27 June 2015 – AGSFP’s 2nd XI travelled to Kellands Park for the return leg of their opening fixture of the Grade 2 season. The frozen fingers and hail storm of the previous match were replaced with blazing sunshine and a gentle breeze.
FP’s lined up Magesh Devendran (c), Matt Barker (vc), Bharath Manogna, Chris Clelland (wkt, Guru Thangamani, Jesten D’Costa, John Eagles, John Thomson, John Waldron, Kieran Whyte and Rutwik Hegde.
Coming off the back of 3 wins, FP’s were feeling confident and took to the field hoping to strike quickly. A well set field saw Manogna claim the wicket of Stalker (5) early on, Barker taking the catch at cover.
After the early wicket, FP’s found it harder to dislodge the batsmen. Hadden made 51 before nicking one from Manogna to fly slip, Devendran the catcher. Macleod made 43 before playing round one from Devendran, the Captain making his mark both in the field and with ball in hand.
Norval was in fine form for the Kellands men, racing to 46 with a succession of boundaries including a huge six over long on. He died by the sword trying to swat youngster D’Costa in a similar direction and finding only the welcoming hands of Barker in the deep.
The remaining Inverurie batsmen made a few handy runs between them. Strachan hit a couple of stiff armed maximums before becoming Thompson’s first victim falling for 16, D’Costa taking the catch. Mitra looked uncomfortable and gave Whyte his just rewards for an excellent bowling performance; leaving his crease and allowing Clelland some stumping practice. He departed for 3 and left Murrison and Bonner to finish unbeaten on 23 and 2.
Inverurie made 207 from their 46 overs. Pick of the bowlers was Manogna with 2-48, but it was a good team effort with everyone giving their all in the field.
The tea was excellent, in the writer’s opinion the best of the season to date, and FP’s began the chase light of spirit, if not somewhat laden down gastronomically speaking.
Clelland and Waldron opened, and both were looking relatively comfortable when Strachan struck first for the home side, having Clelland caught by Hadden for 7 (1 x 4). Having played most of his recent games in Grade 1, Waldron was enjoying the slightly less pacey fare on offer and was scoring relatively freely. Unfortunately he left a turning ball from Hadden and had his off stump removed for 23 (3 x 4).
Hedge was at the crease and looking unruffled, though perhaps struggling to find the boundary due to the slow stuff he had to work with. Guru had no such problem and whacked some lovely boundaries before coming undone against Hadden; Norval clinging on in the deep to send him on his way for a quickfire 15 (2 x 4, 1 x 6).
This brought the lately rejuvenated Barker to the crease, who promptly cast aside his flowing stroke play of the previous week and resorted to a good hoick. Hegde nurdled away at the other end and made 27 before becoming frustrated and getting stumped from the bowling of Jessiman for 27 (1 x 4).
Despite offering plenty of chances, Barker managed to stay at the crease for long enough to worry Inverurie. Hadden clearly saw him as a threat and did not hide his joy at having him caught and bowled, celebrating before he even caught the ball to send a mildly disgruntled Barker on his way for 37 (5 x 4).
Two more wickets were to fall, Manogna making 1 before becoming Hadden’s next victim, and Whyte, who made 5 before the returning Strachan had him caught.
With 7 wickets down and limited overs remaining, the FP chase was done and Eagles and D’Costa dug in to bring home the draw and claim another batting point. Eagles finished with 9 and D’Costa a more expansive 19 (2 x 4).
Overall it was a good performance in the field and with the bat by FP’s 2nd XI, against a very experienced Inverurie side who perhaps would have been expected to win.
FP’s will hope to defy expectations once again in their next match on 11 July, when they face league leaders Gordonians at Rubislaw.
Man of the Match – Matt Barker
Champagne Moment – The spare ribs at lunch