By winning last weekend against Dunecht, Fraserburgh’s crickets guaranteed themselves at least third place, and, since a top three finish means promotion, Grade 2 cricket next season.
Nobody could have wished for better conditions, as the best weekend of the year afforded players on both sides the rare luxury of not having to worry about rain affecting the outcome.
It was under bright skies that Fraser Lawrance won the toss for Fraserburgh and chose to bowl.
Early on they were very unlucky not to take a handful of wickets, as Lawrance and Alan Rennie controlled the run rate and found the batman’s edges plenty of times – each time falling just out of reach of a fielder, but couldn’t make the breakthrough they needed.
Even though after the first 10 overs the batsman were scoring at little over two per over, the partnership they were building would prove to make a big impact in the long run. When eventually one of the batsman hit Paul O’Neill straight to Chris Gospel he was on 21, and his partner was ahead of him. The second wicket partnership was even more productive than the first, scoring far too many boundaries and 6s for the bowlers’ liking.
By the time that Gospel eventually got them both out (one caught by the wicket keeper Craig Parkin and one caught by Gospel himself), Milne was on 60 and DeGabriele was on 41.
These wickets helped to slow the run rate in the later stages of the innings, but Dunecht were not completely halted. Derrett managed to get 23 before he was bowled by Lawrance. Gospel and Lawrance picked up another wicket apiece, featuring a second catch from Craig Parkin.
Rennie ended up bowling his full allocation of overs – 12 overs – conceding 37 runs without taking a wicket, and Andrew Henderson chipped in with a couple of overs for 13 for no successes, while fellow spinner O’Neill took one for 54 from 9 overs.
Lawrance bowled excellently, as seen in his figures of 2-13 from 11, while Gospel was the most prolific taking 3-39 from 12. Dunecht scored 162-6, achieving 9 batting points in the process.
Openers Cory Bowie and Garry O’Neill took to the crease keen to set a good base for the rest of Fraserburgh’s batting order to take advantage of. They started aggressively, not wasting any time in chasing down 163, both being responsible for several early boundaries. Both seemed comfortable, so it was a surprise when O’Neill mistimed a shot not typical of his style and was caught for 17.
Mark Oldam followed suit not long after, caught and bowled by Derrett for 1. Bowie managed to reach his 5th 50 of the season, but couldn’t progress any further before he was bowled, again by Derrett.
With Paul O’Neill and Stuart Flowerdew at the crease, there was still plenty of batting to come, but the partnership would not last long.
A miscommunication saw Flowerdew run out for 4, a feeling that would become all too familiar for Stuart by the end of the weekend. Fraser Lawrance and Craig Parkin were caught for 3 and 4 respectively, bringing big-hitter Chris Gospel to the crease to partner O’Neill, and this was a combination that prospered.
Gospel blasted a quick-fire 29 that featured two 6s, and O’Neill hit a maximum of his own to reach 50 (eventually reaching 54) in an effort that saw Fraserburgh cross the finish line in a 4 wicket victory.
On Sunday the club hosted their annual 7s tournament, which saw players from Ellon, Caledonians and Methlick join the home team in what was a fun day for all. Fraserburgh’s representatives didn’t win a game, losing to Methlick in the third place play-off, but the day was not about the results.
Stuart Flowerdew gained an unwanted record, as he was run out in both of his matches – meaning he had been run out three times in 24 hours.
The final was contested by the players from Ellon and Caley (both of whom featured two players from Fraserburgh), and Ellon ran out victorious by what was in the end a comfortable margin.
Congratulations to Ellon’s players, Alan Rennie and Michael Watson who graciously stepped in to play when they were short, and a big thanks to all involved.
There is just one game left in the season for Fraserburgh, as they play host to Huntly this Saturday.
With the visitors sitting one place above them in the league, the game will still be competitive as both sides will be looking to finish as high as they can, despite having already booked their places in Grade 2 next year.
For more on Fraserburgh Cricket Club, visit them online at fraserburgh.play-cricket.com.