Northern Counties claim Inverness bragging rights after defeating Highland in cricket derby
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Northern Counties Cricket Club took the spoils in an Inverness derby against Highland last weekend.
With Highland having gotten the upper hand in both meetings between the teams last year on their way to the Nosca Senior League title, as well as home advantage at Fraser Park on Saturday, there might have been an expectation from the hosts that more success would follow suit.
Batting first, they got off to a decent start from openers Vipul Patel and Regan Francis, who scored 33 and 27 with the bat respectively.
Once those two got out though, Highland collapsed.
Nuwan Eshwara took three wickets for Counties while conceding just 15 runs, and captain Shaun Thomas brought himself on to clean up the second half of the batting order with figures of 3–10.
That prevented Highland reaching triple figures, as Counties were set a target of 96 to win.
Despite the low score, it was not plain sailing for the Meeting Park outfit as wickets tumbled in their innings too.
Johannes Van Ee hit a valuable 20, which was crucially matched by Will Ford without losing his wicket as the wicket keeper managed to guide Counties over the winning line with five wickets in hand.
Counties skipper Thomas was pleased with the all-round performance from his side, saying everyone contributed in some way to the result.
“Our fielding was tight and our catching was good, all our bowlers did a good job, it was a real team performance,” he explained.
“We probably made it a little bit more difficult than we should have with the bat.
“We probably let them have 20 or 30 runs too many in the end, at one point it was looking like we could have skittled them out for 70.
“It was a good performance though. I wouldn’t say it was one-sided but we were always in the driving seat and looking pretty comfortable really, so I’m chuffed with it.”
After being forced to watch their city rivals lift the league title after an unbeaten season, it was a satisfying result for Counties.
There was nothing at stake as it was only a friendly match, but if nothing else bowling Highland out relatively cheaply and securing the victory will have sent a message that they will be return next year as contenders for trophies.
“We didn’t beat them last season, so for ourselves, even though it was a friendly we were going out to win,” Thomas reasoned.
“It was good to put a marker down for next season as well, and show that we’ll certainly be competing up there.”