There were six changes to the Grammar 3rd XI to play against Aberdeen Super Kings in the Johnston Rose Bowl 40 over cup tie. This weeks venue due to the sinkhole at Harlaw, which the council are still looking into, was to be Kintore. Joining survivors from the previous match against Stonehaven – Ian Johnston, Agha Haider, Vinod Karmilla, Reezan Risan, Vineet Khandari were Ben Frizzell, Doug Russell, Leston D’Costa, Gilles Gardner, Jim Lee (w) and this week’s debutant Syed Ismail.
The Friday night late call off had been overcome, but with the toss already lost and FP’s ready to take the field, a phone call from Kemnay asking where our FP’s teammates were, was a bit worrying.
The boundary lines had not been painted so the players sent with the boundary flags had used baseball knowledge to mark the boundary. This resulted in the distance from the pitch to the boundary being a bit less than used to at Harlaw and Rubislaw. But it would be the same for both teams and would keep the batsmen happy. Which should be the main aim of the game.
Haider opened the bowling along with Karmilla. The missing FP’s players soon turned up to join their teammates and after 6 overs Aberdeen Super Kings were 14 – 0. Bagri had just hit Haider for the first six of the innings when Haider beat the bat, hit the pad, got the decision, ASK 21 – 1. Next ball new batsman D’Souza tried to hit Haider over the boundary, but instead miscued to short mid wicket where schoolboy D’Costa took a very calm catch, ASK 23 – 2.
Karmilla was bowling well, giving away only 7 runs in his first 5 overs and the accurate bowling helping Haider take his third wicket in 6 balls when Russell took a good catch on the boundary to dismiss a frustrated Rhagu for 9 (2 x 4), ASK 34 – 4.
Batsman S. Paul also tried to hit out at Haider and only succeeded in mistiming a drive straight back to the bowler who easily held on, Paul out for 6 (1 x 4), ASK 35 – 4 off 11 overs.
Next over saw Karmilla deservedly take a wicket when new batsman M. Joy was very well caught by Canadian Gardner at mid off, a first catch without a glove for the baseball player, ASK 35 – 5.
ASK captain Rama Mantha batted well showing more patience than the previous batsmen but he did offer a couple of chances which were missed as he and H. Joy attempted a recovery. Inevitably, Haider struck again to take a 5th wicket when he bowled H. Joy for 7 (1 x 4) with a ‘well disguised googly’, ASK in deep trouble at 57 – 6 off 14.4 overs.
Manta and Yalamanchili then counter attacked punishing anything short, enjoying the batsmen friendly boundaries. With Haider having completed an excellent FP’s best of 10 – 1 – 59 – 5 and the 7th wicket stand growing, Russell was brought on to replace Haider. Having already dispatched Russell’s first full toss for 6, the batsman then tried to repeat the stroke to the fourth full toss of the over only to find Haider who happily accepted the catch. Rama out for 35 (3 x 6, 2 x 4) ASK 94 – 7 off 20.4 overs, Russell insufferable.
FP’s looked to finish off the innings, but left hander Yalamanchili and A. Verma batted very well, taking advantage of any full tosses and short balls as the left hand/right hand combination caused FP’s bowlers and fielders some problems. Yalamanchili showed off his full repertoire of strokes, including a cheeky switch hit to the boundary as the stand threatened to take the game away from FP’s.
Debutant Ismail came on to bowl and immediately found a good line and length and in his second over bowled a tiring Yalamanchili for well struck 48 (6 x 4), ASK 151 – 8 off 29.4 overs.
New batsman H. Chovatiya did well to keep out Ismail’s accurate bowling, while at the other end Verma attacked hitting three quick boundaries. But Ismail managed to find the outside edge of Chovatiyas bat giving Lee a comfortable catch behind the stumps. Next ball K. Desai was correctly given not out off a no-ball, but unfortunately could not keep down a defensive shot and was caught by D’Costa, giving Ismail a third wicket. Verma scored a composed 37 n.o. ( 6 x 4), ASK total, 179 all out off 35.4 overs.
