The AGSFP’s 2ndXI team to play our first ever match against Huntly Highlanders showed 5 changes to the team beaten by Portcullis.
Out went our top run scorer Govil, and top wicket taker Hart, along with Raam, Raj and Kamran. Making his debut was schoolboy Doug Russell, Rizwan returned from injury, Mike Phillips returned from work, Ben Frizzell and Mutu returned from the first XI.
The toss was won by Huntly Highlanders, a team made up primarily of schoolboys with three or four more ‘experienced’ players to coach the younger members along.
Grammar were asked to bat first on a newly laid artificial wicket, the sort of luxurious artificial wicket which would look great at Rubislaw. The boundary rope had been laid 70% / 30% on either side of the wicket which would make fielding / ball retrieval interesting at times.
The setting was magnificent with the castle ruins overlooking the pitch, and FP’s opened the batting with our own magnificent ruins Fryer and Youles.
After a steady opening few overs, Youles began to test out his dodgy back by hitting a few sixes, and the fifty came up in the 9th over. The scoring rate was nearly six an over when the hard hitting Youles was out LBW to Reid for a rapid 68 (5×6, 6×4) in an opening stand worth 99. It would have been worth over 100 if the experienced batsmen had not stood admiring the ball roll slowly towards, but stop so close to the rope. I am sure the schoolboys learned something there…
Fryer, who had been batting well, but finding the keen fielders with amazing regularity fell only one run after Youles for 22 (3×4). New batsman Frizzell immediately went for his shots, hitting a couple of good boundaries, and his batting partner Johnston was just looking set for a long innings when he was controversially given out LBW for 5. The decision an early candidate for the coveted FP’s end of season Umpiring award!
Frizzell was leading a charmed life being dropped twice, but was finally bowled by a full toss / unplayable yorker (depending on where you were standing ), for 22 (4×4) and FP’s were 131 – 4, 25 overs.
Leading all rounder Karthik had been in a short while scoring 14 (3×4) when he strained his side attempting to clear the ruins who were now out umpiring, and was forced to retire injured. This meant FP’s had lost 5 batsmen for under 50 runs and the Highlanders were right back in the game.
But experienced batsmen Fraser and Mutu added a magnificent 88 runs in 14 overs with some good stroke play aided by intelligent running between the wickets putting the fielders under pressure with quick singles. This led in one instance to one run being turned into three runs caused by two panicky overthrows. Another lesson for the youngsters, a constructive one this time.
With the total 219 after 39 overs, Mutu and Fraser were dismissed with consecutive balls while unselfishly going for quick runs, Mutu scoring 36 (5×4) and Fraser 33(5×4). New batsmen Phillips and Russell were told to score quickly to allow a declaration, and Phillips smashed 18 runs off the 40th over (1×6,3×4) allowing FP’s to declare on 237 – 6.
This was the first time in several seasons FP’s have been in a position to declare and gain valuable bonus points, and it was good to see all the batsmen, except the desperately unlucky LBW victim, scoring good runs.
The strong wind had helped to blow the rain clouds away with only one short break while FP’s were batting, but things looked ominous as the Huntly Highlanders came out to bat.
In keeping with the air of giving youth a fling, Grammar opened the bowling with Phillips and debutant Russell. Both bowlers bowled with good pace and accuracy giving wicketkeeper Mutu one of his less energetic opening spells. Russell deservedly took his first wicket for Grammar when opener Morrison, who had been using his cross drive to good effect scoring 32 (1×6,4×4) before he was magnificently caught by Fraser in the covers off an awkward skier.
The match score unknown as the Huntly Highlanders have obviously not spent as much time off the field learning how to complete score books as they have on the field learning how to score runs.
Russell bowled his opening spell of 6 – 0 – 18 – 1, an excellent start to his Grammar cricket career beating the bat on several occassions. Phillips justified his promotion to opening bowler with 8 – 1- 26 -0 , and was very unlucky with a couple of very close LBW decisions.
Rizwan bowled his first overs of the season very tidily as usual, 7 – 0 – 31 – 0 with ten runs coming in his last over as the ball became very wet. The other wicket taker was the consistantly accurate Magesh, 6 – 1 – 14 – 1, his wicket giving Fraser another catch. Youles bowled only 1.3 overs when the rain became too heavy and for the third and last time the players made a dash for the pavilion.
The rain became heavier and the match was abandoned with the game interestingly poised, Huntly Highlanders score 112 – 2 off 29.3 overs.
Champagne Moment – Part 1 – Fraser quietly but confidently saying “mine” for the swirling catch, much to the relief of his fellow fielder at cover. Part 2 – holding on to it.