FPs reached their 1st ever Small Club Cup Final as they battled back from a low total of 156 all out to bowl out Tranent for 118. It looked as if FPs were to taste an agonizing defeat as rain arrived with Tranent 1 run ahead of the rain target. Ironically they had been behind the whole innings and were 7 wickets down, yet the slightly unusual system only looks at scoring rate. Thankfully the rain abated and FPs quickly bagged the final 3 wickets that they required to confirm a fine win. Batting wise only Karan Anand 37, Geoff Morrison 32 and Rutwik Hegde 29, made any real impression as the batting failed to fire. Anand bowled well to claim 4 for 49, while Sajid Hameed took 3 for 11.
FPs made two changes from Saturday with John Waldron bolstering the batting and Martin Worsley a straight swap for Harry Mapplebeck. Morrison lost the toss and FPs were asked to bat. Morrison and Keith opened and the latter had just 10 when he was bowled by Khan. Swiergon fresh from his 96 not out had made 9 when he and Morrison ad a mix up and Swiergon was run out. Morrison had looked in no better form than on Saturday but did at least hit 4 fours in a far from fluent 32 before gloving Paul to the wicketkeeper as FPs slipped to 54 for 3.
Hegde and Anand repaired some of the damage in adding 69, Anand inconvenienced by a knee injury which required Morrison to come and do his running for him. They were really starting to get on top when Hegde cut to gully and was well caught for 29. It led to a clatter of wickets as Davey 9, High 5, Waldrom 1, Anand 37, Hameed 11 and Worsley a first ball duck, all fell in quick succession as FPs were all out 156 in 38 overs.
With Anand incapacitated, Clelland was summoned to field sub, but with him not quite ready, Anand decided he may as well field and have a bowl. It was to prove a good decision, as despite barely being able to move, he bowled skipper Ali for 4 and clean bowled Fahim for 2 as the quick wickets FPs craved arrived.
Worsley was bowling a superb spell and was very unlucky as 3 catches went down off him. Things were getting desperate for FPs as Tranent reached 53 in the 15th over, when Hameed struck to bowl Khan for 26 and then removed Chad Williams LBW for a first ball duck, the batsmen unhappy with the decision, although it seemed just.
With rain beginning to fall, Tranent knew they had to get ahead of the run rate with wickets playing no part and looked to up the rate. FPs pegged them back though as Sam Knudson had Actaf well caught by Hegde for 26 and then Anand pulled off a ridiculous one handed caught and bowled after Paul had shelled it back at him to go for 2. Russell 35 was batting well, but Anand dispatched him, Morrison claiming the outside edge.
In the 27th over Tranent edged ahead of the rate and managed to scramble the one they needed in the 28th to be one run ahead as the rain got heavier and the umpires had no choice to take the players off. Tranent now believed they had won as they saw no chance of getting back on, and all FPs could do was prey the rain went off which looked improbable. After a 45 minute delay it did relent and the umpires decided the game could restart at 645. It seemed a reasonable decision, given that no one wanted the game to end without a clear winner.
When Hameed clean bowled Dance for 7, 1st ball back, it looked like there could only be one winner. Tranent decided to try and block out the rest of Hameed and Knudson and take their chances against the 5th and 6th bowlers. Knudson though still managed to tempt Tait and he was expertly caught by Hameed for 6 as Tranent slipped to 118 for 9 with 6 overs remaining. They still needed 39 from the last 6 as Hegde and High were readied for a bowl.
Youngster Hegde, though kept his nerve and completed a fine win as Findlay was clean bowled for a duck as FPs claimed a good win. The bowling figures were Worsley 8-2-15-0, Anand 8-0-49-4, Hameed 8-4-11-3, High 2-0-13-0, Knudson 8-1-26-2 and Hegde 1-0-1-1.
Overall it was a fantastic win and FPs can now look forward to the final at Strathmore on Sunday 17th July against Bon Accord, who they also play next Saturday. Anand showed great spirit to bowl when injured and on another day Worsley could have had 5. FPs fielded well and did not let the conditions affect them, which perhaps Tranent did. The umpires also deserve great credit, for controlling the game well, getting all decisions spot on and doing their upmost to ensure the outcome was decided on the field of play. Tranent were good opponents who are doing a great deal to grow cricket and were gracious in defeat.
There was no one man of the match despite Anand’s heroics and every member of the team can take great pride in a superb team effort.