Turriff v. Portcullis - Saturday, 02 May, 2015

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to field.

Turriff : 126 all out from 46 (14).

Portcullis : 114 for 5 (18).


Week 2 of the 2015 Grades Season saw Portcullis make the long but pleasant trip out to The Haughs to take on Turriff.

Both sides had suffered relegation the season before and were looking to make positive starts to their seasons. The Captain’s, Ian Smart and Dave Mitchell, both went out to do the toss. Mitchell called correct for the second week running and invited Turriff to bat first. The wicket looked rather spongy and the outfield had its fair share of long grass. It was going to be tough to score runs out there.

It was to be familiar sights for both the opening partnerships of Turriff and Portcullis. Turriff would open their batting with the formidable partnership of David Chalmers and Ian Smart whilst Portcullis would open their bowling with the equally formidable Dave Mitchell and Muhammad Farooq.

The name of Muhammad Bilal Farooq on the Portcullis Team Sheet was a heartening one to see. He had originally had signed up to play for Crescent but at the last minute had a change of heart. He had yet to make his debut for them so it was a case of transferring player registrations. For Portcullis Secretary, Ronnie Falconer, the resigning and re-signing of Mo made the jovial Secretary feel like Harry Redknapp on Transfer Deadline day except rather than hanging his head out of a car window talking to the media a la Harry, Ronnie’s head was hanging out a pub window talking to anyone who was daft enough to listen to him!!

It was Mitchell and Farooq who won the early exchanges. Both Smart and Chalmers had great difficulty scoring off of the Portcullis pair. The Portcullis pair had beaten the bat time and again but it took till the seventh over before Portcullis struck. Mitchell and Farooq’s persistence finally paid off when Mitchell got one to rise and follow Chalmers. It brushed his gloves and glanced towards Winstanley who completed the wicket with a good catch.

Turriff 4-1 after seven overs.

4-1 soon became 5-2 as Mitchell struck again. He managed to trap a frustrated Smart lbw for 3. An excellent early scalp as Smart has often proved troublesome in the past. It was a welcome sight for the City Centre Green Caps to see the Turriff opener heading back to the changing rooms.

This meant that Turriff had the fresh pair of Steve Lings and I. Doss at the crease. The pair batted sensibly to see off Farooq from his opening spell. Farooq was unlucky not to capture Lings early doors though. He got the Turriff no 3 to plop one up high into the air. A misunderstanding between the Portcullis fielders meant that the ball dropped safely despite Winstanley’s despairing effort. An effort that really should not have been his.

Doss also had a bit of a charmed life against Mitchell as well. He played and missed at a few but crucially the ball missed the stumps too. To their credit Lings and Doss stuck to their tasks and the next passage of play was to prove crucial to the Turriffters.

Mitchell rested Farooq and changed him to the left arm round action of Paul Brown. Alas it was not to be as Brown struggled bowling into the wind. The Turriff pair capitalised on the bowling change and plundered welcome runs onto the Turriff scoreboard. Lings in particular showed why he was such a dangerous batsman and he took to the luckless Brown.

After three overs Brown was rested and Falconer came into the fray. Falconer is often a lucky bowler and sometimes his introduction into the play can result in a fortuitous wicket or two. This spell was not to be the case though and he too took some rough treatment at the hands of Doss and Lings. Lings sweeping one long hop into the burn for a splendid six!

With Mitchell bowling through at one end, it was decided that fellow ginger Bob Adie took over from Falconer. Mitchell was looking for the controlled flight that Adie showed in the friendly against Gordonians. Alas it was not to be for Adie either. However he did leave the fray with the valuable wicket of Lings.

Lings and Doss had played it to perfection. Whilst defending the probing accuracy of Mitchell, they plundered from the indifferent bowling at the other end. They enjoyed an excellent partnership of 63 for the third wicket before Lings was a tad unlucky to get out.

It was almost the case that Adie ‘bought’ his wickets. The previous two balls had been dispatched through midwicket for sixes, the second one nearly being the subject of an excellent catch from Hamish Mitchell. Lings, with the adrenalin pumping through him, swished at Adie’s next ball a little too early. Adie’s ball had kept low and bowled the excellent Lings for 43.

Turriff 68-3 after 24 overs.

