Dunecht (H) 7th June 2008

This week there were only two changes to the team which played two weeks ago, with Mike Phillips and Tom Murray unavailable, being replaced by Junaid and Rory Annand. It was nice to have eleven available after last week, when there were selection headaches with twelve available. Six firsts and six seconds.

The toss was again won by FPs and Dunecht were asked to bat first. Dunecht skipper Roberts and Cowin opened the batting. Sam Knudson bowled from the Pavillion end and opened with three good maidens. Karthik soon found Roberts was quick to hit anything short for four, his first eight scoring shots included 6 x 4s, while at the other end Cowin was the perfect foil, just happy to stick around and support his team mate.

Grammar should have had the breakthrough they badly needed when Roberts played his first false shot when he drove Knudson straight to Junaid, who dropped a straight forward catch at mid off.

Knudson finished his first spell with a good 6 – 3 – 14 – 0, and was replaced by Nick Blyth.

The scoring rate continued at four an over with Roberts hitting mainly well struck boundaries, and Cowin frustrating the FP’s bowlers at the other end. Karthik bowled 7 – 1 – 33 – 0 and was replaced by Magesh bowling his off breaks.

The much needed breakthrough came in the 21st over with the score on 80 when Roberts was finally out for 65 (13 x 4s), Johnston taking the catch at cover off Blyth.

Unfortunately Blyth then lost his rhythm and range almost leading to keeper Fraser asking for a helmet, standing back! Blyth bowled 7 overs, taking 1 – 34, at times bowling too well for the batsmen to find the edge.

Fully fit Rizwan replaced Blyth, and after 4 accurate overs bowled Shaw for 13, and then almost apologetically had De Gabrielle plum LBW for 14. Maybe it was so plum he didn’t need a loud appeal!

Magesh and Rizwan bowled a very accurate 20 overs between them for only 37 runs. When Magesh masters the John Eagles “parachute” type delivery he will be very awkward to face. Magesh bowled 10 – 2 – 21 – 0.

Junaid then came on for a short spell, but was hit by the Dunecht batsmen going for quick runs, bowling 3 – 0 – 21 – 0. The second last over of the Dunecht innings bowled by Knudson was action packed, two wickets and 8 runs. Sam bowled Cripps with a cracker, and an athletic bit of fielding by Frizzel (yes, Frizzel) at gully, and a cool throw by Junaid to keeper Fraser left Nicol comprehensively run out. Rizwan bowled the last over, conceding only a single, and his figures ended a miserly looking 10 – 2 – 16 – 2.

Dunecht scored 166 – 5 off 45 overs, with young opener Cowin carrying his bat for 31 n.o. ~ a great effort.

That was the second game in a row where the opposition opener has managed to bat through the innings. It was just as well it was not Roberts who batted the innings as he seemed to hit every bad ball for four. We fielded quite well, Frizzel in particular making a couple of good stops, but keeper Fraser had to dive too often and too far to prevent the 15 wides becoming a greater total. There were a couple of dropped catches, we must hang on to the easier variety if we want to win matches. Something else which would help in the event of a close scoring match would be fewer extras, this week there were 37.

Johnston and Fryer opened the batting, and it was not long before what must have been the ball of the innings was bowled by Liddle, taking care of Johnston for a (nother) duck.

Fryer and Blyth were looking solid when Fryer was LBW to Roberts for 7, then in the same over Knudson was bowled by a beauty without scoring.

Blyth and Frizzel took the score from 20 to 54 with some good shots all round the wicket when Blyth played a slack cut shot straight to second slip and was out for 26.

In came Karthik fresh from top scoring for the firsts last week, his second 50 in two matches, and soon was scoring steadily in his own inimitable style. Frizzle was also looking in good form, taking 12 off one over with three cracking boundaries. But with the score on 102, the stand worth 48 runs, Frizzel was out for 35, caught behind off Roberts, who had just returned with the game looking like it was slipping away from Dunecht.

Fraser and Karthik then added 21 runs when Karthik was unexpectedly caught in the covers off slow bowler Cowin for 34, Grammar score 123 – 6 off 37 overs. This meant FPs needed 44 runs off 8 overs, and Dunecht looked favourites to win.

Annand and Fraser had scored only four more runs when Fraser was run out going for a quick single. The direct throw was no more than the keen Dunecht fielders deserved, having saved many runs in the outfield.

Rizwan and Annand coolly added another 16 runs when Annand was bowled by opening bowler Roberts who again came on and took a vital wicket. This left FPs 143 – 8 still requiring 24 runs off 5 overs. Tense stuff and the Dunecht fielding got a bit ragged with overthrows and misfields creeping into their up till then excellent fielding performance. Rizwan and Magesh cleverly used the gaps to score ones and twos as the score crept towards the required total, their telepathic shouts of “Yes, no, wait” fooling the fielding team.

The 43rd and 44th brought 17 runs helped by several wides and a misfield for four and the FPs now looked favourites to win, especially as Roberts had completed his allocated overs.

The final over saw FPs needing two runs to win and Dunecht needing 2 wickets to win. The first ball of the last over bowled by Cripps was hit for a single by Magesh, scores tied with 5 balls left. The tension was unbearable and it was too much for the only spectator, JPL Williams, who left the ground looking like a nervous wreck. Or maybe it was because he was late for his tea.

The next three balls were spot on and Rizwan could not pierce the field. The fifth ball Rizwan played in the air and the catch was taken by a cool fielder in the covers. One ball left, one run required. The batsman had crossed, so Magesh was the batsman to face. The fielders were all up to save the single, Junaid was at the non-strikers end poised to sprint the quick single we needed, no matter where the final delivery ended up.

There were 11 players who jumped in the air with delight a moment after the final ball was bowled. Unfortunately, it was the eleven Dunecht players who rose as one when Magesh was bowled off the last ball of the match, and another boring game of cricket was over.

This was an excellent match played in good spirit throughout, and it has to be said, overall, cricket was the winner. If every game was as exciting and close fought as this one, the crowds would be flocking back. Shame none of the first XI could make the hundred yard walk from Harlaw to watch the closing overs.

Champagne Moment – The obvious one didn’t quite materialize. Call me old fashioned, but my controversial choice is seeing one of our batsman walk out to bat in a proper cap. It looked like Sir Geoffrey striding out! It was a rare sight for the cricket connoisseur.

Man of the Match – Rizwan, bowled excellently, fielded well and scored 23 vital runs.

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