Veterans Roland Knudson and John Thomson saved the day at Cults as FPs narrowly avoided a shock defeat in the Aberdeenshire Cup. Having conceded 157 to Cults on a very tricky pitch, FPs were indebted to a stand of 24 for the 9th wicket between the old hands to see them to victory with a ridiculous 16 overs to spare. Knudson made 19 not out including a huge straight six and he and Thomson then scrambled an unlikely 3 with an overthrow to hand FPs a semi final place against Mannofield.
FPs had something of an availability crisis and made 4 changes from the defeat at Inverurie, Herd, Sood, Wilkie and youngster Ali coming into the side as FPs lined up Keith, Morrison, Wilkie, Steinson, Herd, Sood, Swiergon, Clelland, Knudson, Thomson, Ali. Swiergon won the toss and had no option but to bowl on what looked a hugely under prepared surface, the loss of Ian Sutherland as groundsman evident from one look at the surface.
FPs got a huge slice of luck in the 1st over, Geet Grover run out without facing in rather dire circumstances. From a good length ball that had cleared both the batsmen and keepers head, Grover had assumed the ball had gone for 4 and not started his 2nd run, his partner Watson had already completed 2 and when Knudson’s throw came in, Clelland lobbed it to Steinson who calmly removed the bails to run out the unfortunate Grover by miles.
Singh fell for a duck caught at the wicket off Sood, the ball deviating dramatically to find his edge. Watson was suberbly caught by Herd at 2nd slip off Thomson and FPs continued to take wickets as Gundra was magnificently caught on the run by Sood off skipper Swiergon. Bhardwaj fell for a duck chipping to Sood at short leg as the pitch continued to trouble Cults.
However 2 things were keeping the score moving a magnificent 50 from Mahajan and a continuous supply of wides, 38 in total which boosted the Cults score. Thomson had a 3rd wicket as Steinson caught Desai at mid off and his 4th victim was Mudie LBW for 0. Mahajan was eventually dislodged for an excellent 69 bowled by Swiergon and Swiergon’s 3rd victim was Bhavsar caught by Steinson for 19. Herd claimed the last wicket, Clelland catching Meghani for 7.
Bowling wise for FPs it was a mixed bag, but the fielding was strong throughout. Steinson 1-0-9-0, Sood 4-0-26-1, Thomson 10-3-18-4, Swiergon 6-0-34-3. Knudson 7-0-34-0 and Herd 6.1-0.29-1.
FPs set off at pace in the chase scoring 19 in the 1st 2 overs, but lost Morrison caught and bowled again as his batting woes continued, Bhavsar the bowler. Wilkie made just 2 before skewing a catch as Bhavsar struck again and FPs slipped to 21 for 2. Steinson joined Keith but Keith also fell to Bhavsar for 20.
FPs continued to score at about 10 an over but kept losing wickets, Herd bowled by a daisy cutter for 6. Captain Swiergon joined Steinson and they added some calm, Steison hitting 3 sixes including one onto Deeside Golf course as FPs finally looked to have control. The pitch did for him too caught for 39 and when Swiergon fell for 19, FPs were struggling at 123 for 6. It was soon 124 for 8 as Sood was LBW for 13 and Clelland played on for a duck to Meghani leaving Knudson and Thomson to try and save the day.
Knudson made his plans clear from ball one unleashing a savage drive to find the boundary 1st ball. Thomson was happy to play 2nd fiddle, blocking the bowling for Knudson. Knudson then played a fine cut for 4, before launching a huge straight 6 as the finish line came into sight. FPs benefited from 4 byes and Thomson then turned Meghani round the corner for 2 and in the chaos scrambled a 3rd as FPs sneaked home by 2 wickets. It was a great effort by Knudson and he was excellent supported by a very sensible rearguard from Thomson.
It represented a good win by FPs on a very challenging surface. The game was played in an excellent spirit but FPs will need to improve with both the bat and ball if they are to advance any further. It was a great shame to see Allan Park in its current state and what is really important something is done so that such a nice ground does not fall into a state of disrepair after many years of Ian Sutherland looking after it so well.
Man of the Match
Roland Knudson for his late runs
The straight 6 just edges the scrambled 3.