FPs fell to a 4 wicket defeat to Academy on a pitch unlikely to be deemed suitable to graze wild sheep. It was an afternoon of the bizarre as both teams turned up to find a pitch that was neither cut or marked and was only discernible from the 6 inch long outfield due to the grass on the ‘pitch’ being a little bit shorter. The game had everything, from Alex Keith having to paint the lines in bold blue, Sam Knudson being given out LBW for playing a defensive shot and the helmet being struck to score a notable 5. It was great credit that a game was played at all and Academy played in an excellent manner, recalling Knudson after that LBW.
The whole game did raise far wider questions though, on how long the Grades will allow Sport Aberdeen to produce “wickets” such as this, where one ball hits you in the head and the next balls rolls along the ground. While the recent rain is some mitigation for an under prepared pitch, it is no excuse, for the pitch not being rolled vaguely flat, the outfield being 6 inches long and there being no markings. The game hinged on the toss, which FPs lost, but if cricket is going to prosper, there is no way that a ground such as this should be used, let alone in Grade 1.
What was played yesterday, was not cricket, and instead some rudimental game of baseball. It does again raise the point that more and more Aberdeen teams are blindly admitted by the clubs, with no thought of where anyone will play, leaving an impossible scheduling task for administrators. For Sport Aberdeen to be of the view that this ground is fit for cricket is highly misinformed at best. It is ridiculous that FPs 3rd team will be sent to play there next week, as there is zero chance of any young players learning any technique or getting any enjoyment from being there. Playing at Sheddocksley will do nothing to increase participation in cricket and if this is the future of the sort of grounds that teams have to play on participation will only dwindle further.
The 11 selected for FPs were Morrison, Keith, Swiergon, Hegde, Anand, Waldron, McDonald, Mapplebeck, Hameed, Knudson and Thomson. Having lost the pivotal toss, Keith was out caught from a length ball that reared head high, Morrison was bowled by a long hop that went along the ground, Swiergon suffered a similar fate and the tale continued as FPs were all out 119. Mapplebeck the only man making an impression with 27, before being adjudged LBW. For Academy, Khan with 3 for 24 and Safeer with 3 for 25 impressed.
With the pitch drying out, batting conditions did improve, but Chundi was run out from the boundary by Keith early and Academy were soon 39 for 5, as Kache was bowled by a short ball that shot straight along the ground, Kaleppu was LBW to a low delivery and Pant and Deshmukh fell chancing their arm. However Tenneti batted superbly in crafting a careful 33 until Mapplebeck bowled him behind his legs, but some late leg side hitting by Uday in making 42 not out got Academy home.
The bowling figures were Hameed 10-3-25-2, Mapplebeck 10-3-15-1, Anand 7-0-33-2, Thomson 7-1–21-0, Hegde 1-0-10-0 and Knudson 2-0-15-0.
The game was played in a good spirit, with sensible appealing and Academy very commendably recalling Knudson when the neutral umpire mistakenly raised the finger and in general played the game in the correct manner.
Next week, FPs face the under rated Mannofield at a venue to be confirmed, which both sides will hope is not Sheddocksley before a very tough Small Clubs Cup Semi Final at home to Tranent on the Sunday at Rubislaw.