Doss was joined at the crease by Michael Soper. Soper, to his credit, took up from where Lings had left off and continued taking the game to Portcullis. Adie was soon taken off as he too was expensive as Falconer and Brown had been before him. Mitchell too was coming to the end of his spell and Farooq was to take over at that end. But who was to take over from Adie.

Mitchell decided to switch positions with Winstanley. Winstanley was to bowl whilst Mitchell would keep wicket. Winstanley immediately bowled a good controlled line and tightened up the end which had been haemorrhaging runs previously. With Farooq tying up the other end, the match began swinging towards Portcullis’s way.

Farooq managed to get his first wicket of the season when he bowled Doss for a timely 26. Turriff 97-4 after 32 overs.

Farooq had finished his spell from the changing room end and this presented Mitchell with another problem – who to bring on next? Winstanley was bowling very tidily at the other end – he would finish out there. Who would Portcullis bring on?

Mitchell would eventually turn to Falconer and maybe hope for a bit of good fortune. In the meantime David Laing had joined Soper at the crease.

The change of ends seemed to have done the trick for Falconer. His first ball from the new end pitched on a good length forcing Laing to play. It moved away enough to glance the outside edge of Laing’s bat and through to Mitchell for a good catch. Neither bowler nor umpire heard the edge as the wind was swirling but Laing, the good sportsman that he is, tucked his bat under his arm and walked off.

The next over was to prove fruitful for Falconer again as a dribbly long hop stayed low enough for Soper to mistime his sweep. As a result he bottom edged it onto his own stumps for a well-made 32. It was such a dreadful ball that Falconer apologised to Soper as he made his way from the crease.

Falconer’s third over was to prove fruitful as well as he got Balment to drive one back over Falconer’s head where Winstanley called first and loudest to take a good catch.

Winstanley was finally rewarded for his good spell of bowling when he got the impressive young Duncan to glance at one where Mitchell was on hand to complete the dismissal with a good catch behind the wicket.

Turriff took the match into the 46th over, mainly to give their youngsters experience. Their innings were wrapped up at this point. Going for a quick run two, an impressive pick up and throw from Paul Brown in the deep had young Wechsler run out by a considerable distance. Winstanlery on hand to complete the run out with a fine pick up and dismissal to reward’s Brown’s sharp fielding.

Turriff 126 all out in 46 overs. Lings was the pick of the batsmen with an impressive 43 and he was ably backed up by Michael Soper with 32 and I. Doss with 26.

On the bowling front Mitchell, Farooq and Winstanley’ 32.4 overs cost 38 runs which told the real truth. However Falconer’s mixture of good balls, jammy balls and dross meant he headed the way with the bowling with 3-28. Mitchell followed with 2-8 whilst Winstanley (1-13) #, Farooq (1-17) and Adie (1-36) took the remaining wickets.

Although 126 looked to be easy enough to chase, it was going to be challenging. Due to the long grass the ground shots would be punished, not rewarded. This is not a gripe, dear reader, just a fact. It was the same for both teams.

Portcullis decided to go with the same opening partnership of Falconer and Forbes. The pair, due to their ‘impressive’ physiques, had been given the moniker of “42 stone of brute strength will see us through…” by newbie Andrew Blackwell. The ‘42 stone’ might have been a bit harsh whilst the ‘brute strength’ part a tad complimentary but the moniker had stuck!

For Turriff it would once again be the impressive Laing and Lings new ball partnership. This pairing would be the most complimentary new ball pairing in Grade Four. Laing predominantly bowls inswing whilst Lings predominately bowls outswing. With the new cherry and their potent accuracy, the pair will challenge any batting line-up in Grade Four this season. This proved to be the point today as well.

The opening exchanges were tight. Falconer almost fell early when he drove the ball back to Laing who just missed out on taking what would have been an impressive caught and bowled. Forbes was not so lucky though when he feathered one from the bowling of Lings to wicketkeeper Chalmers who held onto a good catch. Forbes, like Laing for Turriff, did not wait for the umpire and immediately walked off to the pavilion. This showed the two examples of two fair and like-minded teams who play their cricket for the love of the game.

Anyway Portcullis 8-1.

This brought skipper Dave Mitchell to the crease. In the previous week he and Falconer had enjoyed a 133 run 2nd wicket partnership and it was hoped the pair would produce a big partnership again. Sadly it was not to be. The pair took the score onto 47. During that time Turriff had taken off Laing and Lings and replaced them with Smart and Doss. The first change bowlers had bowled impressively enough. Smart, in particular, showed he could produce impressive outswing. The pair however did not grab a wicket and it took the introduction of Soper to make the vital breakthrough.

