Harry Mapplebeck produced perhaps his finest FPs performance as he struck a majestic 71 not out and took 5 for 31 as FPs recorded a very rare win against Cults at Rubislaw. The triumph was all the more remarkable as FPs recovered from 20 for 4
and then 123 for 8 as Mapplebeck at 8 and Hameed at 10 added an unbroken 106 for the 9th wicket. It was Hameeds first ever 50 and one of the more brutal that you are likely to see. Hameed also got in on the act with the ball taking 2 for 37 and importantly dismissing Cults key batsman Fahad for 44.
Keith and Worsley returned for FPs as they made 2 changes, Senthil (unavailable) and Moir making way. The full line-up was Keith, High, Swiergon, Anand, Davey, Nattrass, Morrison (c) (w), Mapplebeck, Worsley, Hameed and Thomson. FPs won the toss and Morrison had no hesitation in choosing to bat and decision which was soon to appear rather foolish.
With Keith returning, Morrison made way at the top, but a late flurry of wickets soon had FPs staring down the barrel at 20 for 4. High (0) and Keith (3) both edged Atis to Ahmed behind the stumps and Anand fresh from a ton last week played an ambitious shot 1st ball and was clean bowled. Swiergon was then also caught at the wicket off Nikhil.
Davey and Nattrass did at least bring some semblance of order adding 44 careful runs in 10 overs when Nattrass fell LBW to Meghani for 19. Captain Morrison joined Davey and they batted with great care to add 21, Davey looking in particularly good form, unleashing some fine cuts for 4. In fact FPs were just looking as if they were getting into a decent position when spinner Viraj clean bowled Davey as he tried to force the pace. Davey making 33 (5×4) as FPs slipped to 110 for 7. Worsley came and went LBW for 2 to Meghani and FPs plight worsened to 123 for 8 with 12 overs still to bat.
Ever the man for a crisis Hameed joined Mapplebeck at the crease. He had clearly listened carefully to his skippers advise to see off Meghani’s final delivery and to take his time as he strode down the pitch to plant his 1st delivery one bounce for four between the 2 deep fielders. It set the tone for the carnage that was about to be unleashed as Cults were completely unable to stop the Mapplebeck and Hameed juggernaut which was to smash 106 in just 12 overs.
Both batted with extreme sense as they either defended the ball or smashed it. They also picked up lots of 1s with the field back and ran Cults ragged. Mapplebeck had the sense to get himself outside off stump to the off spinner to open up the legside and when the field was changed he was happy to reverse sweep into the gap. Cults were clearly rattled and managed to spur Hameed onto greater feats with some polite advise from the fielders on his batting as well as Viraj attempting a rather embarrassing Mankad, thankfully the rest of the Cults players were quick to revoke the appeal . He unleashed some brutal cuts and both he and Mapplebeck hit huge sixes in one Bode over that went for 20.
When the 45 overs were up they had raised FPs to an improbable 229 for 8 with Mapplebeck on 71 not out and Hameed unbeaten on 52.
With a strong batting line-up Cults would have still fancied chasing the runs, but Mapplebeck soon had them up against it as he claimed the 1st 4 wickets, bowled a superb spell of outswing. Bode went first nicking behind to Morrison for 4 and Poornesh was superbly bowled for 5. Ali who used to turn out for 2nd FPs came in at 4th and was quickly removed, Davey snapping up a simple chance at point. When Nikhil had his middle stump deposited back by beside the keeper for a duck, Cults were 33 for 4.
Fahad however was showing his class, and perhaps knew the FPs bowlers well while training with them during the last 2 seasons and looked the most likely player to guide Cults to a win. Captain Aqeel was caught sleeping when Ahmed called for a single and a powerful thrown from Keith to Morrison saw Aqeel short for 9. Najeeb stuck in with Ahmed, but the game was up when after some very tight bowling, Ahmed became frustrated and was bowled by Hameed aiming something aggressive.
Mapplebeck returned for a 2nd spell and quickly completed a well deserved five for as Morrison took a 2nd catch to remove Najeeb for 29. Morrison then had a 3rd victim as Viraj nicked off to Hameed for 7 and Cults were 133 for 8. Anand joined the party as he had Meghani easily caught by Mapplebeck at mid off for 9. Some late resistance boosted Cults to 155, when the off colour Worsley had Nick Cook caught by Nattrass at cover for 7. Cults all out for 155 to lose by 74 runs.
The final bowling figures were Mapplebeck 10-3-31-5, Worsley 7.4-0-31-1, Thomson 6-0-31-1, Hameed 10-4-28-2 and Anand 10-3-24-1.
Overall, it was a superb win from a seemingly hopeless position and showed the depth of FPs batting. However, it is important that the top order set a better platform as the bowlers will not always be able to drag the team out of trouble. Mapplebeck and Hameed almost won the game between them, but Davey and Nattrass’ batting were also crucial in keeping FPs hopes alive. Next up is a tough league match against Crescent and a cup tie against Bon Accord, a competition that FPs usually use to rotate some players.
Man of the match: despite his maiden 50, it can only go to Harry Mapplebeck for his 71 not out and 5 or 31.
Thanks for coming: there are a number of candidates here, Keith 3 runs and a drop, Anand, a 1st ball duck, but at least did get a wicket. Worsley, 2 runs, a wild bowling spell and a dropped catch, Swiergon 2 runs, but High just edges them with a duck, although he might have hoped his skipper had given him a bowl!