FPs went top of Grade 2 as they defeated Qeens Cross by 26 runs in a low scoring but exciting match. FPs key performers were Clelland with a well constructed 38 and Eagles with a fine 33. On the bowling front, the wickets were shared round with both Moir and Roland Knudson in particular making telling contributions.
FPs welcomed back Whyte, Eagles and Frizzell with Dallas Moir, Budd and MacDonald dropping out. Skipper Knudson lost the toss on what looked a lively pitch and FPs were asked to bat.
With Budd and Lord not playing, FPs opted for Roland Knudson and Clelland at the top of the order, but the innings got off to the worst possible start as Knudson gloved a lifting delivery from Gavin Jamieson to Shepherd behind the stumps to leave FPs 0 for 1 after 1 ball.
Jerry Moir came in at 3 and batted sensibly after being dropped a simple caught and bowled chance by Rory Taylor, either blocking or attacking strongly on what was proving to be a very tricky surface. He lofted Rory Taylor for a fine straight six as he and Clelland batted well to take the score to 39 before Moir failed to control a cut shot and was well caught by Grant Jamieson.
He was replaced by Eagles and he and Clelland combined in the highest stand of the game of 45, which was full of good shot play and brave batting. The lively pitch meant Clelland was hit a number of times but was still able to strike 8 fours in his excellent 38 before falling to Rory Taylor. Whyte joined Eagles and after being dropped twice he chipped a catch to Findlay off Rory Taylor to fall for 3 and leave FPs on 98 for4.
FPs soon slipped to 106 for 6 as first Eagles chipped a catch off Robin Taylor and then Frizell was bowled by Gavin Jamieson for 3 by one which seemed to keep low. Muthu was joined by Morrison who soon fell for 4, before a useful stand of 17 between Muthu and James Lord lifted FPs score to 134. Muthu making a useful 16 not out with intelligent running and good placement.
Overall 134 for 7 did not seem a huge score but on such a difficult surface it cetainly gave FPs a chance. Queens Cross will have been disapointed with their fielding as they dropped a lot of chances, but in the main bowled well.
James Lord and Jerry Moir took up the attack as Queens Cross began their reply with Jamieson cracking the first ball of the innings for 4. However in the 4th over FPs took his key wicket as he failed to control a cut off Moir hitting it straight to Whyte at cover to fall for 7. The new batsman was Buchannan but he quickly fell to Lord for a duck failing to control a cut and Stuart claiming a simple catch at point. It nearly got even better for FPs as next over Lord almost pulled off a brilliant one handed effort at leg slip off Moir but Rae survived.
Moir did though pick up his second wicket as after a close LBW shout he bowled Wood with a beauty to leave Queens Cross 27 for 3. Shepherd joined Rae who was batting well, albeit with assistance from the FP fielders as he was dropped by Frizzell a difficult chance at mid on and then Moir was unlucky not to hang on to a caught and bowled when Rae rocketed the ball back at him.
However with Roland Knudson in the attack, Clelland once again showed his brilliance behind the stumps to superbly stump Shepherd for 8 to leave Queens Cross on 49 for 4. Rae still appeared to be the danger man, playing some fine shots, with some great straight driving, but the game seemed to have swung in FPs favour as Sam Knudson in the last ball of his spell claimed Rae’s wicket for 43, Eagles claiming a great spiralling catch at gully as Queens Cross teetered at 62 for 5.
Stuart replaced Sam Knudson after his spell of 1 for 14 in 6 overs and he struck with his second ball, a real loosener that Findlay could only top edge to James Lord at short fine leg and he took a well judged catch – Queens Cross now 62 for 6.
Queens Cross’ batting lineup still looked strong as Hutton arrived at 7, and was nearly out first ball as Muthu was close to pulling off a brilliant diving effort, however he appeared to have fallen for 1 as Morrison confidently claimed a catch at backward short leg, but the umpire ruled otherwise and Hutton survived. However his reprieve was brief as Roland Knudson struck to bowl him for 5.
Gavin Jamieson joined captain Garner but attempting a suicidal single he was run out as Clelland gathered on the legside and threw to Moir who broke the wicket as Queens Cross subsided to 90 for 8. Captain Garner was still batting well though as he tried to get Queens Cross close to FPs total but when his partner Rory Taylor was bowled by Stuart for 2, Queens Cross looked to be on the brink.
FPs still had 9 overs to claim the final wicket and after Morrison narrowly missed with a run out and Clelland could not grab a half chance, FPs began to see the overs starting to tick away. However, it was skipper Knudson who made the winning breakthrough as after a close LBW appeal against Robin Taylor, he nailed Garner bang in front aiming a blow over midwicket to seal a dramatic 26 run win.
All the bowlers contributed with James Lord 6-2-29-1, Moir as accurate as ever 10-4-15-2, Sam Knudson 6-2-14-1, Stuart 8-2-24-2 and the Roland Knudson in good form again claiming 10.3-3-24-3. FPs will have many more tough games to come, but with Queens Cross perhaps favorites for promotion, there will be few tougher teams this campaign. FPs head to Banchory next week hoping to keep their good run going.