Jerry Moir signed off his FPs career in fitting style, rolling back the years to inspire FPs to an amazing victory with 1 ball left of the season as Banchory lost their last 6 wickets for only 10 runs to lose by 3 runs in a game that seemed impossible for them to lose. Tabrez Malik also delivered an inspired spell to start the slide as Banchory snatched defeat from the jaws of a comfortable victory. FPs had started out needing 9 points to survive relegation andbuck the trend of clubs going straight back down – and at 38 for 4 – they were staring at Grade 2. However some excellent middle order batting from Eagles, Booth, Clelland and Knudson ensured they were safe before the 2nd innings began.FPs lost the toss and were asked to bat on a damp pitch and got off to a dreadful start as Morrison fell 1st ball caught at cover off Starling, Malik ought to have gone next ball but was dropped a sitter at point by Zac Crawley. FPs soon were 7 for 2 though as Budd played on for a duck to Mason. Moir joined Malik in his last innings and looked to be positive moving to 15 with a huge six before edging Starling to Itter. It was soon 38 for 4 as Malikfell bowled playing no shot to Starling for 16. With no points on the board things looked bleak for FPs but Eagles and Boothcombined in an attacking stand off 33 as Booth raced to 20 with some glorious shots before falling caught at gully – 71 for 5.
The experienced pair of Eagles and Clellandthen combined in a well constructed stand of 49 withboth men finding the boundary and running cleverly to ensure FPscontinued to accumulate points. When Eagles fell for a top scoring 39, he was replaced by Khan to up the scoring rate but he fell second ball bowled by the aggressive Mason for a duck.
Captain Knudson replaced him and launched Starling for 6 to open his account and batted with purpose with Clelland in adding 36 for the 8th wicket to move FPs to 156 before he was bowled for 18. Lord was promptly bowled for a duck and it was left to last man Stuart to help Clelland push FPspast 160 to ensure they were safe from relegation. Clelland fell to the last ball of the innings for an excellent 25 as FPs finished 164 all out – Mason claiming 5 for 28.
FPs took to the field for the 2nd innings knowing their Grade 1 status was secure and they seemed to relax a bit too much as they were pummeled in the opening 12 overs conceding 68 runs – with Lord going for 40 in just 4 overs as Hasan smashed the ball to all parts in an inspired onslaught. Just when things were looking bleak Moir broke through bowling Perry middle stump for 19. Key man Hasan then fell with no more scoring superbly caught by a diving Malik at short mid off for a rapid 41 off John Eagles’ bowling.
FPs then managed to bring the scoring rate under control as Banchory added just 9 in 7 overs before Councell fell tamely caught and bowled for 3 to Eagles – 79 for 3. Itter and Pennington came together andcombined in a stand of 43 dominated by Itter until the introduction of Stuart removed Pennington, well caught by Moir at slip for 10. Mason replaced him andwas not convincing but hung around with Itter to move Banchory within 14 runs of victory with 6 overs left and 6 wickets standing.
However, captain Knudson had one spin of the wheel left and he hit the jackpot in selecting Malik as the 7th bowler used to spark an amazing collapse. First he had Mason well caught by Clelland behind the stumps and next ball Eagles sprang to his left to clutch a great catch at gully to send Starling packing for a golden duck.
Itter however was still there and had played superbly for his 65 and it still seemed impossible to believe that Banchory could mess things up. Moir was called up for one last hurrah and he had FPs sensing the impossible was possible as he removed Itter superbly caught by the back pedalling Khan at point. There was now plenty advice on hand from the close fielders, still pondering if Banchory could really lose still needing 14 with only 2 wickets left. J Crawley had no answer plumb LBW for a duck despite his protestations to the inspired Moir.
Last pair of Crawley and Crawley still were going for the win and it looked like it could be on again as the penultimate over from Malik went for 8. But Zac Crawley had no answer to Moir as he was bowled by the 2nd last ball of the game for 4 as FPs picked up one of the most unlikely wins of the season. All in all it was a great game and great credit must go to Banchory for trying to win even when under real pressure at the end. The game was played in a great spirit and was one of the most exciting in recent years.
FPs can reflect on a good season, bucking the recent trend by surviving in Grade 1, next season will be sure to be another tough one, with Jerry Moir heading towards a richly deserved retirement. It was fitting he should sign off with the final wicket in a great performance of 4 for 18. He has been a magnificent servant for FPs for many years and has always played in the correct spirit having a positive effect on both his teamates and opponents.