Conner McKinney hit a maiden FPs century on a challenging Links pitch, eventually falling for 120 out of FPs 194 for 8. He came in at 10 for 2 and having been dropped a simple catch by Thangaraj in the gully when on just 3, he took full advantage with a superb knock. The majority of his 1st 70 runs were collected with clever placement and lightening quick running, before unleashing some big blows late in the piece. With only Alex Keith (21) and Geoff Morrison (18) passing 3, McKinney’s innings was pivotal in the match. Overall he hit 3 6s and 9 4s and shared a vital 88 with Geoff Morrison for the 7th wicket after FPs had been wobbling at 105 for 6. Crescent looked well on course with Nathan Thangaraj making a fluent 67, but when he was superbly caught by that man McKinney, Crescent fell behind the rate and Karan Anand (4/36), Harry Mapplebeck (2/20) and Prash (2/34) nipped in to complete a 20 run win.
FPs made 2 changes from last week’s win, captain Rob Swiergon replacing Mike Nattrass at 3 and the spin bowling of Callum Herd preferred to Mahesh Challa. FPs lost the toss and were asked to bat on a very slow, low track. They were soon in difficulty as Proud fell for 3, looking to pull and being bowled by a ball that kept quite low. Skipper Swiergon soon followed, caught by Qureshi at midwicket, Swiergon getting a leading edge to Toor.
McKinney was then dropped but he and Keith batted with care to lift FPs to 67 for 3, when Keith was bowled for 21 in the 19th over. Keith having struggled for rhythm on the sluggish pitch. Senthil was disastrously run out for 3 after a miscommunication between the batsmen and then Karan Anand holed out to Gibson at long on, FPs were up against it at 93 for 5. New man Mapplebeck could not arrest the slide being bowled behind his legs in odd fashion for 2 by Thaseen.
Only McKinney, the 24 year old Aberdeen University captain was showing any stickability and he had raised his 50 just before Morrison joined him with 14 overs to go. Initially they pushed it in the gaps and gathered many 2s with some good running but as the partnership advanced, McKinney became increasing aggressive smashing 3 big sixes. He was able to continuously have the strike as Crescent seemed powerless to the batsemen’s tip and run and he soon had his century, with a fine strike over midwicket for 4.
McKinney and Morrison continued their keen running, along with McKinney’s occasional big hit and it took to the 3rd last ball of the innings for the centurion to fall, LBW to Toor for 120. Morrison was then run out for 18 the next ball attempting to run a tight 2 as FPs closed on a reasonable 196 for 8.
The 2nd innings started with fireworks as Geet Grover smashed his 1st ball straight for 6, but with a long off instantly posted he elected to leave his 2nd ball which cut back sharply to clean bowl him. It was soon 12 for 2, as Prash bagged a caught and bowled, Qureshi out for 1.
FPs sensed a real opening, but Thangaraj had other ideas and he combined with Singh to put on 59 in 15 overs, Keith missing Singh in the gully off Proud as FPs became increasingly frustrated with a lack of breakthrough. It took Callum Herd to find a wicket, it was not his finest ball, but Singh could only miscue him to square leg where Mapplebeck took the simplest of catches.
It didn’t lead to the rush of wickets hoped for by FPs as Thangaraj got good support from Sohaib to put on 58 to lift Crescent to 129. FPs shuffled their pack and tried Proud, Thomson, Anand and Mapplebeck to force a breakthrough. It eventually came via Karan Anand as he bowled Sohaib for 25. When Thangaraj then sent a spiraling catch up towards cover, FPs were delighted it was McKinney who was under it and the Crescent skipper was gone for an excellent 67.
FPs sensed the game was firmly back in their control and McKinney and Morrison combined superbly to run out Sharma for 7 and Mapplebeck’s last ball castled Hamid for 8 as Crescent slipped towards defeat. They battled on bravely but with the rate rising, Karan Anand had Pereira collected at long on by Proud for 13. Prash returned and he removed Khanna for 7, his chip only finding Swiergon at mid off. FPs had the chance to finish the game in the same over but Mapplebeck spilled the chance at long on. The next over he did rather better claiming a tougher chance at long off as Karan Anand ended with 4 wickets.
It was a vital victory for FPs against a strong Crescent side and it took real determination and resilience to claim the points. Karan Anand claimed 4 wickets but Fraser Proud bowled very well for no reward. The bowling figures were Mapplebeck 10-3-20-2, Prash 9-1-34-2, Herd 5-0-29-1, Proud 7-0-21-0, Thomson 4-0-21-0, Anand 9.2-1-36-4.
8848 Man of The Match
Only one contender and that is Conner McKinney for a stunning hundred and then a vital catch in the 2nd innings. His batting really was exceptional on such a slow track.
There were a few contenders from McKinney raising his 100, the clever run out in the 2nd innings, McKinney’s catch, but Mapplebeck gets it for his excellent ball to bowl Geet early in the 2nd innings.Scorecard Crescent v AGSFPs