave Wolton, Nairn just kept moving the scoreboard, slowly but surely, with few risks being taken.
Even so, we were still in with a shout and it fell to Kev’s leg spin to make the next breakthrough, but it was all too little too late. Dave Wolton was still at the crease and was the danger man. He saw Nairn home with a six to put him on 66 not out. Fort Augustus lost by six wickets.
It was a frustrating loss. We never really put Nairn under pressure and didn’t perform at our best. Our batting and bowling line ups were strong but simply did not put enough runs on the board. Another day and it could have been a different story. A win would have left us with an outside chance to challenge for the league title. The loss has ruled that out.
However, we are still exceeding our hopes for our first season and there a huge number of positives to take from our previous performances. On to the next one.