The 2nd XI season started with a trip to Ellon and a defaet by 38 runs. With only 9 players available it was never going to be easy task. However the toss was won and Ellon were invited to bat on a damp wicket, thankfully the outfield was in good condition despite the recent weather.
FPs opening bowlers Jim Bramald and Sam Knudson bowled with great accuracy for their first spell of the season, and after 12 overs Ellon’s experienced openers were only 22-0. Knudson’s opening spell of 6 overs, 0-14 into a very strong wind was a great effort. The fielding was also very tight and was well backed up by last minute stand in keeper Naeem. Sam Gill bowled one over into the wind but was blown off course, and Junaid took over and made a much needed double break through just as the openers were beginning to look for runs. Both wickets were to good catches by Sam Gill making an early claim to the fielding trophy. Jim Bramald bowled a tidy 9 overs 0-18, including 3 maidens, his best spell for a couple of seasons, and was unlucky not to get an early wicket.
Sam Gill then bowled with the wind behind him and soon had Owen caught magnificently by Junaid, a one handed reaction catch, his first ever catch for the club leaving the batsman stunned. Fiona Bramald took over from Junaid (2-31) and in her first over bamboozled the Ellon batsman who was bowled. Meanwhile Gill was tying down the other end with some fast accurate bowling. Rob Fryer then got in on the catching act, claiming an awkward shoulder height beauty, opener Montgomery the victim leaving Ellon 89-5 off 29 overs.
The FP fielding was still faultless, and the next contender for catch of the season was by the ever reliable Rory Annand, holding on to a sharp chance above his head. Sam Knudson came back on for a second spell, collecting 2 wickets, both bowled. Sam Gill picked up a plumb LBW and to round off a near faultless fielding display by the FPs, Jim Bramald reacted quickly, and “deliberately” deflected a firm drive onto the stumps to run out Ellon’s last man, leaving skipper Duncan 37 not out.
Ellon all out156, with extras totally a mere 26, wides total was 16, mostly due to bowling in to a gale force wind. It was a big improvement compared to last seasons match vs Ellon where FPs conceded an astonishing 51 (fifty-one) wides.
Jim Bramald 10.4 – 3 – 26 – 1, Sam Knudson 10 – 1 – 32- 2, Sam Gill 12 – 1 – 38 – 3, Junaid 6 – 1 – 31- 2, Fiona Bramald 4 – 0 – 23 – 1.
Ian Johnston opening the batting fell 4th ball of the innings for a duck to Owen to give Ellon the ideal start. Sam Knudson quickly followed, bowled for a duck. Annand then drove straight to the fielder and was out for 1. At 10 – 3, and only 9 batsmen, even one batting point looked a long way off and when Sam Gill was bowled for 3, FPs were in deeper trouble at 19-4. Jim Bramald got off the mark first ball with a glorious pull for four, then another pull for two, before playing on to leave FPs reeling at 29-5. Naeem and Fryer then added a face saving 69 runs in contrasting styles, Fryer the MCC coaching manual and Naeem the B&Q manual. Naeem scored a priceless 27 runs, with four boundaries and without their partnership, FPs would have been embarrassed.
The impossible was just beginning to enter FP minds as Fryer and Naeem scored quickly without too many problems, but new bowler Duncan’s extra pace and accuracy finally beat Naeem’s defence. Junaid scored 5 before being bowled; including a 4, but Fryer reached his 50 with a great drive for four. Fiona Bramald came in and battled long enough for Fryer to force another batting point with some powerful driving, hitting four great fours in six balls off Ellon’s best bowler, before being caught going for another boundary.
FPs all out 118, mainly thanks to Naeem and Rob Fryer. As defeats go, this was a great effort, two out of the three disciplines were as good as anything FPs had shown in the last few years, keen fielding throughout by only 7 outfielders, three chances, five catches! All that FPs need is a couple more batsmen to click and FPs should be a hard team to beat. That and eleven players on the field!
Man of the Match – Rob Fryer
Champagne Moment – Junaid’s catch.