Last Saturday Stonehaven Thistle 1st XI were hosts to Academy for a Grade 2 match.
Skipper Devlin lost the toss, and was asked to bat first. Academy’s opening bowler Valentine soon took advantage of the conditions, bowling with good pace and swing.
The opening batsmen had to play carefully, but in the 5th over Valentine found D. Crozier’s outside edge, and he was caught behind for 4. Bonds was bowled soon after for 0, giving Valentine a second wicket maiden, and leaving Thistle on 18 for 2. S. Crozier then joined the captain and dug in for a display of dogged defiance.
After 13 overs the opening bowlers were given a rest and it looked like the batsmen had weathered the storm successfully with the score at 33 for 2. However, Academy had more bowlers waiting to use the favourable conditions, and in his first over Khan bowled Devlin for 11 runs. Gouws stuck around for a few overs and was looking solid until he was out, caught off the bowling of Khan.
Nigel King then joined Crozier, and the two veterans put on a useful partnership in their contrasting styles. King hit several brutal boundaries over the bowler’s head while Crozier was happy to rotate the strike by scoring singles. The fielders became very defensive as King gave a masterclass in aggressive stroke-play, and the game was starting to turn Thistle’s way. King was looking more and more confident until a leg-side delivery deflected off his pad onto the stumps, and he was out for 18 valuable runs.
Hay then made his return, batting for the 1st XI for the first time in several years. He looked in no trouble and was very unlucky to be run out by a direct hit from mid-off. Wathern then came to the crease and was bowled by Khan for 0.
Lyall then joined Crozier and sensibly played himself in, supporting Crozier with good running and calling. Crozier was then deceived by a slow ball from Majeed, caught and bowled for 25. Hinchcliffe was next to bat, and along with Lyall put on a useful partnership of 25 runs. Taking every opportunity to score runs these two played very positively. Unfortunately Hinchcliffe suffered a decisive injury avoiding a high full-toss, and was unable to run for the rest of the match.
With the score at 104 for 8 Lyall was bowled for a very bright 12, and Findlay was bowled in the next over without scoring. The score of 104 in less than 40 overs was disappointing, and with the sun coming out it looked like a difficult total to defend, especially with the injury to Hinchcliffe.
With one of his opening bowlers unavailable and a wicket that was known to be turning, the captain decided to experiment with the leg-spin of D. Crozier alongside Findlay. Unfortunately Academy’s opening batsmen (especially Chundi) showed no fear of spin bowling, and attacked anything that was not a perfect length.
Gouws came on and bowled some useful deliveries, but was also unable to stem the flow of runs, so the captain turned to King. Along with Findlay he applied some pressure, and in King’s second over he bowled Reddy for 20. Soon afterwards Findlay had Chundi caught by Hay taking an excellent catch at mid-off.
With the opening batsmen out Academy looked much less confident, and were unable to maintain the positive start. King and Findlay were both unlucky not to take more wickets, but with such a low total to defend it was only a matter of time before the Academy batsmen overhauled the target.
Despite the loss there were some positives to be taken from the game. The fielding of Hay and D. Crozier were exceptional, the batting of King, Hichcliffe and Lyall were very positive, and the bowling of Findlay and King.