AGSFP’s 3rd XI welcomed Gordonians 3rd XI to an overcast Harlaw for the Grade 4 match. FP’s were forced to make 8 changes to the team which had beaten Stonehaven the previous week. Unavailable were schoolboys Monnapillai, Ghosh, Thanga, along with Norwood, Balasubramani, Khan, Murray and Chithambaram. Into the side came skipper Johnston, keeper Jim Lee, James Lord, Tim Gillies, Jason Alexander, Phil Whiteley, Leston D’Costa and this week’s debutant, schoolboy Jack Pirie. Gordonians captain Jason Stark lost the toss and was asked to bat first.
FP’s opened the bowling with Hedge from the Pavilion end and Russell from the Cromwell Road end. Hedge took only 2 overs to take the first wicket having Nair brilliantly caught at gully by Russell at gully, Gordonians 4 – 1. Tremlett brought Hedge back down to earth next over when he smashed a ball over cow cornet for a 6. Gordos then built a big partnership as Tremlett and Gobi took advantage of any short balls bowled. Sandeep replaced Hedge and very next ball after hitting another big 6, Tremlett was fortunate to escape a caught behind when only two people out with 20 yards of the wicket failed to hear a snick to the keeper, the batsman and the umpire.
Debutant Pirie had both batsmen hurrying with some good pace bowling, getting good lift off the artificial wicket, and was unlucky not to take a wicket. The score was mounting helped by a few wides, but FP’s did not help their cause with a couple of missed catches. The stand had raised 101 runs when Pirie, bowling his last over of his spell produced a perfect delivery to beat Tremlett, hitting middle stump, Tremlett out for 63 (1×6, 10 x 4), Gordos 105 – 2 off 24 overs. Whiteley came on to replace the luckless Sandeep and took a wicket in his first over when Sandeep took a good catch at mid-off to replace new batsman Rowell for 2, Gordos 114 – 3.
FP’s then took 2 wickets in an over as D’Costa had Jones caught behind by Lee for 2, the batsman immediately walking, then later in the over Gobi was run out by half a pitch length as Jack fielded sharply to return to Lee who calmly removed the bails, Gordos 126 – 5 off 28 overs.
FP’s were hoping to force home their advantage but some more dropped catches and inconsistent bowling saw Gordos add a further 73 runs before declaring on 199 -2 off 42 overs, thus bringing into play the activated draw. Gordos skipper Stark hit a well struck 50 (1 × 6, 5 x 4) and last man out Bhatia scored 14 before being out plumb LBW to the returning Hedge.
For FP’s, Hedge bowled well again, 7 – 1 – 22 – 2, Alexander bowled with good control, 5 – 0 – 22 – 1, taking his first wicket for FP’s in first spell for FP’s. D’Costa also bowled well, 6 – 0 – 24 – 1, Whiteley 4 – 0 – 25 – 1, Bruce showed great promise 7 – 0 – 41 – 1 and Russell and Sandeep were unlucky not to claim a wicket or two. But wides frustratingly added 5 overs to the Gordozs innings.
The plan to slow down Gordos with a good tea was wasted as heavy rain meant a half hour delay until FP’s could commence their innings. The rain was still falling when the teams took to the field, better to play than watch the rain fall. Opener Whiteley was soon bowled by a good inswinger from Dolman for 1, FP’s 15 – 1. Lord was looking comfortable until a delivery from Juneja found the gap between bat and pad, Lord out for 11 (1 × 4), FP’s 35 – 2. FP’s had to reach 150 to reach the draw total as per the activated draw target, and with Russell going for his shots and Hedge batting very calmly, FP’s kept up with the scoring rate helped by several wides.
Jones had replaced Dolman from the Pavilion end and in his second over with the umpire preparing to signal a wide, Hedge decided to play a loose drive at full stretch and only succeeded in giving the slip fielder the chance to make an excellent catch, Hedge out for 28 (2 × 4) including a great drive over cover. New man Pirie only lasted 2 balls before giving Jones an easy caught and bowled. Russell then hit Jones for a big 6, but Jones had his revenge when Russell tried a big hit too many and was bowled for 28 (1 × 6, 1 x 4), his score could just about been doubled as several of his shots failed to reach the boundary due to the wet outfield and persistent rain. Alexander was soon out for 1, caught off Jones, then D’Costa was bowled for 2 as FP’s collapsed to slow left arm bowler Jones. Sandeep was next to go after a defiant innings of 2, FP’s 88 – 8. Lee and Johnston added 16 before Johnston was bowled by Jones for 8 (1 × 4), FP’s 104 – 9. The end came soon after with Gillies edging behind off Clark for a duck, FP’s 105 all out off 32.5 overs, Lee not out 7.
Apart from a couple of batsmen it was a disappointing batting display against admittedly a strong Gordos side. Best bowling for Gordos, Jones bowled a match winning 10 – 1 – 21 – 6, Clark 4.5 – 0 – 16 – 2, Dolman 6 – 0 – 23 – 1, Juneja 12 – 2 – 38 – 1. FP’s mostly bowled well, Pirie and Alexander both produced good first bowling spells for Grammar, but half a dozen dropped catches did not help the cause.
Champagne Moment – Russell’s diving catch, a cross between a sack of tatties falling over and a World Cup footballer almost being tackled
Man of the Match – Rutwik’s bowling deserved better than 2 – 22, he scored a 19 classy runs and fielded well