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Forres St Lawrence see off Fort Augustus in latest Highland Club North of Scotland Cricket Association League match at Grant Park

By Carolyn Farr

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A solid performance with bat and ball gave Forres full points against Fort Augustus at Grant Park on Saturday with a 108 run win against the Lochaber side.

Asked to bat first, Forres made a slow start to their innings with Nigel Gerrard involved in a collision with the keeper which resulted in him retiring hurt after only 7 overs.

Fraser Merricks replaced Gerrard playing the conditions well with his skipper Pal Dhami. The Fort Augustus opening bowlers played their part too, keeping to a tight line and it was only once they were replaced that Forres were able to put their foot on the accelerator.

With 70 on the board after 20 overs drinks were taken, the run rate stepping up from this point. A couple of erratic overs from Shepherd helped the Forres total but also saw Merricks flash at a delivery which was caught by McNeil in the covers, falling for 45, and he was swiftly followed back to the pavilion by Dhami who was given LBW for 45.

Gus Farr soon had the score board moving with the support of the Saints middle order, in particular Javed Aziz and Derek Ross, but when Farr was bowled for 37 by Lavin, going for a big heave, the scoring fell away, finally closing the innings on 177 off 40 overs.

The Fort Augustus innings did not give the visitors much cheer. Merricks and Darren Lamb took the new ball and enjoyed the experience as they got swing from the off although the first wicket came from a direct hit from Dhami who threw down the stumps from mid on, removing Pote for 1.

Fellow opener Lavin edged a Lamb delivery to Gerrard at slip and the visitors were 2 for 2 off 4.

Next over Jennings fell for a duck, LBW off Merricks who then had Peers well caught at slip by Gus Farr first ball. Fort Augustus now sat at 2 for 4 off 5.

McNeil played a steady defensive innings at 4 so when number 6, Crasto, was also caught at slip (Gerrard off Merricks for 2) things looked utterly bleak. The next ball Vaidya poked at another Merricks delivery which was snapped up by Gus Farr in the slips and the score board read 11 for 6 off 11.

Youngster Varma finally provided some support for McNeil as they built a partnership which took them to 41, at which point McNeil could not resist the spin of Olivia McGhee. He came down the track to loft the ball to Dhami at mid-on for a well fought 21.

Tim Long struck a few lusty blows before falling LBW to Aziz for 9, Shepherd logged a duck and Varma was left short of his crease chasing a second run, Dhami firing the ball to keeper Ian Roberts to remove Varma for 25.

The visitors had stumbled along to 69 all out off 34 overs. Fine figures for Merricks and Lamb, 4 for 11 and 2 for 11 respectively.

This Saturday Forres travel to Strathpeffer for the final of the Knockout Cup where they take on top-of-the-table Northern Counties.

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