FPs produced a tremendous bowling and fielding display to brush aside nearest challengers Queens Cross at Rubislaw. Queens Cross were bundled out for just 45 as Jerry Moir decimated the top order with 3 for 10 and Roland Knudson bagged 3 for 14 also in a fine spell in tandem with John Eagles (2/10). FPs made heavy weather of the chase losing 4 wickets in the process of reaching the winning post.
Having been out of action for the last two weeks FPs named a strong side of Roland Knudson, Clelland, Youles, Whyte, MacDonald, Moir, Morrison, Mitchell, Eagles, John Lord and Stuart. Knudson won the toss and asked Queens Cross to bat. With captain Garner ill, Queens Cross were forced to play with 10 and were missing starmen Gavin Jamieson and Rae who have left the Harlaw club.
Findlay opened with Shepherd and James Lord shared the new ball with Moir for FPs. Queens Cross were soon in trouble as Moir struck with his 3rd ball Findlay hitting a short Moir delivery straight at Whyte who claimed a good catch to make the score 1 for 1. Moments later Moir was unlucky not to claim a second wicket as Shepherd offered a tough chance to Whyte who diving forward could not cling on.
This seemed to distract Shepherd as two balls later he was out in bizarre circumstances, as having left a ball from Moir, Clelland casually flicked the ball at the stumps andwith Shepherd still standing out of his ground he was out stumped for 3. Next over Moir worked over Wood with a great over and got his reward as the batsman did well to get an edge to Clelland to depart for 4.
This left Queens Cross 9 for 3 in 9 overs. Lord was doing a fine supporting job and his opening 6 over spell cost just 2. He was replaced by MacDonald and Knudson replaced Moir (3 for 10 from 8) from the pavilion end. Buchanan and Rory Taylor managed to bring some solidity to the innings lasting 12 overs together but adding just 14 runs before Knudson struck Buchanan driving straight at David Mitchell at mid off for 7.
Taylor was joined by Russell and he looked to play some shots lifting the score to 35 before Knudson bowled him middle stump for 7. At 35 for 5 things looked bleak for Queens Cross but things were to get worse as they then lost their last 5 wickets for 10 as Eagles joined Knudson in the attack.
First top scorer Taylor fell somehow managing to direct a shocking full toss from Knudson straight back to the bowler to depart for 13. Murphy soon followed without scoring calling Jamieson for a single to the wicketkeeper with Clelland’s throw easily beating his kamikaze attempt at a single. Eagles then got in on the act claiming two wickets in an over, first Clelland brilliantly stumping Jamieson for a duck and then Eagles having Robin Taylor plumb LBW for another duck.
It had been an excellent bowling performance, well backed up in the field but 45 all out was not an effort that Queens Cross will look back on with fondness. It took 32 overs, in what was a strangely ponderous innings. Lord was superb with 6-4-2-0, Moir rolled back the years with a fine spell of 8-3-10-3 and MacDonald did well with 6-1-7-0. Knudson did well again with 8-4-14-3 and Eagles proved his worth with 5-1-10-2.
FPs opened with Knudson and Clelland and they quickly advanced to 18, Knudson hitting a fine cover drive for 4 before falling to a sharp Jamieson delivery, easily caught by Rory Taylor. Youles joined Clelland but soon lost his partner as Clelland departed for 7 caught by Wood off Taylor. Whyte could not repeat his recent good form bowled 2nd ball for a duck as FPs continued to struggle.
Youles blasted a straight 4 but also then fell to Wright for 11, Wood taking a good catch as FPs stumbled to 32 for 4. Moir then joined MacDonald and some sensible play ensured FPs reached their victory target, with Moir launching a six to complete the 4 wicket win.
With FPs gaining full points and Queens Cross only 5, it now means that if FPs can play sensibly for the rest of the season, their first title in many years should become a reality. Caledonian who were relegated last year will represent another tough challenge and FPs will need to be at their best to avoid slipping up.