FPs Humble Kemnay-Kintore On Field

Reid Cup Final (second attempt) played on 31st August 2013

The scene for the Reid Cup final between 2nd AGSFPs and Kemnay-Kintore (KK) was set in Burnett Park, Banchory – one of the most beautiful grounds in Aberdeen shire especially on a glorious sunny day. The first attempt to play this final failed when nature intervened with a rain and the game had to be abandoned.

For FPs, the road to Reid cup final had its ups and downs. It started off with an exciting 1 run victory over Dunecht followed by a 5 wicket win over 2nd Gordonians in the quarterfinal and a whopping 220 runs victory over 2nd Banchory in the semi-final.

On the other hand, Kemnay-Kintore, who have proved to be one of the best teams in Grade 3, marched to the final with convincing victories over their opponents until the semi-final against an equally talented and skilled team Portcullis, in which they won by only 2 runs.

The FPs selection committee had a herculean task of choosing cup eligible players from a shrunken, yet powerful pool of players with many of the regulars away on holidays or other pre-arranged appointments. To make things worse for the 2nd FPs, the double centurion and key strike bowler Kieran Whyte was away at a wedding (not his).

After careful consideration the team chosen by FPs was Devendran (Captain), Clelland (Vice-Captain), Shetty, Eagles, Mohammed, Mohanan, Thangamani, D’Costa, Joy, Mantha and Desai. There were 4 changes from the team which was selected for the first attempt to play the rained off final, Whyte and MacDonald were away with Johnston and Campbell selected to play for the 1sts; these players replaced by Joy, Shetty, Mohanan and Mohammed.

FPs vice captain Clelland submitted the team-sheet to the umpires and went for the toss. Captain Devendran arrived at the ground 10 minutes before the start after a 6 hour drive from Isle of Mull with tired eyes and a wee bit unhappy girlfriend at home who was not impressed with the decision to cut short the holiday for a cricket match. He was then informed that KK had invited FPs to bat, which the FPs had initially wanted to do. Hence there was no need to change the match strategy and the 30-40-50-60 batting tactic was communicated to all players. And everyone nodded in agreement. Ahh things were so easy being a 2nd FPs captain, only until the game started…

Eagles and Shetty were chosen to open the batting for FPs; an experimental pair to bring a mix of control and aggression to FPs batting. L.Thom and Munawer opened the bowling for KK and found their line and length straight away. Shetty was being his usual self and went to 5th gear in the very first over by powerfully lofting Thom to the long on boundary. At the other end, Eagles was watching the ball like an eagle and playing cautiously. The pair kept the scoreboard ticking and ran very well between wickets. FPs 26-0 in 8 overs.

Soon after, Holt replaced Thom and ran in like Olympian Bolt and delivered a beauty to rattle Eagles stumps who was out for a well played 10. Mohammed went in next and blocked the remaining balls of the over. The ever smiling De La Cruz, who likes wearing abundant sun cream lotion, replaced Munawer at the other end and bowled a tidy 1st over after starting off with a wide.

Two more quiet overs and then Holt struck again, this time bowling another beauty which pitched off-stump on a good length, sprung up unexpectedly to get the outside edge of Shetty’s bat, caught by the joyful keeper. The ever reliable Clelland went in next, scored 2 and was adjudged LBW off an in-swinging full toss delivery. With that over, Holt finished his excellent spell with figures which read 5-1-9-3. FPs 44 – 3 in 17 overs.

For an occasion of this magnitude, cool heads were the order of the day and no one else in the FPs line up other than Mohanan was appropriate to join the super-calm Mohammed. But FPs hearts sunk when Mohanan, off his very first ball, cleared his front foot and swept leg spinner Adams ferociously over deep square leg but straight to the fielder who emerged from the trees like a ghost. Thankfully, the fielder dropped the tough catch over the boundary for six and FPs sighed a breath of relief.

