The unexpected (and unwanted) mid season break for AGSFP’s 3rd XI ended with the Grade 4 return match against 2nd top side Siyapa. The break was unfortunate as the previous match had seen a great team performance to push unbeaten league leaders Portcullis all the way, but eventually losing by a mere 6 runs. The first game against newcomers Siyapa left FP’s soundly beaten and the team selected for the return showed only 2 survivors, captain Ian Johnston and Akil Thanga, who were joined by Naresh Kumar, Akil Thanga, Rajaa Monnapallai, Jeston D’Costa, Mike Blues, Paul Norwood, returning after major back surgery, Shri Balasubramani making his debut as wicketkeeper, Matt Garratt making his FP’s debut after years of inactivity and Gary Stuart planning to emulate his beloved Dundee United’s best players and make an early exit. The 11th man was missing due to social media mix-up.
For the first time this season FP’s lost the toss and were asked to bat first. Siyapa were also a man short, so the gaps in the field would be useful to both teams.
It’s hatrick for 3rd AGFPs, not with bowling but in team numbers, another match to go with 10 players. Team selected to play against Portcullis was Ian Johnston (C), Sandeep Dhanamani (VC), Jim Lee (WC), Rahul Gopal, Ally MacDonald, John Thomson, Raja, Jeston D’Costa, Leston D’Costa, Michael Blues and Akhil Thanga. As the skipper Ian Johnston was suffering from a stomach bug unfortunately he had to miss this match, Sandeep Dhanamani stepped up to the Captaincy. Rajas younger brother Faraj Monnapillai was available to fill Ian’s place however not available until 13:30.
At the toss, FP’s were short of two players, the skippers went to the pitch for the toss and yet again FP’s won. Keeping in mind that FP’s had 8 bowlers in the team skipper chose to field first. As Akhil was late call off for the match, FP’s walked into field with 9 players.
For the second week in a row FP’s 3rd XI were under strength with only 10 men available for the Grade 4 game against an even more under strength Stonehaven 2nd XI who had only eight players arrive at Harlaw, 5 adults and 3 schoolboys,
The survivors from the previous weeks match Ian Johnston, Jim Lee, Michael Blues and Rajaa Monnappillai were joined by James Lord, Aly McDonald, Agha Haider, John Thomson, Rahul Gopal and this weeks debutant David Blues.
The weather had been damp during the morning and for the first time this season, no howling wind blowing the bails away. The toss was won again by FP’s and elected to bat first. FP’s supplied a couple of players to fill in the gaps in the field.
There was a grand total of two players available from the team which played in the previous 3rd XI match, the Johnston Rose Bowl cup thriller against Grampian CC, who were selected to play in the Grade 4 match at Sheddocksley, also against Grampian CC.
The survivors, Johnston and Lee were joined by debutant Alan Bruce, first game for 4 years Mike Blues, schoolboys Leston D’Costa, Raaja Monnapillai and Jason Alexander, with Sarav Rathinam, Naresh Kumar, Sandeep Dhanamani completing the 10 player line up.
The soft pitch had the usual motor bike tyre mark at one end, on a length, (the bike owner obviously not a batsman, if CIS Sheddocksley are stuck for clues) and the boundary on one side was very short.
Once again the toss was won by a Blatter free FP’s, Grampian asked to bat first, and once again there was a howling gale blowing across the wicket which would prove tricky for the bowlers. It also proved tricky for the FP’s wind breaker and Grampians tented pavilion which both suffered damage and Young D’Costa had to be roped to Monnapillai during a particularly windy spell.
With only four players available from the previous match, FP’s 3rd XI had several debutants for the Johnston Rose Bowl 40 over Cup match against new team Grampian CC. Fortunately the 2nd XI did not have a game as numerous call offs left the 3rd XI short of bodies. The new to the 3rd XI players, braving life away from the grandeur of Rubislaw, were Magesh Devendran, Karthik Mohanan and Matt Barker. Joining them at Harlaw were John Lord, Kingshuk Ghosh, Rutwik Hedge, Doug Russell, Melvin Joy, Jim Lee, John Thomson and Ian Johnston.
The unbeaten run of tosses continued for FP’s as the captains chameleon coin continued confusing correct calling contending captains. As a result, FP’s decided to bat first on a bright but again very windy and chilly afternoon.