Saturday saw the season tick over into the second half, and FPs 1st XI were in no mood to let their league momentum slip, as Sam Kundson’s 5-for completed the solid start from Alex Keith and Chris Clelland to give FPs a 118 run win.
Despite missing talismanic opener Morrison, instrumental skipper Swiergon and batting supremo Steinson, FPs fielded a strong side with Keith, Clelland (WK), Senthil, D’Costa, Anand, Herd, Nattrass (C), Mapplebeck, Knudson (S), Knudson (R) & Thomson prepared to achieve a third win over a mercurial 2017 Cults side.
Losing his fourth consecutive toss, stand in skipper Nattrass was asked to bat first on a Rubislaw pitch still damp from mid-week rain. As Keith & Clelland headed out, most expected a watchful start after the previous league meeting had seen a tumble of wickets.
What had not been expected, was FPs to get away to somewhat of a flyer thanks to a 10 ball second over as the ever lenient Jim Stephen was forced into giving wides as the Cults openers struggled to find the strip due to the wind.
Soon, with a solid base built, the opening pair began to hit out as Clelland hit 3 fours in 12 balls whilst pushing the singles with Keith. As Keith called for his water, Clelland cleared the ropes behind square leg but was soon out bowled playing across the line for a well made 31. FPs first wicket fell for an opening stand of 75.
As the more flamboyant Senthil headed out to bat, Keith decided to open his arms and hit the ball down the ground – bursting through the hands of Captain Ajazi fielding at long off for six. As drinks neared, FPs crept over 100 and the break came with Keith into the late 40s.
Back in play, Keith seemed certain to make another half century only to be denied by some fine fielding at long on who he was then caught by off the bowling of Ali for 49. Young D’Costa, promoted after his fearless facing of a pro the previous weekend, headed out to bat only to return following a finely struck 4.
Senthil, by this point ticking over nicely at the other end, was joined by the destructive Anand. Unfortunately, he was only able to destroy the partnership before it had properly begun.
Herd, watchfully avoiding pitfalls, now headed out. He and Senthil quickly began moving the scoreboard along by finding easy singles, until Herd attempted to hit out only to be caught at gully. Nattrass headed out in his place, and attempted to steady the ship with some resolute defensive work by way of hitting the bowler back over his head only for the ball to plug inside the boundary for an all-walked single.
With the field spread far and wide, the men at the crease once again pushed singles until Senthil failed to get hold of one and was caught at cover. Joined by bowling all-rounder Mapplebeck, Nattrass was able to find the boundary a couple of times between singles before also missing one playing across the line and correctly adjudged LBW for 18.
Sam Kundson, prepared by words of wisdom from Roland, strode out confidently to bat. Returning 3 balls later, he claimed to be “looking forward to bowling”. Replacing junior, Roland Knudson started positively only to be soon given out LBW after being cruelly forced to run a 3 by Mapplebeck.
As last man Thomson headed out, he was in no mood to hang around firmly smashing an early boundary. Continuing this approach gave way to some comedy as he was dropped at square leg with the fielder claiming the sun shining into his eyes as his excuse – whilst wearing his cap backwards.
Mapplebeck threw caution to the wind but fell for 10 as FPs were all out for 189. Keith’s patient 49, Senthil’s 32, Clelland’s 31 and extras with a fine 26 all noted contributions.
Aware of the requirement of some members needing to leave promptly, Nattrass hurried tea along as the opening pair of Mapplebeck and Knudson prepared themselves for the task ahead.
An otherwise tight opening over from Mapplebeck was spoiled by a no-ball but FPs were pleased to see the pitch allowing the ball through nicely. Knudson, keen to prove his post batting point, claimed a wicket with his first ball, drawing Morrison outside off and nicking to Clelland.
As the opening bowlers kept things tight, wickets soon followed with Raja bowled by Mapplebeck, Singh trapped in front by Knudson and Shoiab caught superbly by Clelland fending a well-aimed short ball from Mapplebeck. As Patel dug in, the dangerous Grover cleared the rope, the stairs, the wall and Harlaw Road with one of the most monstrous sixes ever seen at Rubislaw. The following over, however, he was tempted into a huge swing at Knudson and snaffled by Clelland behind the sticks.
With Roland Knudson now on to restrict scoring even further, the other Knudson soon completed his 5-wicket haul, bowling both Ali after one too many swipes across to leg and Ajazi with a superb effort that moved off middle and clipped the outside of the off stump.
With Anand replacing the tiring junior Knudson, and keeping things tight with Roland, FPs went looking for the final 3 wickets with attacking field positions. Before long, Roland had Munir caught well at cover by D’Costa and bowled Baburao soon after.
The victory was completed by Anand finally sneaking one through Patel for a hard-fought 35, highly impressive against the much lower scores of his teammates.
The final bowling figures were Mapplebeck; 6-1-19-2, Knudson (S); 8-3-26-5, Knudson (R); 6-2-9-2, Anand; 3.2-0-16-1.