Grammar’s 10 Men Surprise League Toppers

It’s hatrick for 3rd AGFPs, not with bowling but in team numbers, another match to go with 10 players. Team selected to play against Portcullis was Ian Johnston (C), Sandeep Dhanamani (VC), Jim Lee (WC), Rahul Gopal, Ally MacDonald, John Thomson, Raja, Jeston D’Costa, Leston D’Costa, Michael Blues and Akhil Thanga. As the skipper Ian Johnston was suffering from a stomach bug unfortunately he had to miss this match, Sandeep Dhanamani stepped up to the Captaincy. Rajas younger brother Faraj Monnapillai was available to fill Ian’s place however not available until 13:30.

At the toss, FP’s were short of two players, the skippers went to the pitch for the toss and yet again FP’s won. Keeping in mind that FP’s had 8 bowlers in the team skipper chose to field first. As Akhil was late call off for the match, FP’s walked into field with 9 players.

FP’s opened the bowling with their most experienced bowler John Thomson. John got the line and length accurate from the very first delivery and bowled an excellent first over. Raja opened from the other end and bowled with accuracy too. With both opening bowlers keeping the overs tight, the batsmen were struggling to find the gaps as the fielders were doing an excellent job.

FP’s did not give anything away to the batsman. Raja took the first wicket for FP’s A Philip (1, Caught), Raja bowled an outside half stump delivery A Philip edged it to the keeper Jim had his glove to the ball however it slipped from his glove which was caught by Ally who was at the first slip. Portcullis were 7 – 1 (6 Overs).

Mitchell is the new batsman in, John and Raja kept the bowling tight. Opening bowlers were consistent and did not give anything away for FP’s which was duly supported by fielders. As Raja bowled his first spell of 6 overs, skipper replaced Raja with Jeston.

Jeston got his line straightaway. John from the other end bowled an excellent first spell of 7 overs with just giving 7 runs but unlucky with not getting any wickets. Leston replaced John, Leston initially struggled to get his line right however started to bowl in good line soon after taking some advice from experienced bowlers like John and Jeston. D’Costa brothers kept the bowling tight. Jeston broke the long standing partnership of 41 runs by picking R Falconer’s wicket (10 runs), a beautiful delivery to bowled the batsman. Portcullis were 48 – 2 (18 Overs).

Next batsman in was S Mostova, the new batsman did not bat for long. Leston bowled an outside off stump delivery the batsman hit it in the gully and tried to go for a quick two runs however Jeston fielded well to throw the ball in time to the keeper to secure a run out, S Mostova was run out, he scored 2 runs. D Mitchell was batting with confidence and managed to find gaps and hit few boundaries. Jeston bowled a sort pitch delivery to D Mitchell (39 runs, Caught) he played a pull shot which was well caught by Rahul at square leg.

M Farooq started to go for big shots realising that Portcullis were losing wickets, he hit two fours and one six in consecutive three balls of Leston. With lots of pressure, Leston bowled a straight delivery to get M Farooq out (14 runs, bowled). A Blackwell was the new batsman who did not stay for long, Jeston picked A Blackwell’s (0 runs,) which was caught again in slip by Ally. Jeston picked his fourth wicket when A Murdin (0 runs) was caught and bowled by Jeston.

Sandeep replaced Leston, R Collinson and S Winstanley are the new batsman both tried to go for big shots. R Collinson hit two consecutive boundaries of Sandeep’s first over. Raja replaced Jeston on the other end. Just after hitting a six S Winstanley (6 runs) lost his wicket to Sandeep when he played an offside ball to give a catch to Jeston on point.The very next over Raja took R Collinson’s wicket (13 runs, bowled) Portcullis were 100 – 9. Skipper brought John back to bowl, John took Portcullis’s last wicket P Brown (0 runs) with a straight delivery to get the batsman bowled.

Portcullis were all out for 112. FP’s did a great job by fielding first especially to get the league toppers all out for 112. Bowlers bowled with complete accuracy and fielder’s shown good determination and focused at all times.

FP’s opened their batting with Jim and Jeston, left hand right hand combination worked well for FP’s. Opening batsman was well aware of the team’s motive and played a good opening stand. Both batsman found the gaps and rotated the strike, both batsman scored boundaries of bad balls.

FP’s lost their first wicket when they were on 37, Jeston was the first batsman to get out. D Mitchell claimed the wicket of Jeston (13 runs, LBW). Leston was the next batsman for FP’s, unfortunately he did not last long at the crease, Leston (0 runs, Caught) lost his wicket to D Mitchel when he was caught behind. FP’s were 37 -2 (13 Overs). Ally was the next batsman in.

After hitting a boundary Jim lost his wicket to D Mitchell when he was given LBW (19 runs). Rahul was the next batsman. Rahul and Ally managed to find gaps, both batsman hit some boundaries but it was unfortunate that it did not last long for FP’s. Rahul lost his wicket to D Mitchell when he was caught on Mid-off (8 runs). Ally was the next batsman to get out, Ally (8 runs, Caught) lost his wicket to A Mundin. FP’s were 62 – 5 (18 Overs).

FP’s had a middle order collapse, lost the next three wickets in consecutive three overs for just 4 runs. Faraj was the new batsman, FP’s skipper requested Portcullis skipper if they could get a slow bowler for Faraj as he is schoolboy who just started playing grades cricket. Portcullis was kind enough to bowl spin to Faraj.

Faraj batted with confidence and blocked the deliveries however lost his wicket to M Farooq (0 Runs, Caught). Next two wickets fell in quick succession, Mike (0 Runs, LBW) and Raja (1 Run, LBW) both lost their wickets to D Mitchell. FP’s were 66 – 8 (21 Overs). With only one wicket in hand FP’s were sure that they are going to lose the match with 46 runs difference.

Sandeep and John are the last two batsman, Portcullis were very happy at this stage to finish the match early. Sandeep and John played a sensible innings to keep the scoreboard moving. Sandeep hit a boundary of the new bowler S Mostafa which shocked not only Portcullis but also FP’s, John at the other end played some sensational shots hitting the bowlers all around the ground.

FP’s quickly reached 89 runs on 24th Over, both the batsman took some quick singles and converted singles to two runs to put Portcullis under pressure. John continued his smart batting approach to help FP’s to reach 95 in 26th Over. Portcullis started to realise that they could potentially lose the match to FP’s if this last wicket partnership stays for long.

In the 27th Over FP’s scored 11 runs to reach 106 runs. Pressure was building in both the teams, Sandeep to face M Farooq first ball of 28th Over, Sandeep (8 Runs) got bowled while trying to block a straight delivery. John was the not out batsman and highest scorer for FP’s (30 Not out).

FP’s unfortunately lost the match by 6 runs. Although not the result FP’s were expecting after a long standing last wicket partnership of 40 runs (highest partnership for FP’s innings), FP’s were proud of their team effort. FP’s demonstrated a fantastic team performance.

Man of the Match – John Thomson and Jeston D’Costa both batted and bowled equally well

Champagne Moment – Rahul’s catch to dismiss Mitchell

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