FPs poor form continued as they crashed to a 4 wicket defeat to Mannofield having been bowled out in just 34 overs for 114. With relegation rivals closing the gap, FPs are now firmly locked in a 4 team battle at the bottom. Despite the low score an inspired opening spell from Harry Mapplebeck ensured Mannofield had to battle for the win. He claimed the 1st 4 wickets in taking 4 for 40 as FPs reduced Mannofield to 63 for 5 but some good batting by Gilmour 34* ensured Mannofield claimed a deserved win. The game was also notable for the fact there was only 1 wide bowled, despite the odd delivery going to 1st slip as well as Horne claiming 5 for 35, but managing to overshadow this feat by wearing a beach towel throughout the 2nd innings on the request of the umpire.
FPs won the toss and chose to bat and made 4 changes with Keith, Davey, Booth and Stuart coming in for Challa, Clelland, Eagles and Vijapur. Morrison and Keith opened and despite Morrison being in dreadful form they moved the score to 43 for no wicket with minimal alarm, both batsmen hitting the bad balls for 4 which were in short supply with Johnston and Clayton both bowling well. It took the introduction of spin to remove Morrison, bowled by Vaishampayan, the skipper once again failing in making just 14, and perhaps only still in the team due to being the skipper.
Tenneti was run out after being sent back for 1 and Keith perhaps frustrated by some of the wides that had not been awarded chased a wide one and was caught off Horne for 30. After this it was a familiar tale with Swiergon unluckily LBW, despite seeming to get a bat on his LBW, going for 4. Senthil was also LBW for 3 to Horne and FPs were 75 for 5. Booth and Davey brought some order to proceedings in both making 19, but fell in quick succession to Horne, Davey stumped soon after smashing a huge six and Booth caught at point.
Mapplebeck tried to dig FPs out of a hole but made just 11 despite some enterprising scoops and reverse sweeps. Hameed smashed his 1st ball for 6 but was bowled by Koppulu for 7 and Knudson fell for a duck after Gary Stuart had recorded his 1st run of the season. FPs all out for a well under par 114. It was a poor return having reached 43 for no loss, but some fine bowling by Horne with 5 for 35, swung the game in Mannofield’s favour.
Needing quick wickets, FPs struck in the 6th over, Oilver falling for 8 edging to short third man where Rob Swiergon claimed very smart catch at head height. With some of the slightly odd umpiring happening earlier in the piece, Oilver rather mischievously claimed it was a bump ball and incredibly the neutral umpire was unable to decide so referred to the square leg umpire who was much less well placed. Thankfully Horne in his beach towel was able to confirm it was a good clean catch and the ball had not defied physics and travel 40 yards off the astroturf. Horne was in his beach towel (and cricket kit) as it had earlier been ruled that umpires should not wear white. It is improbable the beach towel look will catch on at international level.
Back to the cricket, Yahathugoda looked in no form and was caught easily at square leg as Mapplebeck claimed a 2nd victim. He soon had a 3rd wicket as Assister (13) was adjudged to have edged a swinging delivery, much to the batsmen’s displeasure. FPs felt they were well in the game when one ball after having a lucky reprieve from an LBW shout, which he nearly walked for, having been yorked on the foot, Russell was gone for 4, bowled neck an crop as Mapplebeck’s figures read 4 for 29 and Mannofield were 59 for 4.
Opener Vaishampayan had looked untroubled in making 27, but a rank full toss from Knudson accounted for him, John Davey leaping up on the boundary line to claim a catch above his head, the batsman having found him perfectly. Mannofield now 63 for 5. Stuart’s opening over was one that could have easily had 5 wickets, as he bowled 5 magic balls, but it was the 6th one that did the trick, a horrible full toss that Wood miscued completely and Mapplebeck claimed a fine catch at mid on. Mannofield now 81 for 6 and still needing 33.
Despite a concerted effort, FPs could not manage to claim a 7th wicket as Gilmour batted very well in making 34 not out and guiding Mannofield home. A late chance was missed by Booth off Hameed, but by then the game was probably up. The final bowling figures were Hameed 7.5-2-31-0, Mapplebeck 9-2-40-4, Knudson 4-0-26-1 and Stuart 3-0-15-1.
Overall the game was played in a very good spirit, with both sides just getting on with things and being equally bemused by the wides that were not given. The theory that its same for both sides on this occasion proving to be the case, but not perhaps an ideal setup. Once again FPs bowled fairly well, and actually caught well, but the batting fell apart despite a reasonable start. Next week FPs face the dangerous Lahore Karahi at the equally dangerous Links 4 in what should be a good contest. FPs will have plenty to pick from with 2nds and 3rd currently not scheduled for a game, but hopefully this will be remedied in the week.