For the top of the table clash with Queens Cross at Harlaw, AGSFP 2nd XI had to make six changes from the team which drew with Huntly Highlanders. Out of the team went Geoff Morrison, John Davey, JPL Williams, John Eagles and Mike Hart. Into the team came Rob Fryer, fresh from his exotic holiday from somewhere just south of Sheddocksley, a rehabilitating John Lord making a rare appearance for the seconds, Greg Anderson making his Grammar debut, Ben Frizzell came in from the first team squad, Harry Houghton returned following work commitments and Doug Russell apparently had recovered from T in the Park.
The toss was again successfully lost by FP’s skipper and QX invited FP’s to bat on a damp pitch of many colours. Fryer and Lord opened the batting and batted cautiously until the 7th over when Lord unexpectedly gloved a lifter from Renoo and, more unexpectedly, walked. FP’s score 10 – 1.
Next over Fryer played a wide ball straight to cover and was out for 3, score 15 – 2.
Muthu and Frizzell then added 22 runs in good time. Frizzell had just played a textbook slog sweep for 4 when he was out LBW to slow-mo Bell for 11, FP’s score 37 – 3 in the 13th over.
Karthik came in and soon belted Bell for 4 over cover but Bell got his revenge when Karthik was stumped for 9, FP’s score 51 – 5. Next in was Johnston but was soon out to another ianjudicious drive and was caught by Honey at mid-on off the bowling of Bell for 4, FP’s score 55 – 5, 24 overs. The Grammar collapse was in full swing when Muthu was run out for 11 with the score on 55. One run later Russell was out LBW to Honey for 1, FP’s score 56 – 7, 30 overs. Salt was rubbed into the wound when QX asked FP’s to switch on the water urn for the tea interval.
QX bowlers Honey and Bell were bowling very accurately and the runs had dried up. Grammar were hoping the tail would wag and Anderson and Houghton started a mini-revival by adding 10 runs for 8th wicket before Anderson was out for 7. Rizwan and Houghton carefully put on 13 runs before Houghton was dismissed for 5. Grammar FP’s were now on the tiles, so who better to come into bat than a man who had just arrived having been out on the tiles, Magesh. Unfortunately for Magesh’s late night, early afternoon feeling of discomfort, Rizwan was looking to run quick singles. Rizwan was showing the top order batsman how to score runs and the 10th wicket had added a valuable 15 runs when Rizwan was out for 15, leaving Magesh not out 4, FP’s 94 all out in 44.4 overs.
Grammar FP’s total looked to be 30 runs too few as the QX bowlers bowled the correct line and length on their unpredictable wicket, helped by some inconsistent batting. Following the tea interval, where some FP batsmen ate longer than they batted, FP’s made their way to the middle where they, at the insistence of John Lord, formed a huddle. What was said in the huddle stays in the huddle.
FP’s opened the bowling with Karthik and Magesh and make an early breakthrough when Magesh bowled Goodenough, score 6 – 1, 6 overs. Another 6 overs of accurate bowling passed without getting a needed second wicket with Karthik in particular bowling very well, having Arkless playing and missing regularly and inducing a couple of Chinese cuts. FP’s latest big-money signing, Anderson, then came onto bowl and with his 4th ball had Findlay spectacularly caught behind by a diving Muthu for a duck, QX score 17 – 2, 13 overs.
Another breakthrough at this stage would have made the game very interesting but Arkless continued to ride his luck and with new batsman Lovie playing some good drives, the score steadily rose to 51 when Arkless was comprehensively bowled by Russell in his 2nd over. FP’s needed another quick wicket which duly came when Deady was caught behind off Russell for 3, QX score 69 – 4, 30 overs. The pressure was now on QX, with Harry “Howzat” Haughton leading the appeals, but the experienced Jamieson and Lovie calmly added 12 vital runs before Jamieson was bowled by Magesh who had returned for a second spell.
QX batsman Lovie had just about seen his team home when he was bowled by Magesh for a determined 17 runs, QX score 88 – 6, and Alan Bell scored the winning runs with a drive for 4. Final QX total 97 – 6, in 39 overs.
Pick of the bowlers were Magesh 11 – 2 – 29 – 3, Russell 9 – 0 – 22 – 2, Anderson 5 – 0 – 13 – 1, Rizwan 5 – 1 – 16 – 0 and as usual the luckless Karthik, 9 – 3 – 11 – 0.
There can be no complaints about the match result, Queens Cross deserved the win as they out – bowled and out – batted FP’s. It will be interesting to see how FP’s react to this disappointing defeat which drops them to third place in Grade 4.
FP’s Man of the Match – Muthu, unluckily run out while batting well and kept wicket immaculately.
Champagne Moment – Muthu’s brilliant diving catch.