The new season saw several new faces and several old faces persuaded to turn out for AGSFP’s 3rd XI for the first Grade 4 match of the season.
The departure of a number (tbc) of players to a newly formed team and a perfect storm of holidays, exams, injuries etc meant the 3rd XI team of 10 included Canadian Gilles Gardner playing his first ever cricket match, schoolboy debutant Faraj Monnapillai, two players who have not played since school in Nathan Jones and Bejoy Joseph, experienced schoolboy Matthew McCaughtrie playing his 2nd match for FP’s, very experienced Gary Stuart and Paul Norwood and the very, very experienced bearded duo Mike Hart and Iain Hopkin who were both around when the current fashion for beards was started by their former teammate W.G.
Captain Johnston won the toss for FP’s and decided to bat first. The miserable weather of the previous week was almost forgotten as the sun shone brightly, but with a cold wind blowing from the Cromwell Road end.
Norwood and Stuart opened the batting in front of a large gathering of Grampian 1st XI players keen to watch their teammates play their first match. It did not take long for Grampian to claim their first wicket when Lipin, having bowled a jaffa 3rd ball which pitched on middle and seamed past off stump, then bowled merely a mandarin for Stuart to edge onto his stumps, FP’s 1 – 1 off 4 balls.
Two balls later a gust of wind blew Hart’s beard into his eyes and he was also bowled for a duck, FP’s 1 – 2.
Jones the bat joined Norwood for the 2nd over of the match bowled by Seby who was bowling big in swinging deliveries. The 3rd wicket fell in the 4th over when Jones was bowled by Seby without scoring, FP’s 5 – 3.
Hopkin soon got used to the new fangled padded gloves and smashed Seby through mid on for four to get off the mark. Unfortunately Seby took revenge soon after and bowled Hopkin for 5 (1 x 4), FP’s 16 – 4 off 7.2 overs.
Johnston’s first ball from Seby was a toe crusher but the batsman survived and with Norwood doubled the total before Norwood had to retire with a calf injury, the only part of his body his physio had not worked on the day before.
Reinforcements had been called for and given the choice study at home or play cricket Rajaa Monnapillai chose to play cricket and duly arrived at the ground. Whether he was as happy after being run out without scoring in a mix up with Johnston was debatable.
McCaughtrie looked comfortable during his time in the middle and it took a good ball from Sojan to finally get through, the youngster bowled for 3.
The batting rust was just beginning to come off Joseph when he was stumped off Sojan for 2 and soon after Johnston was out gloving a ball to the wicketkeeper off fellow clansman Johnson (thanks) for 15 (2 x 4).
Monnapillai F. got off the mark and again was just settling when he was caught off Richard for 1. Norwood bravely returned with a runner to partner cricketing debutant Gardner and immediately smashed Sojan for a boundary. Gardner was paid the highest compliment when Grampian brought back opening bowler Libin, who bowled the Canadian with last ball of the 29th over, leaving the nobbled Norwood 15 n.o. (2 x 4). FP’s 59 all out.
Wicket takers for Grampian, Libin 6 – 2 – 5 – 3, Johnson 5 – 1 – 5 – 2, Seby 5 – 0 – 13 – 2, Sojan 8 – 0 – 15 – 2, Richard 3 – 1 – 8 – 1
Grampian bowlers, especially the openers, were too good for the FP’s first bat of this and many a season, but all the schoolboys showed good temperament and technique during their innings.
FP’s opening bowlers were Monnapillai R. from the Cromwell Road end and Stuart from the Pavilion end. Both bowlers bowled well and were unlucky, a difficult catch was missed, a close LBW call for Monnapillai went the batsman’s way, a couple of skied shots evaded the fielders, and the batsmen punished the rare bad ball.
Stuart had some reward when he bowled Nandan with the perfect slower ball, completely deceiving the well set batsman, out for 17 (2 x 4), Grampian 36 – 1 off 10 overs.
McCaughtrie replaced Monnapillai and in his second over took a calm caught and bowled to dismiss Joseph for 19 (3 x 4) Grampian 59 – 2.
Grampian wrapped up the match next over, final score 60 – 2.
Bowling for FP’s, Stuart 6 – 0 – 17 – 1, McCaughtrie 2 – 0 – 12 – 1, Monnapillai 5 – 1 – 19 – 0, Hart 0.2 – 0 – 2 – 0
Grampian were on top from the start against the carefully chosen FP’s side who were on a steep learning/remembering curve. At least the match went ahead where many other games were frustratingly called off despite good overhead conditions. The game was played in good spirit throughout but not every ball hitting a pad merits an appeal.
Man of the Match – Libin who bowled beautifully
Champagne Moment – The Stuart slower ball