If you enjoy your cricket lasting 7 hours, players turning up half way through wearing blue tracksuits, doubt about which players were actually named in the starting line-up, numerous wicketkeeping changes throughout the 2nd innings, various stoppages for no particular reason, batsmen not walking for edges, a string of utterly mystifying umpiring decisions and numerous 5 ball overs then Rubislaw was the place to be on Saturday. A fairly poor FPs display fitted in perfectly with the rather farcical circumstances in which the game was played, Academy winning by 52 runs when the game mercifully ended.
The one bright spot for FPs was a gutsy 29 not out from 16 year old Leston D’Costa who would have had twice as many if the outfield had been shorter. Hopefully we will get to see the best of young D’Costa before an apparent leading light in cricket tries to prize him away. Although games as long and as bad as this one will quickly accelerate the demise of cricket in the North East as it is a pretty tough sell to anyone that this is a good way to spend a Saturday, let alone a 16 year old.
FPs won the toss and fielded, Morrison returned from Ibiza, perhaps wishing he was still in Amnesia after this one, in more ways than one and FPs lined up High, Keith, Swiergon, Senthil, Morrison, D’Costa, Mapplebeck, Clelland, Hameed, Worsley, Thomson. FPs did not bowl well and conceded 24 wides, some of which were somewhat debatable but with an neutral umpire at least there should be consistency. Sadly in the 2nd innings there wasn’t, where, short ball after short ball over the batsmen were routinely ignored.
Everyone, including the umpire particularly enjoyed Sriniwasan’s batting so much, that he got two goes at it. Sportingly walking for an edge, before being given not out and making 39. Captain Morrison and his fielders were far from amused but you cant entirely blame the batsman as he had been happy enough to go until the not out decision. Hameed was getting close to a near walk off as two extremely good appeals were rejected, which led to a heated debate over the merits of the appeals in a foreign dialect. When the mild mannered due of Clelland and Thomson are losing their temper, you know something is not quite right.
Pant did bat well and made 46 and an exciting 22 from 12 balls from Kalledu was at least memorable as he struck 3 clean sixes. Morrison caught one stunning catch on the boundary and a 2nd routine one, but overall Academy batted fairly well, hitting over the top to set a very challenging 208 all out. Overall FPs bowlers were not on song and catches were dropped, the figures were, Mapplebeck 10-0-44-2, Worsley 8-0-48-0, High 10-0-40-2, Hameed 10-034-1 and Thomson 7-1-36-3.
With Hameed on the clock and Keith nursing a strain, Hameed and High opened but only after a heated discussion over the eligibility of a player that had recently arrived and hadn’t batted. His choice of dress was too much for one FPs bowler of high sartorial elegance and he rounded on the falling standards of dress code and organization of the Academy team. With it fairly unclear whether this new mysterious player was indeed an original selection or not, nothing much was done, so the game restarted, with no one any the wiser of who this was and if he was really a part of the game at the start. It did rather expose how pointless the teamsheet is, unless you happen to have a player working for special branch to assess people’s credentials.
FPs were soon in trouble at 15 for 3, High, Hameed and Swiergon all out to Vijapur. Keith made 32 but was run out and Senthil struck 22, but FPs were always struggling. In an effort to up the rate Morrison hit 2 sixes but fell for 21 as FPs chances disappeared. D’Costa batted beautifully but was hampered by playing the ball correctly along the deck but made a very encouraging 29 not out, but with the rate climbing the lower order all fell hitting pout as FPs were all out 154 in the 41st over.
Overall Academy were deserving winners, but they would win more favour if they turned with up with a full team on time and spent less time messing around between overs. Vijapur bowled well to claim 5 wickets, but overall FPs played poorly and nothing really went right for them. Teams regularly wish to bring start times forward, but that wont speed games up, what will is teams getting on with their overs, starting early will just make games last even longer. It is high times certain clubs got a grip and played the game properly and stopped ridiculous appealing, gamesmanship and going slow. None of this contributed to the loss for FPs but does nothing to encourage anyone.
FPs have had a good season and have only lost 3 games this season. It is important they now move on and try their hardest to win their final two games, to end the league season on a high.
Scorer Mike Nattrass kept a perfect book, but this effort was out done by Leston D’Costa’s careful batting. He will be a real star as he gets stronger and older and has the magnificent attitude to the game.