Skipper Rob Swiergon hit a majestic 77 from just 47 balls as FPs cruised to victory by 5 wickets with 14 overs to spare. He was well supported by openers Morrison (31) and Keith (35) who put on 61 for the 1st wicket as FPs easily chased down Mannofield’s 190 for 7. Earlier it had been pace off the ball that helped FPs restrict Mannofield as Roland Knudson took 1 for 25 in 10 overs and Karan Anand 3 for 26 in 10 overs as FPs hauled things back after a good Mannofield start.
With last week’s centurion Steinson unavailable, FPs made 3 changes with Knudson bolstering the bowling and Davey boosting the batting. Karan Anand returned with his all round skills as FPs lined up Keith, Morrison, Swiergon, Anand, Davey, Herd, Senthil, Mapplebeck, Sam Knudson, Roland Knudson and Thomson. Mannofield won the toss and elected to bat on a warm but windy day at Rubislaw, Mannofield classed as the home side due to unavailability of pitches.
FPs started well and Sam Knudson was convinced he had Yathugoda LBW but the decision went against him. Karan Anand also had a good shout turned down as FPs pressed for an early breakthrough. They could have helped their own chances, if they had taken the catches on offer. Herd dropping a tough chance at point, nearly pulling off a great diving effort at cover, Keith diving and dropping a superb one handed effort at slip, Thomson barely reaching a tough chance and Mapplebeck dropping a routine chance at mid on. All this meant that Mannofield were able to advance past 50 in 14 overs as Elliott and Yathagoda took full advantage.
They had reached 66, when captain Steve Elliot was extremely unlucky to be given LBW to Anand, the ball looking a tad high, but he had to go for 20. Roland Knudson had settled into a tight spell at the other end and a rare full toss did for Yathugoda, John Davey holding the chance at deep mid wicket, the batsman going for a well played 53, Mannofield 108 for 2 in 27.
Any hopes Mannofield had of pushing up to 225, were scuppered as Roland Knudson and John Thomson applied the handbrake in a tight and canny spell of bowling. The frustrated Clark Cameron could not get Knudson away and he tried something aggressive at Anand and was simply caught by Mapplebeck for a torturous 11. Hiro Doley was batting at the other end with great care and had reached 43, when that man Anand struck again, bowling his with an inswinging yorker, as Mannofield slipped to 139 for 4.
Rutwik Hegde who left FPs to play at a higher level, bizarrely came in as low as 6, having batted at 4 for FPs and looked in good touch playing a number of the shots that he learned from mentor Ian Johnston. He and Andy Russell combined to add 30, Russell running well before being bowled by Sam Knudson. Chandu suffered the same fate for a duck two balls later as FPs made late inroads. Hegde fell late on pushing Thomson to Davey at cover as Mannofield closed on an under par 190 for 7.
After the start, FPs were very pleased to keep Mannofield under 200, The bowling figures were Mapplebeck 7-1-29-0, Sam Knudson 10-0-64-2, Anand 10-3-26-3, Roland Knudson 10-125-1 and Thomson 8-0-44-1.
Keith and Morrison opened as usual and also had another stand in excess of 50, Keith looking in fine form and Morrison less so. However, they combined well to add 61 in 10 overs, both regularly finding the boundary. It was something of a surprise then when Keith fell, superbly bowled by N Elliot for 35 (7×4). Swiergon joined Morrison, but their stand was only 22, when Morrison aimed a big hit against leg spinner Doley and was caught and bowled for 31 (4×4).
Swiergon then unleashed a blistering attack which effectively finished the game as he raced to 50 in 37 balls, cover driving Doley to the fence four balls in a row. No bowler was safe as he rattled along, using classical shots throughout, a cover driven 6 raising his 50. His partner Anand, famed for the fireworks, joined in with one huge six but was caught at long on by Russell going for a repeat as the 3rd wicket fell on 137. Anand out for 15.
The delicate Davey joined his captain and they added 37 in quick time, as Swiergon continued his one man pursuit of victory, he unfortunately could not see it through till the end, skying Chandu to Elliott for a masterful 77 from 47 balls (12×4, 2×6). Herd came in next and completed a miserable day personally, playing on in unfortunate style 1st ball to Chandu.
Any concerns of a late collapse were mitigated by Davey (12no) and Senthil (11no), as Senthil finished the game with a boundary. It was a solid win for FPs who played well apart from some poor early catching. Swiergon batted as well as most have seen him play and it bodes well for the rest of the season. FPs have a very early Sunday start as they make the epic trip to Irvine in the CS Tropy in what will be a very tough game against Bon Accord’s conquerors. FPs make 2 changes with D’Costa and Nattrass replacing Davey and Mapplebeck.
There is only really one contender and that is skipper Swiergon after a match winning 77.