FPs cruised to a comfortable 8 wicket win against Crescent as the 2017 season kicked off on a cold day at Rubislaw. FPs were always in control having reduced their opponents to 22 for 5 within the 1st ten overs, before eventually dismissing them for 85. The wickets shared round with Karan Anand 3 for 11 and Sam Knudson 3 for 24 doing the bulk of the damage. FPs had an early scare when they lost Alex Keith in the 1st over of the reply but Geoff Morrison (13 not out) steadied the ship and aggressive innings by Rob Swiergon (25) and Karan Anand (40 not out) led FPs to victory with 25 overs to spare.
FPs lined up under new captain Rob Swiergon with a fairly recognisable team, Callum Herd making a debut following his move from Mannofield. They lined up Keith, Morrison, Swiergon, Anand, Senthil, Nattrass, Herd, Clelland, Mapplebeck, Sam Knudson, Roland Knudson. Swiergon won the toss and asked Crescent to bat. With Hameed and Thomson unavailable, it was Anand who shared the new ball with Mapplebeck. Anand needed just 3 balls to make an impact, Mughal edging behind and walking instantly for a duck, Crescent setting their stall out early to play the game fairly which was a feature of their play throughout.
It was 13 for 2 when Mapplebeck claimed his 100th FPs wicket, clean bowling Queresh for 6. The wickets continued to fall as Senthil caught Toor for 3 at square leg and Mapplebeck caught Chokar at mid off for a duck to take Anand’s tally to 3. Sam Knudson replaced Mapplebeck and despite not quite finding the right length early on, he removed Lings for 2, who top edged a pull high to Nattrass to claim a simple catch, Crescent now 22 for 5.
Herd was introduced and was unlucky not to claim a large haul of wickets as Senthil and Morrison uncharacteristically dropped fairly routine chances. It allowed Tahseen and Sharma to add 20, before Tahseen hit one straight to Senthil who took a smart catch to finally give Herd a wicket. Sam Knudson then claimed 2 more wickets as Anand easily held Sharma at mid off for 17 and Suri was bowled for 7. There was some late order resistance, but veteran spinner Roland Knudson ended matters with 2 LBWs, 1st Birch attempting a ramp and being hit in front before Hussain was LBW for 4, Crescent all out for 85.
FPs were mixed in the field, although the cold conditions were far from ideal. Mapplebeck set the tone with 6-1-15-1 and was well backed by Anand (5-2-11-3), Sam Knudson (10-0-24-3), Herd (6-0-23-1) and Roland Knudson (4.4-0-12-2).
With a small total to chase, it just required some steady accumulation to secure the win, but FPs lost Keith for a 5 ball duck, as he hit a long hop straight to cover off Toor’s bowling. Skipper Swiergon joined ex skipper Morrison and looked in good form, hitting 4 boundaries in a breezy innings of 25 from 24 balls, before skying Suri to Toor at mid off, the stand worth 37.
Anand joined Morrison and looked in good form straight away, dominating an unbroken stand of 51, hitting 40 not out from just 28 balls. He masterly farmed the strike, with Morrison happy to defend at the other end and allow Anand to get the runs. Anand struck 4 fours and a huge six against the wind and seldom looked in any trouble. Morrison at the other end was scratchy but did all that was needed in making 13 not out (1×4) from 53 balls as FPs easily chased down the target.
It was a good start to the season for FPs, but it is fair to say both sides were rusty and will improve. The game was played in a fine spirit throughout with fair umpiring and general good humour. FPs will need to work on their fielding ahead of a tough away fixture next week at Cults.
Photos from the game can be viewed here: