2nd Banchory were the visitors to a sun-kissed Rubislaw on Saturday. After a weather-enforced week off everyone was keen for a game, apart from Morrison who preferred to survey England’s humiliation from the Headingley stands. Despite Budd and Youles also being unavailable skipper Knudson still had a strong squad with a balanced batting lineup and a multitude of bowling options.
John Lord returned to his customary opening slot after an extended injury layoff. Glen Miller was back onshore while Sam Knudson appeared to have survived his trip to Balado unscathed. Word was that he may have been more relieved than most that the new pavilion features extensive showering facilitities.
The visiting captain correctly predicted the fall of the coin and duly inserted the FPs. Lord and Knudson opened the batting and saw off the opening bowling spells with little alarm. A steady first wicket stand saw the score through to 57 in the 20th over before Lord, having made 18, mis-timed a drive and offered the simplest of chances to Brown off Pennington’s bowling.
Knudson soon joined him in the pavilion for 26 when he was the victim of a spectacular one-handed back-pedalling catch by Herbert at mid-on. This brought Eagles to the wicket with the score at 70 for 2 in the 25th over. He looked to push the scoring rate along and his partnership with Clelland saw a very useful acceleration, adding 75 runs in the next 12 overs.
Eagles had brought up his 50 with his 7th boundary but couldn’t add to this when he was comfortably stumped by Councel off the bowling of left-arm spinner Dinesh. Clelland went shortly after, going for one late cut too many and edging to the keeper for 33.
This left the big-hitters in the middle order to add some quick runs and afford the captain the opportunity of a declaration. Miller duly obliged, getting off the mark with a massive six off only the second ball faced and carrying on in similar vein. A quick-fire 39 not out off just 19 balls allowed Knudson to call the batsmen in with the total on 200 for 5 after 43 overs.
Looking for their eighth league win of the campaign it was hoped that this total would keep Banchory interested in a possible win. Avoiding another draw bowling second would certainly help in the search for a first piece of silverware in many years.
James Lord took the new ball from the Cromwell Road end while Miller partnered him from the Pavilion End. It was Miller who drew first blood inducing Hicky to inside edge onto his stumps with the total on just 10. Banchory were soon 11 for 2 when Lord pinned Councel on the back foot and he fell LBW to a traditional Rubislaw bouncer. Lord’s spell was a useful 6-2-26-1.
Brown and Pillai began to build a recovery and the score moved into the 30s before Knudson rang the changes and introduced Sam Knudson to the attack. Pillai had looked in useful form and FPs were more than happy to see this change bearing immediate fruit when he edged a sharp chance which Moir gratefully snaffled at first slip.
Stuart replaced Miller and he took two wickets in his first three overs. Sam Knudson took the first of two catches to dismiss Brown and Pennington fell to the ball of the day which straightened off the pitch and clipped the top of middle stump. At the other end Sam Knudson picked up the second wicket of his spell when he trapped Dinesh LBW giving him final figures of 6-2-8-2.
This left the visitors struggling on 66 for 6 with another 25 overs still to bat. Some resistance was put up by Miller and Wilkinson but it was too little too late. Wilkinson became Stuart’s third victim of the afternoon when he gently lobbed a full toss to mid-off. Stuart finished with figures of 7-0-22-3.
Miller returned, this time from the Cromwell Road end, and looked to finish the game quickly by taking two wickets in one well-directed over. His final analysis read an impressive 9-1-18-3. With Banchory’s total on 87 the game was put to bed in unusual circumstances. Campbell was very unlucky to be run out at the non-strikers end after Macdonald could only deflect a sharp return catch onto the stumps.
This was another step towards the league title and FPs now have just three games to negotiate, although none look to be easy. Another well-paced batting effort was backed up by a good all round bowling and fielding performance. The team will be looking for more of the same next week when they travel to Allan Park to face 2nd Cults.