FPs were unable to force a victory despite chasing a very gettable 128 for victory on a damp pitch and slow outfield. Stonehaven crawled to 127 in their innings, before reducing FPs to 38 for 5, but some late order resistance kept things interesting right until the end, with a draw probably the fair result.
With Skipper Knudson on holiday, stand in Morrison called correctly and invited Stonehaven to bat. FPs got off to a great start as Bakhshi bowled the dangerous Milroy for 6 in the 3rd over. Bakhshi and Lord continued to keep things tight with Stonehaven raching 32 for in 15 when Stuart and Eagles were introduced.
Stuart should have had Donald early but Booth failed to claim the chance on the long off boundary and Eagles then suffered similarly bad luck as Morrison shelled Donald at long off in the next over, an x-ray later proving it had fracturd his finger in two places for his pains. These let offs allowed Donald to then hit Eagles for 2 boundaries before some fine glovework by Clelland saw him well stumped for 23 only moments after Booth had taken a well judged catch off Stuart’s bowling to dismiss Clive Hinchcliffe for 20 – Stonehaven 55 for 3. Campbell was also brilliantly stumped by Clelland for 5 as FPs started to make in-roads.
A Hinchcliffe an d Wilson then combined in a long stand before Wilson was forced to retire hurt which brought Balsillie to the crease. After once again displaying his reverse sweep against the spinners, Bakhshi was recalled to bowl him for 2. He also bowled Hinchcliffe for a well played 40 and made it 3 in the over as he bowled Long for 1. In his next over he dispatched Gardiner’s off stump for 1 as he grabbed 5 for 30. With Stonehaven now desperate for quick runs, Findley was last to go, easily run out by Morrison from short fine leg.
With only 128 needed for victory, FPs were cautiously optimistic, but were soon in danger of a heavy defeat as they slipped to 38 for 5. First stand in opener McDonald was bowled Hinchcliffe for 2, then Lord walked caught behind by Milroy off Findley. Booth only made 6 before being bowled by Hinchcliffe and Eagles fell to the same fate for 2. Davey looked like he could save FPs but was caught off an average delivery on the boundary from Walthan’s bowling.
Khan batted in his usual outrageous style and had added 21 with Clelland before being disastrous run out for 18. Clelland then found an ally in Bakhshi and some very aggresive running allowed then to add 33 and carry FPs to 92 for 7 when Milroy who had taken off the pads bowled Clelland for 12. Morrison appeared at 9 as FPs sought to find 35 runs from the last 7 overs. Both batsmen found the boundary in adding 13 but with 23 needed from 4, the excellent Hinchcliffe struck bowling the Australian for 25.
Lord joined Morrison but some accurate bowling meant they could not find the runs needed as the game closed as a draw. It inched FPs nearer safety, but they will still need a decent result at Ellon to be certain of their Grade 1 status next term.