June 2006:

Thistle Giantkillers!

Cults CC 101 all out

Stonehaven Thistle CC 104 for 5.

History was made at Mineralwell on Saturday when Stonehaven Thistle 1st XI finally beat Cults Cricket Club (consistently the best club in the Aberdeenshire Grades) after 18 years of trying.

The historic milestone was begun when Cults made a slow start to their innings and Clive Hinchcliffe took a sharp caught and bowled off Patel. Young Chris Van de Ruit then bowled Graeme Gillanders for 1. After a bowling change spinners Andy Wilson and Brian Campbell tried their luck but Brian Alexander and Arun played sensibly taking the score to 69 for 2 off 25 overs and the years of frustration looked set to continue.

Then at the point where Cults would normally accelerate the scoring Alexander called a sharp single to a stroke played to fine leg. Symon Jacobsen fielding at square leg pounced on it and hurled the ball in. Alexander sent back by the non-striker was flailing in his attempt to regain his ground when Matt Jenkins whipped off the bails.

Suddenly it was a different game, and with Arun caught at Long on by Drew Hinchcliffe, Thistle began to believe in themselves, no doubt helped by their victory 2 weeks earlier against Kintore. Cults then collapsed to 101 all out in the space of 12 overs; the spinners doing most of the damage: “Mushtaq” Wilson 4 for 26, and “Murali” Campbell 2 for 32. Clive Hinchcliffe capped a brilliant bowling performance by dismissing Masood with the first ball of the 37th over and ended with 2 for 13.

The demons of the past loomed over Thistle as the teams took tea, but Thistle began their innings with a feeling that perhaps it was a day that the past could be put to rest. Drew Hinchcliffe began in his customary attacking style but soon fell for 6. At number three Dave Long attempted to push back the attacking field with some flashing strokes but when “Zorro” departed after three balls for 4, inform man Jonno Van de Ruit arrived choosing his attacking shots more carefully. Eight overs later and after 4 boundaries including a huge 6, “Baseball” Jonno edged one high in the air trying to knock one into the river. His quick 25 had clawed Stonehaven to 46 for 3, but there was still a long way to go.

Plainly the intent was there to put one over the Aberdeen side, as was epitomized by the dogged determined innings of Captain Grewar who refused to be phased by all that Cults threw at him and was backed up by incoming man Matt Jenkins who played a more circumspect innings than usual. The pair knew that with a total of 52 overs available to Thistle, the run rate required was only 2 an over. Never before had the odds been so stacked against the Cults side, but Thistle knew they had failed in the past when certain victory was in sight, and Cults were determined to make them scrap for every run. With the total on 68 Jenkins began to find the boundary and with 4 fours and a 6 was to finish on 31 not out.

With 2 runs for victory Grewar finally fell for 21 trying to hit the winning runs. “Baz” Milne was then run out without facing a ball and in the end the winning runs came off a no ball that went for 4 runs. Thistle used 44.1 overs. It didn’t matter; the goal had finally been reached. The celebrations were not like the euphoric scenes two weeks earlier at Kintore, more of a satisfaction of a job well done after so many years of trying.

With no other matches played in Grade 1 at the weekend due to weather, this was essentially 30 free points for Thistle who jumped from 9th to 7th in the league but perhaps more significantly for Cults it dropped them off the top spot to 4th place by virtue of the percentage rules.

The match was sponsored by the Station Hotel; the next port of call.