Dhami deals fatal blows to County challenge
The bat ruled the ball in the last home match of the season for Forres St Lawrence on Saturday.
Forres eased past Ross County to move into second place in the league with just one match still to play.
Ross County skipper, Chris Blake, won the toss and decided his team would bat first. Opening batsman Graham Carney has been prolific in the last few weeks and it would be key to the hopes of Forres to limit his scoring along with the other opener, Peter Cowman. Fraser Merricks and Gus Farr formed the usual bowling attack for Forres and they kept things tidy until Merricks came off after four overs with a sore ankle. Carney then took Farr for ten off his next over, including a six over square leg, but he was lucky to still be at the crease as Farr got the ball to swing back at him and the ball squeaked over the top of the stumps on several occasions.
Steve Barron was called into the attack to good effect but Ross still managed 39 off the first ten overs and had 61 on the board by the time the fifteenth came up. A couple of maidens applied pressure and brought the breakthrough needed with David Durance replacing Barron (who changed ends) and bowling Cowman for 22.
Nuwan Eshwara replaced the opener and he really only needed to support Carney who, by now, was building his innings very nicely. He found the boundary regularly, including successive fours off Durance, but as the hundred came up Eshwara pulled across the line of a Barron delivery and was bowled for 15.
Kenny McWilliam was next in and he too supported the Carney innings as he moved towards his century. However, just before the 30th over things changed, scoring slowed and the introduction of Dhami into the attack brought the wicket of McWilliam, bowled for 11 with the score on 149.
Ross County had earlier looked well on course for a 220/240 total but that now looked less likely. However, there were still ten overs to go and Carney was still at the crease.James McWilliam was the new batsman. He got little of the strike but did manage to give Carney the ball to face when possible.
By the 40th over Carney seemed to wake up and he started to find the boundary again, helped in part by the return of the pace bowled by Gus Farr.
However, in the penultimate over, Farr had the last laugh and his just deserts for some unlucky bowling when he bowled Carney for 118.
Jerry Bishop and McWilliam saw their team to the close with Ross County finishing on 198 for 4.
In reply, Forres opened their innings with Nigel Gerrard and Pal Dhami.
The first few overs bowled by Cowman and Eshwara were quiet for Forres but then Dhami had the measure of the attack and even Gerrard started to play some enterprising and attacking shots so that by the tenth over 53 was on the board.
McWilliam replaced Cowman but this made little difference as the score progressed with little to trouble the batsmen.
No risk cricket was the order of the day and Dhami didn’t force the ball, stroking it for two or three runs with the hundred coming up in the 21st over. The Ross skipper brought himself on to bowl as well as Renato Belli with his slow line and length but the Forres batsmen were not to be bought so easily.
The score was well on its way to the 199 needed when Gerrard finally gave up his wicket caught behind off Belli for 48.
Derek Ross should have seen it through with 172 on the board but on 197 he was trapped LBW by James McWilliam.
Gus Farr came in for just one ball, which he saw from the non strikers end as fittingly Pal Dhami took the two runs necessary to win the match for Forres in the 37th over, finishing with an unbeaten 127.
This Saturday, Forres travel to Fochabers where they hope to take some of the shine off the 2014 league champions celebrations in the final league match of the season.