Crathie v. Portcullis - Saturday, 25 May, 2019

Toss was won by Crathie, who chose to field.

Portcullis : 91 for 7 (30).

Crathie : 87 for 9 (11).

Duel in the Drizzle results in Ding Dong Classic!

Duel in the Drizzle results in Ding Dong Classic!

A cricket season that has seen more rain than sun, this fixture should have been Portcullis’s 5th Grade Three fixture of the season. Alas, it turned out only to be their 2nd. Rainfall and damp pitches accounting for the other three thus far.

This fixture, an away tie to face our old friends Crathie at Balmoral, was always one on the calendar to look forward to. A bit of a long drive but worth it to play cricket in such wonderful surroundings.

As like the matches before, this fixture was also threatened with rain. With the weather forecast looking dodgy, both Captains, Justin Thomas of Crathie and Owen Thorpe of Portcullis, prior to the match agreed to reduce the fixture to 30 overs a side. This was a rule brought in recent years by the Grades Committee as a positive step to increase the number of fixtures completed in an Aberdeenshire cricket season. Without it, more fixtures would be doomed to the abyss of “No Result”. We doff our caps to the committee.

At the toss Justin Thomas produced a unique coin for the task. On one side there was the queen (fair enough), on the other side Darth Vader! Thorpey could not resist the Star Wars factor and plumped for Darth. On this occasion the force was not with him and Portcullis were asked to bat first.

With the no 2 position being a fluid one this season, Portcullis, on this occasion asked Ronnie Falconer to open the batting with Dave Forbes. For Crathie the new cherry would be shared by Skipper Justin Thomas and new boy M. Thiagarajah!

Runs were hard to come by during the initial exchanges. Thomas, with his nagging off pole away seamers was complimented by the lively pace of Thiagarajah. The two f’s - Forbes and Falconer – battled away stoutly. The lack of runs in a reduced overs fixture may have resulted in a few more f’s being thrown about on the touchlines!

Relief was brought when Falconer latched onto a rare overpitched Thomas delivery to bring up the first boundary of the match. The shot going well over mid-on’s head and thankfully to the boundary. The pitch was two paced. Some deliveries die on you whilst others flew past. Boundaries would be hard to come by for both teams.

The Portcullis pair saw off the Crathie opening pair. They were to be replaced by C. Stride and Crathie stalwart Chris ‘Dinger’ Bell.

The two f’s decided to up the ante and went for quick singles to keep the scoreboard ticking. It went well as the pair upped the momentum. Forbes backing up was a joy to behold as Falconer, at one point felt that Forbes was standing on his toes as he called the bearded maestro for a quick single!

The score moved onto 32 before there was a mini collapse. Forbes, in an attempt to galvanise the scoring, went for a yahoo and was bowled by first change off-spin bowler Stride for a dogged 10. Stride followed that up with the prize wicket of Thorpe as an away drifter feathered the edge of Thorpe’s bat. Keeper Phil Cunningham hanging onto a good catch. This was in sync with his excellent keeping throughout the innings. Thorpe, not waiting for the decision turned on his heels and made the long walk back.

Dinger, with the first ball of the next over, got rid of Falconer as a thin bottom edge went into the gloves of Cunningham for a cracker of a catch. Falconer, like Thorpe before him, tucking his bat under his arm and strolling off. Portcullis has suddenly gone from 32-0 to 32-3. Falconer, back to the thatched roofed clubhouse with a battling 18 to his name.

The sudden turn of events had brought the Portcullis pairing of Kannan Vijayakrishnan and Shovon Mostofa to the crease. In a way it was a good thing. There was plenty of batting to come and this pairing was Portcullis two most dangerous players at the crease.

Things did not go to plan initially. The nagging accuracy of Bell and Stride made acceleration of run-rate difficult to accomplish. The score moved onto 37 when Mostofa went next. Scoreboard pressure encouraging Mostofa to mistime a good length Bell delivery back over the bowler’s head but into the welcoming hands of Carr, making good ground from mid-off to take a fine catch. Portcullis 37-4.

Next man in was Andy Blackburn. This was a left field move by skipper Thorpe but a good one. With batting behind him, Blackburn had licence to attack. This would suit Blackburn just fine.

The pairing put on a quick-fire 18 runs for the 5th wicket. In the meantime, Crathie turned to the experienced Bill Slee for the death overs. This was a wise move. In such conditions, Slee’s accuracy and experience would prove tough to deal with. Justin Thomas would partner Slee in order to keep the Portcullis innings under the three figures.

