Portcullis v. AGSFP 2nds - Saturday, 03 May, 2014

Toss was won by AGSFP 2nds, who chose to field.

Portcullis : 205 for 9 (18).

AGSFP 2nds : 206 for 8 (30).

Portcullis lose out on The Chase!!

Saturday May 3rd saw Portcullis make play their first Home match of the season. Their opponents were to be AGSFP 2nds. In their only fixture last season Portcullis pulled out all of the stops to win a tough match. The Posse knew they would have their work cut out to record their first victory in this tough League match today.

New Skipper Dave Mitchell lost his toss to his counterpart Magesh Devendran. With a dampish wicket on show, Devendran had no hesitation in putting the home side in.

The late arrival of half of the Portcullis side put paid to any previous planned batting orders that the Skipper wished to make. Wishing to bat down the order due to carrying a heavy cold, he had no option but to bat himself in at 3.

This also meant he opened the batting with the old faithful partnership of Ranjan Sahoo and Ronnie Falconer. The pair had a decent record of opening partnerships together. The steady hand of Falconer dovetailing nicely with Sahoo’s more aggressive stroke play. With the late showings he was hoping that one of those partnerships would flourish today.

Opening the bowling for AGSFP’s were Maresh Mahayaran and the wily John Eagles. Falconer and Sahoo, both a bit rusty due to having little time at the crease previously, started cautiously. It was a sensible plan, as to build a strong innings one has to start from a solid base. They both played themselves in sensibly as AGSFP’s kept things tight initially as after 10 overs Portcullis were 23-0.

Sahoo almost went early as a skier towards deep mid-off was put down off the accurate bowling of Eagles. Dear reader, I wish this was the only chance put down. Unfortunately this disease spread through both teams with Portcullis’s symptoms reaching pandemic levels.

That is for later though.

Having steadied himself in, Sahoo then opened up with a few pulls towards mid-wicket, accelerating the run-rate for Portcullis. Falconer in the meantime nudged and nurdled in an attempt to give his more potent partner more of the strike.

That said Falconer began to break free himself. In Chovatya’s third over a cut through point & gully for four was followed by a crashing drive through cover, also for four, as the pair were mindful of setting their opponents a daunting score.

The partnership soon reached 50, thanks to lovely drive through mid-on by the now rampant Sahoo.

Falconer seemed also to go through the gears with some sharp singles as well as the odd blow for four. The pair got to 78 in the 18th over before Falconer, chancing his arm for another sharp single judged poorly and foolishly ran himself out for 34. Portcullis 78-1.

In next was Dave Mitchell. Still well below 100%, he dug in however to support Sahoo as the pair continued to take the game to their dangerous opponents.

AGSFP’s struck again though as Sahoo joined his partner back in the hutch, caught from the bowling of Devendran for an excellent 40. Portcullis 98-2.

With the Captain Mitchell being joined at the crease by his Vice-Captain Farooq, Portcullis were looking to post a colossal score for AGSFP’s to chase.

In the meantime, AGSFP’s had mixed and matched their bowling attack, rotating their first five bowlers in an attempt to put a halt to their opponents scoring. This plan paid dividends in the shape of their 5th bowler Philip Whitely.

After an innocuous first couple of overs went for 10, all hell broke loose in Whiteley’s third over.

First up he bowled the dangerous Farooq for 4, wildly swinging at his first ball. And this was not part of the hat trick!

His fifth ball accounted for debutant Memon. Looking in good touch on his first two balls, the third ball was clipped of his legs apparently for a safe single. That is until Kiwara, obviously immune to the fielding plague, dived low to take a super catch.

Next in was the Centurion from the previous match Rob Owen. Owen wildly lunged at his first and Whiteley’s sixth ball. When he failed to connect the inevitable death rattle soon followed.

As it was the final ball of his third over Whiteley would have to wait for his stab at the hat trick.

He did and the first ball of his fourth over did for Mitchell as he played onto his pads and agonizingly watched as the ball trickled onto the stumps.

Hat trick!!!!

This put Portcullis in a completely different situation. 98-2 had become 104-6! Steady hands were required if Portcullis were to post a good score on the scoreboard.

During the carnage Abdullah Khan and Salman Bedaar found themselves at the crease. The pair were going to be crucial to the fortunes of Portcullis in this match. Having assessed the carnage previously, the pair played sensibly as they set about rebuilding the Portcullis innings.

