Grampian 2nds v. Portcullis - Saturday, 06 May, 2017

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to field.

Grampian 2nds : 108 all out (30).

Portcullis : 104 all out (15).

Grampian 2nds stun Portcullis in thriller.

Saturday May 5th saw the introduction of 2017 season for the teams in Grades 2, 3 and 4. For Portcullis their first sortie into the 2017 Grade Three season saw them make the short trip to Sheddocksley 2. The City Centre Green Caps would be hosted by Grade Three new boys Grampian 2nds.

Grampian 2nds arrival into Grade Three was as a result of finishing 2nd in Grade Four the previous season to Aberdeen Super Kings. A fine achievement bearing in mind that last season was their first season in the Grades.

Portcullis Skipper Shovon Mostofa got off to an excellent start by winning the toss and invited the home side to bat first.

With last season's skipper and MVP winner for the last two seasons Dave Mitchell working in Houston, we had a problem.

Who to open the bowling with.

For Mostofa, it was not that problematic, with Gary Steward absent as well, the opening pairing would be Ross McKenzie and himself.

For Grampian, the opening batting partnership would be Rajeesh Nandan and Mintu Jogi.

The first duel of the afternoon would be between McKenzie and Nandan.

The opening over would be a bittersweet one for Nandan. The second ball of the over he mistimed a drive towards skipper Mostofa who misjudged the distance of the drive and the chance went begging. His reprieve did not last long however. His piece of good fortune son followed by a piece of bad fortune, McKenzie’s sixth ball coming through at ankle height when it’s true path should have been at bail height. Nandoon having little chance to react and he was unfortunately bowled. Grampian 2nds 0-1.

This brought Siju Raju to the crease to join Jogi.

Mostofa matched McKenzie’s tight opening over but a similar maiden went a begging as Jogi got off the mark with a clip off his legs.

McKenzie, having started with a wicket maiden, decided to follow it up with another one. In his second over his continued probing left arm round quick bowling was to do for Jogi as he was trapped lbw. Grampian 1-2.

If that was not enough for McKenzie he decided to follow up his first two wicket maidens with ANOTHER wicket maiden.

The third victim was to be the dangerous Sojan Padiyara. Padiyara is the type of fellow who likes to, and is very capable of scoring freely. A swashbuckling stroke-player, the accurate bowling of McKenzie and Mostofa combined with the tight fielding of their Portcullis team mates stifled the Grampian danger man. It all became too much for Padiyara and his frustration lead to his downfall. Driving at an inswinging McKenzie Yorker, it was a poor judgement call and he was duly bowled. This was not just the one ball that did for him but the piece du résistance of numerous accurate probing deliveries that toppled this talented batsman. Grampian 2nds 7-3.

At the other end, Raju had shown some resistance to the Portcullis barrage, clipping Mostofa for a two and a boundary. It was still tough going for the Grampian side and it was going to get even tougher.

As hard as it is to believe (you know what’s coming) McKenzie’s three wicket maidens were to be followed up with ANOTHER (yes another!) wicket maiden!

His fourth victim was to be Vengkatesh Mojan. McKenzie forcing Mohan to pop one up into the inviting hands of Owen Thorpe. Four overs from McKenzie – four wicket maidens. In all the time, I have played and reported cricket, I cannot recall ever seeing that before. Grampian 7-4.

At this point Shovon Mostofa had finally had enough of his young upstart partner hogging all the glory and decided to have a piece of the action himself. He got in on the act bowling the defiant Siju Raju for a useful 12. Grampian 13-5.

At this point the tide turned for the Grampian side. New batsmen Saji Joseph and Kishor Jacob deciding enough was enough.

Skipper Joseph lead the counteracting defiance. He started his innings by spanking the four-wicket maiden hero McKenzie for successive sixes. Bizarrely the first two scoring shots from the young splendid ginger hitman. It kind of was in kilter in how this match was to pan out throughout the day.

