Following last week’s magnificent victory against Turriff, there were only two changes for the vital game against Banchory 2nd XI at Rubislaw. Both teams desperately needed the 30 points for the win, Grammar to help avoid relegation, and Banchory to help gain promotion.
Sam Knudson was unavailable due to rugby friendlies, not relegation battles, just friendlies. But to replace him in the team from the firsts came all rounder James Lord. To ensure we had eleven this week, we had to send for one of our Edinburgh squad members, Pradeep.
After a week of rain the outfield was longer than usual, but not as soft as expected. Banchory arrived with more supporters than we have had team members on occasion, obviously word had got out about our recent form!
Grammar lost the toss and were asked to bat. Rob Fryer and skipper Johnston opened the batting against Banchory captain Pennington and Dickensen. Fryer smacked the first ball for four, the perfect start. Unfortunately tight bowling and the long grass meant that was the last boundary for 12 overs, during which time Johnston was bowled without troubling the scorers, probably ruining his chances of topping the averages.
James Lord and Fryer found piercing the field hard going, excellent shots stopping short of the boundary, but they brought up the fifty in the 17th over.
Lord had just hit Perry for four when he was out for 19. Karthik started carefully as Banchory continued to bowl and field tightly.
With the score on 57, Fryer was out for 39 (3 x 4s). Tom Murray joined Karthik but was soon bowled by Perry, FPs score 73 – 4. Mike Lloyd and Karthik added 17 before Karthik was out bowled by Pennington for a well constructed 23, score 91 – 5 off 34 overs. Soon after Lloyd, having survived a couple of close LBW shouts, was bowled by youngster Crawley for 5.
Following his heroics last week, Magesh was promoted up the order, and immediately looked in the mood again, hitting Wilkinson for a four and a two. Unfortunately next ball he fatally went back to and was out LBW for 8. Rizwan was next man in and had scored three when he drove a wide ball back at Wilkinson and was caught and bowled. At 116 – 8, the Grammar score looked 30 – 40 runs short of a winning total, but Mike Phillips and Harry Houghton batted excellently adding 20 quick runs with a mixture of good shots and much improved running between the wickets. Phillips was eventually out for 23 (2 x 4s). Houghton and last man Pradeep put on 10 valuable runs, including a unique periscope shot from Houghton while ducking under a short ball. Unfortunately, soon after resurfacing, Houghton was bowled for 8, leaving Pradeep 3 n.o.
Grammar total 146 all out in 45.3 overs. This was a decent score against one of the tightest bowling sides in Grade 3, but only four Grammar batsmen got into double figures.
Following hopefully our last al fresco tea interval, Grammar opened the bowling with in-form Karthik from the Cromwell Road end. With his second ball, he had Campbell out LBW for 0, a vital wicket as Campbell had scored a fifty earlier in the season against FPs. James Lord was bowling into the wind from the Pavillion End, but did not settle and Magesh replaced him after three overs. Banchory had scored 24 – 1 in 6 overs when Karthik bowled Redpath for 9.
The bowling from both ends was tight, and Banchory had reached 52 off 17 overs when Perry was brilliantly caught by keeper Lloyd down the leg side off his gloves.
Pennington and Wilkinson had put on 22 runs batting well against accurate bowling from Lord (9 – 0 – 26 – 0) and Magesh, when Magesh, cleverly deciding to reverting to bowling off breaks, had dangerman Pennington well caught by Lord for 30, Banchory score 74 – 4 after 21 overs.
This left Banchory to score a further 73 off 23 overs with 6 wickets left, but aided by FPs being reduced to 10 men when top fielder Murray had to leave early.
Wilkinson and Hicks batted with caution, but hit the occasional bad ball to the boundary, adding 36 in 12 overs.
Phillips came on to replace Magesh who bowled 12 – 0 – 45 – 2, and immediately looked like taking a wicket with every ball. His new found consistent line, length and pace was rewarded when he bowled Crawley for 9. At the other end, Rizwan was bowling well but without luck as a couple of chances were missed.
Karthik replaced Rizwan and it took him all of three balls this time to take a wicket, having key man Wilkinson well caught by Lloyd at short cover with three fielders converging on the ball, a nervous “Naeem” moment for the Grammar supporters.
Four runs later, Phillips, bowling his best spell for Grammar, bowled Rowett for a duck, score 127 – 7 off 39.2 overs, leaving Banchory 20 runs short with 5 overs remaining. Unfortunately for Grammar, a couple of chances and a possible run out were missed as Banchory went for the runs. Phillips had bowled 5 – 0 – 12 – 2 when Dickensen hit a 6 to tie the scores. In the next over Hicks scored the winning run, and Banchory had beaten Grammar by 3 wickets with two overs remaining. Banchory scored 147 – 7 in 42.4 overs.
This was a great game played of cricket, played in a good atmosphere throughout. Although now relegated to Grade 4, Grammar can take great encouragement from their last three performances, beating Dunecht and table toppers Turriff away and pushing promotion seekers Banchory all the way. Both Turriff and Banchory commented on the fact that we are bottom of Grade 3 yet played so well.
This week some of the batting was not up to previous levels, and our catching let us down, we missed four catches, none easy, but all catchable on a good day.
Man of the Match: A close decision goes to Mike Phillips who scored 23 runs and took 2 – 23, his best performance by a distance for FPs
Champagne Moment: Harry Houghton’s submarine impression.