METHLICK 1st XI recorded a comprehensive seven-wicket victory over newcomers Knightriders in Saturday’s fixture.
It was Methlick’s first look at the newly-promoted side from Grade 3, coming with a reputation as a team of big-hitters, whose recent performances have been proof of this.
Sitting one place above Methlick in the league it was also the first test against a team vying for a promotion slot. However, this would have been Knightrider’s first experience of a pretty decent bowling attack, even without the injured Murphy and the absent Acton.
The outfield clearly hadn’t seen a mower in a few weeks and runs along the ground were going to be at a premium.
Losing the toss the Aberdeen side had first go at batting and little was given away on the brand new artificial surface in the first three overs, despite two huge appeals for leg before.
First to strike was Brian Anderson clean bowling Nishad for two. The following over, Maxfield got Somu to lift an easy catch to Kennedy in the covers for a duck and two balls later clean bowled opener Rowan for two. A total of 3 for 8 in five overs was certainly not the start that Knightriders were looking for.
Mohan then started to swing the bat and punished a couple of loose deliveries from Anderson and the scoreboard started to accelerate. However one too many effusive swings across the line gave Maxfield another wicket, clean bowling him for 22 with the score on 52 for 3.
The introduction of Kennedy and Addison into the attack brought the scoring rate to a grinding halt with the immediate wicket of the effusive Siva, playing around an alarmingly swinging ball from Kennedy, who then also had the incoming Bala LBW’d for a duck.
Despite a spell of fierce resistance and some tail end hitting, there was little left in the batting armoury, and Addison dealt the coup de grace with Knightriders losing their last wicket and ending up with a below par 106 all out.
The pick of the bowling was Maxfield with 3 for 23 and Kennedy, 4 for 22.
Knightriders opened with some very penetrative bowling, although skipper Anderson managed to connect with a couple of big hits in his first over, and Woodhouse grimly held on hoping to see off the new ball.
Unfortunately a sweetly struck on-drive from Anderson was expertly taken on his follow through by Chella for the first Methlick wicket.
The next dozen overs were hard work, even for the normally exuberant Saward, and the scoring rate was only a circumspect two an over - not helped at all by the cloying outfield.
Finally the first bowling change came and a loose delivery to Saward hinted at the opportunity for a chink in the Knightriders armour. However, Woodhouse pulling a short-pitched ball was run-out to an accurate throw from the deep going for a second run.
Kennedy then came into the attack with little regard for the length of the grass and started spraying the bowling to all quarters. With Saward playing the holding role, with a hint of a glance to the battle of the averages, the scoring rate moved up to eight an over. Kennedy reached his half century from 26 balls and the winning post was in sight when he mistimed a hook to be caught in the deep for 60.
Murphy had to come on for a nervous couple of overs but some sloppy wide bowling took Methlick over the line for an emphatic seven-wicket victory.
Another big win for the men from Lairds saw them moving up to second in the table, with only the rusty, early season defeat against Banchory keeping them from the top spot. The season looks as though it will be a straight race between Methlick and St Ronalds with the head-to-head games being the deciding factor.
Next Sunday will give them a chance to test each other’s abilities when they meet in the Bon Accord Cup. Before that MCC will have to overcome Gordonians at Lairds following the early season slaughtering at Countesswells.