Harlaw was the venue for the Grade 4 match between AGSFP’s 3rd XI and Dunecht. FP’s team was Johnston (c), Gillies, Norwood, Gubbala, Hedge, Joy, Harsh, Lee, Satya Chowdar, Shri Bàlasubramani, Kiran Yalamanlchili. The toss was won by Dunecht skipper of only 9 players Burnett, who asked the home side to bat first. The weather was dry but cool with a strong wind blowing across the outfield which was shorter and drier than the previous week.
Norwood and new opening partner Gillies faced Derrett and Shepherd who bowled with good accuracy. Derrett had bowled a couple of unplayable deliveries, swinging then moving off the seam, but it was a straight one that did for Norwood who was adjudged LBW while attempting to turn to leg. Unfortunately for Norwood, the umpire had not heard the sound of bat on leather, FP’s 6 for 1 off 3.3 overs.
Gillies was the next to be dismissed in the 6th over, bowled by Shepherd without scoring, FP’s 8 – 2. Gubbala and new batsman Hedge set about recovering the situation and added 34 in 9 overs, with Gubbala playing some good controlled drives. With a change of bowling imminent, Gubbala pulled Derrett over mid wicket for 6, but next and last ball of the over/spell, Derrett bowled Gubbala for 28 (1 x 6 ,3 × 4), FP’s 42 – 3 off 15 overs. Next over Hedge was out caught off Derrett for 6 and very next ball Harsh was tempted by a legside delivery and tickled a catch behind which was very well caught by the redoubtable Scott of the Archaic. Johnston survived the hat trick ball, but FP’s had slumped to 48 – 5.
Joy was soon out bowled for 4 which brought in Jim Lee, who had broken a finger early in last week’s match while wicketkeeping. With half the team already dismissed, Lee and Johnston batted slowly but the total slowly mounted with Lee playing some great shots to the legside boundary, hitting Shepherd for two fours in three balls. The scoring rate increased as the batsmen continued playing shots. The running between the wickets improved as Dunecht suffered with only 9 fielders.
The 7th wicket stand had raised 105 when Lee was out for 42 (3 × 4) caught behind down the legside from the last ball of Shepherds last over, Lee walking to help the umpire. FP’s 172 for 7 off 44 overs. The 7th wicket stand worth 105 runs in 18 overs and as both batsmen tired the shots became less than text book, the lack of boundaries meaning a lot of running. With 2 overs to go, Johnston was content to let the fresh batsman have the strike, but in the last over was caught in the covers when playing another tired, no footwork drive off Curry attempting to reach his fifty in style, out for 48 ( 2 x 4).
Satya was run out off the last ball of the innings for 6, FP’s total 185 for 9 off 46 overs Shri 2 not out. A familiar early order collapse was turned around this time by Lee and Johnston who played themselves in and then increased the run rate later in the innings, helped it has to be said by Dunecht being 2 men short in the field and a supply of wides.
Wicket takers for Dunecht – Derrett 12 – 2 – 35 – 4, Shepherd 12 – 0 – 74 – 2, Burnett 12 – 1 – 27 – 1, Curry 9 – 0 – 31 – 1
FP’s knew an early breakthrough would be required, and it duly came in the 4th over when Gubbala forced a false stroke from Scott and Harsh moved in to take a comfortable catch at mid wicket, Scott out for a duck, Dunecht 12 – 1. Donald and Merryweather then maintained the scoring rate at a steady 4 runs an over, the nearest to a breakthrough came when Kiran almost held onto a brilliant one handed overhead catch to a rasping drive from Donald.
The batsmen played aggressively when a bad ball arrived, but youngster Hedge slowed the scoring rate with an excellent spell of 6 – 0 – 15 – 0 with only one boundary scored by the naturally aggressive batsmen.
It was Shri who made the much-needed breakthrough when Donald attempted a drive through the offside only for Johnston to take an easy catch at cover, Donald scored 38 with six boundaries. Dunecht 76 – 2 off 20 overs, still requiring 110 off 24 overs, both teams still in with a shout.
But the hoped for collapse did not materialise as Merryweather and DeGabrielle added 54 runs, despite some lofted drives into the gaps. Gillies new style spin bowling paid dividends with DeGabrielle well caught by keeper Joy for 25 (1 x 4). Dunecht 130 – 3 off 35 .3 overs.
Merrweather was soon well caught on the mid wicker boundary by Hedge for the second time, the first being off a no ball, Dunecht Merryweather scoring 39 (4 x 4).
Kiran bowled a good first of the season spell, and Gubbala returned to claim Shepherd with a caught and bowled, doing well not to collide with the stumps, Dunecht 149 – 5 off 40.3 overs.
But that was the last wicket FP’s could claim as Derrett and Burns calmly batted out the draw, final score 155 – 5 off 44 overs.
A long match played in excellent spirit as usual with Dunecht ending in a fair result. FP’s recovered from a bad start when batting but Dunecht ‘s 9 men were equal to the task and deserved the draw.
FP’s bowling T. Gillies 6 – 9 – 24 – 2, E. Gubbala 10 – 1 – 32 – 1, Shri 9 – 0 – 32 – 1, Kiran 6 – 0 – 20 – 0, Harsh 6 – 0 – 25 – 0. The FP’s bowling was mixed, with too many wides. Both wicketkeepers were given a hard time by some wayward bowling, the number of wides extending the game by over 10 overs and well past Hedge’s bedtime.
Man of the Match – Jim Lee, batted and fielded with broken finger, helped put on century stand, walked when dismissed
Champagne Moment – all to rare century stand