The step up to Grade 2 has proven somewhat testing for FPs 2nd XI this term. Winless in their first five games of the season, FPs were in desperate need of a pick me up.
The team to take the field at Groats Road to face 2nd Knightriders was Magesh Devendran (c), Matt Barker (vc), Aly Macdonald, Bharath Manogna, Chris Clelland (wkt), Guru Thangamani, John Lord, John Thompson, Karthik Mohanan, Rahul Gopal and Rutwik Hegde.
Knightriders were put in to bat by Captain Magesh, on what has been known to be a troublesome astro pitch in the past. Unfortunately, no one had informed the opposition and they scored freely around the wicket reaching 39 for the loss of the first wicket (LBW to John Thompson) and 124 before the second was taken (a swirling catch to Barker from the bowling of Hegde).
Knightriders continued to pilfer runs, and were at 155 before the other opener fell, scoring a well-played 71 (caught from the bowling of Guru). Two more wickets were to fall in the innings, Guru taking one with a swinging pitched up delivery (175 for 4) and Captain Magesh chipping in, also bowling his man (221 for 5).
Knightriders exploited some fairly average fielding to declare on 241 at the end of the 42nd over. This left FPs with a tricky run chase just to force a draw, let alone take the win. Bowling figures were Thompson 1/43, Magesh 1/50, Hegde 1/30 and Guru 2/21.
The total was formidable, and called for some doughty openers. Fortunately, John Lord and Chris “Chalkie” Clelland were on hand to steady the ship early doors. Some accurate bowling restricted the run rate to begin with, but as the innings progressed, the wickets in hand were a valuable commodity.
Clelland led the way in the scoring department picking off fours when available and even a pair of maximums later on in his innings. He eventually departed for 67, caught off the bowling of Vinoth, and having claimed FP’s first half century of the season.
Lord hung about long enough to reach his own 50 before being caught from the bowling of Prabhu for that exact score. The opening pair had made 140 runs in 34 overs and provided a solid platform from which to chase.
Hegde was the man in after Clelland and went about his innings in his usual calm manner, relying on his excellent technique to score runs around the wicket. Guru joined him at the fall of Lord in the 37th over with the score on 144. This left FPs needing 98 runs in the final 11 overs.
Runs were coming for the pair but perhaps not as quickly as required. The draw seemed a forgone conclusion with the score on 179 at the end of the 43rd and it seemed as though the win would be beyond FPs.
It’s said that every big run chase needs a big over, and the 44th proved to be just that. Guru was galvanised into action and proceeded to take 26 runs from the despairing Selva, biffing three 6’s and a 4 in quick succession.
The score was now 205 for 2, leaving FPs requiring 37 from the remaining 24 balls. Guru continued to take the game to Knightriders, ably supported by Hegde, as he cruised past the fifty mark.
A slight hiccup occurred in the 47th, as Hegde fell for 23 with 10 runs still required. Vice-Captain Barker stepped up to the plate and proceeded to steal the strike going into the final over with seven left to get. After a stern talking to from Guru, Barker was left in no doubt that he was to get off strike as soon as possible and he dutifully obliged from the first ball of the over, leaving six runs to get from five balls and Guru facing.
The second ball of the over went for two, Guru getting himself back on strike, four runs to get from four balls. The third ball was a dot, the FP players hearts were in their mouths. The bowler strode in to bowl his fourth and was forced to watch as the ball sailed over his head and over the boundary for six, Guru clinching the win with a mighty swat over cow corner. The crowd went wild! Guru finished with 62 at a rate significantly better than a run a ball.
A fantastic batting performance from all involved, showing the merits of a patient approach early on, coupled with having a Guru in your team for the final run in.
Hopefully the momentum of this win will spur FPs on to a further victory in their next fixture against Queens Cross-Stoneywood Dyce at Rubislaw this Saturday.
Man of the Match – Guru Thangamani, for his two wickets and victory clinching knock.