One feature of Khan’s play is the way he accumulates his runs. He appears to have the perfect balance of batting sensibly whilst scoring at a good pace. With Bedaar anchoring himself in at the meantime, the passage of play began to swing the way of Portcullis once again.

The pair soon got to grips with the innings and the scoreboard was soon ticking over once again. The score got to 135 before AGSFP’s struck again. Bedaar was enticed to chase one too many from the accurate spin bowling of Eagles. Sharp glove work from keeper Joy aptly named for AGSFP’s, ironically for Portcullis, meant a stumping was recorded. Bedaar gone for 14. Seven batsmen back in the bandstand.

Naseem came to the crease to support Khan. Khan thankfully continued to take the game to AGSFP’s. Continuing in his unflustered way, he plundered runs for the Portcullis cause. Runs aplenty came from his bat as he continued simply majestically. On drives, off drives, cuts and pulls, it was all the same for Khan. Naseem stayed long enough for the pair to enjoy an 8th wicket partnership of 22 before Naseem became the impressive Eagle’s 2nd wicket. Falling to a sharp caught and bowled to the experienced Spinner. Portcullis 157-8.

The other debutant Nisar was next at the crease. He enjoyed a cameo innings of 10 as he and Khan took the score onto 190. His innings featured a pull of his ankles pick-up-shot that simply fizzed its way to the boundary.

Bob Adie was last man in and he saw out the innings with Khan as Portcullis closed on 205-9.

For Portcullis Abdullah Khan’s magnificent knock of 60 not out was backed up Sahoo’s 40 and Falconer’s 34. For AGSFP’s 2nds John Eagles 2-36 backed up Philip Whiteley’s devastating 4-25.

After a quick tea the teams resumed play. AGSFP’s 2nds opened the batting with T. Kiwara and Skipper Magesh Devendran. For Portcullis it was the previous season’s opening pairing of Mitchell and Farooq to open the bowling.

Portcullis struck first, Mitchell winning this particular duel of the captain’s bowling Devendran with his third ball. AGSFP’s 0-1.

If one were to think this was an indication that the shutters would be put up as a result of this, you would be far wrong. AGSFP’s simply shrugged off this setback, as one would simply brush a raindrop from one’s shoulder and continued simply where they left off. The other opener Kiawara soon displayed he had a keen eye, deft timing and a healthy appetite for runs. He was joined at the crease by one Diago Maradona (that’s what it says here on the book). Kiawara, playing with a freedom that many of us could only wish for, started the fight back for the AGSFP’s. A few well-timed drives and pulls soon got the scoreboard accelerating as he showed he relished this challenge put before him.

The score went onto 20 when Maradona was next to go, lbw to Farooq. AGSFP’s 20-2.

The next batsman, Riz Mohammed, came and went without troubling the scorers. Farooq bowling him 2 balls later. AGSPP 2nds 20-3.

Guru Thangarani was next to the crease. If confidence was high within the Portcullis camp, it soon came down a peg or two. Showing glimpses of what was to come, the AGSFP 2nds continued as they had once before. The pair rattled the score onto 59. In the meantime Naseem had come onto replace Farooq whilst a clearly unwell Mitchell continued to plug away from the other end.

Naseem, with the help of 1st Innings hero, Khan, were the combination that would prove the downfall of Thangarani. Khan suggested to the skipper he move himself to extra cover. Mitchell duly agreed and two balls later Thangarani smacked one straight at Khan and was dismissed for 17. AGSFP 2nds 59-4.

Next man in was John Eagles. Having already shown fantastic contributions with his bowling and fielding, Eagles would then go onto show his batting skills were none too shabby either.

Eagles, with cool head and of clear thought, chose to anchor himself in. He was wise enough to assess that his partner, the devastating Kiawara, was flying and that a solid partnership was required.

Owen was next man on for Portcullis, replacing the valiant Mitchell. This change did not seem to matter to AGSFP 2nds as they just continued as they had left off. Kiawara, clearly enjoying himself, continued to be a danger to Portcullis.

Kiawara managed to have a couple of lives though as he offered a couple of chances to the Portcullis field. Unfortunately the fielding of the home side was uncharacteristically disappointing and the chances passed Portcullis by.

