Cricketers secure T20 trophy for fourth year on the trot.
Easier access to your trusted, local news. Have a look at our digital subscription packages!
It was a funny old weekend for cricket with heavy rain spoiling the game on Saturday and strong winds creating problems on Sunday at the finals of the senior T20 competition but Forres came home with a trophy after some very disciplined cricket.
The league match on Saturday featured Forres hosting Highland in what is always a tight and competitive match.
With both teams vying for the top of the table, Highland won the toss and asked Forres to bat first.
There was a good display from the batsmen, with Pal Dhami and Nigel Gerrard opening the innings as usual.
They added 55 before Gerrard edged the ball behind off Crabtree for 10.
Gus Farr kept things going with his skipper but was caught out by Natarajan for five after a 31-run partnership.
David Durance also picked up five but he had to do without his skipper who was well caught by Smith for 64.
Once Durance was out at 115 for 4, Steve Barron and Al Farr kept the runs flowing with the team finishing on 167 after 45 overs.
After tea the rain started to drizzle but Smith and Crabtree dug in and after 16 overs had 47 on the board. However, rain forced them off the field and despite efforts to get back on to complete the innings, the game was abandoned with no result possible.
So all eyes turned to Sunday and the T20 finals day hosted by Elgin in Cooper Park.
Three games took place in a round robin format and first up were Forres against Highland.
It is hard to say how much the high winds affected the cricket but it gave the players something else to factor in, especially with bowling and catching which was very difficult with the ball swirling around.
The Inverness side were scrappy, although most batsmen contributed. Tight bowling and fielding made it hard for Highland to set a challenging total and they were all out in the 20th over for 118.
Rob Nixon top scored with 42 and Varun Natarajan scored 23 before he was run out but four late wickets from Gus Farr stopped any momentum from the Highland side.
In reply Dhami took control from the start. He opened with Al Farr who managed two runs before being caught behind, bringing Gus Farr to join Dhami. This pair love batting together in the T20 format and made the most of it as they coolly chased down the Highland total, winning in the 16th over. Dhami was 61 not out, Farr 46.
In the next game Highland played Buckie with the latter running out winners, which set up the final match of Forres v Buckie.
It came as something of a surprise when Buckie failed to get any sort of a total. With Corsie out off the second ball of the innings, Buckie were on the back foot immediately.
Barry Newlands and G Shah both went on 18 and soon afterwards skipper Andy Ballantyne was on his way too. Forres were waiting for the fightback but it just didn’t come and the Buckie innings struggled along to 47 all out in the 14th over.
Fraser Merricks had struck with four wickets for only 15.
Forres made hard work of the chase. Dhami was out in the first over for four but Al Farr came up trumps with a defiant 25 which made it hard for Forres not to win.
Rain threatened to cause an upset as the teams had to come off the field but once it cleared Buckie sportingly came out to finish the game rather than try to force the game to be replayed on another day.
Gus Farr was run out for 12 and there were a nervous few overs when Gerrard was LBW without scoring but Barron and Merricks got the team across the winning line in the eighth over.
Forres have now won the James Kemp T20 trophy for the last four seasons.
The reserve side were also in action on Sunday in a T20 game at Nairn.
Although short of players, the side still turned out with nine and gave Nairn a run for their money.
They made 77 in their 20 overs, with Gavin Ross top scoring with 25 not out.
Nairn took 18 overs to pass the total, with all of the Forres bowlers chipping in. Andy Merricks took two for 11. A great effort from the lads who turned out.
This Saturday it’s back to league action as the senior side have a game at Fochabers.