For only the second Saturday in a five Saturday month, Grammar FP’s 2nd XI had a cricket match to play. Problems with wet Saturdays and too many holiday makers had cost FP’s games, and more importantly points when the top of the table clash against Knightriders was conceded. However, FP’s remained unbeaten on the field as they made their way to Methlick, one of the best locations to play cricket in the North East.
The sun was shining as most of the nine man FP’s team arrived. The ubiquitous late comers set a new ‘cutting it fine’ record, but just made it in time to take their places on the field as FP’s had decided to bowl first after winning the toss.
The first ball was smacked to the boundary by Methlick skipper Kennedy, and he continued to deal mainly in boundaries, his 50 caming from 12 scoring shots, (4 x 6, 6 x 4). Debutant schoolboy Jesten D’Costa could not have imagined that his first cricketing action would be to climb over the gate into a park full of sheep several times to retrieve the ball. The sheep were obviously used to Kennedy’s batting as they grazed in the far corner of the field, and once he was dismissed, returned to graze around the nets at the boundary edge.
Kennedy was eventually dismissed by a cunning piece of bowling by Rama, whose first four balls were wides, and the first non wide delivery was edged onto the foot, then pad, then the stumps of Kennedy, who scored 72 (7 x 6, 6 x 4) in an opening stand of 88 off 9.1 overs.
New batsman P. Chelmers came out with a bat older than the combined age of both the bowlers he faced, but showed it had a nice middle when hitting some good drives. Chalmers was bowled by a beautiful inswinger by Karthik for 10, Methlick 106 – 2.
Opener Carr had just hit Magesh for a six, but two balls later Magesh bowled Carr for 17 (1 x6, 1x 4), Methlick 112 – 3. Magesh struck again when Duffy was given out LBW and reluctantly left the crease with the next batsman being in danger of being timed out.
D’Costa took his first grades wicket with only his 5th ball when S. French sliced a drive high to point, giving that Gentleman of Rubislaw, JPL Williams, an opportunity to display that the Spirit of Cricket lives on by kindly allowing Johnston to take the catch. Most wicketkeepers would have pushed Johnston out of the way to make sure the catch was taken, most bowlers would have begged him to.
D’Costa struck again in his second over when he had M. Rassmusen plumb LBW for 5, and in his fifth over D’Costa struck again. D’Costa had just bowled a ball which rose sharply off a length, which J. Allan doing well to avoid, but next ball was shorter but kept low and bowled Allan for 6.
Andy Milne had B. Ritchie excellently caught at square leg by Rob Fryer, a reflex catch as the ball sped past him. Milne finished the Methlick innings by bowling C Allen for 6 (1 x 4), Methlick all out 179 off . All the Methlick batsmen scored runs and did well to double the score following Kennedy’s dismissal.
Karthik fielded very energetically despite bowling 11 overs in the heat, and his great throw from fine leg gave keeper Williams all the time in the world, which he very nearly took, to remove the bails and run out J. Chalmers. Karthik’s unorthodox use of his knee to stop a fierce drive off his own bowling was above and beyond the call of duty.
Karthik bowled well taking 1 – 51, Magesh took 2 – 45, Rama 1 – 12, Milne 2 – 29, but the star bowler for FP’s was debutant D’Costa who took 3 – 31 off 6 overs and showed great potential. All the bowlers stuck to the task and considering FP’s had only 9 men, a short boundary on one side, a fast outfield, and not forgetting a certain powerful hitting batsman to contend with, did pretty well.
Tea was just about perfect with home made scones, jam, cream with a fresh strawberry on top. What could spoil a perfect summer afternoon?
Grammar FP’s went into bat requiring 180 off 56 overs. If ever there was a day and location to enjoy batting for 56 overs, then this was it.
Sadly this section of the report won’t take long.
Second over Rama prodded tentatively at a ball and the catch was smartly taken with minimum of fuss at slip, FP’s 3 - 1.
Rob Fryer was given a life by Kennedy who could not quite hold on to a sharp chance at short mid wicket. But next over Kennedy did well to dive to his right and just get under the ball to dismiss Fryer for 5, FP’s score 7 – 2.
The rural setting turned out to be very appropriate for the next four batsmen as there were more barn doors on display than at the Highland Show Barn Door stand. Firstly Karthik was bowled by Duffy for 2 runs, then Sri for 2, then Williams for 0, then Magesh for 3, leaving the FP’s flock stunned and ready for the slaughter on 18 for 6 wickets, and Duffy with 5 – 12.
Milne was then bowled by French, and then Johnston was out LBW to Bremnesan for 2, Grammar FP’s all out for a pathetic 18.
There were few positives for FP’s to take from a result like this, D’Costa looks like a real find, and it was good to see umpires not afraid to make LBW decisions even if it may have resulted in them having to take a long walk home.
A few of the sad statistics from the game are that Kennedy scored more in one over than FP’s managed in the match, Methlick extras totalled more than FP’s scored in the match, and FP’s humiliation was complete on the drive home when the temperature on the dashboard read more than the FP’s total.
But on a happier note…
“Winning In The Rain”
The match played between FP’s and Methlick on 11th June was a match the participants won’t forget in a hurry as for the main part the game was played in miserable wet conditions in a weekend which had only 2 other matches were played in Aberdeen.
The two captains Rob Fryer and Stewart Kennedy deserve great praise for persuading their teams to start the game, never mind completing the match as the rain got heavier and the players got wetter.
FP’s bowlers started well as the new artificial wicket at Rubislaw soaked up the rain. But then Kennedy found his timing and began to up the scoring rate, with some good shots off his legs as the FP’s bowlers struggled to control the sodding sodden ball.
But then skipper Fryer cleverly brought on Doug Russell to bowl and with his first ball, Russell had Kennedy LBW to his ‘slower’ ball for 58, Methlick 87- 1 off 13 overs.
Russell bowled well slowing the scoring rate during his spell of 8 – 1 – 18 – 2, as did Andy Milne who bowled 5 – 1 – 17 – 1, his wicket courtesy of a sharp piece of work when Pehlaj who stumped Young.
Grammar opened the batting with Fryer and Rama and the score had Rama was out for 4, FP’s score 11 - 1. Blyth soon followed also out for 4, FP’s 16 – 2.
Left hander Pehlaj started carefully, but was soon hitting shots all round the wicket, including the not seen often enough, the graceful cover drive. Both Fryer and Pehlaj tend to score along the ground, so must have been frustrated by the longish wet outfield.
Fryer was out for 33 (4 x 4), score 92 – 3 off 24 overs. New batsman Karthik batted sensibly and the 4th wicket added 73 runs off 12 overs and with victory in sight Karthik was out for 29 ( 1 x 4), FP’s score 165 – 5.
Russell then helped Pehlaj see FP’s home with 6 overs to spare, Pehlaj ending a brilliant 96 not out (8 x 4)
Both teams deserve great credit for playing to the finish in miserable conditions , especially the young Methlick who played to the end without complaint.
Keeping the ball dry was impossible, and the bowlers had to bowl with a roundish bar of soap, not helping accurate bowling, and underfoot conditions deteriorated in dismal weather.
Man of the Match – Pehlaj, batted brilliantly to get to within four of his hundred, and kept wicket well in tricky conditions.
Champagne Moment – Probably getting out of the rain.