On Saturday 26th of September at 6:12 pm FP’s lifted the Aberdeenshire Grade 1 title for the 1st time in 75 Years, sending a message to the rest of the league that the times are changing and with a strong team ethic you can achieve anything.
Going into the game FP’s knew that after the dramatic events of Kellands Park the previous week they would only need 14 points to secure the league title but captain Swiergon insisted his team go for the kill and prove a point to the chasing pack.
After some rather untimely holiday arrangements and conflicting social calendars FP’s made four changes for the final game of the season; Keith, Morrison, Davey and Senthil were out replaced by Herd, McKinney, D’Costa and Nattrass (the last two fresh from their league promotion back to G2 and keen to impress).
A week of varied weather ensured the team had to squeeze training in when they could but that didn’t stop the high catches being taken and the bowling machine in full swing.
Come Saturday morning, and with the City Council’s mower nowhere to be seen, FP’s knew that there would be lots of running to be done allowing them to capitalise on their youthful advantage. The equation was easy; win the toss – bowl them out – knock it off – champagne showers ….. but when the coin came down and KK decided to have a bowl that plan went out the window!
With full time openers Keith and Morrison AWOL Herd and Clelland stepped up to open for FP’s, and after some good bowling by KK openers J.Thom & A.Mirashi they both began to play their shots and runs began to gently flow. Alas this did not last long and Clelland was run out trying to pinch a quick single to mid-off (Clelland Run Out for 6) , 29 For 1.
Steinson joined Herd at the crease but was quickly making his return trip after pulling the ball straight to square leg who was 15 yards closer to the bat then he should have been taking the catch and ensuring he would not need an early afternoon trip to the plastic surgeon, FP’s 29 For 2.
Captain Swiergon joined Herd at the crease and instructed the pair to dig in, knowing that they would need a minimum of 150 on the board to have any chance of winning the game. They both began working the balls in the gaps picking up the runs when they could. A bowling change was to be the downfall of Herd to played on to spinner Satymurthy for 19, FP’s 35 For 3.
D’Costa joined Swiergon and the pair of them played some proper attritional cricket, playing back the good balls and picking up the singles when they could. KK had a plan and they were bowing stump to stump forcing the FP’s to take risks, something the two batsmen were not willing to do as much as next batsman Anand pacing the boundary wanted them too.
Bowling changes brought an increase in run rate with both batsmen pouncing on the bad balls but still finding it hard to score consistently until the 30th over when Swiergon decided to put his foot to the pedal to relieve some pressure. He smashed Summers for 16, two pulled 4s, a flat 6 to cow and a cut for two. Unfortunately the next over was to see his downfall, bowled by J.Thom for a well-made 48 (93 for 4).
Anand was the next man in and on a pitch that was set up for his style of batting he quickly realised that he was going to score in singles or sixes, the latter proving to be more destructive!
Settling into his work and knowing D’Costa was in no danger Anand picked off the KK bowlers, depositing them over the ropes frequently and taking the control they had over the game away from them. Bringing up his 50 with a straight 6 into the Rubislaw pavilion before falling for 55 ct B.Thom off the bowling of J.Thom (167 for 5).
FP’s were now looking to push towards the elusive 175 maximum batting points but the batsmen to come had other ideas, McKinney, Mapplebeck & Natrasss failing to trouble the scorers (167-7). D’Costa had been the anchor of the innings but was eventually dismissed LBW for 22 off the bowling of Satymurthy, cementing his place as FP’s most successful junior to date.
Some late swinging from Thomsno and veteran spinner Knudson got FP’s up to 174 for 9 and FP’s were the much happier team going into the tea break.
FP’s went out to field knowing that they would need to take a minimum of 5 wickets for league glory. They opened up with the familiar pair of Mapplebeck and Thomson and it wasn’t long before there was fireworks. Adams prodding one to a close mid-off and calling a single only to find his partner Satya resting on his bat, a sprawling McKinney had the brains to gently throw the ball back at the keeper allowing Clelland to remove the bail running Adams out for 1 (5 for 1).
Thomson struck with the fourth ball of the next over Satya skying one to mid-on, Mapplebeck taking a good catch above his head (9 for 2). Thomson struck again in his next over having Kola plumb LBW for 4 (12 for 3). Both bowlers continued to bowl good lines but hungry for wickets Swiergon mixed it up and replaced Thomson with Anand who picked up a wicket with his third ball bowling Summers for 0 (17 for 4).
FP’s knew that one more wicket would clinch the title. It was the turn of veteran spinner Roland Knudson to let the party begin with what some have called the ball of the last 75 years and with plenty of F&G, KK batsmen Reeve could only do his best to play all around it, Knudson bowling him for 5 (19 for 5). Scenes of joy erupted as FP’s knew they had won the title, but skipper Swiergon told the team they needed to win from the position they were in making the victory even sweeter.
Next over Anand had his second victim, J.Thom chopping on for 1 (20 for 6). Some rebuilding by the new batsmen Newton playing some classical shots was much needed by KK’s revival but short lived as his partner Mirashi was to be Anands next victim bowled for 5 (39 for 7). Knudson was now bowling one of his game changing spells but saw no reward for his efforts with the ball frequently missing off and leg stump and batsmen swinging and missing on multiple occasions.
After more tight bowling Anand had his fourth wicket, Newton well caught by a diving Mapplebeck at mid-off, although every player agreed the dive was totally un-needed as he was in fact only 6 feet away from the ball originally (41 for 8). Anand was now in clear danger of being the only player to score 50+ and take 5-wickets in the league this year.
New batsmen Gibbs had other ideas and saw out a maiden of Anand, with the skipper threatening to take him off he was given one more and in history only Anand could write himself he bowled Gibbs for 0 (46 for 9).
With one wicket to victory and drinks being taken Swiergon turned to his wicket taking bowler. Mapplebeck re-marked his run up and after a well bowled maiden there was no joy, D’Costa fresh off his heroic batting performance was thrown the ball and should have had a wicket first ball. Basheer missing one hitting the base of middle stump, given not out.
Mapplebeck took the ball for his second over currently have gone for 2 off the previous 6 but it only took one ball to B.Thom, middle stump rocked back and FP’s celebrating jubilantly.
It had been a match that had everything, and the performance FP’s put in first with the bat and then the ball showed the hard work the team had put in through the season.
FP’s play as a team and never give up, that’s the Grammar way.
MOM this week isn’t one player but the whole 18 man squad that has contributed to the victory this season.