Despite the lack of victories it had been an exciting if shorter than hoped for season for FP’s 3rd XI, with two Grade 4 teams unfortunately pulling out of the league during the season. The last game and last chance for FP’s to register their first win over a still competing team was against the Grade 4 newcomers Grampian, who, in their first season in Grades cricket, had already won the Johnston Rose Bowl cup competition and were chasing promotion.
The high point of the season batting wise had been the emergence of 6 ft 7 inch Matt Garratt who had batted head and shoulders above his team mates and who had, despite two scores of over fifty in his previous two innings’s, kept his head out of the clouds. Unfortunately Garratt was unavailable and although his batting would be missed, his extra long reach round the tea table would not.
The team selected from the XXXIII available at the final selection committee meeting punch up of the season was Johnston, Kingshuk Ghosh (wkt, trainee 4G games consultant), Paul Norwood, Aly McDonald, Akil Thanga, Jeston D’Costa, Rajaa Monnapillai, Michael Blues, Agha Haider, debutant schoolboy Matthew McCaughtrie, Shashank Kulluru.
A warmish and eerily windless walk to the middle for the toss resulted in another FP’s win who decided to bat first with only latecomer Shashank still to arrive. He would have to wait for his chance for redemption.
Norwood and Ghosh opened the batting and batted well against the good opening bowling of Grampain’s captain Noby and Saju. The outfield was long and lush and runs were hard to come by. After 10 overs the score was 25 – 0, but in the 11th over Norwood was out caught off new bowler Seby for 14, FP’s 28 – 1.
McDonald, who had batted with distinction for FP’s this season, hit a crisp cover drive right to cover, then hit the next ball crisply to the right of cover, unfortunately for just 2 runs as the only thing the council has not cut back on recently is the grass.
The 2nd wicket partnership had raised 37 runs when McDonald was dismissed for 22 (1 x 4), FP’s 65 – 2, this not long after scoring what was to be FP’s only boundary of the innings, a very powerful pull shot through square leg and almost through the umpire.
Thanga had been batting well at recent net sessions and was promoted to number 4. But having played a couple of nice shots was soon caught behind off a faint edge off Jacob for 3, FP’s 70 – 3.
Ghosh had batted with good control and concentration but obviously had taken on too many E numbers from the out of date juice supplied at the drinks interval and lost his focus. It was Bijil who claimed the wicket in waiting by bowling Ghosh for a very patient 19, an innings which had anchored the FP’s innings, FP’s 75 – 4 off 30 overs.
D’Costa and Monnapillai batted enterprisingly adding 14 in good time with several powerful drives, but D’Costa was out for 8 bowled by Johnson and 3 runs later Monnapillai was run out for 10 going for a dubious second run where a loud shout of “No” might have been the better option.
The comedy calling continued when Haider was run out without facing a ball and FP’s innings folded rapidly as Blues was bowled for 3, debutant McCaughtrie and Johnston then provided easy catching practice to the Grampian fielders, both batsmen troubling the scorers who were not used to so many wickets falling so quickly, but both dismissed without scoring. Shashank was left 1 n.o. on his last match for FP’s, a 1 to remember.
The final score for FP’s was 96, a lot fewer than this hand picked team had been hand picked to score. Grampian wicket takers, V. Jose 1.5 – 1 – 1 – 2, Johnson 4 – 0 – 7 – 2, Bijil 9 – 1 – 20 – 2, Vaisakh 5 – 1 – 14 – 1, Seby 6 – 0 – 19 – 1.
A grumpy FP’s captain missed out on the hand made vegetarian sandwiches filled with freshly harvested produce from the Norwood estate, as he spent most of the tea interval correcting the scorebooks allegedly supervised for FP’s by a now expert 4G games consultant.
FP’s best hope of winning this game was by taking a couple of quick wickets and in D’Costa’s opening over a chance was missed at slip when J. George edged the second ball. In D’Costa’s next over the same trio were involved in a similar incident, this time slip having just been moved to fine leg.
George made the most of his let offs and was playing some good powerful shots all round the wicket and the fifty was raised in the 11th over. Opening bowler Shashank was also unlucky having a couple of good LBW’s shouts turned down.
Haider was brought on to bowl 10 overs too late and had opener Vaisakh caught by McDonald with his last ball of his first over, Grampian 55 – 1. New batsman Seby immediately went for his shots, but was fortunate that the umpire was not familiar with naughty boy body language when Ghosh took a couple of brilliant, but not given, catches behind the stumps.
Debutant McCaughtrie did not take long to make a bowling impact when George was McCaughtried by Ghosh off the second ball of the schoolboys first over for FP’s 3rds, George scoring a rapid 51 with only two fours, but the 16 x 2 told a story.
This one sided match was deservedly won by Grampian in the same over when Gibson hit the winning runs, Grampian 99 – 2 off 18.5 overs, Seby scoring 19 n.o. (4 x 4) Gibson 6 n.o. Wicket takers for FP’s, Haider 3 – 0 – 16 – 1, McCaughtrie 0.5 – 0 – 6 – 1.
This was a bit of an anti climax to the end of what had been a frustrating season for FP’s 3rds who had been so close to winning five matches, including a tie, but had ended the season winless. However, the progress during the season made by schoolboys Akil Thanga, Rajaa Monnapillai, Rutwik Hegde, Kingshuk Ghosh, Leston D’Costa, Jason Alexander, and Matthew McCaughtrie, all of whom contributed with runs, wickets and some fantastic catches, was very encouraging. They played every game with great enthusiasm and within the spirit of the game and are a credit to the club.
FP’s Man of the Match – Kingshuk Ghosh second top scorer and did well with the catching practice
Champagne Moment – Matthew McCaughtie’s debut wicket in debut over