The near impossible happened this week when the team was chosen by 10am on Thursday morning, but still showed four changes from last week’s team.
Magesh’s three friends from Edinburgh had better things to do this week, Skinner was recalled to the first XI and Mike Hart was unavailable, so in came Muthu to keep wicket, Rory Annand returned from an extended tour of the Guinness brewery in Dublin, Tom Murray returned from holiday, and JPL returned from his self imposed exile for the trip to Banchory.
FPs won the toss and decided to bowl. Karthik opened the bowling and immediately bowled a good line and length. He maintained this and bowled 12 overs straight through for only 28 runs, taking one wicket, his best spell of the season.
Magesh’s first two overs went for 16, probably due to being hit on the head when keeper Muthu lobbed the ball onto Magesh’s head while standing at slip. Magesh then bowled 2 maidens, and took the first wicket when opener Perry was LBW for 19. Magesh bowled two spells, one pace and one off breaks, also bowling top scorer Campbell, finishing with 2 for 47 off 12 overs.
Grammar had a bit of luck when all rounder Pennington unfortunately pulled a hamstring while on 9 n.o. meaning he would also be unfit to bowl.
Rizwan bowled with great control and bowled his 12 overs for an economical 31 runs with 2 maidens. JPL Williams bowled a good short spell 4-0-15-0 and Mike Phillips came on from the Pavillion end and took a wicket first over, when Rob Fryer took a very sharp chance at mid on. It might have been two in the same over as Johnston dropped a catch at extra cover. Phillips took a second wicket in his fourth reacting quickly diving to the right for an excellent caught & bowled. Phillips finished with 4-0-2-22.
Rory Annand then bowled a couple of overs of his new look off spin style, and Karthik held on to a difficult catch giving Annand figures of 2-0-9-1.
Banchort declared on 155-6 off 46 overs, with only 18 extras, a much improved performance from previous weeks. The fielding was sharp, only one and a half catches dropped, and Mutu kept wicket excellently. Special mention must also be made of Tom Murray’s fielding at cover. The Banchory batsmen played many shots to the cover area, but Murray must have saved twenty runs with not a single shot getting past him.
The Grammar batting line up looked strong on paper, and with Pennington injured, FPs felt confident about scoring the required runs. Unfortunately we got off to a bad start when the jinx on opening batsmen continued as Fryer was bowled second over for a duck. Two overs later Annand edged one to slip where two fielders collided going for the same catch, but an arm appeared like a periscope with the ball in the hand, and so Annand was out for 4.
Banchory were helping the FPs run rate up with a series of wides and no balls. Ben Frizzell was saving energy by scoring 3 x 4s, the best an effortless drive through point.
With the score on 30, Muthu was out LBW to Herbert for 2, and 3 runs later Frizzell was out bowled by Perry for 12. Suddenly, things were looking very difficult, and Banchory’s young team were completely on top.
Rizwan and Karthik calmly added 22 runs when Rizwan was out bowled by Hicks for 5. Williams came in and looked in the mood, but was soon bowled by Perry. Karthik was batting well, and the score was mounting as Murray and Karthik scored steadily, Murray hitting the shot of the day, pulling a huge 6. But Karthik was bowled by Herbert for 32, and soon after Phillips was bowled for a duck.
Magesh and Murray put on 25 runs and memories of last seasons exciting draw were returning, only for Murray to be out bowled for 16. This left the last wicket pair requiring 39 at 4 an over. Unfortunately Johnston was out for only 2, caught at mid off, leaving Magesh not out, and Grammar all out for 120.
This was a disappointing batting performance, but the Banchory bowlers managed to bowl seven and have an LBW given, so there were no excuses.
Man of the Match – Karthik again, top scorer with 32, took 1-28 off 12 overs and a good catch.
Champagne Moment – Tom’s shot for 6.