FPs were comfortable victors at Rubislaw against Stoneywood Dyce as they returned to the top of Grade 1. They were well in control with the visitors languishing on 96 for 8, when a spectacular thunderstorm ended the game 15 overs early, FPs winning by 95 runs on the DL method. A sickly Alex Keith rose from his sick bed to make a spirited 81 and was well supported by Fraser Proud who struck 51 in FPs total of 217 all out. FPs bowled and fielded well and reduced Stoneywood Dyce to 59 for 8 with stand in captain Karan Anand claiming 4 for 19.
With skipper Swiergon and Mapplebeck away, FPs made 2 changes from the cup tie against Huntly, Keith and Challa returning. Keith only just survived a late fitness test and it was clear he was in a bad way having ironically picked up a bad bug while partying in Sunny Beach! Karan Anand skippered the side which lined up Keith, Morrison, Nattrass, Senthil, Proud, Anand, Challa, Prash, Knudson, Clelland and Thomson. FPs lost the toss and were asked to bat.
With the Morrison and Keith opening partnership restored once again, they did prove that by some means it is an effective setup as they again got FPs off to a good start in contrasting styles. Keith hit some magnificent shots, with Morrison preferring the more unorthodox approach, although he did smash Rayner straight back over his head as the partnership grew. The poorly Keith preferred to hit the boundaries and he had a reprieve early on as Lambley spilled a routine chance. It was to prove costly as the openers added 58 for the 1st wicket, Morrison falling to Brophy’s 1st ball caught at cover by Reid for 18. Nattrass came in went quickly chipping to Lambley at mid-off, Rayner sending him on his way for 6.
Senthil joined the ailing Keith and batted very nicely, perhaps playing the shot of the day, a straight six towards the pavilion in his 21, Rayner catching him at long on off Brophy. By this time, Keith had passed 50 and had appeared to be well set for a century, but a clever piece of bowling did for him, Palaninathan holding it back and Keith skying a catch that the bowler took himself, Keith out for a very fine 81 (11×4) – FPs 139 for 4.
Skipper Anand joined Proud, but key man Anand made just 7, Williams claiming him on the long on fence off the bowling of Palaninathan. Proud pressed on and played some fine shots, hitting regular boundaries but continued to lose partners, with Challa bowled by Williams for 2 and Prash caught by Palaninathan for 3 at mid off as FPs slid to 174 for 7.
Knudson also came and went quickly for 5 as the clatter of wickets continued, Louw trapping him LBW. Clelland joined Proud and gave him vital support as they added 31 to push the score past 200, Proud recording his 2nd 50 of the week, before a mix up saw him run out for 51. Clelland was last to fall, also LBW to Louw as FPs closed on 217. 217 was probably above par and was helped by a string of dropped catches from the visitors, 2 at the wicket and 3 at 1st slip, hardly helping the away cause.
While it was a good score, FPs were by no means home and hosed, but were soon in the ascendancy as Prash took a fine caught and bowled to remove Lister for a duck. Palaninathan soon followed playing on to Proud, although Lambley got a life as Clelland put him down off Proud. It mattered little as new bowler Anand claimed him with an excellent caught and bowled and Thomson then pinned Merry LBW for 10 as the visitors slumped to 32 for 4.
Williams looked rather out of sorts and edged to Keith at slip as Thomson claimed a 2nd. Rayner after hitting a couple of boundaries became the 3rd caught and bowled victim, Anand snaffling a sharp chance, Stoneywood all but defeated at 51 for 6.
The only possible way FPs were going to be thwarted was by the weather with the rumble of thunder getting ever closer and the sky ever darker. FPs were really flying through their overs though to ensure the game counted and once it did, the result was a formality. Louw was dismissed LBW soon after by Anand and Brophy was clean bowled for a duck as Stoneywood Dyce fell to 59 for 8.
Martin Reid arrived rather belatedly at 8 and was nearly caught straight away, Morrison in full flight, but unable to hang on. Reid did add some respectability to the score making a spirited 37 not out and was well supported in the unbroken stand of 37 by Ailsa Lister who defended stoutly to remain unbeaten on 0. With lightning nearby the umpire took the players from the field and within 10 minutes the ground was underwater and the match called off, FPs winning by DL.
Bowling wise it was a good all round effort, with everyone bowling nicely. Prash set the tone with Proud, 6-1-12-1 and 5-0-18-1 respectively and they were well supported by Anand 8-1-19-4, Thomson 7-0-17-2, Challa 4-2-13-0 and Knudson 4-2-12-0.
With Inverurie losing to Cults, FPs are back on top, but there are sure to be many twists and turns before the season is out with everyone capable of beating each other. Next for FPs is Mannofield at home which is always a tricky encounter, this forming part of a busy weekend which sees FPs travel to Strathmore on Sunday in the quarter final of the CS Trophy.
8848 Man of The Match
The majority of people would have not played at all, but Alex Keith is not your normal man, he batted superbly to make a match winning 81 and also grabbed a fine catch.
There were 3 excellent caught and bowled by FPs, by Arul Senthil’s glorious and effortless straight 6 gets the nod.