A fine team effort with particular contributions from Arul Senthil (49) and Chris Clelland (32no) allowed FPs to claim an exciting 3 wicket win with 9 balls to spare as they successfully replied to 197 for 9, with 198 for 7. Thinks had looked rather bleak at 107 for 6, but a fine stand between Senthil and Clelland of 64, put FPs in sight of victory and some lusty blows from Sajid Hammed (15*) despite a broken finger, saw FPs home.
Despite having in excess of 40 players unavailable and Aberdeenshire having signed up youngster Rutwik Hegde without notice, FPs cobbled 3 teams together, as they continue to do their bit to keep cricket alive in the north east. It meant that Arul Senthil was recalled to the 1sts after some good form in 2nds and Clelland, McDonald and veteran Roland Knudson were promoted to assist the 1st team. Morrison gave up the gloves and FPs lined up Morrison, Keith, High, Senthil, Anand, McDonald, Mapplebeck, Clelland, Hamed, Knudson and Thomson.
Morrison unusually won the toss and asked Knightriders to bat. With an hour of rain and Knightriders electing to call all legside deliveries as wides, it was to prove to be a long evening as the game was not to end till after 830pm, Knightriders taking a surely record 4 hours to bowl their overs. Incredibly no umpire had been appointed for the day’s top game, just as no umpire was appointed against Bon Accord 2 weeks ago and it seems that FPs are now exempt from such appointments.
Mapplebeck and Hameed shared the new ball and it took till the 11th over for a breakthrough, Senthil taking a sharp catch in the gully to removal Bihal, to hand Mapplebeck a wicket. Siva who left FPs mid season in slightly unusual circumstances came in at 3, and made a duck, having decided to take on Morrison at long off against High’s 2nd ball and failed as Morrison claimed a routine catch 15 yards in from the rope.
Ashok (31) had been batting well, but into a tangle against Anand and skied to Knudson at square leg, the ever reliable Knudson claiming the catch with no fuss whatsoever. Vadugananthan and Rashid then combined well to add 45, High unlucky not to claim an LBW before rain forced the players off. After an early tea and an hours rain, play resumed and Anand claimed a 2nd victim, Senthil taking another good catch, 99 for 4.
Palaniyandi and Rashid then looked as if they may have taken the game away from FPs as they put on 77, Palaniyandi making a fine 50. FPs did not help themselves dropping 3 tough chances along the way, Senthil, Morrison and Mapplebeck the culprits. With only 4 overs left, FPs still only had 4 wickets, but in the rush for late runs, Mapplebeck had Palaniyandi well held by Senthil for 52, before a ‘team hat-trick’ as High Mohan caught by Morrison at long on for 4, Karan Anand ran out Vijay for 11 and High then had Vallattarasu LBW 1st ball for a duck, as Knightriders ended on 197 for 9.
For FPs, bowling figures were Mapplebeck 9-1-37-2, Hameed 8-1-40-0, Anand 10-3-25-2, High 8-0-34-4, Thomson 8-0-34-0 and Roland Knudson 2-0-14-0. 197 was not as large a score as it may have appeared given legside wides, as FPs knew with good batting it was chaseable.
Morrison fell early, driving in the air to point for 3 as FPs slipped to 22 for 1. High hit a couple of nice boundaries but edged to the keeper to go for 12 and it was 48 for 3 when Keith got frustrated and was bowled for 20 by Mallireddy.
Senthil and Anand steadied things and added 41 in good time, when Anand chipped to mid off and was caught for 19. McDonald made just 5 and Mapplebeck just 4 as FPs slipped to 107 for 6. The in-form Clelland joined Senthil who was playing patiently and they kept FPs ticking along taking advantage of the defensive field to collect lots of singles. They were really playing the long game and looked like they had the game secured when Senthil went for a big hit and was bowled one shy of a deserved half century.
FPs now 171 for 7 and still needing 27 from 7 overs. Clelland was still finding gaps to push ones and his new partner Hameed was in his usual aggressive form belting two boundaries to take FPs close. The winning runs were struck in the penultimate over as FPs moved back up to 2nd place in the league.
It was an excellent team effort to claim the win against a strong and spirited Knigtriders. It was to setup FPs nicely for Sunday’s clash in the Small Cups Final, a game that they were to deliver another fine display.
Arul Senthil showed the batting quality that he possesses and his 49 was a welcome return to form for a very popular member of the side.