THE word sweltering is not often used in the North-east but that was what it was like on Saturday at Gordon Park, where the Ellon first X1 were hosting St Ronald’s in their Grade 1 fixture.
The home side eased to victory in the heatwave conditions and remain unbeaten, sitting proudly at the top of the table.
S White, the Ellon captain, won the toss and invited St Ronald’s to bat on what looked like a good batting wicket.
Ellon opened the bowling with Greenfield at the school end ,who had left his cricket boots at home and will receive a substantial fine for this error. St Ronald’s opened with Haider and Bode.
The first over resulted in eight runs with Haider punishing any loose balls. At the River end Wade bowled a tidy over with only five runs coming off it.
The wicket was proving to be on the side of the batsmen and St Ronald’s openers punished any loose deliveries to the boundary and the run rate was alarmingly high. However, with Greenfield and Wade being replaced by White and Aman the run rate slowed up. And with the score on 45, Haider called his captain for a second run and an excellent throw by M White to the wicket keeper resulted in Bode walking back to the pavilion.
In came Bhajar and another unwise call for a second run by Haider resulted in Bhajar returning to the pavilion A Parks the fielder responsible for the second run out. St Ronald’s were two wickets down for 48.
A Modie joined Haider at the wicket and tried his best to stop the fall of wickets, this resulted in the run rate slowing up and the pressure was beginning to mount on the batting team.
Barrett who had replaced Aman at the River end claimed the wicket of Modie in his first over, who was caught by Procter at mid off for eights. Twenty overs had been bowled at St Ronald’s were 91 for 3.
With Barrett bowling with great guile the St Ronald’s batsman were struggling and it was only Haider who was pushing the score along and lady luck was certainly on his side.
However, in the 25 over Amir who contributed 10 runs was plumb LBW off the bowling of Barrett and two balls later Gundra was caught by Aman at deep mid on. Barrett’s bowling figures read 3 for 13.
The Ellon captain, S White shuffled his bowlers around and Greenfield who had now replaced the captain at the School end claimed the important wicket Haider who was caught by Aman at deep square leg.
With the sixth wicket down, Ellon were looking to remove the remaining batsmen quickly however, Tiwari had different ideas and played an aggressive innings. Jiju who batting at number 8 did not trouble the bowlers too much as he was cleaned bowled by Barrett for eight.
Amari played with confidence but when Tiwari was caught behind off the bowling of S White Ellon were confident of finishing the innings off. Thaker was run out by Barrett for one, Aman being the fielder and White had Bala lbw for 0. Amari remained unbeaten on 15. Tea was taken which was again kindly supplied by the Station Hotel. Ellon needed 170 to win.
Ellon openers were Davies and Aman, whilst Tiwari and Amari opened the bowling for the visitors. The wicket was holding up well and the Ellon openers played themselves in, however disaster struck in the fifth over when Davis was caught behind with nine on the score board.
Barrett joined Aman and they very slowly built a solid partnership, sadly they had to put up with a lot of appeals which were all turned down by the umpires.
The visitors’ captain alternated his bowling attack as much as he could, but Aman and Barrett slowly chipped away at the runs. Aman who was playing with great confidence was the more aggressive of the pair and was richly applauded when he reached his 50.
With the partnership standing at 104 runs and the scoreboard at 114 Barrett was bowled in the 31st over. His contribution was 44 runs. However, Ellon still needed 56 runs to win and it was imperative that we did not have a batting collapse.
This was not the case, as S White joined Aman and they built another partnership. All through the innings the St Ronald’s bowlers had bowled a tight line and both batsmen waited patiently for the bad ball which they dispatched for runs. By the 40th over Aman was creeping towards his century and a discussion between captain and possible centurion took place, rightly they agreed victory was the more important.
The victory came in the 44th over when S White smashed the St Ronald’s captain for four.
Ellon remained unbeaten and claimed another 30 points and sit proudly at the top of the league table. Let’s hope they can continue in this manner and bring the trophy home in August. It would be a fitting way for Ellon to celebrate their 150th anniversary.
St Ronald’s Batting:
Haider Ct Aman Greenfield 76
Bode runout (M White) 17
Bhajar run out ( Parks 3
Modie Ct Procter Barrett 8
Amir Bowled Barrett 10
Gundra Ct Aman Barrett 0
Tiwari Ct Davies S White 28
JIju Bowled Barrett 6
Amari NOT OUT 15
Thaker Run out (Aman) 1
Bala LBW S White 0
Greenfield 1 for 39 off 7
Wade 0 for 37 off 9
White 2 for 28 off 9.2
Aman 0 for 22 off 5
Barrett 4 for 43 off 12