Haider taking 4 wickets in 14 balls gave FP’s the perfect start but a couple of dropped catches allowed ASK to recover and set a target double that scored by FP’s in the three previous matches this season. FP’s ground fielding was good, keeper Lee also shining. Karmilla was unfortunate to only take one wicket, his first 6 overs taking 1-8.
Bowling figures for FP’s Haider 10 – 1 – 59 – 5, Ismail 4.4 – 1 – 10 – 3, Russell 2 – 0 – 14 – 1, Karmilla 10 – 2 – 36 – 1, D’Costa 3 – 0 – 25 – 0, Risan 6 – 0 – 28 – 0.
Following an al fresco tea interval in the sunshine, openers Lee and stand in opener Haider faced ASK opening bowlers Verma and Chovatiya. Both bowlers bowled well restricting FP’s to 12 runs off 6 overs.
Lee was the first wicket to fall, bowled by Verma for 9 (2 x 4), FP’s 12 – 1 off 6.2 overs. The normally attacking Haider had batted with restraint, but was bowled by Chovatiya by a good full length ball for 13 ( 3 x 4), FP’s 24 – 2 off 9.3 overs.
Frizzell and Russell scored steadily keeping FP’s within sight of the asking rate and playing some good shots. Having just seen off the dangerous Verma, Frizzell managed to get a touch on a leg side delivery from new bowler Yalamanchili, unfortunately just a glove and was caught by keeper Paul for 15 (3 x 4) FP’s 56 – 3 off 16.3 overs.
Ismail joined Russell and the new batsman immediately looked assured in the middle. Russell upped the scoring rate with five boundaries and a 6, taking advantage of anything short. After 20 overs FP’s had scored 86 – 3 compared with ASK score after 20 overs 86 – 6, the wickets in hand vital.
With the stand worth 53, there was a double blow for FP’s when Ismail was run out for 28 (4 x 4), next over Russell was bowled by Yalamanchili off his pads for 33 ( 5 x 4, 1 x 6) and suddenly FP’s were 109 – 5 off 25.1 overs, leaving 71 runs required off 14.5 overs.
Khandari and D’Costa batted well with D’Costa playing some excellent aggressive leg side shots. The stand was worth 46 and brought FP’s to within sight of the target when both batsmen were out with the score on 155. D’Costa was bowled by opening bowler Verma for 27 (5 x 4) and Khandari was caught off Yalamanchili for 11 (1 x 4).
Karmilla opened his score with a 6, but Johnston was run out for a duck attempting a quick single, the batsman forgetting about a sprint reducing knee injury, #senior moment.
Things became tighter next over with Karmilla being bowled by Mantha while attempting to finish the match with as few shots as possible, for 14 (2 x 6) , FP’s 172 – 9 off 36 overs.
Risan was joined in the middle by Gardner who had only batted once before and faced only a handful of deliveries. A single was taken by Risan off the first ball of the over from Yalamanchili exposing the inexperienced Gardner. But following his efforts with the bat the bowler was running out of steam and a wide down the leg side made it to the boundary. Gardner was doing the right thing by getting his pad down the wicket and somehow survived the very tense over which meant that FP’s required only 1 run to win.
First ball of Mantha’s next over was lifted over the ring of fielders by Risan for a boundary and FP’s had scraped home by 1 wicket, the not out batting heroes Risan on 7 (1 x 4) and Gardner on 0.
This was the first valid win for FP’s 3rd XI since the end of season 2014 and could have gone either way like so many close games last season. Hopefully this winning run will continue for the next two cup matches at least.
The shorter boundary helped make the game a higher scoring match than might normally have been, but it made a pleasant change from slow, wet outfields and far away fours and sixes. If T20 tournaments round the world can adjust boundaries to make games more exciting for players and huge TV audiences, maybe so can Grade 4 for players and occasional spectator. The artificial wicket has obviously been well used but played well, and thanks go to Martin Auld for access to the changing rooms.
Man of the Match – Debutant Sayed Ismail, 3 wickets for 10 runs, fielded well, and a composed 28 runs
Champagne Moment – Agha Haider taking his 5th wicket