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Semis beckon as Buckie battle through

BUCKIE welcomed Forres St Lawrence to Linzee Gordon Park on Saturday for the quarter final tie in the Macleod and MacCallum Knock Out Cup.

Johnny Corsie, pictured here against Highland, and Daniel Walls (inset) helped kill off the chance of a Forres fightback.
Johnny Corsie, pictured here against Highland, and Daniel Walls (inset) helped kill off the chance of a Forres fightback.

After several very successful years, the wheels seem to have rather fallen off the Forres wagon this season; here we are towards the end of June and they have yet to register a win. The home side were keen to help extend that sorry statistic for at least one more match, while respecting the fact that any team with a batsman of the class of Pal Dhami in its line-up was always capable of winning any game.

Home captain Daniel Walls won the toss and chose to bowl first on a grass strip that no-one was entirely sure what a good total would be.

With hindsight, the decision to bowl was vindicated but after 19 overs and the Forres total on 84 for only 2 wickets down, Dan must have been getting a bit desperate. Dhami was dominating the run scoring and looking capable of setting a total in excess of 150 off his own bat. He’s a great batsman to watch if you’re not part of an opposition side, with great timing and effortless power, and shots all-round the wicket.

Just in time Buckie found a way to slow the scoring.

Mark Webster was the key. He settled into a great line and length immediately and managed to keep one bowling end tight, creating a bit of pressure on the batsmen. The bowler who benefited most from this was his fellow slow bowler – Graham Dey.

In his first over Graham got rid of Gus Farr (to a good catch from skipper Walls) and then, crucially, Dhami too, to another sharp catch from Mark Webster (who is danger of developing into a decent fielder).

Dhami had made a fine 65 out of his team’s total at that point of 87.

The last six wickets fell in a rush to Graham and the returning Asim Ali. In no time, the visitors were all out for only 100 having possibly fallen prey to thinking they needed to reach something like 150 to be competitive when maybe 120 might have been adequate. The Forres tail would also have been better advised not to hit across the line so often on a grass wicket with such low bounce.

Graham Dey wasn’t complaining about the deficiencies of the Forres batting having filled his boots with five wickets for only 10 runs, and Asim got his rewards too, cleaning up three more for only nine runs.

Chasing a hundred to win in 30 overs should be straightforward but funny things can happen if you lose early wickets and pressure starts to build. The key for Buckie would be to be patient and create batting partnerships.

The home batsmen did it well.

Miland Mehta and Asim Ali knocked off the first 35 runs before both falling in quick succession. Any chance of a Forres fightback was knocked on the head by the next partnership between Daniel and Johnny Corsie.

Both initially struggled to score but were solid in defence and willing to wait for scoring opportunities. Gradually the runs came and Daniel dominated, showing off some of his batting repertoire, hitting strongly through the off side in particular, and looking more and more fluent the longer he batted.

By the time the winning runs were scored, Daniel had reached an unbeaten 46 and led his team into the semi-final.

Next Saturday, Buckie travel to Highland on Black Dog Financial Services League duty and then on Sunday, to Nairn for the 20 overs cup finals day.

Buckie: 102 for 2 wickets; D Walls 46 not out.

Forres St Lawrence: 100 all out; P Dhami 65; G Dey - 5 wickets for 10 runs, A Ali – 3 wickets for 9 runs.

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