FPs 2nd XI fielded a much changed outfit for their league fixture against Academy at Rubislaw. The team lined up Magesh Devendran, Matt Barker, Ben Frizzell, Bharath Manogna, John Thomson, Karthik Mohanan, Kieran Whyte, Kingshuk Ghosh, Melvin Joy, Rahul Gopal and Rutwik Hedge.
Magesh won the toss and decided to field first, reasoning that the weather would be worse later on and he didn’t fancy standing about in the rain (correct decision as it turns out).
FPs have lacked a little penetration with their bowling so far this season and the early exchanges demonstrated this. The Academy openers put on 49 before Rutwig was rewarded for some consistent bowling with a successful LBW decision. The other opener fell shortly after to grades elder statesman Thomson, a steepling catch held by a tumbling Whyte.
Unfortunately Academy weren’t willing to dish up any further wickets for a while and moved the score on to 113 before Manogna struck with a pitched up delivery which took out middle stump. With the score having reached 145, Magesh chipped in, bowling an Academy man behind his legs.
At this point Academy picked up the pace and started aiming for the boundaries. FPs picked up a further 4 wickets but couldn’t prevent Academy from reaching a strong total. Thomson picked up 3 further scalps, another catch by Whyte, a well taken caught behind by Kingshuk and a smart catch by Frizzell. Captain and Vice-Captain combined to take the other wicket, the batsman attempting a maximum from Magesh which was coolly (frantically) taken one-handed by Barker in the deep to much celebration.
There was some good fielding and bowling on display, but ultimately FPs were unable to restrict Academy from scoring freely later on in their innings. 201-8 the half time score.
With this season’s usual openers unavailable, Barker returned to the top of the order with the promoted Kingshuk (who incidentally had kept wicket very competently during the Academy innings).
Both Academy bowlers were getting the ball to swing, turning corners in some cases, but Barker and Kingshuk looked solid and played sensibly early doors. Inswingers ultimately did for both though, with King departing for 4 and Barker for 8. 11 overs gone, 23 for 2.
Rutwik and Karthik then showed some resilience, moving the score along to 54 with some cultured shots and solid defence, Rutwik proving beyond any doubt that he belongs in Grade 2. Karthik unfortunately fell for 11 and Rutwik was forced to join him shortly afterwards after a beamer struck him on the arm and rendered him unable to carry on for the time being.
Whyte rediscovered some of his attacking verve and made a quickfire 15, hitting some muscular boundaries before finding the only man on the offside. Joy and Devendran were unable to get off the mark.
Thomson and Manogna looked to take the fight to Academy, but a mistimed swipe saw Thomson lose his off stump, he departed for 4. Much to Academy’s chargrin, FPs then decided to send a recovered Rutwik out to resume his innings. They were under the impression that he had to return at the tail, but without a rule book to consult on the pitch they relented. Rutwik picked up where he left off, looking untroubled by the Academy attack and supported ably by Manogna.
Academy were becoming increasingly frustrated at being unable to remove either batsmen, despite increasingly loud and more speculative appeals. Boiling point was reached when Khan, a former FPs player and having taken 6 wickets in the match so far, threw his second beamer at Rutwik and was asked by the Umpire to remove himself from the attack. Once it became clear to Academy that surrounding the Umpire was not going to have any affect on his decision, they acquiesced and play continued.
Unfortunately, the FP resistance couldn’t last and Manogna fell for an entertaining 26, followed by Rahul for a duck and the injured Frizzell for 1. The innings ended in the 38th over with FPs having scored 138 runs. Rutwik finished unbeaten on 40, all the more creditable given his injury midway through.
Overall, FPs showed a lot of fight and delivered some excellent individual moments. Ultimately they were a little short on both the batting and bowling front. Next up Stonehaven at Rubislaw, where FPs will be looking to gain their first win of the season.
Man of the Match – Rutwik for his mature and fluent bowling and batting performance.
Champagne Moment – Despite making it much harder than he needed to, Barker’s one handed catch on the boundary.