He did for Falconer with a low two bouncer that Falconer lunged wildly and missed. As a result he lost his leg stick and was bowled for a steady 14. Falconer had to smile ironically at the turn of events. Soper had done for him as he had done for Soper. Falconer acknowledged the fact by shaking the bowler’s hand with smiles all around.

Portcullis 47-2 after 23 overs.

This brought Muhammad Bilal Farooq to the crease and it would be between the pair to decide the outcome of this match.

The pair took the score onto 61 before disaster struck with one of the two key moments of the match.

Mitchell had called through Farooq for a quick single as the ball sped towards young Duncan. The youngster showed himself to be clinical with his fielding skills. His pick up and throw resulted in a direct hit of the stumps to leave Mitchell stranded.

A brilliant run-out! Portcullis 61-3.

Richard Collinson joined Farooq at the crease. The pair took the score onto 87. Farooq was looking classy and elegant at the crease. He was dispatching well-timed boundaries with ease whilst Collinson too was ticking along, contributing with a well-timed boundary of his own. With the score at 87 Collinson was outfoxed by the return of Laing and he was bowled for 9.

Dave Elrick was next and he held out with Farooq, taking the score along to 106. Farooq was timing the ball well striking four fours and a classic six over square leg. This lead to the second significant key moment of Portcullis’s innings.

Ian Smart had marshalled his team brilliantly throughout the match. Watching from the covers, Smart took himself from there and placed himself in the deep mid-wicket area for the bowling of Laing. Two balls later Farooq smashed one right into the deep mid-wicket area. Smart positioned himself and, wary of the boundary steeled himself to take an excellent catch.

It was an excellent catch following an excellent piece of Captaincy. Portcullis 106-4.

Hamish Mitchell came to the wicket next. With the potent Farooq back in the changing room the match petered out into a draw. Dave Elrick finishing on 4 not out and Hamish Mitchell 3 not out. Portcullis finishing on 114-5, 13 crucial runs short of victory.

For Portcullis Dave Mitchell finished top scorer with 30 whilst Mo Farooq weighed in with 25. Falconer was the only other player to reach double figures with a patient 14. For Turriff Dave Laing lead the bowling honours with an impressive 2-11 from 12 overs, the other wicket takers being Soper 1-17 and Ling, a tad unlucky with 1-33.

For some there may have been many an inquest at how Portcullis did not chase the target down. In truth, Turriff played well and did not deserve to lose that match. They batted, bowled and fielded very well and deserve credit for being so competitive with ten men. They play their cricket in good spirits and are, like Methlick previously, a credit to the Grades. It is no surprise that both teams are current holders of the Grade Three and Grade Four Fair Play Trophies.

It was a bloody good game of cricket!


DAVE MITCHELL takes the plaudits. 2-8 from 12 overs and a top score of 30 as well as two catches makes him a worthy winner. Mo Farooq contributed well with bat and ball and on another day could have reaped so much more. Simon Winstanley also deserves a mention for his handy glovework and tight bowling spell.


No hailstones this week but it was still bloody cold! Has anyone seen the British springtime? If you have, could you tell it to get a move on and get to Aberdeenshire!


Steve Lings takes the plaudits with an excellent 43 which included 4 cracking sixes! He also took 1-33 from his 12 overs to boot. Take a bow Steve.


After Ronnie had stumbled onto his third wicket of the match, Mitch had gathered everyone in to give a team-talk. He said the following to the Portcullis faithful:

“Right lads we’re getting back into this - keep it going!! Ronnie, you’ve got your third wicket and you could go onto a five-for. Now I’m all for encouraging my team mates but if you finish with a five-for it will be a bloody travesty!”


And the lesson – sometimes being lucky is better than being good! ***** really does take wickets!

Monday, 04 May, 2015

Innings of Turriff

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
9B.Wolley2Not out
10W.Wechsler0Run OutS.WinstanleyP.Brown
Leg Byes0
No Balls0

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
3D.Mitchell301Run Out
6D.Elrick4Not out
7H.Mitchell3Not out
8S.WinstanleyDid not bat
9B.AdieDid not bat
10P.BrownDid not bat
11A.BlackwellDid not bat
Leg Byes0
No Balls0