Forres well stumped by new champions
IN THE FINAL league game of the season, Forres travelled to Fochabers, who are already crowned league champions for 2014, and came away second best on the day.
Losing the toss, the visitors were asked to bowl on a damp artificial wicket with an under-strength bowling attack, but they plugged away and put in a good performance.
Opener Archie Houldsworth was disposed of quickly by David Durance, who trapped him leg before wicket in the second over.
Then Chris Woodward top-edged a cross- batted shot to Adam Ferguson at square leg, and Durance had his second wicket, finally finding the form he has lacked for much of the season.
This left Fochabers with the father and son combination of Milind and Aditya Mehta, the latter playing the pivotal innings for Fochabers.
Aditya built his innings and paced it well, but his father was more sedate, and by the time he fell, caught by Gus Farr on the boundary off Pal Dhami, he had taken a long time to score his 24 runs.
H. Mandal was next but his partnership did not last long as Mehta junior was bowled by Steve Barron for 51 with the score on 98.
Mandal was joined by Adam Stockwell but again this was partnership didn’t last long as Mandal fell victim to a Tony Farr special and was lbw for six.
Now came another important innings as Dan Davidson came to the crease. He played in a no nonsense way, worked the ball, and took the runs with Stockwell until the latter struck the ball to Dhami on the mid-off boundary and Barron had his wicket for 21.
Mark Stockwell was next in but he only scraped two runs before he was bowled by Barron on 158.
Davidson lasted another six runs but was undone by another Barron delivery when he was caught at cover by Dawan for 29.
Gareth Morgan helped to add another 16 runs by the end of the innings, which closed on 179 after the 45 overs. Steve Barron finished with four for 46.
Pal Dhami and Nigel Gerrard opened the batting for Forres and kept things quiet for a while as the score struggled towards 30 off the first 10 overs.
It was this sort of pressure that brought the first wicket. Gerrard set off for a non-existent run, was turned back by Dhami, and found himself run out for four.
Gus Farr was number three and looked comfortable, although the scoring was still on the slow side, but then he flapped at the ball and heard the timbers rattle as he was out for 13 and the total on 62.
Then disaster struck when Barron was trapped lbw by Arnav Mehta first ball and suddenly the Forres tail looked long.
Pal Dhami battled away, but the bowling was tight and Forres lost wickets regularly.
On 70, David Durance was bowled by Mandal, and soon afterwards Al Farr did not get enough on a Mandal delivery and was caught on the boundary for zero.
When Dhami went after the bowling of Mandal it seemed just a question of time until it all ended and he holed out on 59, leaving the tail to see if it could wag.
The only bright spot was the last partnership between veteran Tony Farr and thirteen-year-old Tommy McGrath who saw out four overs between them. The end came when Farr was lbw to Mandal and Forres were all out for 98.
Not the sort of performance Forres would have wanted before the cup final but with the game played on the neutral Gordonstoun pitch it will be all to play for on Saturday.