For the return match against Portcullis there was only one change from the team which lost to Stoneywood – Dyce the previous week, Magesh generously decided to stand down and Luigi Govil returned to the team.
The exciting news was that we finally got access to the very impressive new facilities at Rubislaw. Up till now during this wet season, the Pavilion would have been utilized to shelter from the weather during the tea interval, so it was a surprise that the Pavilion was indeed utilized to shelter from the weather, not the cold and wet, but, as noted in the scorebook, the “Belting” weather.
FP’s successfully lost the toss and Portcullis captain Nair invited Grammar to bat. Craig Fraser and Michael Campbell opened the batting, but last week’s top scorer Fraser went from hero to 0 when he was well caught at short cover by Elrick off Nair’s fourth ball.
Govil was top scorer against Portcullis earlier in the season, but having scored a single, was out first ball bowled by Maidment, beaten by the deadly full length, no footwork combination, FP’s score 3 – 2, 2 overs. In form Nick Blyth came in and immediately hit the bad balls for four, twice pulling full tosses to the boundary in that same opening over.
Campbell and Blyth continued to take advantage of inconsistent bowling and added 72 runs in only 11 overs, a combination of good shots, good running and good supply of extras but Campbell was out bowled by the first ball of new bowler Wilson’s first over for an attractive 29 (4 x 4’s). Eight runs later Blyth was bowled by Dobey for an aggressive 31 (5 x 4’s), FP’s total 83 – 3, 14 overs.
New batsmen John Davey and Karthik had added only 5 runs when Karthik was LBW to Dobey for 3. Last week’s batting collapse started in similar circumstances, good aggressive batting followed by a loss of quick wickets against slow left arm bowler and accurate right arm bowling, but this week Johnston and Davey took no chances and scored steadily taking quick singles from the gaps in the field.
Davey again looked set for a big score but lost concentration in the heat and was bowled by Maidment for 14 (1 x 4) having added 29 runs with Johnston, score 117 – 6, 24 overs.. Mike Phillips was next in, and immediately hit Wilson for two powerful boundaries through the offside. Having just swept opening bowler for 3, Johnston was then beaten by a Rubislaw Roller, and just failed to get his bat down on time, inside edging onto the stumps for 19, score 135 – 7, 29 overs.
Harry Houghton batted long enough to treat us to one of his periscope pulls for four, but was then LBW to Dobey for 5, score 143 – 8. Doug Russell and Phillips had added 12 runs when Phillips played a great shot to a short delivery, but a poor shot to the actual full length delivery and was bowled by Nair for 16 (2 x 4’s), FP’s total 157 – 9, 34 overs.
This was a reasonable total to have to defend, but the best was yet to come as Russell and Rizwan added an outstanding 49 runs for the 10th wicket, allowing FP’s to declare on 206 – 9 off 44 overs. Both batsmen played with great assurance and ran beautifully between the wickets pinching a total of 29 singles from all round the wicket. The Portcullis fielding wilted as a combination of the heat and the batsmen’s willingness to test the fielding took it’s toll.
Russell finished 18 not out and Rizwan 26 not out (1 x 4). This was a potential match winning effort and gave the Grammar captain an unexpected chance to declare with over 200 on the board. Another positive from the batting was 7 batsmen got into double figures, a good effort compared to last week’s collapse.
Tea was taken in the pristine new Pavilion our first indoor tea for 2 seasons, fortunately out of the blazing sun on the warmest day for 2 seasons. Disappointingly the ice cube maker in the kitchen was not operational, ruining the captains gin and tonic.
It was Karthik who opened the bowling from the Cromwell Road End and Campbell from the Pavilion End. Karthik immediately found a good line and length and bowled a maiden over. Campbell was walloped for 3 x 4’s first over by Maidment who was obviously up for the run chase.
The Portcullis openers had scored 25 when a great bit of fielding by Phillips at point saw the dangerous Maidment run out by some distance as fellow opener Elrick called for a single. A couple of balls later Campbell got a deserved wicket when he bowled Collinson for a duck. Karthik finally got his deserved wicket when he bowled stubborn opener Elrick for 4, score 33 – 3, 11 overs.
Rizwan replaced Campbell and Blyth’s pathetic attempt to get a bowl with a two wine gum bribe paid dividends when he replaced Karthik. Blyth bowled fast and straight and soon bowled Dobey for 6. New batsman Cox was bamboozled by Rizwan and bowled for a duck, score 50 – 6, 22 overs.
Rizwan had been FP’s busiest batsman, and then busiest fielder chasing several shots to the boundary, was given a rest after bowling 5 – 1 -12 – 1.
Phillips came on to bowl from the Pavilion end and with his first ball had Nair beautifully caught by a tired but alert Rizwan at square leg, Portcullis now struggling badly at 61 – 6.
Next over Blyth beat Wilson for pace and bowled him for 1, and Phillips claimed another wicket when Adie was adjudged LBW for 1. New batsman Arshad who had fielded well for Portcullis, was unluckily given out LBW to Phillips who had resorted to spin bowling. Much to his teammates amusement, Phillips was launched for 6 by number 11 Wilson. However, Phillips had the last laugh when he bowled Wilson next over. Portcullis all out 75.
All the FP’s bowlers bowled well, Karthik 7- 1 – 12 – 1, Campbell 5 – 0 – 17 – 1, Rizwan 5 – 1 – 12 – 1, Blyth 7 – 1 – 18 – 2, Phillips 3.1 – 0 – 10 – 4, with only 7 wides in 27 overs, a miracle, helped greatly by the athletic Fraser behind the stumps. Keeper Fraser was very unfortunate when he took a fantastic catch down the legside, initially given out, but unfortunately it was off the pad and FP’s generously withdrew the appeal.
FP’s won convincingly due to a good team effort, with the 10th wicket stand turning the match. The bowlers bowled a good line and length, and had 8 batsmen out bowled or LBW. Probably just a coincidence.
Man of the Match – Rizwan, intelligent batting, good bowling, enthusiastic fielding and another ‘Rizwan’ catch.
Champagne Moment – The spontanious cheer for number 11’s whack for 6 off Phillips.