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Storming victory for Orca

By SPP Reporter

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All OrCa's bowlers performed well to help secure win.
All OrCa's bowlers performed well to help secure win.

All OrCa's bowlers performed well to help secure win.

A COMBINED team of Caithness Cricket Association and Orkney Cricket Club members – nicknamed OrCa – has made an impressive start to competition in the North of Scotland Cricket Association (NOSCA) reserve team cup.

OrCa steamrollered Fort William in a 104-run victory at a home match staged on Sunday, May 22, at Ross County’s ground at Castle Leod, near Strathpeffer.

New OrCa captain Australian Chris Rae opened with Andy Dixon and soon started moving along well. Although G. Lavin, steady at a decent lick, was at first difficult to get away, G. Rodger bowled a number of wides and presented enough loose for the OrCa players to get hold of. Both openers hit some firm shots over the top and also ran well for the necessary singles to rotate the strike.

At the end of the sixth over the score had moved to 46, when there was a quick double blow. First, Dixon tried one high hit too many off the last ball of Lavin’s over and did not quite get hold of it. He was easily caught by Fraser at mid-on, for 15 including two fours. Then, the first ball in the next over, Lavin’s heavy ball, rolled onto the stumps after Rae’s defensive shot, and had enough strength to break the wicket. Rae’s contribution had been 23, including two fours and a six.

Number four batsman Douggie Snape sparkled briefly, hitting a couple of fours in a rapid 10, when, in Rodger’s last over, he chased out of his crease at a wide ball, didn’t time it correctly, and put it high in the air for S. Nobiello to take an easy catch.

OrCa, at 65 for three, could not afford to lose more wickets quickly. Number three Jonathan Morgan and number five Andy Hollinrake opted for some retrenchment.

They did, however, keep the scoreboard rolling along with good running. The two change bowlers, R. Wright and A. Ferguson, were not scary in pace nor movement but generally didn’t give away too much loose. By this careful pacing, the OrCa pair put on 32 together and moved the score to 97 when Hollinrake also skied one to be fairly easily caught by Rodger. His 13 included two fours.

There then followed another mini collapse as father-and-son Duncan and Ross Winfield departed cheaply. Duncan became the second batsman to play on to Ferguson – off his pads, two feet outside the leg stump – and Ross was clean bowled two balls later in the same over.

This brought out Elliot Troup, normally a higher-order batsman, who Rae had held back deliberately.

At first, he and Morgan were content to try to rebuild with the latter, conscious of his own impending retirement, deciding to give Troup the strike so he could play himself in. This approach was going well when a farcical miscommunication occurred.

Troup hit a high shot over the infield and Morgan, running towards the danger end, called for a sharp second run but Troup’s refusal came too late.

Both ended up in the same ground as the Fort first broke the one wicket, with Morgan “safe”, then, realising the situation, rolled the ball to the keeper’s end to complete the run-out.

By rule and by preference (with Troup having a lot more time to score runs), Morgan had to go, for a patient 27 including two fours.

Troup made up for this error soon as he started to connect very well. New man Douggie Rennie was also on good form and soon both were biffing boundaries frequently – mainly straight over the top. Their partnership became the highest in the innings (65), helped by more generosity from the Fort bowler’s wides. It was only broken very near the end when Rennie went clean bowled by P. Shepherd for 24 including three fours and a six.

There was just time for youngster Stuart Smith to contribute a single before the innings were closed on 179 off the full 30 overs. Troup was unbeaten on 33, including four fours and a six. Extras contributed 33, including 27 wides.

Hardly any of Fort’s bowlers came out looking good. The only two to put any sort of brake on were Ferguson, who bowled a full five overs for two for 10, and captain Shepherd, who only gave away seven from three overs with one wicket.

Fort were going to have to score at fully six an over through the whole innings to win. This was a daunting task that soon looked near impossible within a few overs.

Firstly, despite some looseness from Morgan behind the stumps, Troup and Rennie bowled well to hold Fort to little more than two an over off the first eight. During that time Wright was run out sharply for two when he mistakenly took on Rae’s arm and a fast, although rather high, throw gave Morgan the chance to finish the run-out.

Then P. MacPhee was also run-out by Andy Dixon and, finally, Rodger nibbled at a good outswinger from Troup and Morgan took the catch low to his right. At this stage, the back of the innings was broken. Troup came off to keep an over in reserve while Rennie bowled through, having Nobiello cleaned bowled in his last over to finish with very good figures.

Duncan Winfield came on to bowl some slow bowling – although real spin was at a premium on the wet pitch – and was never really collared. Nobiello and P. Richards tried to steady the ship and bat for respectability. After a couple of overs of Winfield, Rae came on and bowled at little more than three-quarters of the pace but still proved next to impossible to get away.

Snape replaced Rennie and settled into his usual rhythm of steady, left-arm stuff. During his first spell he bowled S. Fraser for five. He was replaced by Dixon.

Only when Shepherd joined Richards did the innings show any signs of picking up but the former was soon enough dismissed, stumped by Morgan off Dixon.

Winfield returned after Rae bowled his overs out and joined in the fun, getting a lbw shout upheld to remove Richards for a hard-fought 25. As the innings subsided there were two more run-outs contributed by Troup and Morgan

With the game well and truly won, Rae finally allowed Smith a chance to bowl and he took it well. His first delivery was steady and straight. His second, in the corridor of uncertainty, got a good edge. Morgan was not sharp enough to take the catch cleanly, but parried it up enough for Snape, at first slip, to just take the rebound. This ended the innings on 74 in the 25th over.

All of OrCa’s bowlers performed well. Troup was the obvious pick with one for four off four including a maiden. Rennie performed the excellent feat of bowling two maidens in his five, getting one for 10. Snape was efficient with a wicket for 17 runs off his five.

Dixon, in a different situation, could have been collared but confused enough batsmen to escape with one for nine off two. Winfield showed some promise to return one for 24 off four. Rae played a containing game and conceded only seven off his five. Smith will be delighted with one for zero off two balls. All-in-all it was a comprehensive victory.

OrCa’s next game is an away fixture, but at the same ground, against Ross County.

Full teams in batting order (with scores in brackets) – OrCa: C. Rae (23), A. Dixon (15), J. Morgan (27), D. Snape (10), A. Hollinrake (13), D. Winfield (0), R. Winfield (0), E. Troup (33 no), D. Rennie (24), S. Smith (1 no), J. Crilly (dnb).

Fort William: R. Wright (2), G. Rodger (2), P. MacPhee (1), S. Nobiello (9), P. Richards (25), S. Fraser (5), R. MacLean (0), R. Shepherd (10), C. Lavin (0), P. Short (0), A. ?Ferguson (0).

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