Methlick (A) 26th July

There were five changes to the team to play against the MCC at Lairds. Out from last weeks heavy defeat against Crescent were Pradeep and Murali who were rested, Rory Annand was injured, Ben Frizzel was promoted to the firsts, and Junaid chose to play golf instead. That’s right, golf.

In came Magesh, back from a vodka drinking, sausage eating tour of Poland, Tom Murray back from his traumatic second visit of the year to the barbers, Nick Blyth back from a tour of England, where his presence coincided with a 10 wicket defeat by South Africa, Sam Knudson, home safely from a safari tour of Africa annoying elephants and lions and Mike Lloyd back from playing cricket in Canada and studying quantum physics or something equally difficult to spell, let alone understand.
Things got off to a bad start when the captain was late arriving at HQ prior to departing for Methlick, and had to transfer the team kit bag to Nick’s car and quickly return home to continue the search for a missing ferret which had made a break for freedom an hour earlier.

Rob Fryer took over as captain, won the toss and decided to bowl first on a hard, dry wicket. The weather was comfortably the hottest cricketing Saturday in living memory, but Knudson, his warm weather/altitude training proving money well spent by Roland, opened with two maidens from the Scoreboard End. Blyth had ex-Grammar FP stalwart Steve Murphy well caught by Phillips for 6 in his second over giving FPs the perfect start.

After 12 overs Methlick were 37 – 1 and half the runs had come as wides. Knudson’s first spell was 6 – 2 – 10 – 0, meaning the other opening bowler had been a bit off target, but Blyth finished his opening spell with a 5 – 0 – 24 – 1, and only two boundaries scored while FPs were a man down. Johnston finally arrived having successfully recaptured the runaway.

Magesh and Karthik then bowled the next 10 overs for only 21 runs, an excellent spell, but the big mistake Karthik made was bowling I. Kennedy for 8 runs as this brought S. Kennedy to the crease. Kennedy was given a life on two off the bowling of Magesh when keeper Mike Lloyd dropped a catch. Would this dropped catch prove vital? Hmm.

Kennedy was soon hitting out, and hit Magesh for two sixes in one over, spoiling Magesh’s good spell of 6 – 1 – 22 – 0. One of the sixes led to Rizwan learning about some of Scotland’s less popular greenery, jabby nettles. He waded into a big nettle bush searching for the ball, and soon found himself driven crazy by itching arms and legs. The best remedy, he was told , was to bowl to a well set batsman who had decided it was too hot to run and so was concentrating on only hitting boundaries. Rizwan replaced Magesh from the River End, and the next eight overs cost only 38 runs, Karthik was hit for 16 off his last two overs as the heat began to tell, and Kennedy began to go for his shots. Karthik bowled a long spell of 9 – 1 – 28 – 1, a great whole-hearted effort as usual, and as usual did not get the wickets he deserved.

Blyth returned from the Scoreboard End, but Kennedy was now scoring boundaries all round the wicket, and chances were few and far between, and an edge went like a rocket past slip.

Tom Murray unusually had very little fielding to do, and negotiated with the fielder opposite to swop positions at the end of overs, meaning he literally did not move for about twenty overs or so. Another few minutes and he would have qualified for a Methlick post code. Unfortunately he was awoken from his slumbers by a chance which he nearly held on to, but just slipped out of his sweaty palms.

A combination of nettle rash and the heat meant that Rizwan wilted a little during his last couple of overs, spoiling his otherwise decent figures, and he ended with 8 – 0 -50 – 0.

Knudson returned for a second spell and was hit for only two boundaries in his spell of 6 overs, a great effort considering how Kennedy was batting, and finished with 12 – 2 – 43 – 0. Knudson also brought off a great piece of fielding off his own bowling to run out skipper Buchan for 25, reacting in a flash to stop a powerful drive by Kennedy, turn and flick the ball back at the stumps, and Buchan was out having not grounded his bat over the line. It was also a good bit of umpiring who was alert to the shout.

