A hard-working Fraserburgh side challenged Grade 2’s runaway leaders Inverurie, yet were on the wrong side of a five-wicket win.
The day began with Fraserburgh Captain Mark Ironside winning the toss, and choosing to bowl.
The Inverurie openers started quickly, scoring a few boundaries from the first couple of overs. Then the opening bowlers teamed up to make the initial breakthrough. Fraser Lawrance caught Anderson (12) off of the bowling of Christopher Gospel.
A second wicket fell soon after, this time with Craig Parkin taking a brilliant catch at short leg, again from the bowling of Gospel to dismiss Norval for 12.
Any hopes Inverurie had of a big partnership were dashed almost immediately, as in the next over Lawrance bowled Murrison for 22.
This left regular openers Coutts and Hadden to de-moralise the Fraserburgh bowlers, both reaching half-centuries and together hitting several huge sixes.
Their partnership would eventually last 28 overs, so when Gospel took his third and final wicket of the day, the damage had already been done.
Ryan Duthie took the catch that left Coutts on his way back to the pavilion having made 53. Hadden kept strike for most of the remaining few overs, however Lawrance did manage to take his second wicket of the day – and Parkin his second catch – dismissing Morrison for just 1. Inverurie finished on 185-5, meaning the Fraserburgh would have to produce their best batting performance of the season to get a result.
Unfortunately, Fraserburgh’s chances were not helped by Fraser Lawrance’s early departure due to work commitments, meaning that he did not bat, and Fraserburgh were essentially a wicket down before they had even begun.
Michael Watson and Craig Parkin opened the batting as per normal for Fraserburgh, but they just couldn’t match the quick start made by the Inverurie. Parkin was trapped lbw by Coutts for 1 run in the 8th over.
Coutts then took two further wickets - those of Ironside (lbw, 0) and Nathan Ross (bowled, 9). Further misery followed for Fraserburgh as Stuart Flowerdew was run out for a duck. Ewan took two wickets in the same over, dismissing Gospel for 4 and Ross Smith for 0 (both caught).
Ewan’s final wicket was that of Tim Gillies, who was also caught for naught. There seemed to be some resistance when Alan Rennie took to the crease, but he could only make 9 before a controversial lbw decision went against him.
Watson had opened the batting, and was there for the final partnership with Ryan Duthie. Watson had steadily and confidently been scoring runs, being in the late 30s when Duthie joined him. Ryan did his job well, defending in the main at one end while Watson began to increase his run rate.
Fraserburgh had seemed completely out of the game, but some excellent shots – and several sixes of his own – gave hope to the Fraserburgh supporters watching on the sidelines that the may be able to salvage something.
The partnership lasted around 10 overs, but gained more than 60 runs. Duthie just wandered slightly out of his crease when playing a standard defensive shot and was stumped.
Watson ended on 95 – more than doubling Fraserburgh’s highest individual score of the season, which had previously stood at 46.
The day ended in disappointment at the result, but Fraserburgh – and in particular Parkin and Watson – can be proud that they put up a good showing against an Inverurie team that had dominated so far this year.
Parkin contributed one good catch and one outstanding catch, and Watson can justifiably be delighted with his performance.
These factors will have given Fraserburgh hope that they can have a strong end to the season in their remaining five matches, and stay clear of relegation.