Last week’s close defeat against promotion favourites Banchory meant that the last game of the season against Stoneywood-Dyce would decide which of the two teams would finish bottom of Grade 3.
There were two changes to the team, out through injury went James Lord, and Edinburgh based Pradeep was spared the trip to Aberdeen as in came Rory Annand, and due to make his debut was Kevin Warner. Unfortunately Warner was a very, very late call off, and had it not been for a B&Q non-delivery of a fence for Geoff Morrison, we would have been one man short.
As it was Tom Murray was delayed at work, and Karthik and Rizwan were due to leave early, but the problem of deciding whether to bat or bowl first with two men short was removed when FPs lost the toss and Stoneywood-Dyce decided to bat.
Nine man Grammar opened the bowling with in form Karthik and much improved Mike Phillips. It was Phillips who took the first wicket in his first over when the dangerous Moir was very well caught by Annand at deep point. For the next 10 overs the opening bowlers bowled fast and accurately, well backed up by some excellent fielding, despite a surprisingly lumpy outfield which took a couple of out-fielders by surprise. Closer to the wicket, Morrison in particular was outstanding.
With the score on 40 after 12 overs, Phillips was rested after an excellent spell of 6 – 2 – 25 – 1. Magesh was brought on and in his third over bowled Cohen for 18, score 45 – 2.
Meanwhile at the other end Karthik was bowling with great accuracy, but little luck, and finished his opening spell with 9 – 4 – 15 – 0, a great effort.
Rizwan replaced Karthik and took a wicket in his second over when McPherson was bowled for 18 runs by the perfect yorker, S-D score 57 – 3.
Murray was a late arrival for FPs, but soon made a big impact when sharp fielding and a fast return, which was excellently collected by keeper Mike Lloyd, had Maxfield run out for 10, S-D score 72 – 4.
Magesh was bowling as accurately as Karthik had done, his first seven overs going for a miserly 8 runs. The pressure paid off when Alexander was caught and bowled by Magesh for 18, S-D score 86 – 5. Grammar were hoping to finish off S-D quickly, but Tindall and Holt added an excellent 48 runs with Tindall playing especially well off the back foot through the covers, and off his legs.
Magesh maintained his accurate spell, finishing his 12 overs of pace and spin with 12 – 2 – 26 – 2, some effort considering 12 runs came off 2 overs.
Rizwan finished his opening spell with 9 – 2 – 44 – 1, and Karthik and Phillips came back on to bowl as S-D attempted to score runs quickly. With the score on 137, Tindall was bowled by Phillips for 33.
Next over another great piece of fielding by Murray had Holt run out for 14. Grammar were looking for maximum bowling points, but Urquhart and Rayner rode their luck and added 24 valuable runs as S-D completed their 46 overs scoring 159 – 7.
Magesh and Karthik had bowled 24 overs, and conceded a mere 52 runs, taking 2 wickets, outstanding figures. Phillips bowled 11 overs, his most in a match this season, 11 – 2 – 39 – 2, and showed great promise for the future. Rizwan was unlucky to be bowling at Tindall when he was going for his shots, and bowled 11 – 2 – 61 – 1.
Considering FPs had only four bowlers playing, and fielded for a good spell with at least one fielder missing, this was an excellent performance.
However, there was one disappointing incident at the end of the S-D innings when experienced FPs player Morrison, having much earlier shown dissent to an umpire for an unsuccessful run out appeal, then questioned the umpire about the decision as they were leaving the pitch. The umpire was not in the least impressed at this behavior, but accepted the player’s apology. There is no point in us complaining about other team’s ill discipline when we behave in the same way, and it was a poor example to the youngsters playing.
Grammar opened the batting with our two most consistant batsmen Rob Fryer and Karthik. The openers gave FPs the perfect start with a stand of 33 in only six overs before Karthik was excellently held at slip one handed by Moir of Urquhart for 15 runs. Rizwan and Fryer had added 22 runs when Rizwan was bowled by Tindall for 6 runs.
Johnston got off the mark with a drive through the covers off Moir, but soon after pulled a groin muscle. He batted on while waiting for a runner to get padded up and managed to pull Tindall for another four, but while still waiting for runner Houghton, was out caught at mid on off a tame drive. It was a brave shot given the circumstances, but summed up a disappointing season for the skipper which included 7 ducks.
Fryer was scoring with class shots all round the wicket, and Phillips had hit two lovely fours when he was out for 11, caught out to a shot he won’t be repeating this season and better not next season, FPs score 98 – 4.
Worse was to follow when Fryer, who was looking set for a fifty was caught by a tumbling catch by mid on off slow bowler Moir for 45 (4 x 4s), FPs score 99 – 5 off 25 overs. This left FPs to score 61 runs in 19 overs, a reasonable target given the batting strength in depth.
Tom Murray and Magesh had scored 16 runs in 5 overs when Magesh was out caught of Scottish international bowler Urquhart (Fiona!) for 6 runs, and very next over Murray was out stumped while giving Moir the charge. Murray should be charged with reckless driving for that accident.
The pressure was now on, but experienced batsmen Geoff Morrison and Rory Annand calmly and sensibly took control of the situation. Morrison drove Urquhart for a violent straight four, and Annand played a couple of text book sweep shots for four to keep the FPs ahead of the run rate. They also took some excellent sharp singles to keep the score moving and S-D were obviously rattled by the quick running.
But with only 5 runs required, Annand uncharacteristically chased a wide ball, and was well caught by Moir above his head at wide first slip for 13 runs. S-D were right back in with a shout as tension mounted, but Morrison and Mike Lloyd were unfazed by the situation, and scored the winning run off the first ball of the last over.
Grammar final score 160 – 8 wickets, Morrison scoring an excellent not out 22 and Lloyd not out 3.
This was the third victory in four matches for FPs, and took us off bottom place in Grade 3. It was a good team performance, everyone taking wickets, fielding well or scoring runs. Our fielding was complimented by the opposition, and probably was the difference between the teams.
Man of the Match: Rob Fryer, his batting set us up for victory, fielded well and is a fan of Sir Geoffrey Boycott.
Champagne Moment: Winning and finally getting off bottom place.