FPs made light of a tricky surface at Ellon to rack up 267 for 9 before dismissing their hosts for just 58 in a highly one sided contest. A careful 33 from opener Clelland set a good platform for Eddie Steinson (64), Karan Anand (61) and Arul Senthil (32) to launch an assault on the change bowlers as FPs made a total way above what was realistically chase-able. Despite Ben Webb’s excellent 42, Ellon could only muster 58, with Harry Mapplebeck knocking over the top order (3-25) and Roland Knudson removing the middle order with 3 for 3.
With opener Keith off reliving his musical youth, Clelland joined Morrison at the top of the order, followed by Steinson, Swiergon, Anand, Senthil, Herd, Mapplebeck, Sam Knudson, Roland Knudson and Thomson. On a damp wicket, given recent weather, Ellon had no hesitation in asking FPs to bat. Morrison could only muster 1 before being bowled by a good ball, in Webb’s 2nd over, FPs 1 for 1. Steinson however, soon took the attack to Ellon, pulling his 3rd ball for 6 as he and Clelland set off on a match defining partnership of 100.
Wade and Webb were both threatening and both batsmen did well to keep them at bay, Clelland in particular defending stoutly while Steinson played some glorious shots at the other end. Steinson raised his 50 in just 27 balls, batting extremely fluently. There was some moments of concern as Clelland was dropped 3 times and Steinson twice, these misses proving costly.
There were times that Steinson was troubled by the uneven bounce and it was his downfall when he skied Owen and Wade took a simple catch as Steinson departed for 64 (8×4, 2×6) from 40 balls. Swiergon joined Clelland and Clelland hit two fine straight drives but fell soon after drinks, looking to pull a dreadful Chowdray long hop, only for it to go straight along the ground, leaving Clelland plumb LBW for a very useful 33 (5×4), 114 for 3 in 22 overs. Anand joined his skipper and was soon into his stride with 2 early sixes, although he was dropped twice which was to prove costly. Swiergon fell for 18 chipping Park meekly to Chowdray at cover as FPs slipped to 148 for 4.
It brought Anand and Senthil together and they embarked on an entertaining stand of 87 in 8 overs, both men hitting some huge blows, as FPs total rocketed way beyond what was chaseable. Anand raised his 50 from 37 balls with his 5th six and Senthil hit 3 maximums in 4 balls as FPs targeted the change bowlers. It took the return of openers Webb and Wade to end the fun as Webb clean bowled Senthil for 32 from 23 (2×4 3×6) and Wade had Anand LBW with another daisy cutter for 61 from 45 (3×4, 5×6), FPs 229 for 6. That was soon 7 as Mapplebeck edged Wade to Meikle for a duck and Wade struck again to bowl Sam Knudson for 4, 236 for 8. Herd hit a couple of boundaries before also falling to Wade, edging to keeper Meikle for 10. It left FPs 249 for 9 with 3 overs to go.
However, old hands Roland Knudson and John Thomson gave the fans what they wanted with an 18 run unbroken stand, Knudson rolling back the years with a straight drive for 4 and Thomson pulling imperiously as FPs reached 267 for 9 in their 45 overs.
For Ellon, Wade and Webb probably waited too long to return to the attack and were the pick of the bowlers with 10-1-48-4 and 9-1-40-2 respectively. The change bowlers fared less well Middleton 7-0-58-0, Chowdray 7-0-31-1, Owen 7-0-31-1 and Parks 5-0-48-1.
FPs knew with the total they had, that it was improbable that it would be chased down, but were delighted when Mapplebeck trapped Owen LBW first ball in the opening over. He struck again in his 2nd over, a blinding catch by Anand at 1st slip as Meikle also fell for a duck. Webb was playing like he had limited faith in his team mates and was smashing it all round the ground racing to 30 in 15 balls but had a life when Mapplebeck spilled a routine chance at mid off, Sam Knudson the unlucky bowler. Webb took advantage with a few more big blows as he raced to 42 from the first 50 runs in just 9 overs. He lost partner Chowdary LBW to Mapplebeck for 6 and then fell himself, deceived by Sam Knudson to clean bowl him for a fine 42, the game all but up at 50 for 4.
The opening bowlers were replaced after 5 overs each and Roland Knudson soon set about the middle order, Sam Knudson easily catching one at cover for his old man to get Parks for 1, having Wade plumb LBW for o and then Ovenstone was run out in comical circumstance. An unlikely LBW appeal was rejected but in his concern, the batsman was standing out of his ground and Steinson cheekily threw down the stumps, as another duck was recorded.
Skipper Swiergon then ensured that the game went from the sublime to the ridiculous, surprisingly calling Morrison on for a bowl for the 1st time in many a year, and the skipper’s judgement was spot on as Morrison produced a sharply spinning off break to beat Middleton’s perfect defence for 6. Morrison rivalling Anand for the most over the top celebration of the season as Ellon slid towards defeat.
It left Knudson to finish things off by bowling Frazer for the 5th duck of the innings as Ellon were all out 58.
For FPs it was a good overall bowling performance with all bowlers contributing. Mapplebeck 5-0-25-3, Sam Knudson 5-0-26-1, Anand 3-1-4-0, Roland Knudson 3.1-0-3-3 and Morrison 1-1-0-1. It was in fact ideal that FPs lost the toss and batted as it allowed some much needed practice. The game was played in an excellent spirit, with very fair umpiring by both sides and a pleasant change from the hysteria in most Grade 1 games. If Ellon do get relegated, it will be a real loss as they play in the correct manner, something others could learn from. Ben Webb batted brilliantly and it was a shame for him that no one could stick in with him to give Ellon a chance. FPs are back up to 2nd with Academy losing, but face a very tough double header next week against Bon Accord in the league and Knightriders in the cup semi final.
There are a few contenders with Roland Knudson taking 3-3 and Karan Anand making 64, but Eddie Steinson just edges it for his 61, given that it set the game up perfectly for the middle order to play their shots.