Saturday 20 June saw FP’s 2nd XI wend their merry way to the bucolic surroundings of Lairds, the home of Methlick CC. Riding high in the league with only one match lost this term, Methlick were expected to provide tough opposition, even for an FP’s side with back to back wins in their last two fixtures.
With Chris Clelland and John Eagles called up to the 1st XI, FP’s lined up Magesh Devendran (c), Matt Barker (vc), Bharath Manogna, Guru Thangamani, John Lord, John Youles, Kieran Whyte, Kingshuk Ghosh, Melvin Joy, Rutwik Hegde and Shashank Kalluri, making his debut for the club.
FP’s won the toss and decided to field first, a tactic which has proved successful in recent weeks. Whyte and Manogna opened the bowling and both were unlucky not to strike early on as a number of catches were put down, particularly in the slip cordon.
Manogna was the first to strike, a shrewd field placement by the Captain allowing Barker to snaffle a catch at mid-wicket on behalf of Manogna. Anderson the batsman out for 7 (23 for 1, 8 overs).
This brought Kennedy to the crease and with a combination of a short boundary and some lusty hitting, the score fairly raced along. Kennedy eventually fell for 34 to a brilliant catch at long off by young Hegde from the bowling of Captain Devendran (87 for 2, 18 overs).
The score had made its way into 3 figures by the time FP’s were able to take their next wicket, Murphy caught at mid-wicket for 28 to debutant Kalluri. The new bowler was so intent on his next victim that he forgot to celebrate and returned immediately to his mark, much to the amusement of his team mates (155 for 3, 27 overs).
Opener Maxfield had profited most from the generous fielding of FP’s and made his way to a slightly lucky score of 59 before being caught behind by Ghosh from the bowling of Thangamani (157 for 4, 28 overs).
The next wicket to fall was that of Jones, going for 8 after being bowled by Kalluri (170 for 5, 33 overs) and with the FP’s fielding much improved a Methlick total of less than 200 looked possible.
The next four wickets fell in a relatively economical manner for FP’s. Woodhouse out for 5, bowled by Thangamani (172 for 6, 34 overs). Addison for 3, caught by the impressive Hegde, again from Thangamani (183 for 7, 36 overs). Methlick Captain Anderson was run out for 1 in slightly controversial style by Kalluri (186 for 8, 39 overs) and the final wicket of the innings saw Duffy given out LBW for 12 to a full straight ball from Kalluri (191 for 9, 40 overs).
With Bremanesen and Allan at the crease and scoring slowly, Methlick decided to cut their losses and declare in the 42nd over on 197 for 9; gettable but by no means a certainty for FP’s. Pick of the bowlers, Shashank 3-27 and Thangamani 3-41.
Refreshments were provided in the village hall and were of a superior standard. The concept of heated food for a cricket tea caused much bewilderment and joy for FP’s resident South African bowler, “the sausage rolls are hot!!!”.
With energy replenished, FP’s openers, Lord and Ghosh, made their way to the middle. It was a slow start as Duffy and Anderson bowled over after over of line and length; Duffy in particular threatening LBW with almost every ball.
The first wicket did fall to Duffy, but in the form of a catch, Ghosh the batsman to go with 3 runs to his name (7 for 1, 3 overs). His fellow opener Lord stayed around for another 10 overs but played on to Duffy for 8 trying to up the scoring rate (23 for 2, 13 overs).
Hegde and Youles were now at the crease and, similar to the opening pair, were finding it tough to get the ball away. Despite a few tasty looking shots, Youles fell victim to Addison, caught for 6 (36 for 3, 20 overs), and Hegde followed him shortly after, also caught from Addison for 10 (39 for 4, 22 overs).
Thangamani had entered the game at the departure of Youles and was now going about matters in his usual way, favouring the aerial route when available. Barker now joined him and together they set about upping the scoring rate, aided in part by a change in the bowling and the departure of one of the Methlick fielders.
A combination of smart running (most of the time) and powerful striking moved the score along to 110 in the 31st over, before Thangamani perished for 33 (1 x 6, 5 x 4) to a Kennedy ball which cut back to take the off stump.
Thangamani and Barker had put FP’s in the driving seat, the requirement 88 runs from 102 balls with 5 wickets remaining. To the wicket came Joy, who stayed for a vital five overs, and allowed Barker much of the strike, before being caught for 2 from Bremanesen (141 for 6, 36 overs).
Whyte was next up and together he and Barker edged FP’s closer to victory as they put on 27 for the 7th wicket to leave the score at 168 for 7 in the 40th over; Whyte being bowled by Bremanesen for a crucial 16 runs.
With 30 runs to get and 3 wickets in hand, Methlick still had an outside chance of victory. But as he’s proved this season, Manogna is no slouch with the bat, and provided a solid partner for Barker in the home straight as they passed the target of 198 in the 45th over. Manogna finished with 18* alongside a delighted Barker who had scored a career best of 84* (2 x 6, 10 x 4).
With three wins from their last three matches, FP’s now sit 4th in the Grade 2 table. They will hope to continue their form against Inverurie at Kellands Park on Saturday 27 June.