For the first time during this seasons momentous cup run, AGSFP’s 2nd XI had more then 11 players available to choose from for the Bon Accord Cup Final against St Ronald 2nd XI to be played at Methlick. The final 11 from the 13 volunteers for the 40 over match was selected as follows, Johnston, Magesh, Rama, Pehlaj, R. Knudson, Karthik, Arul, Vijay, Morrison, Goodenough, Rahul.
FP’s captain Johnston arrived at Methlick expecting to find the opposition practicing in the nets, but found only Grades President Robin Taylor and umpires Morrison and Philip in attendance. A quick confirmation that the final was to be played on that day was given, and the rest of the FP’s team arrived soon after.
The first pre match warm up of the season for FP’s consisted of removing the covers and FP’s resisted the temptation to claim the toss as St Ronald were still to arrive. The team eventually arrived having been held up by traffic.
The toss was won by St Ronald who had no hesitation in batting first. The wicket was a bit damp, but flat and the outfield was in good condition considering the recent weather. The sun made a welcome appearance which, coupled with the setting, made it a great day to be playing cricket.
Opening bowlers Vijay and Karthik bowled some good deliveries in the opening overs, but St Ronald as usual were playing attacking shots whenever possible. Akhlaq looked in ominous form as he played some powerful drives, but his opening partner Shakeel was being frustrated by good fielding. Shakeel was put out of his misery by Vijay in the 7th over, Vijay bowling him for 1, St Ronald 24 – 1.
FP’s struck again in the following over bowled by Karthik as Ali drove straight to Rama who held on to a tricky catch at mid on, Ali out for a boundary, St Ronald 33 – 2. Things looked even better for FP’s next over when Vijay had Adnan plumb LBW for a duck, 35 – 3, 8.4 overs.
Vijay had looked like taking a wicket with just about every ball, but was rested having bowled 6 – 2 – 14 – 2, replaced by Knudson from the Pavilion End. Akhlaq and Mauzam went on the attack and found the boundary with worrying regularity as new bowler Magesh was obviously still a bit jet lagged after the early start from Aberdeen. The first 50 took 12 overs, the second only 7 overs as Akhlaq especially hit the ball hard and far, one huge six landed perilously close to Knudsons car, possibly because he was almost out stumped off Knudson by the lightening quick Pehlaj.
The 4th wicket partnership was worth 94 runs when FP’s turned to Vijay, who soon had Mauzam out LBW for 30 (4 x 4), St Ronald 129 – 4 off 24 overs. As often happens when a big partnership is broken, the second batsman is out soon after and Akhlaq obliged when he was beaten in the air by Knudson and sliced a catch to cover where Johnston gratefully held onto the catch, despite being distracted by Knudson falling to his knees and praying. Akhlaq had threatened to bat FP’s out of the final, scoring 88 (3 x 6, 12 x 4), but suddenly FP’s were back in the game with St Ronald 131 – 5, 24.5 overs.
New batsman Asif was soon out, another LBW for Vijay, 132 – 6 and Vijay struck again in his next over with another LBW as Zubair was beaten by another good straight ball. Four LBW’s in one innings has never been recorded in an FP’s 2nd XI scorebook before. And probably will never be recorded again.
From being on the receiving end, FP’s were now in control. Knudson was unlucky when Goodenough just failed to hold onto a difficult diving catch, but next over Karthik took a great catch as he just managed to get his hands under a dipping shot by Abid, leaving St Ronald 139 – 8 off 31.4 overs.
St Ronald had slumped from 129 – 3 to 139 – 8 and if FP’s could get the last 2 wickets cheaply had a real chance of winning the trophy. But, there’s always a but, Ahmed batted very sensibly rotating the strike and with Sunil added 19 runs before a brilliant throw from Karthik left wicketkeeper Pehlaj with all the time in the world to catch the ball, remove his glove and gleefully remove a bail, St Ronald 158 – 9 off 34 overs.
Rahul had bowled a teasing first over helping to bring about the run out and in his 2nd over bowled Ahmed when an impatient shot was mishit and rolled gently back onto the stumps and just had enough momentum to roll downhill and eventually dislodge a bail. The ball must have gathered a lot of pace from the slope.
St Ronald were all out 163 off 34.2 overs, Ahmed scoring 21 (1 x 6, 2 x 4), Hamza 0 n.o. The game turned when Vijay was brought back on and the neutral umpires giving LBW’s. Some good catching helped along by excellent fielding from all members of the FP’s team.
Wicket takers for FP’s, Vijay 10 – 4 – 22 – 5, Knudson 10 – 0 – 36 – 2, Rahul 1.2 – 0 – 1 – 1, Karthik 7 – 0 – 43 – 1
FP’s now had a real chance of winning the cup, but the very strong St Ronald bowling attack which has helped gain promotion to Grade 1, meant the 164 required would take a lot of getting.
Following the usual excellent Methlick tea, FP’s opened the batting with Rama and Vijay. As expected the St Ronald bowlers Ahmed and Akhlaq bowled with pace and accuracy giving nothing away. The opening batsman had done well to stay in, but in the 10 th over Rama was out for 6, caught attempting to attack the bowling, FP’s 17 – 1.
The score had only advanced by one when Vijay was bowled by Ahmed for 5, thing got worse when Knudson was bowled for a duck by Akhlaq, FP’s struggling on 19 – 3 off 12 overs.
Pehlaj and Karthik did well to survive the next few overs, but gradually began to score runs as the opening bowlers were replaced. The first boundary came in the 20 th over when Pehlaj smacked Abid through the covers.
New bowler Asif was as hard to score off as the openers had been, but Pehlaj and Karthik began to find the boundary more often, Pehlaj also hitting great pull shots for 6 as FP’s just about stayed in the game.
But the pace and accuracy of the St Ronald bowling proved to be too good on the day as the run rate became too much and Karthik was eventually out bowled by Mauzam for a frustrated 36 (3 x 4). An injured Arul limped to the wicket alone as the request for a runner had been turned down.
By now the match was as good as over and Arul was bowled by Akhlaq for 1. Morrison almost cheered up the FP’s team but a defiant straight drive just fell short of the boundary, the shot not aided by a broken finger sustained earlier in the match attempting a catch.
The match ended with FP’s a frustrated 130 – 5 off the allotted 40 overs. Pehlaj batted with great determination and skill scoring 62 n.o. (2 x 6, 4 x 4), Morrison ended 3 n.o. For St Ronald, Man of the Match Akhlaq took 3 – 25.
The St Ronald bowling attack will give many Grade 1 teams a hard time next season, FP’s can be happy to have reached a final for the first time in years and having given St Ronald a decent game.
All in all it was a good, if frustrating day out and our thanks go to Grades President Robin Taylor, umpires Morrison and Philip, Methlick CC for the use of their ground and the teas and Abir Asif for keeping the neatest score book seen in years by FP’s 2nd XI.
FP’s Man of the Match – Vijay, great spell of bowling and a deserved 5-for.
Champagne Moment – Rahul taking the 10th wicket to dismiss a strong St Ronald side, giving FP’s a gettable target.
The Champagne Bottle is to be presented to winner of the Champagne Moment of 2012 at FP’s end of season night out. Continue reading