Portcullis v. Crathie - Saturday, 24 May, 2014

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to bat.

Portcullis : 245 for 5.

Crathie : 174 all out.

Jesse hits the Jackpot in Cup Victory.

Maiden Century for Portcullis Opener.

Saturday saw a change of competition for Portcullis as they exchanged league duties for Cup participation. During the Winter AGM Portcullis had been given a Home Tie to Crathie CC.

It had been many a year since the teams last met – 2007 to be precise. The last contest between the two saw Crathie emerge victors by a crushing 161 run victory. Surely the City Centre green caps could improve on the last joust between the pair.

With Dave Mitchell absent, the Captaincy duties fell to Vice-Captain Muhammad Farooq. This would a debut captaincy for the Portcullis all-rounder, an ideal opportunity for him to impart his own style of leadership to the role.

The omens were good for Mo as he won the toss against his Crathie counterpart. He immediately requested to bat first. A bold decision despite Portcullis’s poor showing with the willow the previous week.

Portcullis opened the batting with Ronnie Falconer and Jesse Walmsley. It would be Falconer’s third time opening the batting this season and his third opening partner, Richard Collinson and Ranjan Sahoo being the previous two.

Jesse, although a new name to many, had joined the club the previous season. He had only played twice during the 2013 season. He showed some promise though as his previous innings was a 50 against Mannofield in last season’s Reid Cup at the same stage.

Another good omen maybe.

Crathie opened their attack with Michael Bestwick and John McAra. Bestwick would have to be especially watched as he had returned some impressive figures already this season, including 7-21 against Academy earlier in the season.

Things seemed to start well for Portcullis as Falconer caressed the second ball through gully for a four. Two balls later he was walking back to the trees as Bestwick bowled him with a corker. Portcullis 4-1.

Promoted in the order, Rob Owen was at the crease next. He opened his innings with a four from his second ball. In the meantime Walmsley settled in, taking his time to build his innings.

The pair put on a 25 partnership for the second wicket before McAra struck. McAra invited Owen to drive one. Owen gleefully accepted and played it towards mid-off. The pace of the drive initially seemed to have done for Crathie’s McEwan as his initial attempt to catch the ball spilled out of his reaching hands and went over his shoulder. Thankfully, for Crathie, he had presence of mind and calmness to boot to reach around and complete his catch.

Portcullis 29-2.

Former skipper Kannan Vijayakrishnan was next to the crease. Free of the shackles of responsibility, it was hoped within the Portcullis camp that Kannan could muster up all of his powers of concentration to produce a really big innings. There has never been any doubt of his potential but some thought that his previous seasons of Captaincy had perhaps inhibited the fruition of that potential.

Joining Walmsley at the crease, Vijayakrishnan soon settled in. Wisely Vijayakrishnan was very patient in building his innings. The pair kept the scoreboard ticking along however whilst offering no chances.

At 10 overs Portcullis were 37-2 whilst at 20 overs Portcullis were 90-2. The pair batted superbly as a partnership. Each welcome boundary was surrounded by a smattering on quickly run ones and twos. The pair keeping the pressure up on their opponents.

Three figures were soon achieved as the pair kept the pressure up. Walmsley then reached his 50 with a nice pull through square leg. On achieving his own personal milestone, Walmsley felt it was time to up the ante. What was pleasing was the way he went through the gears whilst still not playing risky shots. The four for 50 was immediately followed up with three further boundaries as the Portcullis run-rate began to climb.

In the meantime Vijayakrishnan had played himself in. Perhaps being infected with confidence from his partner at the other end, Vijayakrishnan too opened up, as the pair seemed hell-bent on posting a substantial target for Crathie to surpass.

Crathie, in the meantime, meant through an array of bowlers in a attempt to achieve a breakthrough. Alas it was not forthcoming as Portcullis went from strength to strength. Next up was a welcome maiden fifty for Kannan Vijayakrishnan, a driven boundary through mid-off inducing the Portcullis faithful to rise as one to acknowledge this particular milestone.

It even got better than that!

Jessie Walmsley began to show his class. Going through the gears he soon reached three figures as another four took him to the magical three figures. His innings was well paced and exquisitively timed throughout. An array of shots all round the ground, the cut through the vacant gully for four being the pick of his repertoire of classic stroke play.

They say all good things come to an end. Not necessarily, but in this case true. Piling on the runs Walmsley fell on 120, bowled by the persistent McAra. It was a fantastic knock and had put Portcullis in a extremely strong position. He came off to rapturous well-deserved applause.

Portcullis 210-3. A fantastic third wicket partnership of 183 between Jesse Walmsley and Kannan Vijayakrishnan and potentially a match winning one.

The last few overs were superbly marshalled by Vijayakrishnan as a couple of wickets went to the deserving Bestwick.

Thanks to Vijayakrishnan seeing out the final few overs Portcullis reached a colossal 245 for 5. Portcullis’s highest knock of the season. As well as Jesse Walmsley’s 120, Kannan Vijayakrishnan finished on an excellent 79 not out. For Crathie Michael Bestwick finished with 3-28 and McAra 2-66. The two wicket takers for Crathie.

After tea under the trees it was Crathie to bat chasing 246 to win. Opening the batting for Crathie was M. Taylor and R. McEwan. For Portcullis Muhammad Farooq and Rob Owen would share the new cherry.

Early exchanges were fairly even. The Crathie openers impressed with their batting technique, showing a certain class against their Portcullis counterparts. Although Portcullis did not create wicket taking chances, the pairing of Farooq and Owen did however beat the bat on the odd occasion and, more importantly, kept the run rate down. This was crucial as Crathie, chasing 6 runs an over from the first ball, would have to take bigger risks to make up the run rate.

