FP’s 2nd XI faced Methlick 1st XI at Rubislaw on a rare sunny afternoon at Rubislaw. The reverse fixture had seen FP’s claim an unlikely win, but a repeat performance was always going to be tricky.
FP’s lined up Devendran (c), Barker (vc), Lord, Eagles, Ghosh (wkt), Thangamani, Whyte, Desai, Manogna, Kalluri and Gopal.
Winning the toss FP’s chose to bowl first. Not on their A game, a number of chances went begging early on (and throughout the innings), Whyte in particular feeling aggrieved.
Wickets did eventually fall, Desai claiming two and two more shared between Whyte and Manogna. Some good catches were taken also, Lord clinging on to one at point and Gopal and Manogna taking steepling catches at Mid-on and Mid-wicket respectively. Manogna with a lovely ball through the gate for the other wicket.
Methlick finished on 228 for 4 using all of the allocated 46 overs. Woodhouse made the most of FP’s somewhat comedy fielding to make 64* and one of the luckiest innings Rubislaw has seen in many a year.
A strong start to the chase was required by FP’s and Lord and Ghosh provided just that, scoring patiently early on but opening up as the bowlers tired and changes were made. Ghosh the more attacking of the two made a very creditable 32 (5 x 4) before falling to Duffy LBW in the 24th over with the score on 80.
Whyte, promoted up the order, came in at 3 and helped push the score along to 101 before Kennedy had him caught for 5 (1 x 4). Thangamani came to the crease and in his usual swashbuckling style hit 4, 4, 6, 4, out, caught from the lively Jones for 18.
Barker, the hero of the reverse fixture at Laird’s was next in and promptly ran out Lord taking a suicidal single, he made a solid 51 (4 x 4). With the score 135 and 12 overs still to go the win was still very much on and Barker tried to play accordingly, hitting a couple of nice boundaries before tamely patting one back to Jones for 11 (2 x 4).
What had looked like a comfortable draw, if not possible win, soon became a bitter fight to the death as Eagles was given LBW to Jones for 0. This almost led to a match abandonment as Methlick saw red over the amount of time Gopal took to make his way to the crease, the away side insisting that he should be timed out. An intervention by future UN peace envoy Devendran calmed matters down and the game continued with FP’s 6 wickets down and 10 overs to go.
Gopal was next to fall, the second run out victim of the afternoon. He departed for 1 and was soon followed by his runner outer Manogna, caught from Kennedy for 3.
This left Desai and Kalluri at the crease and together they saw out a few more vital overs, taking FP’s to the 41st over of 44 to be played before Kalluri was bowled by Kennedy for 3.
The final batsman was Captain Devendran, who had probaby been hoping he wouldn’t be called on, not being known for his dogged defence. However he and Desai knuckled down and despite a couple of scares, mostly caused by Desai’s natural inclination to knock the leather off it, they saw out the remaining three overs to leave Methlick somewhat gubbed.
Pick of the Methlick bowlers were Kennedy and Jones with three apiece. Batting kudos goes to the openers Lord and Ghosh who took their time and should have been better supported by the rest of the line-up.
With two games to go FP’s presence in Grade 2 next season seems assured but they will want to improve on this performance and finish with two wins from their final matches of the season.
MOM – John Lord, 51 and a well taken catch.