FPs continued their late season renaissance with their third win in a row, once again recording a nine wicket triumph. Alex Keith continued his fine form with an unbeaten 84 from 89 balls and shared 121 with Geoff Morrison who made a measured 32. It had not seemed a likely outcome as Crescent raced to 73 for no wicket in 9 overs, but a 4 wicket blitz from Vijay Vijapur and 4 from Roland Knudson ensured Crescent made just 142 in 29 overs.FPs made 3 changes with Swiergon, Anand and Clelland not available and they were replaced by Mapplebeck, McDonald and Rutwik Hegde who was celebrating his 16th birthday. FPs lost the toss and Crescent chose to bat as FPs lined up Morrison, Keith, Tenneti, Senthil, Hegde, Vijapur, McDonald, Mapplebeck, Knudson, Thomson, Stuart. Mapplebeck took the new ball with Thomson and Quershi and Awan wasted no time in smashing it everywhere making 34 in the 1st 4 overs, Thomson’s opening two costing 29.
Vijapur received similar treatment as Crescent raced along, however, his 3rd over removed both openers, first Awan slogging across the line to be bowled for 30 and 3 balls later Quershi lofting a catch to mid on where Tenneti made good ground to claim a magnificent catch. Crescent 78 for 2. It was soon 83 for 4 as Thanaraj chipped a full toss straight to a grateful Mapplebeck at square leg for a duck as Vijapur claimed a 3rd and then Knudson’s 7th ball brought him a wicket, Ahmed aiming something violent and skying it miles where Morrison took a very simple catch.
FPs were on a roll now and Vijapur had his 4th when Morrison superbly dived to his left down the leg side to claim an unlikely one handed catch, a disbelieving Mughal sportingly walking off for a duck. Knudson was bowling superbly at the other end and after frustrating Abrahim, he removed him for 6, Morrison easily stumping him. Razzar could not get to grips with the wily Knudson either and having been dropped a simple chance by Morrison off Mapplebeck, he edged an even easier chance to Keith at 1st slip for another duck as Crescent slumped to 124 for 7. The 8th wicket went soon after as Knudson claimed his 4th, Sharma LBW for 2.
Gupta was standing at the other end watching the carnage unfold and he needed support but none was forthcoming as with him stuck on 30, Thomson returned to clean bowl Birch and Khare in 3 balls, as Crescent recorded their 4 and 5th ducks. From 73 for 0, Crescent had collapsed to 142 all out, almost a complete reversal from the 1st game at Rubislaw.
The bowling was mixed, but the fielding and catching was top notch. FPs used 4 bowlers, Mapplebeck 10-0-59-0, Thomson 3-0-21-2, Vijapur 7-0-33-4 and Knudson 10-2-16-4.
FPs had chased well last week but in general had not chased well this season, so were keen to make a solid start. Keith set the tone by crunching the 1st ball for 4 and he and Morrison rattled along at more than a run a ball making 39 in 6 overs before heavy rain forced the players off. After a 30 minute delay, the innings resumed and Morrison and Keith were untroubled as the stand passed 50, Keith dominating the stand, Morrison only occasionally engaging his bat to swat a boundary or to defend a straight ball.
Morrison was unusually keen on the leave but did aim evil intentions at a full toss, only to hit it straight up. Any of 11 Crescent players could have caught it, but oddly no one did as Morrison had a lucky escape. He continued his innings of leaving and standing at the other end as Keith completely dominated passing his 50 with his 10th 4.
Crescent shuffled their bowling with various changes, but it made no odds as Keith continued his merry way, cutting and driving with power and farming the bowling expertly. Morrison struck the odd aggressive boundary when the bowling was to his liking, but the 100 stand was dominated by Keith, FPs continuing to score at over 5 per over. The only question that remained was if Keith could get his century.
The stand was at 121 when somewhat against the run on play Morrison meekly chipped Ahmed to mid wicket and departed for a well played 32 (5×4) from 60 balls. With just 22 now needed, Keith needed the bulk of them for his ton, but Tenneti was served some friendly short bowling which he crashed to the boundary as he made a quickfire 19 not out from 13 balls (4×4). Keith ended with a superb 84 not out from 89 balls and he hit 13 boundaries during his innings.
It was another fine batting display and Arul Senthil once again sat the whole innings with his pads on as Keith dominated. The win should mean FPs are now safe from the drop and hopefully they can continue to build late season momentum. It was a great comeback from FPs after a dire start, but it was the innings of Keith that will be long remembered in a convincing win. The game was played in a good spirit and Crescent are to be commended for their approach. Next up for FPs is Knightriders away.