The team selected for the away match at Dunecht showed only two changes from last weeks fighting draw at Methlick. Tom Murray was on holiday allowing his bruises to heal, and Mike Phillips was away partying. Again.
Into the team came James Lord and Craig Fraser from the first XI.
The toss of the Dunecht captains two Euro coin was won by Grammar, and Dunecht were asked to bat on a damp, green wicket, but considering the rain during the week, the wicket was not too bad.
The FPs team were on the field and in their inch perfect fielding positions waiting for the opening batsman to appear for several minutes. Just as the batsmen finally began their walk to the middle, it started to rain heavily, and we retired to the pavillion.
Half an hour later we were back in the middle, the wicket was not badly affected by the rain, but the outfield which looked like thick rough at Augusta, was now pretty wet.
Sam Knudson opened from the Scoreboard End and immediately found a good line and length, and struck in his second over when Poppleton edged one to Lord at second slip who took a sharp catch. Knudson took a second wicket two overs later when Moat played all round a straight delivery and was bowled for 3, leaving Dunecht 14 – 2 after 7 overs.
Things for Grammar got even better when in the next over Karthik had Roberts caught behind by Lloyd for 8, and Dunecht were struggling on 14 – 3 after 8 overs. This was just the start Grammar needed, but the big question was would the opposition middle order score heavily as had happened in the past.
The answer was emphatically “No” as continued good accurate bowling by Knudson and Karthik, aided by tight fielding meant Dunecht scoring was very slow. In Knudson’s last over of his spell (6 – 0 – 9 – 3), Lloyd took another catch down the leg side from a rare Knudson long hop to dismiss De Gabriel, and Dunecht were in deep trouble at 19 – 4 off 12 overs.
Lord replaced Knudson, and opened with two fast accurate maidens. Karthik had by now bowled an excellent 8 – 3 – 14 – 1, with no extras conceded for the first time this season.
Blyth came on for Karthik, and immediately looked in great form. At times his bowling was too good for the batsmen to edge, and he unluckily ended up with no wickets. Blyth bowled his best spell for FPs, 8 – 3 – 10 – 0, unfortunately having one chance spilled by Rizwan.
The Dunecht batsmen had been scoring very slowly due to great bowling by Lord and Blyth, who were helped by the thick wet grass which made it seem like ground shots were rolling up a steep hill, so much so that chasing fielders were almost over-running some shots.
Lord took his first wicket in his fifth over to break a stubborn partnership of 21 when Johnston dived to his right at short cover and held on to a mistimed drive by top scorer Donald, and Dunecht were 38 – 5. In the last over of his spell ( 6 – 3 – 5 – 2), Lord had Duncan well caught off a skier by Rizwan at mid – off for 6, score 39 – 6.
In previous games, Grammar had been unable to finish off teams, and for the next 13 overs Dunecht scored only 11 runs , but lost no more wickets. Magesh bowled 6 overs of accurate spin, and then 2 overs of pace beating the bat on numerous occasions but without luck, bowling 8 – 2 – 7 – 0.
Knudson returned fresh from a snooze in slips to bowl from the “Other” end, and in his second over had Walden well caught by keeper Lloyd diving forward to catch the ball inches from the grass. No 3rd umpire required here, Lloyd making a difficult catch look easy.
Knudson went one better in his next over, taking a further two wickets. Having been reminded, like he needed reminding, that he had taken four wickets so far in the match, he took a brilliant caught and bowled diving to his right and just getting his hands under the ball for his five-for, thus ensuring his Dad would have to fork out and buy a jug of ale for the adult members of the 2nd XI to enjoy, probably resulting in young Knudson being sent home to his bed early as a punishment.
Two balls later Fraser took a very well judged running catch at deep point, and Knudson ended with bowling analysis of 10 – 4 – 10 – 6, his last four over spell reading 4 – 4 – 0 – 3. He has a good chance of being in the 12 for next week’s match.
The Dunecht innings ended next over when Lord ( 8 – 3 – 9 – 3) comprehensively bowled Hogan for 3, Dunecht all out 57.
This was as good a bowling display as the second XI have had for many years, 41 accurate overs, and only two (2) wides. A millstone had become a mile stone. Only two wides, a statistic well worth repeating. Like next week for a start!!
Every bowler looked like taking a wicket at any moment, and the fielding was sharp. Four more bowling performances like this one and we might have a chance of avoiding relegation.
Rob Fryer and Sam Knudson opened the batting for FPs, on paper an easy target, but not that long ago a Grade 1 team was all out, for under 50. Both batsmen went for their shots, Fryer going for all the very wide balls bowled, and Knudson played a few aerial shots, the head in the air / clouds type, which he got away with as we enjoyed the little bit of luck we had been missing so far this season. Dunecht looked a beaten team from the first ball, and just as the Grammar captain began to dream of a victory and his win bonus being safely deposited in his Swiss bank account, Fryer, having again found fielders with good shots with amazing regularity, was out caught for 14 runs. Score 35 – 1 after 11 overs. Hopefully the curse of the openers may have been lifted. Hmm, might be worth opening again.
Knudson had played two good shots for 4 in his innings before he was caught for 19, FPs score 40 – 2. Blyth and Lord put on 13 runs, both batsmen scoring excellent boundaries, when Blyth went for a suicidal second run, and was run out for 11. He was so far out not even a wide screen TV would have had him in the picture.
Our best batsman this season then came and went for a duck, a collectors item from Karthik, score 53 – 4. Fraser was next in and stopped the rot as he decided on some batting practice for a couple of overs. The Dunecht captain, who had injured his hand batting, came on to bowl, and having just been called for a hotly contested wide, bowled the next ball a couple of yards faster and bowled Lord for 7. Sorry James.
Next batsman, our reluctant trainee scorer Harry (“but I did it last week”) Houghton put Dunecht out of their misery when he neatly turned Walden to the legside for a single, and Grammar FPs 2nd XI finally had their first victory of the season.
Following our lap of honour, (commerative medals are being struck) it was then time to pass on the good news to Magesh who was fast asleep on the back seat of Karthik’s car.
Last week after bowling in the heat wave at Methlick, a weary Karthik fell asleep in the recovery position. This week a bleary Magesh fell asleep in the rehab position. Say no more.
Man of the Match: Sam Knudson 6 – 10, 19 runs, and more impressively, paid his back-dated match fees.
Champagne Moment: His caught and bowled to get his five-for.