Blackburn was the next man to go. Slee picking him off with his nagging line and length and bowling Blackburn for 8 including one precious boundary. Portcullis 55-5.

It was the turn of Lewis Randall next. Joining Vijayakrishnan, who was marshalling the innings superbly, the pair added another 20 run partnership as Portcullis looked to set a challenging total for their hosts to chase. Randall, as Blackburn before him went also for a precious one boundary 8, Bill Slee bowling Arkle. His accuracy and variations proving tough to attack. Portcullis 75-6.

Jake Dawson was next man in. His initial role was support act to Vijayakrishnan. Kannan was smashing the ball to all parts of the ground. Dawson running quick singles as Crathie struggled to keep Vijayakrishnan off strike. Dawson then decided to branch out as Thomas’s last delivery of the match went back over his head as a result of a glorious off drive that bounced just a couple of metres short of the boundary for a welcome four.

This took the Portcullis innings to it’s last over – the 30th. Bill Slee opened it with his 3rd wicket and the removal of star man Vijayakrishnan. Vijayakrishnan, having reached his quarter century, going for one heave-ho too many. Slee bowling the ex- Portcullis skipper for a top score of 25 which included two priceless boundaries.

Next man in was Richard Collinson. With five balls remaining not the ideal time to come into bat. To his credit he managed to get off strike immediately as he and Dawson ran another sharp single. This gave opportunity for Dawson to play the shot of the innings – a cracking pull for four.

With no further score, Portcullis finished with 91-7 from their 30 overs. Having been 32-2 after 15, they did well to set this challenging total.

Kannan Vijayakrishnan top scored with 25. The other double digit scorers were Ronnie Falconer (18), Jake Dawson (12 not out) and Dave Forbes (10). On the Crathie bowling front Bill Slee finished with figures of 3-19. He was backed up by C. Stride with 2-17 and Dinger Bell with 2-19.

Tea (and those wonderful pies) were delayed in order to give the best chance of producing a result.

Crathie would open the batting with Phil Cunningham and R. Elson. Portcullis’s new cherry would be shared between Ross McKenzie and Shovon Mostofa.

Crathie were chasing 92 in 30 overs at a run rate of 3.07. The outfield was slow though so it was not as easy as it may look on paper. Portcullis would have to produce plenty of dot balls in order to apply pressure as well as timely wickets. Bowling and fielding would be of great importance.

McKenzie and Mostofa got Portcullis off to a solid start, opening with maidens and keeping things tight. The fielding backed the opening bowlers up, covering ground, making stops and making the Crathie pair work for meagre scraps.

Crathie were behind the run-rate when the first wicket fell. It was down to three cracking deliveries from Mostofa which done for Elson. A cracking pacey away swinger was played and missed. With Elson’s adrenalin flying, Mostofa followed up with a beautiful off spinner which did for Elson. He jabbed at it far too early and the went back to Mostofa. Unfortunately, Mostofa was not quite in position to take the return catch, the ball passing inches away from his outstretched hands. He did for Elson with his next ball. It was a good length delivery which knocked back his off stick. Crathie 11-1 after 6 overs.

Skipper Justin Thomas came to the crease to join Cunningham and the pair came at Portcullis. Cunningham made two timely (and precious boundaries) with pulls through backward square leg whilst Thomas pitched in quick run ones and twos as Crathie made the effort to keep up with the run-rate.

The pair took the score onto 23 before Portcullis took their second wicket and it was that of the dangerman Cunningham.

The wicket came from the intelligent bowling of Ross McKenzie. Mc Kenzie bowled a slower ball that straightened and rapped Cunningham on the front pad. A muted appeal saw the finger raised and Cunningham made the reluctant back to the changing rooms. Crathie 23-2.

Next man in was new boy R. Humphrey. The pair saw off the remainder of McKenzie’s first spell as he was replaced by Brian Harper.

It was an inspired change in the bowling attack by Skipper Thorpe. The change in pace from McKenzie to Harper disrupted the Crathie equilibrium. With his 2nd ball Harper got Humphrey to mistime one. The delivery went out in the deep to Shovon Mostofa who showed steady nerve and steadier hands to take a good catch. Crathie 29-3. Harper opening his spell with a wicket maiden.

At the other end Mostofa completed his eight over spell. His last over saw a further two wickets fall. One directly from his bowling, the other from a piece of individual fielding brilliance.