The batsmen went on to play with extreme prudence, occasionally taking the singles and twos. But the umpire yet again noticed one of the batsmen running on the pitch while completing 2 runs and penalised FPs by awarding KK 5 runs and cancelled the 2 runs which were completed. The very next ball, a frustrated Mohanan smashed Adams for six over long on. He and Mohammed had laid the foundation for FPs and batted patiently for another 8 overs. De La Cruz bowled a tight spell for KK’s and was unfortunate not to get a wicket, 8-2-15-0. FPs 71 – 3 in 25 overs.

With 7 wickets in hand, the stage was set perfectly for FPs to launch a counter attack on KK bowling and the FPs Captain had a quick chat with the batsmen. And they responded well to this call and started scoring at a much higher pace. With the Banchory a boundary being long and 4’s hard to come by, the batsmen ran hard and fast, putting additional pressure on KK fielders. The 1s were converted to 2s and the FPs scoring rate increased. Soon after however, Munawer got the wicket of Mohammed (16) and Mohanan (22; 1×6, 1×4) in consecutive overs. Both these guys played excellent innings and more importantly built the partnership which steadied the FP’s ship.

Next to go in was the hard-hitting Guru Thangamani, the man with the Midas touch who had played a key role in that exciting 1 run victory against Dunecht. And his way of keeping up the momentum, which the previous batsmen started, was by hitting the first ball of his innings for a six over long on. Unfortunately for FPs, the KK Captain brought back Holt into the attack who quickly removed 2nd Mannofield match hero D’Costa for 2 and Joy for a duck.

Mantha went in and started playing in his usual brisk fashion scoring a quick 4 but was removed by the returning L.Thom. At the other end Thangamani was scoring at a brisk rate and needed someone to stay with him till the end of the allotted 40 overs. FPs 115-8 in 34 overs.

The FPs set themselves to achieve a target of 180, this was going to be difficult to reach with Thom and Holt back in attack and only 6 overs and 2 wickets left. But FP’s had Thangamani. And anything is possible with him in the middle. Devendran went in next and his role was to give Thangamani as much strike as possible. He kept rotating the strike and Thangamani kept smashing everything which was thrown at him.

In Holt’s 9th over, Thangamani clubbed Holt’s good length delivery for a six, followed by a 2 and then flicked him for a boundary over mid-wicket. He was on fire and so were FPs. In the final over of FPs innings, he smashed Thom over long on for a powerful 4; the long on fielder didn’t have time to react. In the next ball Thom got his revenge and Thangamani was out LBW for a match winning 51 (2 x 6, 5 x 4). Desai came in and scored a single and Devendran was caught by the keeper off the last ball. FPs were 162 all out.

Now the game was on!

KK bowling figures: L.Thom 8-0-41-3, A.Munawer 8-1-22-2, J.Holt 10-1-45-5, J.De La Cruz 8-2-15-0 and A.Adams 6-0-31-0.

After a short tea break and a team chat, the FPs opened their bowling with Desai from the Pavilion end and Mohanan from the Inchmarlo Road end. KK opened their batting with their in-form and experienced pair of batsman, Adams and West.

Left arm seamer Desai was bowling a line which was cautiously played by both batsmen. But in his 2nd over, Adams had enough and flicked Desai for a boundary over square leg. The unfazed bowler came back in his next over and clean bowled the dangerous Adams for 19. At the other end, Mohanan was struggling to find his length and needed to be replaced by someone who can bowl with control.
With the hard-hitter Munawer capable of taking the match away, FPs captain looked round his team wondering who could do a job for them. Then the infamous comment written by a FPs’ female fan on their website in response to the Knightriders match report came to his mind, “Eagles…You are the man!” It had to be him.

Eagles was called upon to get another breakthrough and in the 2nd ball of his first over, he lobbed the ball up in the air. Munawer eyes lit up like a kid looking at a candy shop for the first time; he came a step forward and played a sweep shot aiming at the square leg boundary. And he missed. Now, keeper Clelland’s eyes lit up and in a flash he gathered the ball, removed the bails and the square leg umpire didn’t hesitate a second to raise his finger. Munawer was out for a duck. All the FPs jumped for joy. KK 28 – 2 in 6 overs.

