St Ronald arrived at Mineralwell last Saturday looking to get their season up and running following two cancelled matches already this season.
Stonehaven Thistle, having been taught a lesson last week by Crescent on how easy it can be to get taken to the cleaners, were on the back of two defeats.
Looking overcast and breezy, the captains assessed the wicket and tossed the coin, won by the visiting skipper, who inserted STCC into bat.
Judging by the recent form of the home batsmen, this had the look of being a quick cricket match. With a few alterations to the batting line up, the captain Ross Devlin moved himself up the batting order to open with D.Crozier.
The first two overs brought two maidens, neither batsmen playing anything close to an attacking shot. After 10 overs, STCC accelerated to 34 without loss, a steady start with many boundaries. At the 20 over mark, still without loss and many sixes later, the score has raced to 85 for no wicket, D.Crozier made his 50 playing some silky shots.
With the opening batsmen looking settled and relaxed, glimpses of the STCC of old are started to show. Frustrating the bowlers, Devlin and Crozier added another 103 runs leading up to the 30th over.
Crozier, now on a roll - having hit seven sixes and 14 fours by this point and Devlin reaching his 50 - St Ronald were on the back foot looking bereft of ideas. At 207 for no wicket in the middle of the 32nd over, Devlin was bowled for 57 by Coogan following a massive six.
The following over saw the wicket of Crozier, stumped for 138 off .A fantastic innings, applauded off the pitch by his team-mates, and to their credit, the opposition. David Crozier setting an individual high score of his playing career. Short cameos from N.King, and C.Mason quickly increased the total to 242 for four declared leaving A.Gale and O.Plummer not out.
Arshad and Coogan headed out to the square, looking to draw the game by reaching a total of 180, still a gigantic total for a team not known for their flamboyant batting style. C.Findlay opened the bowling from the Hill End, starting with a maiden. C.Hinchcliffe from the River End, clean bowled D.Coogan for a Golden Duck, first ball.
C.Findlay backed up the partnership from the opposite end with a wicket maiden, bowling the other opener Arshad, also for a duck.
With STCC pinning St Ronalds to two runs for two wickets from three overs, could the start get any better? C.Hinchcliffe struck again with the first ball of his second over to dismiss R.Munro, caught and bowled for two.
Without a doubt, St Ronald were now in deep trouble, looking for some kind of stability, J.Kingston and A.Mudie at the crease after less than four overs being bowled, managed to hang around until the 20th over taking the total to 44 runs. The partnership was broken with a catch off the bowling of N.King in his third over.
St Ronald attempted to “Park the Bus,” defending resolutely and adding only 27 runs in the next 10 overs. Mudie, with a solid defence, was reminiscent of a certain Mr Boycott!
The tight bowling of Findlay and N.King was much too good for the batsmen, but they were unable to get the breakthrough. A tactical change by Devlin brought on A.Long promptly taking the wicket of J.Thomson with an excellent catch by A.Gale. The hunt was now of for STCC to try and get the remaining five wickets in 19 overs.
St Ronald showed no sign of attack, with exception of the occasional loose delivery. The score now at 103 for five from 40 overs, tight bowling slowed down the run rate. A bowling change broke the resistance of Mudie for 29, from what seemed to be an age at the crease! Trying to play a cross bat shot but aiming for the mid-wicket boundary, he misjudged the pace and bounce and was bowled off his pads by G.Bonds.
One hundred and 12 for 6, far short of the draw activation total of 180, prompted the visitors to try to hit out, the only problem being that they were unable to connect!
With another wicket looming, the pace of A.Long accounted for Goulding for one, rearranging his stumps. King followed the script with his second wicket in the following over, dismissing M.Munro for nine with a juggled, but vital catch by A.Prothero in the deep.
Two balls of the match to go, and King, bowling, saw a suicidal attempt at a second run. Fittingly, skipper Devlin took advantage, bowling the ball down the track to run out the stranded batsman with a direct hit at the non-striker’s end. St Ronalds were all out with oneball of their allotted 54 overs remaining for 137.
One heck of a bounce back performance by STCC to secured a convincing win over St Ronald in excess of 100 runs.
The stand out performance by D.Crozier with his score of 138 cemented his claim to the captain’s man of the match.
Match ball sponsored by Station Hotel, Stonehaven.