When Kiawara was on around 40, one of the Portcullis party felt it was wise to comment he had only “one shot”. It was more banter than sledging I admit but if it was meant to upset (it wasn’t) Kiawara it didn’t. He simply smiled back to the dissenter, shrugged his shoulders and went on to prove that he indeed had more than one shot. Sadly for Portcullis many more!

It reminded me of a match dear reader three years ago when we Portcullis played Huntly the younger. I was at the crease, batting solidly so I thought, when one of the young Huntly players decided to comment on my batting.

“Come on lads… this guy’s got more blocks than Lego land,” the witty youngster piped up. On hearing this I had to unfortunately stop his Huntly bowling colleague in mid run-up. It was not that I was put off from the comment and he had got into my head. I simply could not stop laughing as the young critic had a valid point!!

Anyway back to the game.

The partnership of Kiawara and Eagles blossomed. Kiawara rampantly charging himself towards 50 whilst Eagles, grateful to having no Huntly comics in his midst, collected a few blocks himself!

The pair’s fifth wicket partnership yielded 78 crucial runs and importantly, kept them on the required run-rate. In the meantime Portcullis introduced Salman Bedaar and brought back Muhammad Farooq. It was the reintroduction of Farooq that was to do for the splendid Kiawara, knocking out his off-stick for a superb 77.

Being honest, the Portcullis side though the majority of their work was now done. The sight of Kiawara walking to the bandstand a welcome one. The sight of Manesh Narayahan coming to the crease, however was not as welcoming as one may have thought.

Nahayaran immediately looked at ease, opening his innings with a boundary. Eagles, assessing the situation, upped his own tempo and began taking the attack to the home side. What had been wise blocks before soon became well-timed drives as he too began peppering the boundary with consummate ease. Nahayaran, far from digging in, went on the offensive too as victory drew in for the away side.

Despite the AGSFP 2nds onslaught, Portcullis still dug in looking for a breakthrough. Farooq, looking far livelier in his second spell, doing for Eagles. A well-disguised off-spinner doing for Eagles for a splendid 37. Eagles left the crease in disbelief, coming to terms that he had actually being bowled, the ball was that good! AGSPP 2nds 176-6.

176-6 soon became 189-7 as Farooq grabbed a well-deserved five-fer, bowling Haider for a run-a-ball 6.

Owen soon took the wicket of Joy with Naseem taking the catch in the gully area. AGSFP 2nds 198-8.

Having crossed over during the catch, Nahayaran disposed of Owens’ final two balls for fours apiece to claim a glorious and well-deserved victory for AGSFP 2nds.

It was around 7.45pm when this lengthy match drew to a close. 411 runs had been scored and 17 wickets had fallen in a quite magnificent match!

It was a bitterly disappointing result for the Posse. Some rued at the spilled chances, others at missing out on glorious opportunities. For this author though sometimes you just have to doff your cap at the opposition. They were always up at the run-rate, never flinched when put under pressure and never lost sight of the target set by Portcullis. The opening knock of Kiawara, the bonding innings of John Eagles and the winning finish by Narayahan (40 not out) combining together to give AGSFP 2nds the 30 points they deserved.

Although losing, Portcullis amassed 18 points, a fair reflection despite the loss. They had contributed massively to the match and are deserved of this yield.

Next up Portcullis are away to Academy.


Although Farooq’s 5-65 ran him close, Abdullah Khan for his classy knock of 60 not out. He came in at 103-5 and took Portcullis to 205-9. It was a serene display of breathtaking stroke play.


Debutant Arshad Nisar’s pick-up shot off his ankles mentioned earlier that fizzed for four. A beauty!


A Dead Heat! Portcullis’s fielding that was reminiscent of the German Skier off of the headline show The Chase (look it up on You Tube!) and the comment made to Kiawara. I only wish I had that shot in my armoury!

Monday, 05 May, 2014

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
1R.Falconer344Run Out
7A.Khan608Not out
11B.Adie1Not out
Leg Byes4
No Balls5
5Whitely50002546.2551.25Includes a Hat-Trick!

Innings of AGSFP 2nds

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
7M.Nayaran405Not out
10Chovatya0Not out
11WhitelyDid not bat
Leg Byes8
No Balls2