Jacob was wise at this to dig in with his aggressive skipper. He scored occasionally but positively looked Tavare-esque in comparison to his batting partner.

During this time Mostofa made the first of his bowling changes, bringing on the young but talented leg spinner Chris Poolman in place of himself. Giving McKenzie a breather, Andy Philip was brought into the attack.

With Mostofa and McKenzie out of the attack, new confidence flourished within the Grampian ranks. Joseph continued his aggressive defiance, scoring freely as dragged his cohorts back into this match. The confidence became infectious with Jacob becoming less circumspect and more potent.

It was not all Grampian’s 2nd way though. Chris Poolman was offering up a mixed bag of leg spin. Some cracking balls were beating the batsmen, some others were standard and the odd loose one was being dispatched towards the boundaries.

It was through this passage of play that the breakthrough was made. The flight of Poolman finally doing for Jacob. As mistimed swipe of one too many seeing the ball go straight and not that high either. It was high enough however for keeper Kannan Vijayakrishnan to scurry round and, with a loud call, take a comfortable catch with the gloves. Grampian 2nds 52-6.

Next man in was Josy Joseph. Although the Grampian side were fighting back, the conditions were still tricky to bat in. Joseph struggled with this and did not last long. Mostofa bringing himself back on to bowl the middle order batsman. Grampian 62-7.

This brought Naji Itteera to the crease to join Saji Joseph. A case of the Saji and Naji show if you like. Portcullis did not like. The pair clicked together and set about causing carnage at the crease. Naji batted like he was on a flat track in the height of summer and not on a bumpy windy track that he was on in Aberdeen.

Andy Philip came and went from the attack in one over and then it was the turn of Ronnie Falconer. The early season friendly bowling form having deserted him, he too would have wished to have been hooked after one over as well, his second went for a sickening 19 runs. With the bat Naji murdered the portly Secretary’s bowling.

Joseph finally fell however from the bowling of Mostofa. The skipper encouraging his opposite number to pull one towards square leg. This was a bad choice as Jake Dawson was patrolling that area and was sharp enough to be on hand to take a fine catch. 92-8.

It was the turn of Binoj to come in but he came and went as well. Chris Poolman capturing his second wicket. Binoj popping one up in the short mid-on area. The wonderfully hairy Dave Forbes on hand to take a good catch.

The innings finally closed when Ross McKenzie came back on to bowl Ajith Raveendran but not before Raveendran crashed a couple of fours of his own to the boundary.

Grampian 2nds 108 all out. The heroes of their innings were skipper Saji Joseph with 33 and Naji Itteera on 31 not out. For Portcullis Ross McKenzie starred with the ball taking 5-20 in his seven overs. Shovon Mostofa weighed in with 3-24 whilst Chris Poolman took 2-31.

After a fine tea was consumed it was the turn of Portcullis to begin with their reply. Mostofa going with the pairing of Dave Forbes and Jake Dawson. The bowling attack of Grampian would be led by Ajith Raveendran and Josy Joseph.

The pairing of Dawson and Forbes started well enough, both clipping fine boundaries off their legs to open each of their accounts. Dawson on clipping his first boundary so easily, perhaps had a momentary loss of concentration. As a result, he became Josy’s first wicket and victim, bowled by a fine delivery. Portcullis 9-1.

Kannan Vijayakrishnan was next out to the crease to join Forbes. The pair took the score onto 20-2 before Dave Forbes was bowled by the impressive Josy Joseph. It was noticeable that the wind was gusting and that batting was increasingly tricky.

This brought the skipper Shovon Mostofa to the crease. The pair moved the score onto 33 before Mostofa fell, he too bowled, this time by Siju Raju. What looked initially as playing down the wrong line was in fact a corking in-swinger of a delivery. Mostofa stunned that, although he had pressed forward with a forward defensive that Rahul Dravid would have been proud of, he could not believe his ears and then his eyes as the death rattle of the stumps behind him indicated his time, was indeed, truly up.