The first wicket fell when new man Carr drove one in the air to Collinson. From the wicket it was not sure whether it would carry to Collinson. This made Carr hesitate and ball watch.

A fatal error.

Collinson knew the ball was not near enough to carry but attacked it and did the next best thing. With a cry from behind the stumps by McKenzie. Collinson gathered and released the ball in one fluid movement from 30 yards away. He threw the stumps down, narrowly running out Carr. The hesitancy doing for him.

A fantastic piece of fielding!

Shovon took his second wicket of the match and it was the dangerous Thomas who went. He beautifully flighted one at Thomas who played and missed as it went through to the gloves of Jake Dawson. Dawson was sharp to notice that Thomas was out of the crease and whipped the bails off just beating Thomas to the punch as Thomas frantically tried to pat his bat back in. Crathie 38-5 after sixteen overs.

Crathie, like Portcullis before him did have depth in batting though and it showed in the new pairing of C. Stride and Bill Slee.

If their task ahead looked an ominous one to the pair, they appeared to be blissfully unaware of it. Stride looked solid in defence whilst grabbing every opportunity to score. At the other end Bill Slee was having none of it. If the batting conditions appeared tricky, then Slee appeared immune from such trivialities. Solid in defence, he was also effective in attack, frequently piercing the Portcullis field with quickly run one’s and two’s as well as the odd thundering boundary to buoy the mood in the Crathie dressing room.

The gauntlet was thrown down. The challenge was accepted - the game was on!

And what a game it turned out to be!

At 38-5 after 17 overs there appeared little hope for Crathie, however at 54-5 after 20 overs, the game was swinging back in their favour.

There was the odd chance. Blackburn spilled a difficult chance however kept body behind it to stop a single becoming a boundary. His was not the first to go down. Earlier in the innings Falconer spilled an apparent sitter at slip. Justin Thomas thanking him for his second life. Paul Cunningham (rightfully) ripping him a new one after the game for such piss-poor fielding!

The partnership did not stop there. Stride was happy to play the role of anchor as Slee continued his quest of all-out assault on the Portcullis bowling attack. Despite their best efforts both Harper and Vijayakrishnan could not make a further breakthrough. McKenzie was brought back early to use up his final two overs but to no avail.

In the meantime, Crathie raced to 77-5 after 25 overs. The in-play odds had seesawed, and it was Crathie who looked odds-on favourites to win the match now. They only needed 15 runs from 5 overs with five wickets remaining.

Having assessed his options and in a final attempt for a breakthrough skipper Thorpe brought himself on at the Balmoral end in an attempt to make a breakthrough. At the other end, Thorpe plumped for new boy Lewis Randall in the hope he still had his golden arm from his last match against Gordonians.

This move proved to be inspired and the pair of Thorpe and Randall joined forces to make the much needed initial breakthrough.

Having bowled five dots, with the last ball of his 1st over, Thorpe got Stride to lash at an away swinger. The ball spiralled high and deep into the covers where a few Portcullisians swarmed with intent to take the catch. The loudest call came from Randall though, and he watched the ball carefully as it swirled. His final motion was to smother the ball into his chest with his hands in order to minimalize the chances of the damp and slippy ball to spill out. A wise move on such a damp day.

Crathie 77-6 after 26 overs. What a time to produce a wicket maiden! Crathie 77 -6. 15 runs remaining with 4 overs and 4 wickets remaining.

Randall was not finished with this match yet. With his first ball of his spell, he hoodwinked new batsman Thiagarajah to swish at one outside off-stump. He got a loopy top edge which went behind the batsman and into the grateful gloves of wicketkeeper Jake Dawson. Randall completed a tight opening over, only allowing one run from it.

Crathie now 78-7. 14 runs required from 3 overs with only 3 wickets remaining. Tricky but anyone’s game. Portcullis had pulled themselves back in it!

Next man in was L. O’Brien. Portcullis produced an error as the new batsman was on strike. Perhaps with the initial euphoria of coming back from the dead, they forgot to tighten their leg side field and O’Brien hustled a quick single to bring the defiant and dangerous Slee back facing.

Next ball was an ill-judged short pitched one which Slee pounced on to hook for the games only six. The ball flying into the field. Thankfully skipper Thorpe retained enough composure to restrict Slee to no more scoring. The match would at least go into the 29th over.

Crathie now 85-7. 7 runs required from 2 overs with 3 wickets remaining. Crathie surely the favourites.

