INVERURIE Don Valley returned to last season’s winning form with a very convincing victory over fellow promoted club Crathie, giving the team maximum points for the first time this season.
After losing the toss, skipper Norval decided to remain at the top of the order after last week’s successful experiment, leaving Inverurie an experienced and powerful middle order including Strachan, Murrison, Coutts and Randell. As with the previous match, the opening pair worked, putting on 129 together. Norval was out first in the 33rd over for 77, after hitting five fours and three sixes. His opening partner Hadden was quieter, but as is usual for Inverurie, his patience allowed others to be more expansive. First Strachan, then Murrison, took advantage of Hadden’s hard-worked 60, as they punished the fairly ineffective Crathie bowling attack. Strachan hit 33 off 26 balls, and Murrison smashed two glorious sixes in the final over of the innings, which allowed Norval to declare after only 42 overs with the score on 191-4.
After tea, the expectation was for Crathie to dig in deep for the draw, as they had proved difficult to dislodge at their own ground. However, they were oddly loose in many of their shots, and soon collapsed to 11-4 by the 10th over. All four wickets had fallen to Morrison, who was the beneficiary of some very poor shots, and two braces of good catches, the first two from Norval at mid-off, and the second two catches were taken by veteran Jessiman at short leg in the same over. Although Crathie keeper Shore hit some unconventional blows, he fell as soon as Hadden’s spin was introduced. Although Crathie struggled past 40 to gain a batting point, Strachan’s first over finished the match as a contest, taking two wickets, and reducing the batting side to 41-8. The end came soon after, with two more catches falling to Jessiman, taking his match tally to four.
This emphatic win takes Inverurie above both Crathie and Aberdeen Grammar School, who will be their opponents this weekend. Providing the weather holds, the Don Valley unit must surely fancy their chances of beating the Grammar School, and further secure their place in Grade 1.