Having a very good batsman in one’s side was lucidly revealed at the Northern Meeting Park, Inverness where Dave Dugdale of Northern Counties scored 14 more runs than the Elgin team put together.
The visitors chose to field and were soon under the cosh as Dugdale took a liking to their attack. He helped himself to three boundaries off J. McWilliam and a couple from the bowling of McCarthy. Such was the scoring rate, the home club reached 50 by the 9th over. Dugdale’s half-century came in 42 minutes and had included seven fours. Meanwhile, his teenage partner, MacDowall, was lending good support in a more restrained fashion.
The first six from Dugdale came off K. McWilliam as the ball soared over long on. Another off the same bowler crashed into the trees and the ball could not be found. Wimble was planted over mid on for four and the 100 opening partnership had arrived by the 22nd over; MacDowall’s contribution being but 14 runs.
Being somewhat partial to the bowling of K. McWilliam, Dugdale swept him for four and again hoisted him for six in the same direction as his previous two. On 115, MacDowall, after batting in a very solid manner, was adjudged leg before to K. McWilliam who ought to have accepted a return catch from the first delivery Smith faced. In his following over, he again grassed a chance off his own bowling from the bat of Dugdale, who was then spilled at mid wicket by his son, Jordan.
Just when it appeared the Counties’ captain was destined to reach three figures, he tried to sweep Hawkins and the ball lobbed gently off the back of his bat into the gloves of E. Fairgrieve. It had been an outstanding knock in which he notched 10 fours and 3 sixes.
The spate of dropped catches had now set in, as D. Fairgrieve, after two bites of the cherry, missed Ireland at short cover. He in turn being spilled by S. Fairgrieve at mid wicket. On 140, Smith was taken at gully off Hawkins who had to witness K. McWilliam give Ireland a third life. A full toss from the same bowler was swatted over long on for six by Eshwara, while the same treatment was dished out to Wimble. At last, K. McWilliam remembered the benefits of the product called Bostik as he clung on to a catch from the bat of Ireland.
A second victim for Hawkins but, in the same over, he was struck for six by Eshwara and four by Cronin. The McWilliam combination saw the end of Cronin as father took a good running catch at long off from his son’s bowling. The very next delivery saw Eshwara guide it into the hands of Hawkins at point.
Latimer, from the off, put bat to ball and along with Thomas added 28 runs before the latter was well pouched by Wimble at gully off McCarthy. Lean played on to the same bowler and a final total of 211 for 8 appeared too high a target for their opponents to chase down.
The reply got off to the worst, possible start as D. Fairgrieve spooned a simple ctach to Thomas at mid wicket off Mills who then had his son, Euan, leg before. By over 10, Elgin had only mustered 9 runs and there was virtually no hope from then onwards.
Very refreshing to see S. Fairgrieve adopt an aggressive approach from the outset. He pinged Mills to the long leg boundary and hit her over mid off for six; in but one over he had doubled the total.
He picked up a few twos and then pulled Ireland past mid on for four. A ball from Thomas lifted more than expected and the batsman could only steer it to the waiting hands of Ireland at mid wicket – 41 for 3.
The 50 arrived in the 19th over and the following one saw Major edge Thomas for four. However, he presented Latimer with a comfortable catch at cover off Ireland and next to depart was K. McWilliam. The ball came off his gloves and was excellently caught by a diving Eshwara in the gully.
All along, Wimble had appeared quite at ease albeit not producing many attacking shots. Another fine catch by Thomas at two-thirds square leg saw Hawkins pavilion bound. After defying the home bowlers for 28 overs, Wimble, trying to cut, faint edged to Dugdale behind. Duncan was bowled by Eshwara and the final act of aggression saw J. McWilliam pull Lean for four. The next ball had his stumps disturbed. Into over 33 and an edge from Sadler was taken by the keeper.
A mere four boundaries and one maximum off nearly 200 balls was rather disappointing to say the least. It was the same old story due to the majority of the batsmen being out to poor shot selection. Unless Elgin defeat Huntly tomorrow at the Cooper Park, they could again finish bottom of the league.
BELL’S MAN OF THE MATCH: Once more a very easy choice in the form of Dugdale. A consistent run-getter and I like his positive approach to batting. This innings certainly puts him in contention for the quaich for the best individual performance as seen by yours truly in his reporting capacity. As regards Elgin, S. Fairgrieve showed how the ball can be dispatched and not just defensively prodded. Wimble played the anchor role but other than the aforementioned, didn’t find anyone who could stay in the middle long enough with him.
Northern Counties 211 for 8 (D. Dugdale 99; N. Eshwara 23; M. Latimer 20 not out)
C. McCarthy 2 – 31; C. Hawkins 2- 37; J. McWilliam 2- 40
Elgin 85 all out (S.Fairgrieve 30; R. Wimble 25) 5pts
J. Mills 2- 19; S. Thomas 2- 19; N. Ireland 2- 31