At the other end Mike Phillips replaced Rizwan, but was hit for a few by Kennedy who was smashing everything that was not given as wides.

Kennedy finished on a magnificent 146 not out, including 10 x 6s and 12 x 4s, losing us a couple of match balls, and giving Rizwan a colourful set of red tattoos. Kennedy managed to clear the road on the leg side boundary and hit a massive six over the river, the first time that had been done at Lairds, the FPs are now in the record books at MCC for the wrong reasons.

So I suppose the dropped chance when he was on 2 was a bit on the expensive side. However, Lloyd kept wicket very well conceding only 2 byes in over 50 overs bowled. Yes 50 if you include wides.

This was a good fielding effort by Grammar in sweltering heat and this combined with the captain moving the field in for one batsman and back out to the boundary for another every couple of balls, meant a long hard session for everyone, and the effort was much appreciated.

But, it must be noted, we did bowl 38 wides and 5 no balls, which gave us an extra 7 overs to field in what turned out to be by far the hottest part of the day.

After a quiet tea, Knudson and Fryer opened the batting for FPs. Methlick opened with Murphy and slow bowler Bremenesen. Neither batsman looked in any trouble until the sixth over when Knudson hit a huge six over mid wicket, with the ball disappearing somewhere in the region of Rizwans nettle jungle. The ball Methlick wanted to use as a replacement was a lot older and softer than the match ball had been, so skipper Johnston decided to donate a new match ball to Methlick, the theory being a new ball would help the batsman hit it further and harder. Big mistake. Next over Knudson was bowled for 16 by Bremensen to a ball which kept low and turned a bit and obviously hypnotized Knudson as his feet never moved an inch.

Worse was to follow next over when Blyth, having just hit Murphy for four, was bowled by a ball which swung late. Grammar’s hopes of a victory fell soon after when Murphy bowled a jaffa with a capital J to remove Fryer for 4 runs, the ball did everything but split in two, leaving Grammar 41 – 3 after 13 overs.

Bremensen was replaced by that man Kennedy who then proceeded to bowl 6 good overs for 12 runs, and despite Karthik scoring an excellent 40 (1 x 6, 2 x 4s), which would have been 50 plus on a better outfield, as Grammar fell well behind the required scoring rate.

Murray, who replaced Fryer was by now definitely looking for residency in Methlick and defended stoutly (word association not intentional) for 24 overs before he was stumped off Bremensen for 12 runs, and allegedly, an impressive imprint of the ball on his body from a Murphy delivery.

Phillips then batted for 12 overs and scored 16 not out, and he and Johnston, with an average boosting 2 not out, calmly saw out the draw.

Grammar ending on 120 – 5 wickets, a decent score considering the total we were chasing, and the number of overs we batted defensively.

Unfortunately some of out players did not get a bat, but at least Harry Houghton now knows how to fill in a score book.

This game had similarities to the Rubislaw match where Methlick battled for a draw, and in both games the home side felt they should have won. Our elusive first win has been delayed a week mainly due to the batting of Kennedy, who was presented after the game with a bottle of whiskey in recognition of his six over the river.

Most of the Grammar team attended a BBQ which the Fryers kindly laid on, and which was a great success. Good food, much needed cold beer and good company, spoilt only by having to look at Tom’s bruised belly. It was also good to find the host is a fellow member of the Sir Geoff Boycott Appreciation Society. Not so good to find out half the team were too young to have seen in him in action. “Action” was queried, but he did score 146 n.o. in a cup final, sooper creeket.

By the time we left Rob’s, Rizwan also found out about Scottish midges to add to the delights of Scottish nettles.

Man of the Match: Again it is Karthik, bowled without luck, our best fielder, top scorer.

Champagne Moment:  Sam Knudson’s brilliant run out off his own bowling.

Kit Bag Packer: Mike Lloyd, say no more.

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