FPs finally got their first win of the season as they picked up a 2 wicket win at Banchory. It should have been far simpler having bowled out Banchory for 124 thanks to 4 wickets from Mahesh Challa and 3 from Harry Mapplebeck, but having slipped to 7 for 3, it took some good middle order batting from John Davey 34, Rob Swiergon 31 and Paul McDonald 22 to secure the win. In near farce, having leveled the scores with only 5 wickets down, FPs contrived to lose 3 wickets in 3 balls but eventually scrambled a single to collect the 30 points.
FPs made three changes from Fraserburgh away as Rory High debuted as wicketkeeper and Vijay Vijapur and Mahesh Challa returned. They replaced Clelland, Eagles and Knudson. With traffic delaying the captain, Alex Keith won the toss and asked Banchory to bat on a green wicket.
Hameed and Vijapur took the new ball, but were a bit off colour, unable to locate their usual line and length. The introduction of Challa however, got FPs up and running as he had Counsell well held at cover by John Davey for 16 which was all made in boundaries, Banchory 29 for 1. The impressive Rotherham was joined by Bryce and they added 31 in good time. Rotherham was lucky to escape a sharp chance that Keith could not hang onto, but 2 balls later was clean bowled for 39 as Challa claimed a 2nd wicket.
Safee Mohammed was dispatched 2nd ball for 1, smashing across the line at Mapplebeck and Bryce after a dogged display was LBW for 5, to give Mapplebeck a 2nd wicket. Crawley and Khan added 22 to lift Banchory to 96, before Crawley was caught in 2 minds and offered a simple caught and bowled that Vijapur happily accepted. Wilkinson made 1, but was sensationally caught one handed by a diving Rob Swiergon at 2nd slip. Soon after the returning Hameed had Nixon expertly caught at square leg by Mapplebeck from what would be kindly described as a slow ball bouncer.
Redpath dug in with Khan and they added 14 to lift Banchory to 118. Having 1 ball earlier survived a diving effort from Morrison that he could not quite cling onto, Challa took care of things and clean bowled him for a battling 24. He then clean bowled Redpath for 9 as Banchory subsided to 123 for 9. Two balls later Banchory attempted a seemingly impossible single and Keith superbly threw down the stumps with McPhail around 3 yards short of his ground, but the umpire ruled it not out as he could not be sure on the decision. Thankfully perhaps for all, the next ball Sajid Hameed clean bowled Douglas for 1 as Banchory were all out 124 in 40.2 overs.
It was an excellent fielding display from FPs, showing the benefit from recent extended practise sessions and the bowlers did well. The figures were Hameed 10.2-1-26-2, Vijapur 10-0-26=1, Challa 9-1-35-4 and Mapplebeck 12-1-31-3.
Hoping for a good start with the bat, FPs were not to get it, as they quickly slid to 7 for 3 in the 5th over. Morrison was caught and bowled by Rotherham for a duck, High was superbly bowled by Crawley for 1 and Keith was bowled by Rotherham for 5. It looked bleak, but John Davey launched a blistering counter attack, racing to 22 in boundaries including a majestic 6 over cover. One Crawley over went for 20 as he blasted a huge straight six as FPs rattled along. Senthil was playing sensibly at the other end, but having hooked a four the ball before, he played an ambitious shot to Rotherham and was bowled for 10 to end a stand of 51.
Davey had looked in great touch and it was something of a surprise when he missed aiming a big hit off Wilkinson and was stumped by Counsell for 34. It meant FPs still needed 57 to win with 5 wickets standing and it fell to Rob Swiergon and Paul McDonald to curb their usual attacking style and play the game situation. They did this superbly, waiting for the bad balls for boundaries and pushing the ball into gaps to take singles. They scored at a good rate with minimal risk and were helped by quite a few no balls from Safee Mohammed who bowled perhaps the biggest no ball ever witnessed in the grades. It would have had to be seen to be believed as his run up with somewhat awry.
FPs had levelled the score in the 29th over when Swiergon was bowled by McPhail for 31 which seemed to be more of an inconvenience than anything else. However McDonald walked when he edged the first ball of the next over from Crawley to Counsell having made a composed 22. All remaining batsmen had taken their pads off and Challa hurriedly put some on, only to be caught and bowled 1st ball as Banchory dreamed of an improbably tie.
Vijapur did well to keep the rest of the over out before Mapplebeck scrambled a single in the next over as FPs stumbled over the line. Overall it was a game that FPs were in the main in charge of, but did struggle to secure the win. The middle order did extremely well and once again the bowling and fielding was excellent. In a game played in a good spirt, for Banchory Rotherham batted and bowled impressively and Crawley’s bowling, Davey attack apart, was impressive. It was great for FPs to get their 1st win and they will hope to build on it next week at home to Crescent.