A much depleted first eleven were made to work hard for a win by Academy but ran out deserved winners by three wickets. FPs showed 7 changes from the side which defeated Crathie last week with Gary Stuart, Craig Fraser, Luigi Govil, Sam Knudsson, Sam Gill, Rob Fryer and Magesh coming into the side for the unavailable Moir, McDonald, Clelland, Budd, James Lord and Muthu.
Skipper Knudson, won the toss and had no hesitation in asking Academy to bat first. With Clelland unavailable, it was Fraser who kept wicket and a new opening attack of Sam Knudson and Youles who took the new ball. There was early excitement in Sam Knudson’s opening over as Kessell’s flashing drive flew quickly to John Lord at slip but he could not hang on to what would have been a stunning catch. However, Kessell failed to take advantage of the reprieve, playing all round a Youles delivery to be bowled for 3.
Academy’s centurion of last week Sunny came to the crease and unleashed some fine shots, particularly severe on anything remotely short. Liptrott and Sunny were adding quick runs and Knudson elected to replace Youles at the start of the 10th over with Stuart as the score had already reached 48 for 1. Initially the change made little difference as Academy stormed on to 63 for 1 until Stuart got one to lift from a good length which Sunny (32) could only edge through to the gleeful Fraser behind the stumps.
With this wicket, the brakes were firmly applied to Academy and Roland Knudson brought himself into the attack to bowl his off spin. He struck in only his second over with a high full toss which Liptrott could only help out to Morrison on the deep mid-wicket boundary and he made no mistake running in 10 yards to gather. Knudson struck again in his next over with Roshan playing on. Stuart then quickly added to Academy’s woes knocking back Afai’s leg stump for a duck leaving Academy on 81 for 5.
Davinder then blasted Knudson for his second six, but Knudson soon had his man as Davinder, trying for another maximum, could only top edge a delivery out to Sam Knudson at mid off who took a composed catch. Things were going from bad to worse for Academy by this stage and Stuart soon had Sintec gloving a lifting delivery to the keeper for 1. Stuart then struck again two balls later, pinning Derrett plumb LBW for 2, leaving Academy on 93 for 8. Knudson then struck once again in the next over, clean bowling Singh before Stuart picked up a well deserved 5 wicket haul, bowling Clark.
This left Academy all out for 97 off only 25.5 overs, having at one point been 63 for 1. Stuart was superb, controlling the swing well and ended up with 8.5-1-27-5. He was ably assisted by Roland Knudson 7-1-15-4 and it was their bowling which transformed the contest. Sam Knudson ended wicketless 6-0-31-0 and Youles finished with figures of 4-0-18-1.
Lord and Fryer opening the innings for FPs and were initially watchful, taking the score to 7 for 0 in 5 overs. However, Fryer soon fell bowled by Singh for 3. This brought Youles to the crease and he look to mix quick singles with lusty hitting. When beginning to look well set, however, he was bowled by Derrett for 15 leaving FPs on 32 for 2. The newly slimline Govil came to the crease and after being dropped a sitter on 1 by Roshan, he added some real impetous striking some fine cover drives and hitting a big six over long off. Govil dominated a stand of 32 with Lord but was well caught by Liptrott at cover off the bowling of Sintel, departing for a well made 23 from 24 balls.
This brought Fraser to the crease and he was unlucky when the 5th ball he faced kept low and he was correctly adjudged LBW for a duck. FPs were beginning to struggle now and were really up against it when first Lord was bowled by Sintel for 19 after a stay of 64 balls and then Roland Knudson edged a good ball from Singh to Sunny for a 5th ball duck.
This left FPs on 75 for 6 still requiring 22 for victory and both batsman Morrison and Sam Knudson were yet to score. They seemed to have things in hand as both Morrison and Knudson recorded boundaries, but the game was soon back in the balance as Morrison was bowled for 7 by the impressive Sintel. Sam Gill came out at number 9 and Academy were by now sensing an unlikely victory. However, there hopes were quickly snuffed out as young Knudson stamped his mark on the game taking 11 off Sid Singh’s next over to record a victory by 3 wickets. It was a highly composed effort from the 16 year old and his teammates were certainly indebted to his mature and composed innings of 16 not out.
For Academy, Derrett and Sintel were the pick of the bowlers with Derrett unfortunate to end up with only one wicket in an impressive spell of 12 overs for 23. Sintel ended up with 4 for 12 in just 6 overs and if he had been introduced earlier the result could have been very different.
FPs hope to have a number of senior players available next week for the tricky trip to Kemnay, but Govil and Sam Knudson have showed they are both more than able to stand in as needed and are sure to be pushing to keep their first team places.