North of Scotland - End of Season Round-Up
The final North of Scotland Cricket Association team trophy was decided last Saturday, when Fochabers clinched the Senior League title (sponsored by Black Dog Financial Services) for the third time in four years.
Despite often adverse weather conditions over the summer, all six team competitions were decided by the scheduled end of the season, with the winners being:
Senior League: Fochabers
Senior Cup: Highland
Senior T20: Forres St Lawrence
Reserve League: Nairn County
Reserve Cup: Highland
Reserve T20: Highland
The team trophies and individual awards will be presented at the NoSCA Annual Dinner on Saturday 29th October at Elgin Golf Club, when former England opening bowler Matthew Hoggard MBE will be guest speaker.
Once voted the ‘Greatest English Test Bowler of All Time’, since finishing his playing career Matthew has become a successful coach, motivational speaker, media pundit and popular after- dinner speaker who is guaranteed to entertain his audience with tales of exploits both on and off the cricket field.
Tickets for the dinner are priced at £30 and are available through NoSCA member clubs.
Gordos secure unique treble of trophies!
The Countesswells Playing Fields based Arrowdawn Gordonians CC, first XI led by captain, Swapnil Rane, is arguably the most successful cricket team in Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire for 2016. Indeed, Gordos ‘Ones’ has had an exceptional season, securing something that no other team has ever achieved in Aberdeen a unique treble of:
Strathmore & Perthshire Cricket Union (SPCU) Premier League
SPCU 3 Counties Cup – retained, as holders from 2015
Cricket Scotland Challenge Cup – also retained as holders from 2015.
Sustaining a high level of performance throughout 2015 and again in 2016 winning the league title, hitherto an elusive and heartbreakingly near-but-far experience, is, many would argue, the club’s just desserts! Rane’s men, however, managed to secure only a second league title by winning all but one game; Gordo’s last won the title in 1994, SPCU league title – along with two other trophies – is back in Aberdeen!
By the time the final round of games came around, Dundee’s Forthill CC had already relinquished their title to last year's runner's up Arrowdawn Gordonians. Gordos led the league for the majority of the season, seeing off closest challengers Meigle, who they beat home and away to open up a gap at the top that was never seriously challenged.
This is only the second time that Gordonians have won the Strathmore Union, following on from the 1994 side captained by Henry Cruickshank. Captain Rane led from the front taking 27 wickets, with Aman Arora picking up 21 wickets, but credit must go to the opening partnership of former Anchorians CC stalwart, Chris Forbes, and overseas amateur Krutik Patel who have bowled at economy rates below 2.7 an over.
567 runs with the bat from Arora, and 321 runs from Robert Gordon’s University student, Hamza Arshad, have headlined the batting, but in a solid team effort, others have stepped in with important contributions when required.
In 2015, Gordonians won the 3 Counties Cup for the first time since 1953, and also won their first ever National trophy, winning the Cricket Scotland Challenge Cup.
The 3 Counties Cup win included victories against Mannofield and Strathmore thanks to notable batting contributions from Arora, Arshad and another RGU student, Adam Dyson. The final against Meigle turned out to be a bit of a low scoring anti-climax, Gordonians chasing down the 107 required to win comfortably thanks to an unbeaten 41 from man of the match Krutik Patel.
Wins against Edinburgh Accies, Dundee High and St Michael's from Dumfries, took Gordonians back to the CS Challenge Cup final against Scotland’s oldest club Kelso (formed in 1821), at Drumpellier. Tight bowling from Forbes, Patel, Perera and Arshad restricted Kelso to 34 off the first 20 overs, but the Borderers rallied to finish on 154 for 8.
An early burst of runs from Sree Devadas took Gordonians well ahead of the run rate, and it looked like Patel and Arshad were going to bat to the end, but they were out for 49 and 31 respectively. It fell to Mayank Bhandari and Chris Forbes to hold their nerve and add the 22 runs required to see Gordos to a thrilling 3 wicket victory, Bhandari finishing the match with a towering 6, and Patel picking up another man of the match award.
So having retained both cups in 2016, adding to the league title to complete a unique treble.
Remarkably, in this day age, the club’s ethos has shone through at every opportunity; led and played in the best, sporting spirit they have been a credit to the game and ambassadors for the game in the North East of Scotland.
Where possible too, the club’s burgeoning junior section and promising players have been given a chance to play senior cricket; indeed, the players practice alongside juniors encouraging them.
It has been a rough couple of years in Aberdeen and the city’s sporting teams have been badly hit by the economic downturn and fluctuations in the oil industry. Many players have moved away from the city and having to work harder and further afield yet Gordos has managed to retain a reasonably stable 1st XI squad.
Club President, Andy Lowden, adds ‘Whilst we have some talented players and there were strong individual performances with bat and ball, the feature has been the cohesive team work, quiet confidence and players stepping up when others struggled. I am very proud of what has been achieved. Whilst the players play for the fun and challenge of an amateur team sport, to date there has been no media coverage and it seems fitting that they receive some recognition within our city, if not nationally too!’