METHLICK 1st XI were back in action after two weeks of frustrating inactivity due to rain. With the last match against Gordonians providing little more resistance than a net session, they were understandably rusty but eager to play.
The weather had relented sufficiently, with the help of the covers, to provide a relatively decent playing surface. The home side were keen to atone for their early season loss to visitors Banchory, the only points dropped so far, but in the end had to settle for a draw.
Removing the covers revealed a dry wicket apart from a tricky patch on a batting length at the river end, and losing the toss Methlick were put in to bat.
Skipper Anderson, with a niggling back injury, had moved himself lower in the order to accommodate our Spanish exile, Jason Peet, playing his usual one game of the year, but Methlick had on show one of their strongest batting line ups of the season.
Woodhouse and Kennedy opened and after the first testing had little to show on the scoreboard.
Then Kennedy unleashed, dispatching the ball to all parts and it became a costly exercise with Banchory having to replace balls lost in the Ythan.
Woodhouse played a supporting role and Kennedy continued the assault and was soon receiving accolades for a belligerent 50. Matters took a turn for the worse when Woodhouse, with a burst of pace to take a smart single, suffered a pulled hamstring and required the assistance of a runner.
Kennedy continued in the same aggressive frame until completely missing a full toss and was bowled for 70.
Dangerous Adrian Saward then came into the fray and by this time Woodhouse was picking up the pace until, on 49, went for another drive against Wilkinson and was caught in the deep.
By this time the score had moved on to 160 for 2 and the arrival of Murphy in the middle the game had two of Methlick’s finest at the crease and plenty of overs to play with.
Anderson intended to play until the 43rd over to maximize points in the event of a draw, but with the score on 205 for 2 after just over 41 overs, the rain decided to teem down and a halt was called to the proceedings and tea was taken with the MCC declaration.
After tea the covers had only partially saved the wicket and there was an amount of soaking up to do.
Despite this, Banchory agreed to continue and gamely attempted to keep Saward and Peet at bay, despite losing early wickets for few runs. The game seemed in the bag but Wilkinson and some older heads steadied the ship.
With eight overs to go and two wickets needed all seemed lost for the visitors, but a combination of some doggedness and less than accurate bowling saw them almost over the line until Addison struck with the penultimate ball.
The last batsmen were surrounded by fielders for the final delivery but managed to survive, and Banchory held out at 116 for 9. The wickets were shared with a couple each for Kennedy, Saward and Peet.
Methlick had taken the majority of the points and with top side, St. Ronalds, being held to a draw by Gordonians, the gap between first and second has shortened.
The two sides finally meet in the league at Laird’s on Saturday, but only a win will take Methlick to the top spot.