APD Nunholm hosted Motherwell on Saturday and were looking to continue their improved form against the bottom place team. Motherwell won the toss and elected to bat on a hard pitch with enough grass left on it to encourage the seam and spin bowlers in overcast conditions.
APD again struggled to restrict the batsmen in the opening overs of the innings with Motherwell scoring at five runs an over. Mark Anderson struggled to find control and was replaced by Barnes.
Cox was bowling a consistent line at the other end and eventually got his reward in his sixth over by hitting Churam’s stumps with a big off-cutter and the score on 55 for 1.
Young, the other opener, however, was set and was dealing with the slow bowling of Barnes and Williams and it looked like he was on to his way to a fifty until Williams had him bowled in the twenty-fifth over when he tried to cut one too close to the stumps.
‘Tigger’ McCutcheon replaced Barnes at the other end and quickly showed him what real off-spin looked like by striking with his first ball to have Kells caught behind by the ‘Gloves’. Gunner was out next trying to smash a good length ball from Williams’ straight to McCutcheon at mid-wicket – a great reaction catch.
McCutcheon then took another couple of wickets but the drizzle, which had been on for about half-an-hour, then got too heavy and the teams came off for an early tea, with APD hoping it would clear up.
An hour later the just as keen Motherwell players continued their innings only for Johnstone to take command. Firstly the key wicket of Greig, off the bowling of McCutcheon, who was caught at square-leg much to the amazement of the umpire who had ducked out of the way and thinking the ball had whistled to the boundary only for it to be snaffled by the bold Brian with cat like reactions. He then mopped up the tail with 3 for 9 from 5.3 overs for Motherwell to finish on 183 all out after 49 overs.
APD were looking for a good solid start to settle the nerves. However this was not to be. Both openers were out cheaply and Nunholm found themselves on 8 for 2 which quickly became 15 for 3 when McBride was out for a duck.
McCutcheon and Williams put a temporary halt on the wickets with a partnership of 42 but were unable to stay at crease for any great length of time and in the twelfth over APD were 57 for 5. Cox and Johnstone then threatened to develop a partnership but Cox was bowled for 19.
Young Mark Anderson came to the crease with the score on 84 for 6 and the dressing room looking glum with another 100 runs still to be scored on a seaming wicket and only 4 wickets left. However, Anderson quickly found his feet, scoring at more than a run a ball.
Johnstone realising his partner was in form looked to rotate the strike. Jade was despatching the bowling to all parts, knowingly and unknowingly, perhaps riding his luck on occasions but with 8 glorious boundaries in his quick-fire innings, he more than deserved his maiden league fifty.
It looked like the job was done – nerves settled at last – but no – Jade for a reason, known only to himself, decided to charge the medium pace of Greig only to run past the ball and be stumped by a couple of yards. This meant another nervous wait for the team until captain Jack Barnes hit the wining runs.
Johnstone was 39 not out at the end and it was his cool, calm and collected innings on top of his earlier exploits that ensured maximum points for the Dumfries side.
This hard-fought win means that APD Nunholm have climbed out of the second relegation spot for the first time in 8 weeks but are away at Gatehouse next for a tough match which will need better batting, as a team, to come away with anything more than a loss.
APD Nunholm won by 3 wickets with 16 overs left
Motherwell 183 all out from 49 overs
S Young 48 C McCutcheon 4 for 35 off 10
J Greig 39 P Johnstone 3 for 9 off 5.3
APD Nunholm 184 for 7 of 34 overs
M Anderson 55 G Kells 3 for 58 off 14
P Johnstone 39 not out J Frame 2 for 28 off 5
W J Dunlop Man of the Match: P Johnstone
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