Callum Herd is a man who does not like to end a night early, but some late hitting ensured FPs chased down the tough task of 227 earlier than expected, with 3 overs to spare. He had earlier slowed a Knightriders juggernaut that had threatened to post well in excess of 300 with some crafty off spin and was badly let down by some dreadful catching, keeper Morrison producing one of the worst drops you’ll see in many years. Herd then built on som
e good batting by Keith 79 and Morrison 40 who put on 83 for the 1st wicket, to smash 34 in 20 balls to lead FPs to the brink of the win, which Senthil completed in fine style. Earlier for Knightriders Mahan made a fine 86 and Vijay an excellent 76 in a stand of 150.
It was a murky day at Rubislaw, that greeted both teams and FPs decided to field on winning the toss, taking the risk on the wet ball. They lined up with 2 changes from last week with Sam Knudson and John Davey coming in to replace the slightly unfortunate Mike Nattrass and John Thomson. In full FPs lined up Keith, Morrison (w), Swiergon, Anand, Davey, Mapplebeck, Senthil, Herd, Knudson, Rutnam, Hameed.
The decision to bowl looked a good one, when Anand’s 4th ball clean bowled Somu for a duck. However it brought Madhan and Vijay together to share a fantastic 150 in 25 overs. They were helped by some poor FPs fielding, Sam Knudson dropping a fairly routine skier and Morrison dropping an even easier skyer having ushered Rutnam clear and then failing to lay a glove on it. Senthil also spilled one, but it was tough. The only real highlights before the drinks break were some fine batting from the Knightridrs batsmen as they punished the bad balls and blocked the good ones which were fairly few and far between.
It took the recall of Anand to finally get the breakthrough, John Davey diving forward superbly to grab the catch at a short cover. As is often the case when Karan Anand bowls, one wicket brought 2 as he clean bowled Sanjay 1st ball with a fine delivery as FPs started to get a foothold in the contest. Herd by now was bowling a fine line, which left a number of spectators wondering why Mannofield were so keen to sign up FP players and ignore as good a talent right under their noses, Herd’s all round package of bowler, hitter and drink buyer, offering an excellent all round package,.
Knightriders were still well placed for a big score at 191 for 3 with 13 overs left, but Harry Mapplebeck returned to win 2 LBWs in two balls, Madhan finally falling for a superb 86 to a perfect inswinging yorker, before Siva had no chance 1st ball to another perfect delivery. Mapplebeck was celebrating, Stuart Broad style a few balls later when Mohan appeared to be plumb LBW, the batsmen essentially just walking off, but was given not out. In the confusion, Anand nonchalantly threw down the stumps and Mohan didn’t really break stride to continue to pavilion, seemingly seeing the funny side of his rather brief reprieve.
Herd, with his high fade and footballers fringe blowing in the wind, was really getting into his work with the ball now, keeping it tight and finally finding someone that could catch, albeit Sam Knudson’s chest as a high catch was well claimed off the rebound, breaking his shirt button in the process as Herd was finally rewarded for his hard work. He had another when Rutnam, incredibly overlooked Morrison’s offer to attempt another skyer and caught it easily as Knightriders subsided.
Mallireddy was another duck as he attempted something aggressive against Herd and was LBW for a duck. Mapplebeck then bowled last man Bala for 4, leaving 2 overs unused and Knightriers all out 227. It was a fine comeback from FPs and gave them a real chance of a win. Overall the bowling was not great but far better after drinks, Herd deserving many more than 3 wickets. The final figures were Mapplebeck 10-1-41-3, Anand 7-0-44-3, Rutnam 4-0-32-0, Knudson 6-0-35-0, Hameed 6-0-26-0 and Herd 10-0-44-3.
Alex Keith opened with Morrison and Keith brought cheers as he finally scored a run, clubbing a 4 through point. There was only 1 alarm, Morrison dropped a very catchable chance by Mohan mid wicket, after this the batsmen dominated, scoring at 5 an over and all round the wicket. Morrison was looking to be aggressive the majority of the time and followed up a perfect on drive for 4, with the more trademark and acclaimed club through midwicket from outside off. Keith was batting with far more culture and Morrison was struggling with Bala’s left arm spin and decided the club was what was needed and hit him for a meaty boundary as FPs continued along untroubled. It was a surprise when Morrison did fall, especially in that he was defending, only to play on for a useful 40 from 58 balls (6×4), the partnership ended at 83.
Swiergon was to replace him and his dismissal was to be hugely controversial, Bala sending a shoulder high, but accidental beamer that Swiergon could only defend from his face to square leg. There seemed little doubt from either side that it was a no ball, but incredibly both neutral umpires ruled it to be a legal delivery, to the shock of all those watching. Karan blocked his 1st ball and then hit his 2nd onto the pavillion roof which led to the drinks break while the ball was recovered.
Keith was still going strong and raised his 50 with another thumping blow, he really look set for a big hundred as he upped the pace smashing a fine six and a flurry of boundaries to reach 79 but then fell to a fine catch by Siva. Vijay bowling one that cut back and Keith getting a thin touch, the bowler incensed that the appeal had been turned down, not realising Keith was already half way back to the pavilion, having walked without waiting for the not out decision. His 79 coming from 81 balls with 15 fours and 1 six.
It looked like Karan Anand’s wicket was now key and Knightriders clearly believed they had the game when he fell for just 19 (2×6) from 17 balls. FPs still needing 70 from 13 overs. With Senthil injured fielding, Mapplebeck was promoted to 6 and he and Davey had pushed the score to 169 when Davey fell for a useful 17, caught at cover off Bijin.
FPs were perhaps now 2nd favourites, but Herd arrived with clear instructions to play himself in, by launching his 1st ball straight for 6 to get up and running. Mapplebeck was happy to play 2nd fiddle to him and as he smashed and deflected boundaries to push FPs towards victory, his ability to hit it into non traditional places making it tough to set the field. His partner Mapplebeck fell for a patient 18 to Bijin caught at the wicket. Herd cracked another 4 to take FPs within 10 of victory, but fell next ball trying the same shot through the vacant midwicket.
Senthil was surprisingly refused a runner, but it made no odds as he carved two boundaries and jogged a single as FPs claimed a fine win with an excellent run chase., Sam Knudson making 0 not out.
Overall, it was a very good and competitive game, with FPs doing well to win having started so poorly. Normally a good side in the field, it was a poor day at the office, although the conditions played a part. Next up is a tough encounter against Ellon who traditionally have a strong record against FPs who have a few selection headaches.
Alex Keith made a superb 79, but he is just edged by the all round efforts of Herd, who once again proved a late Friday night is no barrier to good all round cricket. His growing social media fanbase which have spent a lot of time since the match’s conclusion demanding their hero is recognised, will no doubt be able to rest more happily now his efforts have been formally committed to print.