The last scheduled home game of the season for Grammar FP’s 2ndXI was switched to Dunecht thanks to the Dunecht captain Alan Burnett who generously agreed to the request to play the match at Dunecht.
Unavailable from the SDQX match for FP’s were MacDonald and Rizwan, Karthik had flu and Whyte had a freebie to the Test match at the Oval. More dedicated players were brought in, Mike Blues and Paul Norwood were back from holiday, schoolboy Jesten D’Costa had nothing else to do as his football match was off and Pehlaj was very happy to come in from the 1stXI to keep wicket.
Due to a communications problem, the FP’s captain almost arrived late, and so vice captain Rob Fryer was sent out to win the vital toss of the coin. Give someone a simple job to do…
Rama and soon to be ex-vice captain Fryer opened the batting on a perfect sunny day. The wicket was damp but flat and Dunecht began well with a couple of maidens. The wicket was proving to be a touch slow and Rama was first to fall victim when he mistimed a drive and was well caught in the covers by a diving De Gabrielle for 3, FP’s 7 – 1.
Fryer and Pehlaj played the correct way, keeping out the straight balls and waiting for the bad ball. Fryer had just played the never seen before Fryer Flamingo shot for 6 over square leg, but soon after was out caught off a ‘stopper’ by a diving De Gabrielle in the covers for 11, FP’s 32 – 2 off 12 overs.
Pehlaj had struck a couple of legside boundaries with great timing, then hooked a ball from Burnett to deep mid wicket, but the Dunecht fielders were in inspired catching form and another smart catch was taken by Campbell, Pehlaj out for 17 (3 x 4).
Last week’s batting hero Vijay had been injured at nets two days earlier, hit on the nose while batting, fortunately with no serious damage, but the facial swelling was bad enough to scare away the close fielders. Unfortunately for Vijay with his first attacking shot he found the normally very close fielder at very deep mid wicket, and who just managed to avoid overstepping the boundary while taking a difficult catch, Vijay was out for a duck, FP’s 33 – 4 off 18 overs.
Following his good recent form Andy Milne was promoted to number 5 and again batted well. He and Mike Blues added 20 runs without any problems when Blues became the next victim of the Dunecht catching perfect storm with Dyer this time pulling off a great catch, FP’s 53 – 5 off 28 overs. Next over Milne was the latest to be out caught, this time by keeper Scott when he edged down he legside and walked before the umpire could give him out.
Melvin Joy had also batted very well the previous week, but he batted even better this week. He opened with a couple of sixes, and continued to go for his shots playing some lovely straight drives and pull shots. Paul Norwood managed to feed him the bowling, but Norwood was unluckily run out going for a second to fine leg after playing a nice shot off his legs. Unfortunately the Dunecht throwing was equal to their catching, and Norwood was clearly out for 4, FP’s 80 – 7 off 34 overs.
Johnston was next in and out, scoring just 3, caught at cover by that man De Gabrielle off Dunecht skipper Burnett while attempting to cut too straight a ball, FP’s 88 – 8. FP’s promotion hopes were in grave danger with only two wickets remaining and Dunecht well on top.
Magesh had arrived on time and so was rightly promoted up the order to number 10 and scored as many runs as occasions he has turned up on time, 1. But the 9thwicket stand had raised an important 21 runs, FP’s score approaching respectability, 109 – 9 off 41 overs.
D’Costa and Joy then added a vital 28 runs, Joy easing the ball over the boundary with a series of sweetly timed drives and pulls. Joy was nearly dismissed off a drive so straight that the fielder caught the ball just as he fell back onto the sightscreen, a good effort which against any another team would have deserved to have been taken. D’Costa also batted very well considering his experience, running well and defending calmly.
But in the last over Joy made the ultimate sacrifice while trying to get to the other end to face the last 3 balls and was unluckily run out, despite a great dive, for a brilliant 61 (7 x 6, 1 x 4). Seven sixes in one innings is probably a record for FP’s 2ndXI, and would be one for the team analyst to confirm. If only we had one.
The last two wickets had added 49 runs and given FP’s a good total to defend on a ground with a slow outfield and slow wicket with a bit of variable bounce.
Best bowlers for Dunecht were Burnett 3 – 26, Roberts 2 – 38 and Poppleton 1 – 14. The Dunecht catching was almost faultless, with De Gabrielle taking four, and Campbell two, Dyer and Scott one each.
FP’s opened the bowling with Vijay and Blues. Vijay was still not 100% fit and had to come off after 4 good overs for only 7 runs. Blues bowled 2 overs for 2 runs before being replaced by D’Costa who was due to leave early to prepare for a themed 15th (fifteenth) birthday party at the FP’s clubhouse, not a milestone 16th, 18th or 21st birthday but a 15th. Sir Geoffrey would have had kittens.
Blues replaced the injured Vijay, and bowled opener Burnett with a great delivery for 1, Dunecht 27 – 1 off 11 overs. Dunecht batsman ‘fingers’ De Gabrielle was playing some powerful shots, and the Dunecht total had progressed to 48 when Magesh was brought on to replace Blues. The change of bowling had an immediate effect when De Gabrielle turned a ball to square leg where Milne did well to hold onto a sharp chance, De Gabrielle out for 34 (5 x 4).
D’Costa bowled a good 6 over spell 6 – 1 – 16 – 0 before dashing off. In the meantime Vijay had recovered sufficiently to come back on to bowl off breaks. This new spell turned the match FP’s way when he took 3 wickets in two overs. Donald was first to go when Norwood dived forward at cover to hang on to a good catch. Next over from Vijay, Scott was bowled for 1, next ball Clark was caught by Magesh for a duck. Campbell avoided the hat trick and immediately went on the counter attack, hitting several quick boundaries.
But Magesh then took 2 wickets in 2 overs, Roberts providing Norwood with some easy catching practice and Poppleton’s patience gave way when he tried to pull Magesh and was bowled for a duck, Dunecht 62 – 7 and FP’s expecting a quick victory.
Campbell continued his counter attack to good effect, hitting Vijay for 14 in one over and with Dyer offering good support the Dunecht 100 came and went. The FP’s total was only a few more lusty blows away when Magesh bowled Dyer for 7, the 8thwicket partnership having been worth 41 runs, Dunecht 103 – 8.
Bremner lasted long enough to help add 8 runs, and Vijay volunteered to bowl an over of pace, despite his injured shoulder. With the last ball of his over Vijay bowled Campbell for 44 (2 x 6, 4 x 4). Campbell had been trying to guide the ball through the slip area but the ball just clipped the off stump, much to Grammar’s relief.
With the first ball of the next over it was all over as Magesh bowled Bremner for 1, Dunecht 111 all out, FP’s winning by 26 runs.
This was an excellent win by Grammar who had been forced to struggle against an inspired fielding team who held on to some great catches and bowled well. It was a good time for Joy to show his team mates how clean a striker of the ball he is, ably supported by Milne and D’Costa.
For Dunecht, Campbell nearly had FP’s in the soup with a great counter attacking innings. Fortunately Vijay’s shoulder held out for one extra over, and Magesh bowled his best spell of the season while taking his first five wicket haul of the season.
Man of the Match – Melvin Joy, great innings and fielded well
Champagne Moment – The 6 which brought up Melvin’s first half century for FP’s