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Grass pitch in Inverness will be a test for Ross County


By Andrew Henderson

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Ross County Cricket Club are due to make the short journey to Inverness tomorrow to take on Northern Counties.

Ross County v Nairn..Toby Hardwick dispatches another bowl..Picture: Gary Anthony..
Ross County v Nairn..Toby Hardwick dispatches another bowl..Picture: Gary Anthony..

The match at Northern Meeting Park will complete the set of closest teams to Ross County this year, after already facing Highland and Nairn County in friendlies in recent weeks.

It has been a mixed bag of results so far for the Castle Leod outfit, who were beaten at home by Highland and exchanged victories with Nairn. But there remains a sense of relief that any cricket has been possible at all this year after the pandemic wiped out the league.

County still have a few matches left to play on their calendar as they hope to continue through to the end of the month, but as September draws on the weather becomes more likely to have an impact on games.

Perhaps no match would be at as much risk as tomorrow’s clash with Counties because of their grass wicket.

Ross County v Nairn..County batsman Steve Embelton..Picture: Gary Anthony..
Ross County v Nairn..County batsman Steve Embelton..Picture: Gary Anthony..

Just two sides in the North of Scotland Cricket League exclusively use grass pitches, with most electing for the durability of an artificial wicket out of practicality, but it can have a major impact even on matches that do go ahead. Batting could be completely different on grass, a challenge that could face County tomorrow.

“How good the wicket is can often be dependent on what the weather has been like in the days leading up to it, and how much preparation that has allowed them to do,” Ross County captain Graeme Carney explained.

“Normally Counties prepare really good wickets, so we don’t expect to have any issues.

“For our team who plays all our home games on an artificial wicket, sometimes it’s a little bit tricky to get used to a bit of uneven bounce.

“At Castle Leod, it plays the same way week in, week out pretty much regardless of the weather.

“It’s probably an advantage for the home team, but it’s nothing that we’re not used to, it’s part and parcel of the game.

“I think they have lost a couple of games to the weather already this season, so I just hope that’s not the case.”

Ross County v Nairn..Graeme Carney of County sees his wicket fall..Picture: Gary Anthony..
Ross County v Nairn..Graeme Carney of County sees his wicket fall..Picture: Gary Anthony..

After up and down performances, Carney does not know what to expect from the match in terms of the end result.

“I think they will have a couple of new players, but it will be quite a competitive game if the weather doesn’t play a factor,” Carney said.

“In recent years both of us have hammered the other team on different occasions, so it might end up being a one-sided game one way or the other, or a really even one.

“We’re looking forward to the weekend either way.”



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