The sun shone brightly at Methlick for the Grade 4 match between AGSFP’s 3rd XI and promotion chasing Methlick 2nd XI. The ground looked great, the wicket was straw coloured and firm, the outfield fast, perfect conditions for cricket.
For the first time this season FP’s were under strength with only 10 players, the team being Johnston, Dhanamani, Norwood, Rama Mantha, Ghosh, Gopal, Yalamanchili, Mountain, Lord and Russell.
AGSFP’s won the toss and invited Methlick to bat first. Methlick opened the batting with captain Rob Fryer and Gerrie as the pacemaker.
Yalamanchili opened the bowling for FP’s and it took him only 11 balls to take his first wicket when Gerrie suffered a heart stopping moment by playing on and had to take the walk, alone, Methlick 9 – 1.
Fryer and new batsman Anderson then added 20 runs before Yalamanchili struck again with 2 wickets in 2 balls in the 9th over. Anderson was well caught off by wicket keeper Ghosh off the back of the bat, Anderson out for 10 (2 × 4). Yalamanchili took his third wicket ball thanks to a fabulous catch at point by Shaun Mountain who dived to his right and just got his fingers under a dipping shot by MacLean, Methlick 29 - 3 off 9.5 overs.
Next over a good piece of bowling by Dhanamani brought FP’s the 4th wicket when Campbell was dismissed LBW for a duck, Methlick 30 – 4.
Methlick staged a bit of a recovery with Gordon defending well and Fryer playing some text-book back foot drives and using his feet well to the spinners, but fortunately for FP’s also finding the fielders, obviously Fryer had not been reading the Boycott Book of Batting he owns.
The 5th wicket had raised 24 runs when a change of bowling brought immediate success when first ball from Gopal had Gordon out safely caught at square leg by Lord for 3, Methlick 52 – 5 off 14.1 overs.
Gopal was hit for 3 x 4 in an over but kept his cool and gained revenge next over when opener Fryer was out well caught behind by an alert Ghosh for 28 (4 × 4), Methlick 76 – 6.
Mountain replaced Dhanamani who had bowled a good spell being unlucky not to take more wickets. Leg break bowler Mountain was turning the ball square, at times too much for the batsmen to hit.
But it was Gopal who had the aggressive Allan out when Rama made his usual immaculate job of taking a skier at mid wicket, Allan out for 23 (3 × 4), Methlick 102 for 7. Next ball Gopal saw Norwood take a good catch at mid on to dismiss Cordiner for a quick 12 (2 × 4).
Next batsman in was young Kennedy, who broke the Kennedy attacking mould by playing an immaculate defensive shot to avoid the hat trick ball. Russell replaced Mountain and in his second over had young Kennedy well caught at slip by Norwood. The last wicket added a frustrating 26 runs as Gopal tried in vain for his 5th wicket but few arial shots from Day avoided the fielders. Russell ended the innings with a straight ball to dismiss Hyde for 2, Day not out 16 (3 x 4), Methlick scoring 132 off 33.2 overs.
FP’s were on top during most of the Methlick innings, Yalamanchili bowled a great spell, apart from wides again being the top scorer off his bowing, 8 – 2 – 23 – 3, Dhanamani bowled accurately, 8 – 0 – 26 – 1, Gopal was unlucky not to get a five-for, Russell finished off the innings by bowling straight, 4.2 – 1 – 7 – 2, Mountain bowled some unplayable deliveries, and some playable, 4 – 0 – 24 – 0. Extras was comfortably highest contributor to the Methlick total of 44, again way to many.
The last tea away tea of the season was the best away tea of the season, a vegetable curry proving very popular with one or two of the less dedicated FP’s players.
Norwood and Rama opened the batting for FP’s and soon settled any nerves with Rama hitting a great straight drive for four. Rama had to leave early and as a result was cleaned bowled going for an expansive drive, out for 13 (2 × 4), but the opening stand was worth a solid 26 runs.
Next batsman in Ghosh and Norwood then added 23 runs without too many risks taken, the advantage of having 57 overs to score the runs meaning no risks necessary, and the fast outfield giving full value to the batsmen. Things went well for the batsmen and it was a surprise when Norwood was out caught off Cordiner for 24 (1 × 4), FP’s 49 – 2 off 20 overs.
Russell joined Ghosh and batted calmly to help take the score past 100, both batsmen playing sensible cricket and enjoying batting on a decent track on a day made for batting.
FP’s were within striking distance of the Methlick total, when Russell was out caught for 18, Johnston was soon out LBW for 2, one run less than helpings of the vegetable curry, proving runs don’t always follow curries.
Lord joined Ghosh in the middle as Fryer brought himself on to bowl. But having seen off Fryer, Ghosh opened up, hitting a couple of sixes over mid wicket. With 3 runs required Ghosh then finished the game with a huge 6 over mid wicket, this time into a field. Ghosh knew his own score and the number of runs required and showed great confidence in finishing the game and reaching a maiden 50 in such emphatic style.
Ghosh ended 51 n.o. (3 x 6, 4 x 4) and Lord 6 n.o (1 x 4). Best bowling for Methlick, B. Anderson 12 – 3 – 23 – 3
FP’ s thoroughly deserved their 3rd victory of the season, beginning well and being in control throughout the match with good bowling fielding and batting from the 10 man team. After a match played in great spirit it was good to share a drink with the opposition.
Champagne Moment – normally Mountain’s catch would have won it, but Ghosh reaching his maiden 50 with a 6 takes the award
Man of the Match – Kingshuk with 2 catches and a match winning 51 n.o.