The first reunion match between Grammar Former Pupils and Grammar Former Players was due to take place at Harlaw but was changed to Sheddocksley Lower due to pitch unavailability.
The 2016 Aberdeen summer had been and gone during the week but at least it meant that the sometime minefield of a pitch would be dried out, hence the non appearance of the local sniffer pit bulls and their fearless handlers. Unfortunately this also meant the outfield would be faster than the ‘experienced’ team of Former Pupils would have preferred while fielding.
The 3rd XI lined up with Ian Johnston (c), Paul Norwood, John Youles, Aly Macdonald, Agha Haider, Tamus Whyte, Ben Frizzell (wkt), Bejoy Joseph, Rafeek Risan, Vinod Karmilla and bringing a touch of youthful exuberance Faraj Monnapillai. Again FP’s were fortunate this week to thank Youles, Whyte and Frizzell for coming out of semi retirement/unavailability black hole and having Rafeek and Vinod make their debuts.
FP’s won the toss when Aberdeen Super Kings captain Rama Mantha called wrongly and was asked to bowl first. FP’s opened with Norwood and Youles who came out to bat in windy but sunny conditions. Desai opened the bowling with the wind behind him and into a bright sun and was unlucky when Youles was dropped at mid on off the first over. That apart Youles looked in vintage form as he scored four boundaries with very well timed drives.
Norwood had survived a very close LBW first ball from Desai, but was dismissed in the fifth over of the match when this time Desai’s LBW appeal was upheld, Norwood out for 2, FP’s 20 – 1. Next over Youles was out caught off Verma for 17 (4 x 4) leaving FP’s 22 – 2.
Macdonald and Haider maintained a healthy scoring rate by punishing the odd bad ball, Haider pulling a full toss from Verma for a six and Macdonald smacking a couple of cuts powerfully through the covers to the boundary.
The third wicket stand had raised an enterprising 23 when Haider was unfortunately run out for 14 (1 x 6, 1 x 4), FP’s 45 – 3 off 10 overs. Whyte was soon out for a duck, caught off Verma, but Frizzell and Macdonald added 16 before Frizzell was bowled by new bowler Hemel for 6 (1 x 4), FP’s 61 – 5 off 17.4 overs.
Johnston and Macdonald batted carefully due to accurate bowling, also a lack of mobility meant singles were being gracefully jogged. Hemel had just been replaced by Desai and the inspired bowling change worked immediately when Johnston dollied a simple catch to ASK captain Rama, Johnston out for 1, FP’s 79 – 6 off 29.3 overs.
The experienced Magesh replaced Kiran Bhanu and in his third over Macdonald, in an attempt to score quickly, danced down the wicket and was stumped for 28 (3 x 4). More slow foxtrot than quickstep, FP’s 81 – seven!
The FP’s innings ended soon after, Joseph was out LBW for 2 as Vishal continued his accurate bowling, and at the other end Magesh dismissed Risan and Monnapillai in identical fashion, both batsmen caught and bowled, Risan out for 2 and Monnapillai without scoring. Karmilla was the not out batsman on 2.
After a promising start with good contributions from Youles, Haider and especially Macdonald, FP’s were in a decent place to make a decent total, but the familiar story of a batting collapse saw 10 overs go unused. The ASK bowlers all bowled well giving little away.
Bowling for ASK Magesh 3.4 – 0 – 5 – 3, Verma 6 – 1 – 28 – 3, Desai 10 – 3 – 20 – 3, Hemal 8 – 0 – 12 – 1, Kiran Bhanu 7 – 1 – 18 – 0
Debutant duo Karmilla and Risan opened the bowling for FP’s but the ASK batsmen were in no mood to hang around and immediately went for their shots.
Risan raised FP’s hopes in his third over when he took 2 wickets in two balls, firstly Norwood took a good catch at mid on to dismiss D’Souza for 10 (1 x 4), then Bagri moved too far across and was bowled round his legs for 11 (2 x 4), ASK 22 – 2 off 5.3 overs.
Opening bowers Karmilla and Risan both bowled well but saw a couple of chances missed as the ASK batsmen pushed on towards victory. The match was completed in the 18th over with Paul hitting the winning runs. Paul scored an aggressive 49 (10 x 4) with Raghu 14 not out, ASK 86 – 2, winning by 8 wickets.
Bowling for FP’s Risan 4 – 2 – 13 – 2, Karmilla 6 – 0 – 26 – 0, Haider 4 – 0 – 25 – 0, Macdonald 2 – 0 – 8 – 0 Monnapillai 1 – 0 – 9 – 0, Whyte 0.4 – 0 – 5 – 0.
The FP’s batting collapse left ASK with a small total to chase which they did without too much difficulty. The match was played in a friendly atmosphere as expected between old team mates.
Man of the Match – Soham Paul soon ended FP’s hopes top scoring with 49*
Champagne Moment – Paul Norwood teasing his team mates with slow motion catch