The one success was that Portcullis had kept Slee off strike. The pressure was now on O’ Brien to get his partner back on strike.

Under enormous pressure, Randall kept his bowling, and Portcullis kept their fielding, tight allowing nothing through. Three dots from Randall was followed up with O’Brien having a yee-hah. Ball did not connect with bat and he was bowled by a Randall in-drifter. Randall then had the audacity to finish with a maiden. Another wicket maiden!

Crathie now 85-8. 7 runs required from one over. 2 wickets remaining. What a finish!

The bad news was that Slee was on strike. There were no nerves. Quite the opposite. Slee seemed to relish the task ahead of him.

The first Thorpe ball was a play and a miss. The second mistimed as the pair of Slee and new batsman Feeney scurried a quick single. One run closer but more importantly Slee was at the non-striker’s end. 6 runs required from 4 balls.

The pair ran Thorpe’s next ball, Feeney prodding it into the covers. Mostofa made furlongs of ground and a sharp pick up and preparation of throw saw screams of “slow down”.


It certainly was not the time for four overthrows!

Thankfully Mostofa heeded his teammates calls and slowed his throwing arm to that of a Michael Van Gerwin. He threw the ball at the stumps like the Darting Dutchman and, like the Darting Dutchman made no mistake with a super run-out. Nine wickets down but, just as important no runs scored from that ball.

Unfortunately, the batsmen had crossed so Slee would be facing the final balls. The destiny of this match was in the hands of Slee and Thorpe.

It had come down to this. What a nail biter!

Thorpe produced two cracking dot deliveries, the second one reducing Slee to go down on one knee in frustration, the first sign he was human after all!

With one ball remaining the tie was still on. A six would tie the scores. A no-ball or wide would bring Crathie an outside chance of winning.

Skipper Thorpe held his nerve though. His last delivery again evading the swashbuckling bat of Slee. With the ball thumping into the welcoming gloves of Dawson it was the oddest sound to hear finish such a gladiatorial contest!

Portcullis battled on to win by 4 runs.

The nerves were fraught, sighs of relief abundant and disappointment of our opponents consoled. What a magnificent game of cricket! There has been many the time you’ll hear the cliché of there should not have been a loser. On this occasion a tie would have been the befitting result!

And who said cricket was boring!

For Portcullis Lewis Randall led the bowling with figures of 2-1-1-2. Mostofa walked off with fine bowling figures of 8-2-18-2. There were also wickets for Thorpe (1-8), Harper (1-16) and McKenzie (1-25).


Difficult to say as it was a team effort. Falconer and Forbes got the team off to a steady start whilst KANNAN VIJAYAKRISHNAN marshalled the remainder of the innings with cameos around him. They took the attack to Crathie and gave Portcullis a total to defend.

Mostofa bowled beautifully the raw pace mixed beautifully with the flight and guile of his off spin. He also pitched in with a fine catch and a corking run-out. McKenzie got the one wicket, but it was an important one. That of Cunningham.

Golden arm LEWIS RANDALL finished with figures of 1-2 as well as taking the breakthrough catch to dismiss Stride to go with his cameo innings.

Skipper OWEN THORPE also makes it a triple dead heat. He took responsibility with the ball bowling three of the five death overs and by bringing on Randall and himself swung the match back into Portcullis’s favour.


There could be only one man – BILL SLEE for his knock of 31 not out and bowling figures of 3-19. What a match he had! Other performances of note were C. Stride (11 & 2-17). Chris Bell (2-19), Phil Cunningham (14) & two cracking wicket keeper catches and Justin Thomas (14).


LEWIS RANDALL takes the honours for his timely catch in the deep just pipping Shovon Mostofa’s also in the deep.


RICHARD COLLINSON takes the honours with his superb pick up and throw to run out Carr. A fine effort from 30 odd yards that may not be beaten this season! Shovon Mostofa also in the run outs with a decent throw from the covers.

Next up a ‘home’ tie at Harlaw against Grampian 2nds.

Monday, 27 May, 2019

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
8J.Dawson122Not out
9R.Collinson1Not out
10R.McKenzieDid not bat
11B.HarperDid not bat
Leg Byes1
No Balls1

Innings of Crathie

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
5J.Carr1Run OutR.Collinson
7B.Slee3131Not out
9L.O Brien2BowledL.Randall
10G.Feeney0Run OutS.Mostofa
11C.Bell0Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls1