Knightriders 2nds v. Portcullis - Saturday, 14 May, 2016

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to field.

Knightriders 2nds : 127 all out (30).

Portcullis : 100 all out (15).


Week Three of the Aberdeen Grades Season saw Portcullis on their travels once more as they made the short journey to Groats Road Hazelhead to lock horns with Knightriders 2nds.

For both clubs this would a new League for each club to participate in. 2nd Knightriders having come down from Grade Two whilst Portcullis having come up from Grade Four last season.

Although nine of the eleven Portcullis players had arrived in plenty of time before the start of play, the two running uncharacteristically late happened to be the Captain Dave Mitchell and the Vice-Captain Kannan Vijayakrishnan.

This meant it was left to Secretary Ronnie Falconer to make the call for Portcullis. Thankfully he managed to call tails correctly and invited Knightriders to bat first.

Fortunately Mitch and Kannan made it before the 1pm deadline so it was a full Portcullis side that took to the pitch. Mitch took it upon himself to open the bowling down the hill. Partnering him up the hill would be new boy and Portcullis League debutant Mansoor Hussein. For 2nd Knightriders the opening pair would be Satya and Ashwanth Vijay.

The early flurries went to Portcullis. A sprinkling of youth in the side saw a livelier fielding display that was combined with some tight accurate bowling from Mitchell and Hussein. Indeed after 5 overs Knightriders had scored only three runs. This asphyxiation of runs to the Knightriders innings would bring about the downfall of their opening partnership.

Satya pushed at a run which was not feasible, this left his partner with the perilous task of taking on the mobility in the field and arm of Kannan Vijayakrishnan in a race to the stumps. There was only ever going to be once winner – Vijayakrishnan – and a nimble pick up and throw was completed by the alert Winstanley to complete the run out. 2nd Knightriders 4 – 1.

Mitchell and Hussein, ably backed up in the field by the Portcullis posse, continued to ration the runs to 2nd Knightriders. Satya was joined at the crease by Hiresn. The pair dug in taking the total onto 13 before Portcullis struck again. This time it was from the accurate bowling of Hussein as he beat Satya’s bat, knocking over his off-pole out of the ground into the bargain. 2nd Knightriders 13-2.

Skipper Prem Ballal came to the crease to join Hiresn. There seemed to be a calmness in Ballal’s batting, as if he had more time at his disposal with the bat than any of the rest of us. Initially this did not upset Portcullis, in fact three runs later the Green Caps took their third wicket. Hiresn driving one into the covers where Jake Dawson was on hand to take a fine catch. This one would be good but his next one would be much, much better.

2nd Knightriders 16-3.

Ballal was joined at the crease by Bala. This would be a key partnership for the Knightriders team. Another wicket here and they could be very easily steamrollered. The impetus at this stage of the match all going the way of Portcullis.

Even as a member of the opposition it was a pleasant experience to watch Ballal bat. His appearance reminded me of Sri Lanka’s Sanath Jayasuriya whilst his batting technique was very definitely Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the makers name on the bat facing into his pads.

The time to play his shots was there though. Genteel pushes into the covers, piercing even the tightness of the Portcullis fielding, brought ones and twos with ease. The pressure eased off from the Knightriders side as the serenity of his batting spread throughout the team.

Bala took no chances early on, happy to allow his skipper to take the lead role in the Knightriders fightback. It worked as no more wickets came forth and Portcullis had to look elsewhere and rest their opening pair.

Mitchell and Hussein were taken off to be replaced by Shovon Mostofa and another League debutant Owen Thorpe.

The introduction of the new pair to the bowling attack seemed to further take the pressure off the Knightriders side. The opening four overs by the pair leaked 19 runs. The surprise being the main saboteur in this short burst of play being Bala. His aggression at this point put 2nd Knightriders back in the driving seat but also led to his downfall.

The pair of Mostafa and Thorpe had been contrasting with their opening salvos. Mostofa appeared a tad unlucky whilst Thorpe was a tad nervous. It came as a bit of a surprise that, of the pair, it was Thorpe who would be the partnership breaker.

Bala fell to Thorpe through a piece of fielding brilliance.

Filling his boots and sensing Thorpe’s nervousness, Bala heaved at a ball putting it into the deep cover area. Dawson, with one fielding scalp under his belt already, wanted to emulate his close friend’s fielding genius, Ross McKenzie’s, brilliance from the week before. Scampering back from cover towards deep cover where the ball was heading, he made a superlative effort to cover the ground in Usain Bolt like style, his fleetness of foot making a certain four become a sudden half chance of a wicket

That was half the job done.

The sprinter had to become the gymnast to complete the catch. Dawson proved up to the task, thrusting his right hand towards the ball careering over his backpedalling gait, the left hand meeting the right on point of the ball impacting on said hand, he completed the most superb of catches!

A wonderful, wonderful catch!!

2nd Knightriders 62-4. Balal back to the side-lines for a very healthy 18 runs.

It was the turn of Ayyappan to join Ballal at the crease. In the meantime young spinner Chris Poolman replaced the out of sorts Thorpe.

Today was not Thorpe’s day, despite the wicket, nerves and a 10 year lay-off doing for him today.

Dear reader, he’ll be back.

Bigger, stronger and better. You read it here first!

Poolman, opening his bowling spell against Ayyappan, perplexed his rival with his flight of ball and guile. A hard fought maiden over enjoyed by the pair.

The loss of Bala seemed to flick the accelerator switch on Prem Ballal’s batting however. He attacked the Portcullis bowling vociferously. He moved onto a subdued fifty which was a shame in a way.

Fifties are usually greeted with raucous roars from the opponents watching, a natural acknowledgement of such a fine feat. Bearing in mind this side were vociferous in the field (enthusiastically I may add) this acknowledgement went by very quietly. We had little clue when the achievement was surpassed.

It would have been nice to share in that achievement. We all want to win - that is true – but when an opponent makes a milestone I like to shake their hand on that moment. If any Knightriders are reading this and felt we were being unsporting – we were not. We just didn’t know!!

With the runs haemorrhaging now from the Portcullis bowling attack and Knightriders moving further away, skipper Mitchell felt it was time to mix up his bowling attack.

Firstly Mostofa was rested from the downhill end by Mitchell himself. Poolman was also rested. Although he bowled a tight four over spell, Mitch was concerned that Poolman’s guile was going to be attacked. It was felt the improvised bowling of Vijayakrishnan would be an ideal foil against the remaining thrust of the Knightriders Epee.

Mitchell, bizarrely, got his first wicket in the eleventh over – an unwanted record for him. He broke the fine 40 run partnership of Ayyappan and Ballal by luring the former into driving a good length ball straight back at him. Mitch got himself into position to take a sound catch. 2nd Knightriders 102-5.

With Vijayakrishnan enjoying no luck with the cherry and Ballal having taken a liking to him, Mitchell brought back the accurate Mannie Hussein for a second spell salvo. The mix-up of the bowlers was a deliberate ploy to bring an early close to the 2nd Knightriders innings.

The re-introduction of Hussein started that early close to their innings.

Ballal, having passed his fifty, upped his aggression somewhat. It was a foolish move to a bowler of Hussein’s experience and accuracy. Ballal mistimed and misread a pull and was bowled by Hussein. 2nd Knightriders 124-6.

It was a wonderful innings by Ballal (we later to find out it was 55). I stated earlier about his look and style. The timing of his shots were quite beautiful. He went off to wonderful applause by the Groats Road Massive.

I’ll make a point of shaking his hand next time!

Ballal’s exit did indeed bring about the closure of 2nd Knightriders innings.

Mitchell, having completed his twelve over spell brought Mostofa back to finish off Portcullis’s spell from the downhill end.

This change in bowling would bring about the closure to the 2nd Knightriders innings.

Mostofa has before shown before he can be a “second spell” bowler – a fact not unduly lost on skipper Mitchell. It was hoped this would be one of those second spells.

It turned out it was!

The hat trick began on the fourth ball of his eighth over. The ball started rolling when first up he got Mausam to flash at one outside off stump. The ball shot off to gully where Dave Elrick, not content with taking stunning catches at slip, decided to expand his repertoire in catching by taking an absolute pearler.

Next man in was Prabhum. Shovon got Prabhum to mistime a push. The ball went towards point, where Chris Poolman was on hand to take a simple catch. 2 in 2 balls!!

Hat Trick Time!!

Next man in was Thomas. Shovon took upon himself to produce an absolute Exocet of a Yorker onto Thomas’s off-pole and the Hat Trick was complete. A wonderful feat and the first player in Grade 3 and only the second player to achieve this feat this season

124- 6 had become 124-9! 3 more runs were added before the close of innings. Mostafa ekeing another false shot. Sachin pushing one onto mid-on where Vijayakrishnan was on hand to take a good catch.

2nd Knightriders 127 all 41.3 overs. Prem Ballal top scored with a fine 55 whilst Bala (18), Ayyappum (13) and Mausum (10) all got to double figures with the willow.

For Portcullis, it came as no surprise that Shovon Mostofa took the honours with the Cherry. His 4-22 including THAT Hat- Trick. He was ably backed up by Mansoor Hussein (3-29), Dave Mitchell (1-23) and Owen Thorpe (1-10).

After a splendid tea put on by the Home Team it was time for Portcullis to start their innings.

Mitch opted to go for the “42 stone of brute strength” pairing of Dave Forbes and Ronnie Falconer to pen the innings. For 2nd Knightriders the new cherry would be shared by Prabhu and Ayyappan.

First blood went to 2nd Knightriders on the first ball. Prabhu produced an absolute pearler of a delivery. The ball pitched outside off stump on a good length, jagged back in and took the top of off stump to leave Forbes looking rather bemused. There was no shame in getting out to that ball. In fact, the rest of us were glad it was not us facing that delivery.

Portcullis 0-1.

Skipper Dave Mitchell was next man in. Along with Falconer the pair took the partnership onto 15 before disaster struck. Falconer appeared to be a caught flat footed when Mitchell called for a surprise quick single. Falconer got his skates on and got towards the crease thinking he got home safe. Alas he did not take into account the option of a direct hit and was caught short of the finishing line and was duly run out. Portcullis 15-2.

Next man in was Hat-Trick hero Shovon Mostofa. The pair took the score onto 34. Mitchell with some fine boundary pulls, Mostofa with a fine off drive for a boundary of his own before disaster struck again.

Mitchell pounced on a full delivery just outside off stump from Prabhu. He got to the pitch of the ball, driving it ferociously and low towards mid-off. Despite the ball going at great pace and only inches off the ground, Prabhu showed spectacular reflexes to get down quickly, thrust out his right hand and take what was the most spectacular of one handed catches for a wonderful caught and bowled. The guttural cry of joy from the bowler merited as it was a fantastic and very important dismissal. Portcullis 34-3.

Next man in was Kannan Vijayakrishnan. He joined Mostofa at the crease but not for long. Mostofa tweaked his hamstring and sadly had to go off. A quckfire double blow to the Portcullis side.

This brought Mansoor Hussein to the crease and, with Vijayakrishnan tried to rebuild the away side’s innings.

This partnership did not last long either as Ayyappan grabbed his first victim. He induced Vijayakrishnan to feather one through. Wicketkeeper Ahwanth on hand to take a routine catch. Portcullis 36-4.

Next man in was Jake Dawson. The score went onto 40 before he went for a cameo 4 runs. His innings brought to a premature end when he was bowled by the wily Bala. Bala having just come on for the departing Prabhu, joining him by taking a wicket with his first ball. Portcullis 40-5.

Owen Thorpe joined Hussein at the crease. Thankfully this pair brought stability to the Portcullis innings. In the meantime Prem Ballal relieved Ayyappan of his bowling duties, bringing himself on to bowl up the hill. The score moved onto 55 before Knightriders struck again. Prem Ballal bowling an overbalancing Thorpe for a sturdy 7.

Having recovered sufficiently, Mostofa came back onto the pitch to resume his innings. 2nd Knightriders kindly acknowledging his injury had occurred on the field of play and allowing him, a runner so he could continue his innings.

With Hussein acting as anchor, Mostofa began to flourish with the bat. He took the game to 2nd Knightriders, opening the second part of his innings with a wonderful six back over the head of off-spinner Ballal.

Mostofa peppered the boundary with ease and, with Hussein digging in, began the unlikely scenario of Portcullis coming back into this match. The score moved onto 80 before Knightriders broke the partnership. Hussein, having batted so patiently, caught onto a returning Ayyappan long hop. He pulled it viciously towards square leg where Sachin, close in, thrust out his right hand and took a very special catch.

Hussein back to the bags for a solid 8. Portcullis 80-7.

Dave Elrick came to the crease and simply took over where Hussein had left off. The pair took the score onto 95 before Mostofa finally succumbed to Ballal’s variety of spin and was bowled by the Knightriders all-rounder. Mostofa left the field of play to rousing applause having entertained with a top score of 34 for the City Centre Green Caps.

It was the turn of Simon Winstanley to join Elrick at the crease. The pair took the score onto three figures before Elrick was trapped lbw for 7. Portcullis 100-9.

Christopher Poolman was last man in. Alas it was to be not his day as he was adjudged to have glanced one 3 balls later and was caught behind by Ashwanth.

Portcullis 100 all out. For the second week in succession Portcullis had lost by 27 runs. This was a coincidence that was starting to become unhealthy.

Leading the way with the bat as with the ball was Shovon Mostofa with a fine 34. He was backed by skipper Dave Mitchell who himself made a fine 24.

For Knightriders the bowling plaudits went to that man Prem Ballal. He followed up his 55 with figures of 4-22. The new ball pairing of Prabhu (2-29) and Ayyappan (2-17) backing their skipper up. The other wicket went to Bala (1-22).

The result leaves 2nd Knightriders in 3rd spot whilst Portcullis are second bottom and in the relegation zone. Although at this stage there is no need to panic, it would be wise to show concern. A couple of wins would be very welcome ASAP.

Next up is a trip to Castle Park, Kintore and a double header against St Ronalds – one a League match, one a Cup Tie. In between those is a welcome friendly against Stoneywood Dyce.


SHOVON MOSTOFA. The Hat Trick within bowling figured of 4-22 and his top score of 34 made the decision an easy one.


PREM BALLAL takes the honours. Like Mostofa he returned bowling figures of 4-22. His batting was a joy to watch the 55 runs he made being the major difference between the two sides.


Dave Elrick’s screamer at gully would normally win and rightly deserves a mention however JAKE DAWSON’S backpedalling effort wins the plaudits for today.

Tuesday, 17 May, 2016

Innings of Knightriders 2nds

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
2A.Ashwanth1Run OutS.WinstanleyK.Vijayakrishnan
11Krishna0Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls2

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
2R.Falconer1Run Out
10S.Winstanley3Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls0