Gary Stuart turned in a wonderful bowling display taking 6 for 23 to easily defeat a talented Fraserburgh side. After Fraserburgh were dismissed for 104, FPs chased the runs down with 11 overs to spare to win by 6 wickets.
FPs won the toss and decided to bowl first on a slightly damp surface and lined up with Clelland back behind the stumps. Stuart, James Lord and Budd returned to the side with the evergreen John Eagles making a first start of the season. Youles, MacDonald, Sam Knudson and the injured Moir dropped out.
James Lord took the new ball with Glen Millar and with only 7 on the board, Millar struck with a beauty clean bowling Bowie who had the look of a very fine player indeed. FPs managed to keep things tight in the opening exchanges with some terrific ground fielding, bouncing back after lasts weeks shambolic showing.
In the 11th over, Lord picked up his only wicket with a high full toss which Watson could only guide to Budd at midwicket, to reduce Fraserburgh to 26 for 2. The wily Eagles was then brought into the attack and he struck almost immediately, tempting Mutch out of his crease, to be brilliantly stumped by Clelland, once again proving why he is the best wicketkeeper in Grades cricket.
With things still well in FPs favour at 43 for 3 in 17 overs, Stuart was brought into the attack for the tiring Millar. Millar’s figures being a hugely impressive 1 for 5 in 9 overs with only a no ball and an edge through slips the runs conceded. Stuart’s first over gave no indication what was about to unfold as he was hit for three fours by the stylish Oldham. However, in his next three overs he demolished the middle order as first be brilliant yorked Oldham for 23, then had Flowerdean well caught at square leg by Budd before he trapped Ironside plumb LBW to reduce the home side to 58 for 6.
This brought L Bowie and Souter together who shared a useful partnership of 32 mainly due to some lusty hitting by Souter, who clubbed 2 sixes over midwicket, one of which Fraser was unfortunate not to hold on to at full stretch on the boundary.
However, when Eagles had Souter well caught by a tumbling John Lord at gully for 22, the innings quickly subsided as Stuart mopped up the tail, bowling L Bowie, having Amin caught at slip by Fraser and castling Clark 2nd ball to finish with 6 for 23 from 11.3 overs.
It had been a fine bowling display all round with Eagles ending up with 12-2-45-2, Millar 8-5-5-1, Lord 6-0-21-1, Stuart 11.3-3-23-6 and Knudson 2-0-6-0.Â It had been well complimented with an excellent fielding display with many runs saved and only one very tricky chance dropped. Moreover, it suggested that the week before versus Kemnay was perhaps nothing more than a blip.
After an excellent tea, FPs started their chase with Budd and Lord opening the innings. Both looked in good form, and Budd advanced to 10 from 39 balls but played all round a full delivery from Soutar to be bowled with the score 25 for 1. This brought Clelland in at 3 and he and Lord shared a partnership of 57 which took the game away from Fraserburgh.
With Lord happy to look to bat through, it was Clelland who unleashed a barrage of shots, depositing any bad balls he received for 4 down the ground and also clearing the pavilion with a big six over square leg. He hits 5 fours, 1 six and after a 77 ball innings was bowled by the impressive Rennie for 37.
Young James Lord replaced him at 4 and looked in good touch tucking a fine 4 off his legs. Unfortunately his innings was to end in a comedy run out as he hooked a short delivery well to Oldham at square leg, and called for an impossible single. An unimpressed John Lord, sent his son back, but James Lord by this time had gone too far and was stranded 10 yards down the pitch as Oldham threw down the stumps to end his innings. Perhaps affected by this, Lord snr was then promptly LBW for a well made 22 from 68 balls by Soutar as FPs stumbled towards the winning line.
Millar however, was not in the mood to hang about and quickly finished the game with 2 thumping 4s as he and Eagles saw FPs to a well deserved 6 wicket victory in what was good all round performance.
Plaudits must also go to Fraserburgh for their excellent sportsmanship, fine new facilities and excellent catering. Even though they were only promoted last year, they seem to have some excellent players and should stay well clear of the relegation zone. FPs now travel to St Ronald in what is likely to have a large bearing on their promotion chances, but if they can repeat their bowling and fielding performance, it should be a very close game.