FPs exited the CS Challenge Cup to Strathmore in Forfar despite a spirited effort against the Strathmore Union side. FPs may well rue not taking full advantage of having the home side in deep trouble at 10 for 3 after an early Mapplebeck burst and then dropping overseas amateur Bottler early in his innings, as he went on to make a very fine 77. With the bat, Karan Anand made 41 and Arul Senthil 38, but FPs struggled to recover from 1 for 2.
FPs welcomed back skipper Swiergon and Harry Mapplebeck and lined up Keith, Morrison, Swiergon (c), Anand, Senthil, Nattrass, Mapplebeck, Prash, Knudson, Clelland (w) and Thomson. At a very fine venue, FPs lost the toss and Strathmore chose to bat. Mapplebeck soon had the home side in trouble as Saim (5) edged to 1st slip where Anand claimed a smart catch. Both Hazel and Shoaib hit many nice shots, but straight at fielders as FPs kept the pressure on their opponents. Mapplebeck clean bowled Shoaib for a duck aiming across the line as the pressure began to tell. Prash got in on the act as Hazel absolutely creamed one to Swiergon at point who did very well to cling on. At this point Strathmore up against it.
However, Bottler looked secure and Dale Sweeney played some fine shots as Strathmore rebuilt. It took the introduction of Swiergon to nearly get the breakthrough, a rank full toss being hit to midwicket to Senthil but he could not claim the tricky opportunity and Bottler survived. It allowed the batsmen to build a partnership of 123, which took the game away from FPs, Sweeney eventually bowled for an excellent 65 by the returning Prash. Bottler looked well set for a century but he hit Mapplebeck straight up and keeper Clelland caught a good catch. The final wicket was an easy run out, Morrison luring the batsmen for 2 before dispatching Ahmed for a duck without facing a ball. Some late hitting got Strathmore to 205 for 6, which was by no means unchaseable.
FPs stuck to the task well with Prash, Mapplebeck and Anand all bowling particularly good spells. Mapplebeck 8-0-34-3, Prash 8-1-42-2, Thomson 5-0-28-0, Anand 8-3-21-0, Swiergon 3-0-17-0 and Knudson 8-0-51-0.
Needing to get off to a good start, FPs did the exact opposite as they lost Keith (1) in the 2nd over, rather unfortunately picking out the tallest player on the field, Dale Sweeney who took a good catch. In the 3rd over a polite enquiry led to Morrison’s dismissal, caught at the wicker for a duck off Grant. Swiergon and Anand rebuilt and took the score to 39, but the FPs skipper fell, bowled for 8 by Grant.
Anand however was getting into his stride and even the large boundaries could not contain him as he looked to up the rate. There were genuine danger signs for Strathmore, but Anand holed out for 41 off Ahmed with score on just 61. Senthil was batting with determination but continued to lose partners, Nattrass LBW to Ahmed for 2, Mapplebeck LBW to Shoaib for 14 and Prash caught by Sweeney for 2 off Kayani. Knudson was another LBW victim for 0 to Shoaib as FPs slipped towards defeat at 112 for 8.
Clelland did at least dig in for Senthil, but Senthil fell to an unfortunate run out for 38 as FPs last chance disappeared. The game was all over, but it did not stop a heated incident between the Strathmore wicket keeper and the square leg umpire, John Thomson perhaps appearing to be short of his ground scrambling back for 2, but he is clearly quicker than most thought as he was judged to have made his ground. It mattered little as Clelland was bowled soon after for 12 to give Strathmore a 75 run win.
The game was played in an excellent spirit throughout and FPs will look to come back stronger in next year’s competition as they have the ability to match most sides in this competition if they play to their strengths. Next up for FPs is a very tricky home match against champions Bon Accord at Rubislaw on Saturday
Man of the Match
Karan Anand was a strong contender but it goes to Harry Mapplebeck for his opening spell that was close to opening the game up for FPs.
Tempting to go with John Thomson’s apparent Usain Bolt turn of pace but Harry Mapplebeck’s ball to bowl Shoaib was handy.