Both Taylor and McEwan did not panic however. Far from it. They just kept accumulating runs. Yes they were behind the run rate but panic was not going to help at this stage. Also by retaining their wickets they would have a better position to launch themselves towards the score when the Portcullis second-string bowlers came onto bowl.

Although Portcullis were ahead of the game early on, the lack of breakthrough was uncomfortable for the home side.

Jayaraj Raj replaced Farooq initially. Jay however looked to be having an off day and was taken off early. Simon Winstanley replaced him. Winstanley, eager to impress perhaps as it was his 30th birthday, bowled tightly from the river end further putting the Crathie crew under pressure.

It was the turn of the luckless Owen to be replaced next. He bowled a tight spell of 5 overs for 13 runs from the Winter Gardens end. Again, although not gaining a breakthrough, he did put further pressure on the away side.

Farooq on seeing that pace was not getting joy decided on a change of tact. He replaced Owen’s seam with Mostova's medium pace initially and Walmsley's off-spin next. It was Farooq’s turn to mix and match his bowling as he seeked the all-important breakthrough.

McEwan and Taylor put on 66 before Portcullis achieved the magical opening wicket. It came through a run-out. Due to the pressure being exerted by Portcullis’s tight bowling, one risky run too many was to do for Crathie. Wicketkeeper Vijayakrishnan immediately detected an attempt at a quick single; a touch of hesitancy by the opening pair in attempting it was followed by the dispatching of the right hand wicketkeeper glove. A healthy throw to Winstanley from Vijayakrishnan was completed by Winstanley who removed the bails. Taylor, who looked very comfortable whilst at the crease, a tad unlucky to be heading back to the trees. The escalating run rate was to do for him.

Breakthrough! Crathie 66-1.

Wicketkeeper Shore was next to come in. He seemed to transfer his fine form with the keeping gloves to his batting as Crathie continued to fight back. In the meantime McEwan injured himself and requested run-out victim Taylor to act as his runner. Adding insult to injury perhaps indeed!

The score moved onto 92 before Portcullis got their second wicket and it was the vital one of McEwan.

Farooq, brought himself back on for Winstanley to bowl off-spin. He invited McEwan to drive one towards the trees. Owen, marshalling that area, made acres of ground to leap forward and take a fantastic catch, diving forward to pluck the ball a foot from the ground.

A wonderful catch. Crathie 92-2.

92-2 soon became 96-3 following a piece of clever bowling from Walmsley. He tossed up his first ball to Summers outside off-stump inviting him to drive. Summers duly did so, dispatching it to the boundary for four. The next ball was similar and Summers went for it again. This one had a bit more rip however and spun back between bad and pad bowling the Crathie batsman for 4. A clever piece of off-spin bowling by the New Zealander.

Michael Bestwick was next man in. The pair added 20 runs for the fourth wicket before Bestwick was next to go, this time stumped by Vijayakrishnan from Walmsley’s consistent off-spin.

Crathie 116-4.

116-4 became 125-5 as Farooq, persevering with his off-spin, got his reward by bowling Slee. The tactic of slowing the bowling down had put the brakes on Crathie’s progress. Farooq’s plans had bore fruition. With the match now safely in the bag Farooq saw fit to reward others in the team by giving them the opportunity of a bowl. Farooq showed great team awareness by involving others in the match. It was rare at this level to do this so to take advantage of the situation was both thoughtful and welcome. If the opposition saw this as disrespectful, please don’t it was not meant to be. Ronnie Falconer and Ruari Collinson both got to opportunity to bowl and were somewhat fortunate to obtain wickets with what can only be described as appalling deliveries. The phrase excrement (otherwise known as…) takes wickets had never been apparent!

Farooq also captured his third wicket of the day, bowling Baldry. Crathie 162-9.

This brought a rather poignant moment in the match as 78-year-old John Hitchen came to the crease. Bowling at him was 65-year-old Bob Adie. It was one of those special moments in cricket that makes it the most wonderful of sports. Hitchen was respectful of Adie’s bowling. It was not the case with Falconer as he creamed a Falconer pie to the boundary for a splendid four.

This brief partnership was brought to an end as Winstanley took the catch from the bowling of Mostofa to finish Crathie off at 174 all out.

Portcullis, thankfully, won the match by 71 runs. Their long awaited first win of the season.


Jesse Walmsley – 120 runs with the bat and 2 wickets make him the outstanding candidate. Special mention also goes to Kannan Vijayakrishnan 79 not out and top glovework behind the stumps would normally merit a MOM performance.


Rob Owen’s catch in the deep to dismiss the dangerous McEwan. He had to make a lot of ground and then dive forward to complete the catch. A truly spectacular effort!


78-year-old John Hitchen batting against 65-year old Bob Adie’s bowling. As I said before a rather poignant moment of the match. Anyone who does not think so does not have an ounce of romance within his or her heart

Mind you I was a bit annoyed when Bob hit John on the helmet twice before a third bouncer saw Hitchen being carried off the pitch by his team mates bloodied and unconscious*

*Please note the last paragraph was a big fat lie. No-one was hurt during the making of this report!

Friday, 30 May, 2014

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
4K.Vijayakrishnan7914Not out
7S.Mostofa51Not out
8R.CollinsonDid not bat
9B.AdieDid not bat
10J.RajDid not bat
11S.WinstanleyDid not bat
Leg Byes2
No Balls0

Innings of Crathie

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
1M.Taylor242Run OutK.VijayakrishnanS.Winstanley
8R.McAra20Not out
11C.BellDid not bat
Leg Byes1
No Balls11