Truly, you are the man, Mr. Eagles!

In came the experienced Prosser and joined West in blocking the good balls which temporarily slowed the KK scoring rate. FPs were in the hunt for more wickets, but Eagles’ remaining overs were too precious to be played off and needed to be saved for future.

So Shetty replaced Eagles and started off well. But in the last ball of his first over, he bowled a full toss, Prosser was quick to capitalise and score a powerful boundary. Desai was given a much deserving break (6-2-10-1) and was replaced by Mohammed. Surprisingly, the bowler was struggling to find his usual line which has proved difficult for many batsmen to score against and was straying down the leg side, and was punished by Prosser. Luckily for FPs, Shetty got his rhythm back and not only kept the other end tight but also managed to comprehensively bowl West for a patient 5.

FPs skipper realised that this was the make-or-break moment and consulted the experienced Clelland for his opinion. The decision was made and once again FPs turned to John “You are the man” Eagles to bowl from the zippy and bouncy Pavilion end and keep Prosser quiet. And it worked like a charm. Unable to score off Eagles, Prosser decided to go after Shetty in the very next over and tried to hit over the mid on fielder. Fortunately for FPs, one of the best fielders in the club, Rama Mantha was placed in that region specifically for that shot and took an excellent catch. The FPs players ran in gleefully to celebrate this key dismissal with Shetty and Mantha. The gamble worked for FPs this time and Prosser was out for an aggressive 23. Without doubt, this was the turning point in the match. KK 60 – 4 off 18 overs.

KK batsmen Thom and Holt went on to play cautiously for the next 8 overs but at the same time using every opportunity to score, very well. The partnership was not threatening to win the match for KKs but was on course towards that direction and it was time to break it. Devendran replaced Shetty after an excellent match winning spell of 6-2-12-2. Desai replaced Eagles and struck straight away by clattering Thom’s stumps (15). At the other end, Devendran who was not at his best, got Laird out LBW for 4. KK 92 – 6 in 22 overs.

Then school boy and FPs promising young talent D’Costa replaced Desai and immediately got into his rhythm and was proving difficult to score off. In his 2nd over he was rewarded with Fyffe’s wicket. Eagles replaced Devendran to finish things off for FPs and struck in his 1st over by bowling Radnell for 3, who completely misjudged the delivery length. KK 107 – 8 in 31 overs.

Holt was the only man who offered some resistance and started playing aggressively realising that he was running out of partners. He also got used to D’Costa’s pace and hit a powerful boundary and a huge six off the same bowler. Knowing that the KKs have to take some risk at this point to win the match, the FPs set a defensive field for Holt. Shetty was called back and his very first over tempted Holt to play the wrong shot and was caught and bowled for a heroic and determined 37. And Eagles produced a beauty to beat De La Cruz’s bat and was stumped by the ever-alert Clelland. The FPs team ran in with joy and huddled in the middle to celebrate one of the most glorious moments in 2nd FPs history to lift the Reid Cup as deserving victors. KKs were 120 all out in 35.5 overs.

FPs bowling figures were Desai 8-2-13-2, Mohanan 2-0-13-0, Eagles 9.5-0-25-3, Shetty 7-3-12-3, Mohammed 2-0-15-0, Devendran 4-0-19-1 and D’Costa 3-0-15-1.

Man of the Match: Guru Thangamani for his remarkable 51 which won the match for FPs

Champagne Moment: When Rama Mantha took the catch of G. Prosser off Shetty’s bowling

Skippers End-of-season Message: In this match, one of the most amazing things happened in the 2nd FPs team. Be it batting or bowling – run by run, over by over, minute by minute, FPs picked themselves up, dusted themselves down, and competed against a strong team like Kemnay-Kintore with intense determination and “we will never give up” mind-set. This self-belief was already inherent in this team and its players and came out when it really mattered. This self-realisation was more harmonious, rewarding and even bigger than the cup itself. 2014 – it’s going to be an exciting season.

Leave a Reply