Debuts day ends in defeat

With only four players dried out following the  previous rain affected match at the Duthie Park, a new batch of innocents were required to play Grade 4 table toppers Aberdeen Super Kings at Kings College. Survivors Ian Johnston (c), Iain Bell, Bejoy Joseph and wicketkeeper Jim Lee were joined by Vinod Karmilla, Agha Haider, schoolboy Matthew McCaughtrie, season debutant Andy Milne and a record three debutantes in the same match, Himanshu Verma, Aman Sood, and ASK 12th man Jerry Cresswell, kindly on loan for the day.

The weather was humid but dry as FP’s lost the toss and were asked by ASK skipper Rama to bowl first on the artificial wicket. FP’s bowlers Karmilla and Haider had avoided the damp weather matches of recent weeks which meant there would be no rustiness in their opening overs. It took only 10 balls for Karmilla to strike, Wilson gloving behind to keeper Lee, a big deflection that only the batsman did not feel, see or hear, ASK 4 – 1 off 2.4 overs.

Magesh soon took advantage of a rare loose delivery from Haider and smashed a six towards mid on. But both bowlers were bowling well and it was no surprise when Verma was out LBW to Karmilla in the 11th over for 9, ASK 26 – 2.

Sood and McCaughtrie replaced Karmilla and Haider and  turned the match firmly FP’s way with three wickets in two overs. McCaughtrie had S. Paul caught at cover by Haider for 11 (2 x 4) and Sood bowled Rizwan for 1 and two balls later bowled Chaitan for a duck, ASK 44 – 5.

McCaughtrie was bowling very well and soon had Rama LBW for 4, the honest batsman walking almost before the umpire had given his decision, ASK now in deep trouble at 56 – 6 off 19.2 overs.

Rain had started falling and the players had to come off for a spell as both batsmen were wearing glasses and more importantly half the FP’s were not wearing jumpers.

The match was reduced to 40 per side as the weather closed in but play eventually resumed with Vishal and Magesh batting with great determination. FP’s did drop a few chances but none were of the easy variety. A second rain delay did not help the bowlers and the run ups became slippery with a couple of fallers.

The 7th wicket had raised an impressive 80 runs when out of the blue Andy Milne brought off a brilliant one handed catch at mid off to dismiss Vishal 31 (1 x 4), caught hitting out off the recalled Karmilla, the bowler getting a well deserved third wicket in his last over.  Haider also took a deserved wicket in the last over as Kiran Bhanu was smartly stumped by keeper Lee who had a good afternoon behind the stumps.

ASK closed their innings on 142 – 8, quite a recovery from 56 – 6, due mainly to Magesh who survived a couple of chances but batted very well finishing on 51 n.o. ( 2 x 6, 2 x 4).

All the bowlers bowled well for FP’s, the fielding was keen with the new boys all saving runs in the unpleasant conditions, with our chirpy cockney rebel Verma just about being understood by the end.

Karmilla 11 – 2 – 29 – 3, McCaughtrie 8 – 3 – 20 – 2, Sood 11 – 0 – 40 – 2,  Haider 8 – 0 – 31 – 1, Joseph 2 – 0 – 14 – 0

The rain had gone and the sun was out when FP’s openers Lee and Johnston made their way to the middle. The run rate required was just over three an over, Lee taking care of that by hitting the first ball to the boundary off Vishal. A steady supply of  wides also helped during the early overs.

FP’s lost their first wicket in the 14th over when Johnston was bowled by a round the wicket delivery from Hemel for 3, FP’s 36 – 1. Next ball Karmilla was out LBW and umpire Sood just made it back out to the middle to bat within the regulation Grade 4 five minutes.

Lee was batting well, but Hemel’s pace and accuracy eventually took it’s toll, Lee bowled for 21 (2 x 4). Bell was soon out bowled for 1 by the ever accurate Desai, but Sood and McCaughtrie looked relatively comfortable adding 20 runs. McCaughtrie was eventually outdone by Sandeep who tempted the schoolboy into giving an easy catch to mid wicket, McCaughtrie out for a very patient 3.

Sood and Haider also batted well, Haider relieving the pressure with a lovely reverse sweep to the boundary and Sood swatting Hemel over the biggest boundary for 6. But ASK bowler Riswan was giving absolutely nothing away helped by some good fielding by sub fielder K. Desai, and eventually the pressure told and Haider was bowled by Hemel for 11 (1 x 4), FP’s 89 – 5.

With the run rate realistically out of reach, Sood sacrificed his wicket to Rizwan, bowled for 23 (1 x 6, 1 x 4). Rizwan also had Joseph LBW for 1 and the end was swift and almost humane as Cresswell and Verma were both bowled by Hemel, both debutantes still waiting to register a run. FP’s all out 92 off 38 overs.

The ASK bowling line up was too strong for FP’s on the day, wicket takers Hemel 11 – 6 – 16 – 6, Rizwan 6 – 4 – 6 – 1, Sandeep 4 – 0 – 17 – 1, Desai 12 – 1 – 27 – 1.

ASK are rightly strong favourites to win Grade 4, remaining unbeaten in the league but for a while during the match were in danger of losing to FP’s, as happened in the Johnston Rose Bowl.

It was strange for the FP’s captain to know the opposition better than his own team but it was a very friendly afternoon throughout, with the rain breaks allowing some pleasant reminiscing of previous FP’s matches the players had enjoyed. Once again it was a minor miracle an FP’s team was sourced, thanks to all concerned for agreeing to play.

Man of the Match – Debutant Aman Sood looks a great acquisition for FP’s, taking wickets, top scoring and best of all, actually enjoys umpiring

Champagne Moment – Andy Milne’s brilliant one handed catch


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