FORRES St Lawrence claimed their third league title in six years on Saturday, September 9 when they took full points against Elgin at Grant Park.
Having started the season with no expectations of silverware, 2017 has turned out to be a bumper year for the Forres side. No one was quite sure what part the weather would play in the game, conditions underfoot were damp as the fixture got underway.
Elgin opted to bowl first against the Forres opening pair of Pal Dhami and Nigel Gerrard and it looked like a good decision as the Forres batsmen found runs hard to come by.
The long outfield didn’t help matters either as the ball refused to run. Despite this Forres plugged away and after a quiet start, only 26 off the first ten overs, the scoring started to pick up a little and the opening pair got to grips with the Elgin attack which was led by Lavvery and youngster Connor McCarthy who was getting the ball to move away nicely.
The bowlers were changed and Kevin Fraser and Thomas Cameron came on just as Forres stepped up the pace a little although the batsmen were getting no value for their shots, what should have run for boundaries were sticking for two’s. Still, it would be the same for both sides so Dhami and Gerrard got on with it although Dhami got a life when McWilliam couldn’t hold on to catch in slip off Fraser in the nineteenth over.
As the twenty overs passed Forres had moved on to 65 and with wickets still in the hutch they could afford to play their shots and eventually this was how Gerrard perished as he gifted a ball to Dave Fairgrieve at gully shortly after the drinks break. A solid 22 from Gerrard was his contribution to the 87 run partnership with his skipper. Only twelve more runs were added until David Durance swiped at a high delivery from the returning Lavvery and gloved it to Euan Fairgrieve behind the sticks.
Once more Gus Farr got off to a flyer, sharing a 25 run partnership, but once again the push for runs saw him run out for eleven. With 124 on the board in the 32nd over Forres had plenty of time to get a minimum of 150 and could push towards the two hundred mark, setting Elgin a tough target. Dhami was looking well set and new batsman Dan Harris was up for some of the action. As Elgin shuffled their bowlers Dhami moved up a gear and went aerial but Elgin fought back, removing Harris for 8 on 154. Jon Benn was in the mood for batting and played some nice shots which again did not get the value they deserved.
As the score moved past 180 Forres were pushing hard for runs with the rain now falling steadily and it was as the weather deteriorated that Dhami lost his wicket, run out as he chased runs to give his side the best chance in the game. His 117 had been hard work due to the conditions and some tidy bowling but it leaves him with a league average of 155. Al Farr came in for just one ball before the umpires took the players off the field for rain but once play was resumed he edged the ball through to the keeper off McCarthy. Once again Steve Barron was hitting the ball well but toed one off McCarthy which was caught at mid off by Rick Wimble for 4. By now the last few overs were underway and Derek Ross and Jon Benn got their side past two hundred, notching up 210 by the end of the 45th over, Benn 18 not out, Ross 11.
Elgin had been set a tough target which got much harder for them when the Forres opening bowlers had pinned them down to only nine runs off the initial ten overs, Derek Ross and Gus Farr keeping things tight with the ball. Dave Fairgrieve and Rick Wimble defended their wickets stoutly but the pressure told when Forres replaced Farr with Barron and he got an edge off Wimble which was well taken by Ian Roberts behind the sticks. Only twenty on the board for Elgin as Sam Fairgrieve came in to bat in the fourteenth over. Elgin picked up a few runs and Sam Fairgrieve was playing a few shots when he sent one through mid wicket which was snapped up by Gus Farr giving Adam Ferguson his first wicket. One brother was replaced by another, Euan Fairgrieve now joining his father but it was a short lived partnership as Fairgrieve snr turned the ball round the corner only to see the ball settle in the hands of Nigel Gerrard. The new batsman was Henry Lavvery who got off the mark pretty quickly and gave the Elgin innings some impetus as the total passed the fifty mark and neither batsman could be tempted by the Forres bowling. It was a mistake of their own doing that brought the wicket of Lavvery who called for a run which his partner did not respond to leaving Lavvery well out of his ground, top scoring on15, leaving Elgin on 63 for 4. After this Al Farr, making an unexpected bowling appearance, lured Fairgrieve into a swipe which was taken by the keeper to take the fifth wicket. A big six from Thomas Cameron off Farr and the bowler was removed from the attack bringing Barron back on. Jon Benn had one more victim before packing his bowing boots away for the winter, Fraser came down the track looking for a big shot but the ball whisked past him and Ian Roberts removed the bails with the batsman well out of his ground. Steve Barron mopped up another two wickets but the final one went to Adam Ferguson who had tail-ender Sadler caught behind leaving Elgin all out for 88. Steve Barron finished with 4 for 18.
A successful season for the Saints who backed up the league title win with winning the T20 trophy. Once again the club fielded a reserve side on a Sunday as well as carrying on with junior coaching. 2017 has been a good year for the club.