FPs produced an inspired bowling and fielding effort to rout St Ronald for just 82 to complete a remarkable turnaround having stuttered to just 103 batting first. Australian Ali Bakhshi bowled his best spell yet for FPs as he ripped through St Ronald claiming 7 for 25 in 9.1 overs. His effort over shadowed a superb opening spell by Vijay Vijapur who bowled with great skill and accuracy to capture 2 for 24 in 12 overs.FPs lost the toss and were asked to bat first and made good progress reaching 38 for no wicket when John Lord had to be carried from the field and retired hurt for 14 having torn his hamstring, ending his participation in the match. Knudson took his place but fell for a duck, brilliantly stumped off Nikil’s bowling. New man Davey looked solid but departed for just 6 bowled by Bode. Opener Pelhaj had been batting well and was looking well set for a big score, but went too far across attempting his trademark leg side flick and was LBW for 35 as FPs slipped to 65 for 3, effectively 4 with Lord retired hurt.
McDonald was in typically aggresive form and he and Bakhshi added 20 before Bakhshi was bowled by Nikil or 7. FPs hopes of a big score rested with McDonald and Khan but both fell quickly to reduce FPs to 89 for 6 as first McDonald hit a long hop straight at mid wicket to go for 18 and then Khan was superbly stumped down the legside for a duck. Morrison made just 2 before top edging a long hop from Malik to be easily caught behind. James Lord and Stuart did at least add 9 for the last wicket before Stuart was bowled for 6 – FPs all out for a well below par 103, Nikil the pick of the bowlers with 4 for 31.
FPs knew they needed early wickets to have any chance of achieving a shock win and they kept things tight at the start before Lord held one back, leading Joshi to tamely chip a catch to McDonald at cover, St Ronald 15 for 1. Vijapur soon made that 15 for 2 after a testing spell Mudie was eventually bowled for 4. He nearly had Gundra next ball as a huge LBW shout for a superb yorker was turned down by the narrowest of margins. Haider was looking dangerous at the other end, but after some exact amendments to his field, Vijapur produced a sensational delivery that Haider did well to edge through to Morrison behind the stumps to depart for 9, St Ronald 8 for 3 in 10 overs.
Bakhshi replaced Vijapur and set about the St Ronald batting lineup like a man possesed as he collected 7 wickets in 45 balls in a breathless display of accurate quick bowling. First he had Amer LBW for 11, before James Lord in the unusual position of gully snapped up a tough chance to dismiss Gundra for 10.
Skipper Bode came in at 6 but lost partner Janjeet for a duck, Paul McDonald claiming a great diving catch at cover, 59 for 6. A brief stand carried St Ronald to 72 but Bakhshi produced a pearler which was edged through to Morrison and umpire Hughes raised the finger much to FPs delight. Malik survived a tight LBW call 1st ball, but shortly after Bakhshi ripped through his defences to clean bowl him for 2.
St Ronald stalwart Stephen came to join his captain and played watchfully, but the innings stagnated as St Ronald blocked out Vijapur as he closed with 2 for 24 from 12 in a brilliant spell. They couldn’t get new bowler Roland Knudson away either and Bakhshi continued to fire down the dot balls as St Ronald became stuck adding 6 runs in 8 overs to creep up to 78 for 8. Finally the pressure took it’s toll as Bode threw the kitchen sink at a short delivery but only managed to sky it high ino the offside, McDonald called it early and claimed a fine tumbling catch as FPs sensed victory. It duly arrived soon after as Bakhshi had Stephen plumb LBW for 3 as FPs celebrated an unlikely vicory.
FPs have now won 2 matches in a row but remain in the relegation places, but now at least have a chance of escape. A faultless fielding display made a huge difference as all catches were claimed and despite only having 10 men, many runs were cut off by the lively Davey, Bakhshi and McDonald who once again claimed 3 catches. However, it was Vijapur and Bakhshi who were the bowling heroes as Vijapur deserved far more than 2 wickets for the way he bowled and Bakhshi was simply brilliant leaving St Ronald with no answer. FPs now face a tough game with Gordonians and both sides will sense it is a game they can win.