AGSFP’s 3rd XI had to make 5 changes to the team beaten by Gordonians two weeks prior, out went Whitely, Pirie, Alexander, Lee and Gillies and in came wicketkeeper Kingshuk Ghosh, Elia Guballa, trialist Roland Knudson, Rahul Gopal and Kiran Yalamanchili.
The downpour which had wiped out several games in Aberdeen an hour earlier, had softened the Dunecht wicket, but it was playable for the two teams who were keen to play cricket. FP’s won the toss and decided to bowl first. Hedge opened the bowling with Guballa, it was Guballa who took the first wicket when he bowled Derrett for 8 (1 × 6), Dunecht 13 – 1 off 3.3 overs. Next over from Guballa brought another wicket when Merryweather was comprehensively bowled for a duck, Dunecht 19 – 2.
Opening batsman Scott was using all his vast experience and played a very sensible inning, using good technique in playing the lifters and waiting for the occasional bad ball and hitting them for four. There were no edges to the boundaries on this outfield which was saw fielder’s chasing well hit shots only to overtake them and have to backtrack to pick up the ball! Batting was a struggle with variable bounce and that outfield. Every boundary was worth double (figure of speech!) and only very well hit aerial shots reached the rope, anything short had to be punished.
Witz was batting aggressively, but a change of bowling saw Dhanamani take his wicket with the first ball of his spell when the batsman tried to hit a loosener out of the estate, but only succeeded in seeing wicketkeeper Ghosh take a brilliant leg side catch off the back of the bat, Witz out for 24 (1 × 6, 3 x 4), Dunecht 59 – 3 off 15.1 overs.
FP’s had to wait until the 30th over for their next wicket as Scott and Donald added 31 runs mainly in walked singles, the usually hard hitting Donald having bat problems and Scott finding his Zimmer frame getting in the way of the quick single.
All the FP’s bowlers had bowled well, Hedge and D’Costa had been unlucky and Dhanamani had bowled a tight spell with Yalamanchili giving away mainly wides. Tea had to be taken early as a heavy shower of rain forced the players off the field for half an hour or so after 29 overs, the covers probably saving the game.
When play resumed, Gopal’s tempted the increasingly frustrated Donald to leave his crease and keeper Ghosh completed a very good stumping, Donald out for 11, Dunecht 90 – 4 off 31.4 overs. Spinner Dhanamani took a 3rd wicket in his next over, Knudson comfortably holding onto the catch at mid-off, Campbell out for 2, Dunecht 93 – 5.
Scott was finally dismissed beaten by the non-pace of Rahul, donating a catch to Yalamanchili on the leg side, Dunecht 113 for 6, Scott batting for a long 42 overs and a tea interval.
New batsmen Roberts and Arun added a quick 23 runs by having a go at anything short, Dunecht closing their innings with 136 for 6 wickets off 46 overs. The not out batsmen Roberts 18 no (2 × 4), Arun 10 no (1 × 4).
For FP’s, Dhanamani bowled an excellent spell of 12 – 2 – 23 – 3, Guballa 7 – 1 – 19 – 2, Gopal 4 – 0 – 14 – 1, Yalamanchili 9 – 0 – 20 – 0, D’Costa 6 – 0 – 22 – 0, Hedge 6 – 2 – 23 – 0, Lord 2 – 0 – 14 – 0. In a low scoring match where every run should be hard work, FP’s donated 23 wides and dropped several catchable catches.
The required run rate was just over three an over, but on this wet wicket and this outfield, this would require a good effort from FP’s. Opening batsmen Lord and Ghosh had put on only 4 runs when Lord gave Derrett a tricky caught and bowled chance which he took one handed above his head. Ghosh and Russell proceeded slowly against accurate bowling, the score was 15 – 1 off 15 overs, bowlers Derrett and Roberts giving nothing away. FP’s lost their 2nd wicket when Roberts bowled Ghosh for 7, FP’s 19 – 2. The outfield was now even slower following the rain shower, with no wind or sun to dry it out.
Russell and Hedge had added 28 watchful runs when Russell, having just hit Curry for a 4 and a 6, was bowled by Dunecht skipper Burnett for 23 (1 × 6, 2 x 4), runs still proving very hard to come by. Guballa and Johnston then also perished trying to raise the scoring rate, Guballa well caught on the boundary by Derrett without scoring and Johnston bowled by Derrett for 2, FP’s score 61 – 5 off 31 overs.
Hedge was next out, caught behind by Witz off Burnett for 21 (3 × 4), FP’s 61 – 6, 34 overs. The required scoring rate had rapidly risen to over 7 an over and with FP’s last unrecognised batsman Knudson out stumped off Burnett for 5 (1 x 4), FP’s chances of winning had gone.
Gopal was soon out LBW for 1, FP’s 69 – 8, D’Costa coming it to bat at a tense stage of the game and in poor light as the heavy clouds hung over the park. Dhanamani and D’Costa batted calmly and correctly to see out the last few overs with Dunecht pushing for the victory to keep then on top of Grade 4.
Schoolboy D’Costa showed good bravery and technique after being hit in the ribs by an unnecessary short ball from one of the Dunecht bowlers, a belated apology coming only at the end of the game.
Best bowling for Dunecht, Burnett 11 - – 6 – 20 – 5, Derrett 12 – 6 – 12 – 2.
On a difficult wicket and dead outfield FP’s bowled well but dropped catches proved, as usual, costly. The mostly inexperienced batting line up batted on the whole with good technique and patience and deservedly came away with a draw.
Champagne Moment – The well anticipated leg side catch by Ghosh off Dhanamani to dismiss Witz
Man of the Match – Sandeep bowled his best spell taking 3 – 23 and batted calmly at the end