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Northern Counties win ahead of back-to-back Inverness derbies

By Andrew Henderson

Northern Counties will go into this weekend’s Inverness derby double bill with some winning momentum after overcoming Nairn County by 33 runs last weekend.

Counties had suffered a shock defeat to Huntly on their previous outing, but returned to form in a match that was reduced to 40 overs-a-side.

At The Links, the Invernessians batted first, accumulating a steady total of 188-6 from their allocation.

Nairn were only really a couple of partnerships away from matching that, but would eventually fall short on 155-9 to give Counties the win by 33 runs.

Those two sides had occupied second and third going in, and with the 20 points going to Counties they moved closest to league leaders Highland.

The table-toppers were idle last weekend, so were able to rest up ahead of back-to-back games this week.

Gagandeep Singh celebrates taking a wicket in Highland's last match against Ross County. Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.044421
Gagandeep Singh celebrates taking a wicket in Highland's last match against Ross County. Picture: Gary Anthony. Image No.044421

The first of the pair of derby matches on Saturday could go a long way to deciding the final destination of the league title.

With Highland boasting nine wins out of nine so far, beating their closest rivals could all but seal the title.

However, if Northern Counties could inflict a first blemish on Highland’s record then they could harbour hopes of a similar collapse to last year – where Highland were just as dominant through the early going but eventually missed out on the league crown.

The second of the weekend’s matches is in the semi-finals of the Senior Cup on Sunday.

Counties have already shown they are capable of beating their city rivals in a knockout tournament when they triumphed in the Twenty/20 Cup final last month.

Elsewhere, Ross County will be trying to prove they can still be in the title mix at the end of the season when they take on Elgin at Cooper Park.

Both sides were victorious last week, as County beat Fort William by 64 runs at their Castle Leod home while Elgin picked up a first 20 points of the year at home to Huntly.

Nairn County host Buckie and Forres St Lawrence travel to Huntly in the remaining league fixtures, while Huntly welcome Buckie in the other Senior Cup semi final.

Buckie are attempting to retain their cup in what looks like their last chance at silverware in 2019 after a trophy-laden 2018 that saw them win all three senior titles.

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