For the first time in three weeks, Grammar FP’s 2nd XI had a full strength team to play against Crescent at the Duthie Park. Coming into the team to join Fryer, Rama, Magesh, Milne, Karthik and Johnston were Kieran Whyte, Ian Goodenough, Mike Blues, Ben Frizzell and nursing a holiday excess knee wound with three stitches, came Doug Russell.
FP’s lost the toss and were asked to bat on a patchy wicket marked with numerous worm mounds.
Openers Fryer and Rama soon discovered the wicket was two paced, Fryer became the first victim when a ball from Thangaraj stopped but unfortunately Fryer’s stroke did not and he lobbed an easy catch to short cover for 1 run, FP’s 1 – 1.
After last week’s stunning collapse at Methlick, Rama and new batsman Johnston were determined not to lose another quick wicket. Opening bowlers Abrar & Thangaraj were bowling well in tandem, Arbrar getting late swing , and Thangaraj bowling with pace and seaming the ball away. The scoring was slow, but Rama played a great straight drive for six to ease the pressure, and some sharp running also kept the score moving.
After 16 overs Thangaraj bowled Johnston with an excellent slower ball for 5, Johnston was through his shot and half way back to the bandstand before hearing the dreaded death rattle, FP’s 36 – 2.
Crescent replaced Abrar with Kanwar, a bowler whose approach to the wicket resembled someone trying to run up a ‘down’ escalator. But Kanwar got a lift second over when Rama, who had batted with good restraint was caught in the covers, Rama scoring 23 (1 x 6), FP’s 36 – 3.
Mike Blues was soon out, LBW to Thangaraj for a duck and there were shades of the batting collapse previous week when Frizzell was bowled by a good ball from Thangaraj also for a duck, FP’s now 43 – 5. Goodenough was next to be dismissed, walking when edging behind for 5 , FP’s in free-fall at 54 – 6. Only six runs had been added when Whyte was beaten by a shooter, out LBW without troubling the scorers.
With another low score looming, Karthik and Andy Milne dug in and began the fight back. Karthik played his natural game and scored quickly, while the inexperienced Milne played the perfect foil at the other end by keeping out the good ball, and running well to give Karthik the strike when possible.
The 7th wicket partnership was frustrating the Crescent bowling, and Karthik was scoring boundaries all round the wicket. He reached an excellent 54 (1 x 6, 6 x 4s) before being out caught by Birch off Vikas and along with the increasingly confident Milne had added 57 runs in 13 overs.
But Milne then played some outstanding drives, including a couple through mid on for four. Russell limped to the wicket and managed to score 5 before edging Vikas behind to the keeper and walking without protest.
Milne then hit Ward for two great drives to the boundary and was last man out for very well constructed 25 ( 5 x 4), FP’s total 131 off 42.4 overs.
This was a great FP’s come back led by Karthik and Milne who effectively doubled the total by sensible batting on a tricky wicket. Pick of the bowling attack were Thangaraj with 4 – 23 and Abrar 2 – 30.
Karthik opened the bowling for Grammar from the Winter Garden end, with Whyte bowling from the Obelisk End.
The bowling was tight and in the 8th over with the score on 17, the accurate bowling of Whyte finally told and Ward was bowled by a ball which pitched on leg and hit middle.
Karthik then bowled Vikas with a lovely inswinger, and Whyte struck again next over by bowling opener Abrar for 12 (2 x 4), Crescent 27 – 3 off 8.4 overs.
Magesh was brought on from the Winter Garden end, Karthik having bowled 7 – 0 – 40 – 1. Batsmen Link and Thangaraj batted well seeing off Whyte, who was unlucky not to take several more wickets in his spell of 9 – 2 – 17 – 2.
The 4th wicket partnership had added 48 runs without offering a chance, the batsmen taking advantage of the big outfield where at times Karthik was fielding so far away on the mid wicket boundary he looked like a subbuteo player.
But Crescent were looking comfortable, and with plenty of overs remaining, FP’s needed a breakthrough. Magesh finally tempted Thangaraj into an injudicious attacking shot with a more flighted delivery, and the bowler took a good caught and bowled catch to make the vital breakthrough, Crescent 75 – 4 off 20.4 overs.
Blues had replaced Whyte and in his second over bowled a brilliant ball to Rama which pitched on leg and then changed direction to hit leg stump, a measure of the unexpected outcome being the spilt second silence until the fielders realised what had actually happened. Keeper Frizzell did well to stop the other balls in Blues’s spell which did not change direction!
Crescent then staged a mini recovery with Link and Birch adding 14 vital runs, and with the score approaching 100, Whyte was recalled to the attack. The effect was immediate as he bowled Link with his second ball for a fighting 27 (3 x 4) and next ball had debutant lady hockey player Eleanor out first ball caught at point by Goodenough, Crescent now struggling badly on 93 – 7.
Magesh then had Kanwar caught by Johnston at short cover for 4, Crescent 98 – 8. The match was completed next over with two more wickets for Whyte, when he bowed Birch for 8 and two balls later comprehensively bowled last man McClennan for 0, Crescent all out 100 in 27.5 overs.
Grammar were relieved to take full points from this match having been struggling until Karthik and Milne turned the match with a great stand. Whyte finally got the wickets his pace and accuracy deserved as the Crescent tail collapsed, losing the last 5 wickets for 7 runs.
Whyte declined the opportunity to buy a jug of ale after his five – as he was suffering from a hangover. Hmm. Maybe there’s a lesson there for us all. Correction, some of us. Some of us have already tried that pre-match ritual and ale’d miserably.
Man of the Match – Karthik, great counter attacking innings which gave FP’s a total to defend, took a wicket and outstanding in the field as usual.
Champagne Moment – The catch which finally allowed mixed hockey player Ian Goodenough to get the better of a lady hockey player.