There was a time when FPs use to dread playing Cults due to their supreme quality. Many a match was dominated by Grades greats such as Bryan Alexander, Paul Upjohn and Graeme Gillanders. Normally Alexander would hit a chanceless ton, Paul Upjohn would wreck the top order and Hamish McDougall would nip in to claim the last few wickets. FPs would lose by at least 150 runs and over a pint with our opponents we would ask if they’d please retire soon. It is therefore strange to almost wish back to a previous era. At least in these days when you were out batting you were not verbally abused before each ball you faced, were not harangued after playing a good shot and certainly were not questioned when umpiring.
There was a game of cricket played on Saturday, but not one that too many people would recognize as cricket. For the record it was rightly abandoned after a long wet afternoon that eventually made the outfield too wet to continue. FPs were well set on 114 for 2 in 24 in pursuit of 232 and ether side could have easily won it. Great credit to umpire Sataya Maganti for doing his best to keep the game going and also for being prepared to umpire at all. Regardless of pay the umpire should be treated with far more respect than what was witnessed yesterday with most questioning when given LBW and an apparent need to appeal during the 2nd innings anytime the ball reached the keeper’s gloves. For £30 a game, it is not surprising people wont umpire if this is the norm. Two of the 6 LBW victims had grounds for complaint, Phil Gill harshly adjudged LBW in the 1st innings when apparently outside the line and Alex Keith in the 2nd innings when he was hit well outside leg stump. Himanshu of Cults also graciously accepted his fate and nearly walked having been trapped bang in front. He kept up his good grace behind the stumps in the 2nd innings, only appealing when he genuinely thought it could be out.
A standard has sadly been set where a win at all costs mentality now exists for the so called top teams in the Grades and it is something of a pity that a decision reached during the winter has further exacerbated this behavior with teams no longer seeming to have trust in opponents or umpires. You’d hope that Cults a team comprising the current President of the Grades and also the former President might by the standard bearer. As a club, FPs have 7 or 8 under 18s regularly playing in the Grades with at least one more than good enough for Grade 1 but would we want young lads exposed to constant abuse, passed off as witty banter? It is no wonder that less and less kids wish to play cricket as it must be far more enjoyable to play golf with 3 friends than get abused by 11 over 30s/40s every weekend. Overall much like the weather, it was a bit of a dark day with a number of people loving cricket a little less after the experience. Perhaps chasing a Bryan Alexander ton all round Cults was not so bad at all…
On the cricket front, FPs won the toss, decided to field and named a team of Morrison, Keith, Tenneti, Swiergon, Senthil, Waldron, Vijapur, Mapplebeck, Challa, Stuart, Hameed.
Hameed soon removed Geet plumb LBW for 1 and nearly had the classy Himanshu caught in the gully but Swiergon could not cling on. It allowed Himanshu and Bode to add 43, until Vijapur struck to remove Himanshu for 19 leg before wicket. Krishna then played beautifully and showed real class making a superb 57, with an array of superb cover drives for 4. He was eventually out of Stuart’s bowling, Morrison claiming a good 1 handed catch behind the stumps diving to his right. Before this Mapplebeck bowled superbly, having Bode playing on for 45, clean bowling Shiraz and having Vikram easily caught by Stuart for 6.
The returning Hameed claimed the last 3 wickets as he had Gill rather fortunately LBW, to Gill’s obvious disappointment, had chatterbox Bhavsar well caught by Keith for 12 at slip and Mohamed plumb LBW for 6. It left Azazi stranded on 40 not out having played well, finding the boundary regularly. There was no need to take a 10th wicket due to Cults being 1 short.
It meant Cults were all out 231 with the bowling figures as follows, Hameed 11.1-1-44-4, Vijapur 10-0-72-1, Mapplebeck 10-3-28-3, Challa 7-1-37-0, Stuart 4-0-42-1. It was a good effort from FPs given that they fielded for the majority in drizzle, with Mapplebeck in particular impressing.
Buoyed by lots of helpful advise from the fielders especially Bhavsar, presumably in the team for his hilarious commentary as it did not appear to be for his batting or bowling, FPs set off in pursuit of 232 for victory. After zero balls it was 5 for 0 as Aman’s head high beamer was dispatched for 4 by Keith and Aman was unable to continue having damaged his arm. His replacements took some early tap as Keith and Morrison raced to 50 in 5 overs, Morrison hitting 5 fours and Keith 5 fours and a six as FPs began at a good rate. Some fine bowling by Mohamed did for Morrison, bowled for 20 and Keith fell soon afterwards, adjudged LBW for 33 as FPs subsided to 56 for 2.
It brought together Tenneti and Swiergon who batted with great care to build a very solid platform, adding 58 in 15 overs. This was played out against a background of continued abuse being passed off as banter as a man who made over 600 runs last year was sledged by many players who should really have known better. It was a fairly unedifying spectacle and when Cults took exception to a high full toss rightly being called no ball by skipper Morrison at square leg, a stream of verbal abuse was unleashed towards the FPs skipper. An unimpressed visiting skipper asked for some decorum to be shown and thankfully Gill and captain Aman restored some calm to allow the game to continue. It continued until more rain came and at that point umpire Maganti called the game off, with the field now fairly sodden, Tenneti unbeaten on 22 and Swiergon on 35.
Overall, FPs did well with bat and ball and ensured that Cults knew they were in game. Hameed and Mapplebeck bowled very well and the ground fielding with a wet ball was excellent. Morrison and Keith got FPs off to a good start and Tenneti and Swiergon looked in no trouble while attempting to set up the chase. It was probably for the best all round that rain intervened, although where it ever was in days of yore, god only knows. Hopefully the return match will be somewhat more enjoyable, otherwise we really will be wishing for the clock to roll back 10 years…