For the second week in a row, the temperature was due to be 8 deg (‘feels like 2 deg’), strong SE wind, but at least this week, dry. The team selected for the FP’s 3rd XI expedition to Sheddocksley was Ian Johnston, Sandeep Dhanamani, Kingshuk Ghosh (wkt), James Lord, Rutwik Hegde, Rahul Gopal, Jason Alexander, Leston D’Costa, Akil Thanga, new man Agar Haida, John Thomson. Unfortunately, Sandeep phoned on Saturday morning to advise that his wife had gone into labour so with this being a very conservative club, he was promptly dropped.
Sir Ranulph Feinnes was invited to take Sandeep’s place but said that he had already lost enough fingers to frostbite thank you and besides his Arctic clothing manufacturer warranty did not cover him for Sheddocksley, only covering him on a genuine Arctic role. So FP’s had to make the call to a half awake, hung over Doug Russell who jumped at the chance of an Arctic roll and penguins.
With base camp established on the boundary, courtesy of a windbreak purchased from Argos that morning (£13-69, highly recommended), the captains yomped to the middle for the toss. The wicket was damp and pale with a slash of green across the middle where a vehicles tracks had grown in nicely.
FP’s won the toss and following consultation with the team on whether to bat or bowl first it was decided by the conservative majority to bowl first.
This was to be newcomers Siyapa’s first game in the Aberdeenshire Grades and John Thomson was giver the honour of bowling the first over from the North Pole End, with Rutwik Hedge opening from the too far to be any use for shelter, Pavilion End.
Both bowlers bowled with good control and the Siyapa batsmen were cautious. It was Thomson who took the 1st Siyapa wicket when he had Salman out LBW for 7 (1 x 4), total 21 – 1 off 7 overs.
Two overs later there was a second wicket for Thomson and a second LBW decision, a good start for FP’s. Zafar was the batsman dismissed for 19 (3 x 4) Thomson took his 3rd wicket in 3 overs when Alexander took a cool catch at square leg, Kamran out for 13 (3 x 4).
At the other end Hegde had bowled well but without luck, despite having his cap and captains spare sweater covered in seagull guano.
Alexander replaced Thomson and took a wicket in his 2nd over by bowling Sharam with a great swinging delivery, Sharam scoring 1, Siyapa 77 – 5.
D’Costa replaced Hegde and struck in his 3rd over with Raza being the 3rd batsman given out LBW for a single scoring shot innings of 6. Next ball Gopal took a good catch at point to dismiss Shahid. The hat-trick ball was good and Faraz mishit the ball to mid wicket where Hegde had to turn and run to catch the ball but unfortunately for D’Costa, Hegde could not quite hold on to the catch, score 77 – 6.
Siyapa skipper Abdullah had by now reached a hard hit 50 (2 x 6, 7 x 4) but was fortunate to survive a catch off a high full toss from Lord. Abdullah had pulled his shot to square leg where Alexander took a very well judged catch, a sheepish Lord proving that Guano does take wickets. However the umpires conferred and decided correctly that the ball was above waist height but incorrectly that all balls above waist height are no balls, especially, as pointed out, from a slow bowler. Despite being assured by the more experienced FP’s players that the delivery was legal, they refused to correct their mistake and the batsman refused to walk. Unfortunately the handy Grades handbook does not have that rule included, so FP’s had to carry on.
Abdullah made the most of his escape and he and Naveed added a rapid century stand as FP’s gave all 8 bowlers a spell. Hegde returned and bowled Naveed for 33 (5 x 4) and Arshad was run out for 10 leading to a declaration by Siyapa on 248 – 9 off 41.4 overs, Siyapa captain Abdullah scoring 131 n.o. (5 x 6, 17 x 4)
Wicket takers for FP’s Thomson 8 – 2 – 38 – 3, Alexander 5 – 1 – 24 – 2 D’Costa 4 – 0 – 24 – 2, Hegde 10.4 – 1 – 41 – 1.
Apart from dropping 3 or 4 catchable catches FP’s fielded well in the cold with Alexander outstanding and keeper Ghosh doing well on a tricky wicket.
The activated draw system meant that FP’s had to reach 186 off 48 overs on a worsening wicket and slow outfield.
Ghosh and Lord opened the batting but found runs hard to come by as Arshad and Shahid bowled a good line and length. Lord was first to go, just failing to bring his bat down on an excellent yorker from Arshad, FP’s 6 – 1 off 5 overs.
Schoolboys Ghosh and Hegde batted with good technique and patience, waiting for a bad ball to hit. After 20 overs with the score was 42 – 1, but soon after Hegde was out having a swing at Tanveer and was caught by the keeper. Hegde had just hit the bowler for two good boundaries earlier in the over and was out for 22 (4 x 4), FP’s 56 – 2 off 22 overs.
Russell came and went quietly (a first) without scoring (not a first), Gopal was out for 1, Alexander bowled for a duck. Opener Ghosh was next out advancing down the wicket to Sharum and being deceived by a googly and bowled for an excellent 45 (5 x 4), FP’s 85 – 6.
D’Costa looked comfortable and was very unlucky to be very well caught at cover off a powerful drive for 2. Thanga stayed long enough to score 1, FP’s 87 – 7 off 34 overs. New man Haider hit a couple of big 6’s in a brief counter attack but was run out in a mix up for 21 (2 x 6, 1 x 4)
Thomson was last man out bowled for 5 leaving Johnston 0 n.o. and FP’s all out 123 off 41.1 overs.
Top wicket takers for were Sharam 4 – 0 – 16 – 3 Tanveer 6 – 0 – 23 – 3.
FP’s were well placed with Siyapa 92 – 7 but the no ball catch turned the match. That apart the game was played in good spirit with Siyapa giving LBW’s and being realistic with wides.
Eight bowlers were given match practice which will be useful in the coming weeks, and all the batsmen were given match practice also, some using it better than others…
FP’s Man of the Match – Ghosh again, kept well, batted well
Champagne Moment – would have been D’Costa’s hat trick but for the extra heavy cap slowing down Hegde!