Forres St Lawrence to host title decider with Northern Counties after Ross County victory
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FORRES St Lawrence will host a title decider against Northern Counties on Saturday after beating Ross County at the weekend.
Ross County came to Grant Park aiming to knock Forres off the top of the table, but a tight game ended in a nine run win for the home side.
Asked to bat first, the Forres openers were under pressure straight away with the ball moving in bowler friendly conditions.
Gerrard and Dhami were just settling in when Gerrard stepped across his stumps, giving County their first wicket with 30 on the board.
Magnus McGhee never looked settled and was soon on his way, another LBW victim, bringing Gus Farr in to join Dhami.
They saw off the opening bowlers and were then treated to the short pitched bowling of Clement who dished up some wild stuff whilst Moxon bowled steady in-swing which paid dividends.
On 75, Forres lost Farr, who edged one behind off Clement and next batsman, Ellwood, lasted only a few balls before a straight one from Moxon saw him off.
A bit of a wobble from Forres and it could have been a quick end but Al Farr batted sensibly with Dhami, allowing the senior batsman to accumulate.
With the fielders pushed out for Dhami, he was picking up ones and twos but the score was moving upwards and the hundred was on the board when Farr missed another straight one from Moxon and was bowled for eight.
Steve Barron was in and out quickly followed by Jon Benn who held up an end for long enough to take Forres to 121 until he too fell to Moxon.
The final few wickets saw Dhami bowled for 64 as his batting partners ran out and the innings closed on 124 all out in the 35th over.
Moxon finished with six for 16 as Forres were left to ponder how they were going to make the most of what they had.
The buoyant County openers played a maiden first over off Farr. Lamb took the ball next over and found he too was getting swing. Third ball bowled Morgan, leaving the visitors on 1 for 0.
They sent their big gun in next, Clement, ready to savage the bowling. A tame single and a couple of wild swipes saw his frustration grow and when he skied the ball off Farr he watched as Dhami settled himself under the ball to take the catch.
Hardwick followed and some order was restored to the County batting as he and Scott waited to see off the opening bowlers.
Ellwood replaced Farr after 10 overs and the batsmen clearly thought the pressure was off. Scott carted the ball to deep midwicket where Gerrard held on to a good catch off the bowling of Ellwood.
Then two balls later Hardwick edged onto his pads sending the ball through to his stumps leaving his side on 26 for 4.
A maiden from Lamb kept the pressure right on the new batsmen, Carney and Blake, which intensified when Carney limply popped the ball back to Ellwood for a caught and bowled.
Things got even worse for the visitors when Lamb had a final flourish and bowled Blake, Ross County were 31 for 6.
Singh and Collins were rushed to the crease and could only prod at the ball as they fought to keep their team in the game but run by run they edged the score forward, allowing their shots to come more freely as the pressure was released.
Just as things were looking bleak for Forres, Barron got the breakthrough: Collins got an edge through to keeper Roberts ending his 21 run innings.
It felt that it was just a matter of time now but Singh was not giving up. His partnership with Moxon had taken them to 80 when Lamb took a diving catch off Barron to remove Moxon but Forres needed to see the end of Singh.
The ninth wicket fell on 98, bowled by the returning Gus Farr but still Singh was picking up runs to edge his team on towards the 125 needed.
In the 42nd over, with a hint of desperation, Barron bowled his final over. The scoreboard was on 115 and Singh settled down to repeat the shot he had just played for two.
Barron bowled a yorker, Singh missed and the stumps cartwheeled out of the ground leaving Forres with a nine-run win. Singh closed with 43 hard fought runs but not quite enough to finish Forres off.
The last game of the season is a winner takes all game. On Saturday, Forres will host Northern Counties at Grant Park. The winner will win the league.