FPs pulled off a fantastic victory to claim their 1st ever Small Clubs Cup against a determined Bon Accord. Karan Anand was named man of the match as he took 2 for 9 in 7 overs and then smashed 31 from 16 balls, including 4 sixes in one Malik over. Earlier Bon Accord had collapsed from 84 for 1 to 128 all out and FPs then reached 99 for 3, before also collapsing to 119 for 8, when Martin Worsley calmly struck the winning runs.Even with Mapplebeck, Swiergon and Waldron unavailable, FPs were able to name a strong side and lined up Morrison, Keith, Clelland, Senthil, Anand, Davey, Nattrass, Sam Knudson, Hameed, Worsley and Thomson. Clelland took the gloves again and that was to prove a good decision as he delivered a faultless performance behind the stumps. Bon Accord won the toss and perhaps surprisingly chose to bat on a used pitch which looked suited to seam bowling.
Worsley and Knudson took the new ball and they bowled a good opening spell without any reward. Bon Accord started to up the rate, and FPs were delighted when new bowler Anand induced a big edge from Awan (27), which Clelland snapped up, the umpire correctly raising the finger.
Thomson's opening spell was rather off colour, but a change of ends did just the trick as FPs suddenly sparked into life. First Clelland claimed a 2nd catch to remove Haider for 45 off Hameed as Bon Accord moved to 84 for 2. Win survived a tight LBW to Thomson, but the veteran was not to be denied as he knocked over 2 key men in quick succession. Mirza superbly caught by Clelland standing up for 10 and Win LBW for 8, umpire Brown sending both on their way as Bon Accord slid to 103 for 4. It was turning into a procession as Hameed and Thomson ripped into Bon Accord.
Starling struck a fine cover drive for 4, but lost his off stump next ball to Hameed, and Malik was bowled all over the shop for a duck as Hameed claimed his 3rd. Sood was plumb LBW hitting across the line at Thomson for 1.
The returning Anand nipped in to have Hussain bang in front for 1 as a mini revival was ended on 123 for 8 and Sam Knudson bowled Ahmed for 9 and had Rattan LBW for 0 to bowl Bon Accord out for 128. In general FPs attack is not blessed with raw pace, so tends to bowl at the stumps and the fact that there were 4 LBWs, 3 bowled and 3 caught at the wicket tells its own story. FPs also fielded well with Worsley and Nattrass in particular saving a few runs.
The bowling figures for FPs were Worsley 5-0-25-0, Knudson 7-0-31-2, Anand 7-3-9-2, Thomson 8-0-35-3 and Hameed 7-1-22-3. 128 felt well within reach, but Bon Accord have not won every trophy going by being easy to beat and so it was to prove as FPs set off in pursuit of a famous victory.
Morrison and Keith opened and Keith was reprieved in the 2nd over, Awan shelling a regulation catch at point before Keith had scored. He gained confidence from this and he and Morrison, battled hard to add an important 31 for the 1st wicket, despite Morrison being in the scratchiest of scratchy form. The skipper's patience finally gave way aiming a bit hit at spinner Hussain, but only proceeding in sending a catch to point where Awan held on, Morrison gone for just 3.
New man Clelland who was in good form the day before, soon followed, chipping a return catch to Hussain for a duck as FPs slid to 45 for 2. Senthil joined Keith and they batted with determination and looked to be turning things in FPs favour, when key man Keith was bowled by the returning Mirza for 33, FPs now 62 for 3.
The next passage of play was to be pivotal as Karan Anand took the game by the scruff of the neck. Malik had bowled 4 overs for 17, but his return over was to go for 26 as Anand launched an astonishing assault on the experienced seamer. He blocked the first ball, before launching the second over long on into the airport, the next ball was a dot, before the next 3 all disappeared, 2 over long on into the airport and the final 6 off a no ball smashing into the fence as suddenly FPs roared up to 99 for 3 in 22 overs and within 30 of triumph.
Anand's fun was to end in the next over as he was well caught at midwicket off Starling for 31 from 16 balls. When Senthil was then LBW for 14 to Mirza, FPs still needed 25 with 5 wickets standing. It was beginning to show that FPs had not won a cup in many years as they lost 2 wickets in 2 balls to slump to 109 for 7, still 20 short. Nattrass who required a runner was adjudged LBW for 3, although he may have got bat on it, but graciously accepted the decision. Next ball Knudson played on and suddenly Bon Accord were favourites.
Hameed, with his broken finger entered the fray to join Davey who had been surveying the carnage at the other end. They at least managed to add 10, both finding the boundary, but when Hameed tried to launch Awan for 6 he was superbly caught by the in rushing Starling for 4. It was time for Worsley to face the music, a man who was still searching for his FP run, having been out 1st ball in all previous innings. Any concerns that existed were soon dispelled as Davey crashed a cover drive for four and Malik bowled another no ball as FPs sneaked ever closer. With only 4 needed, Worsley was on strike, and he nudged a 2 to take FPs within 2. Then 3 balls later, FPs had the cup as Malik served up another no ball which Worsley guided behind square and ran like mad to seal a famous win and launch wild celebrations on the sidelines, Davey's 14 not out also pivotal.
Bon Accord deserve great credit for the manner in which they played the game and were well led by Andy Win and they kept going right till the end, never giving up and nearly recovering to snatch the game. The game was turned on the one big Anand over but overall it was a real team effort from FPs. For Bon Accord, Hussain was perhaps underused with bowling figures as follows: Mirza 8-2-20-2, Malik 5.3-0-47-0, Awan 8-3-18-3, Hussain 4-1-12-2, Starling 8-2-24-1.
For many FPs players that have played for many, many years this was the 1st thing any of them had ever won at cricket, and there was a real mix of joy and shock amongst the long term team members. John Thomson's attitude is an example for any young player to follow, having been left out of the semi, he still came down and supported the team and ensured he won his place in the final team. Everyone was delighted for him to play such a pivotal role with the ball removing 3 of Bon Accord's top players. Alex Keith's experience was vital in keeping everyone calm and anchoring the innings initially, Clelland was superb behind the stumps, showing he is the best around and also an unsung member of the club for all the work he does. Karan Anand was rightly named man of the match for a tight bowling spell and then his monster hitting and he has been a vital addition to the team. Arul Senthil and John Davey batted with great calmness and Mike Nattrass fielded brilliantly to save many runs.
Sajid Hameed produced some unplayable stuff and as always lifted the team with his easy going attitude, while Sam Knudson also rediscovered his bowling form with a great spell. Martin Worsley kept Bon Accord in check with a great spell and then showed he could use a bat with the winning runs. It all made it very easy for the captain, who just had to make the odd bowling change and then collect the trophy that the team had deservedly won.
Next week its back to league business against Gordonians, but as FPs have done all season, they will be looking to enjoy their cricket and try to win as many games as possible. This season has proved that having a laid back attitude, with everyone working for each other can often produce very good results. The challenge is now to build on this win and to keep on having fun.
The officials gave it to Karan Anand and its hard to argue, but special mention to John Thomson for his 2nd spell.
The moment the winning runs were hit, just edge out that Karan over.
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