Owen Thorpe joined Vijayakrishnan at the crease. The pair brought the score up to 43 before Thorpe too was bowled. Mintu Jogi, having replaced Ajith Raveendran, capturing his first wicket. Portcullis 43-4. The odds swinging back into the favour of Grampian 2nds.

It was the turn of Richard Collinson to join Kannan Vijayakrishnan at the crease and hopefully, for Portcullis some stability with him.

Thankfully the hunt for some much-needed stability was successful. Collinson, following Vijayakrishnan’s example of digging in and watching the ball. Collinson surprised everyone, including himself, when a spooned clip over went over square leg for six to bring up Portcullis’s 50.

In the meantime, Grampian, looking for a breakthrough, began to mix and match their bowling attack. It was when they plumped for Sojan Padiyara that they found the key to unlock Portcullis’s defences.

The pair enjoyed a fifth wicket partnership of 35 before Collinson fell for a fine 20, he too bowled as Padiyara got him out. Portcullis 78-6.

Chris Poolman was next man in. Alas he was next man out, trapped LBW as Padiyara captured his second wicket.

Ronnie Falconer was next. Raveendran was brought back on to support Padiyara. Raveendran got one to pop up at Falconer which surprised the Portcullis veteran. He mistimed his drive, as a result, Naji the Nemesis, (who else could it be) on hand to take a regulation catch. Portcullis 79-7.

It was the turn of Andy Philip to join anchor man Vijayakrishnan at the crease. The score going onto 92, and back into Portcullis’s favour before disaster struck. It was the persistence of Padiyara that finally toppled Vijayakrishnan. A full-length delivery was driven back to Padiyara low. He dived forward to take a descending ball inches from the ground for a fine catch. Portcullis 92-8.

It was the turn of Andy Blackburn to enter the white-hot arena to make his league debut. The first two deliveries from Padiyara to Blackburn were returned with interest past the bowler and past the boundary as the 100 was reached.

At this point, Grampian were rattled. Portcullis were back in this match.

Cricket is a wonderful game and a thinker’s sport. Padiyara must be complimented for his cerebral approach to this growing crisis. His answer was to change to bowling round the wicket. The change of angle and the bowling of a fuller length combination was enough to hoodwink Blackburn and he was bowled. Portcullis 100-9.

Ross McKenzie was the last man in. With Andy Philip, the score moved onto 104-9. McKenzie survived a lively Padiyara over as the bowler sought his five-for and victory for his team.

With this turn of events and defeat looming, Grampian skipper took the responsibility of winning and losing the match by bringing himself onto bowl. Whether this was an act of bravado, self-confidence or, as I suspect a plot with a bit of a gamble, it paid off.

And in style!

His first ball, full in length and outside off-stump, was struck with gusto by Philip. Alas Falconer’s nemesis, Naji Itteera, escalated his status to Portcullis’s nemesis by diving to his left to hang onto an excellent catch and the glory of victory!

It was a hell of a match in which Grampian won by four runs. These are the type of matches that are fantastic to win, dreadful to lose but always, always tremendously exciting.

Grampian 2nds are to be congratulated for digging in to record a victory. They never gave up, however dark their prospects looked. They showed resilience throughout to record a fine victory.

Portcullis may have felt very deflated but they should not take this defeat too much to heart. There were points in this match when they too looked down and out but dug in to bring themselves back into it.

They’ll be stronger for the experience.

For Portcullis, Kannan Vijayakrishnan lead the way with a fine innings of 35. He was ably backed up by Richard Collinson who finished with a fine knock of 20. For Grampian 2nds, Sojan Padiyara led the way off for the fielding side taking 4-22. Josy Joseph pitched in with figures of 2-23.


Due to the tricky nature of this pitch and the conditions combined with the achievement of taking a five-for, I could not separate ROSS MCKENZIE and KANNAN VIJAYAKRISHNAN. Ross took 5-20 whilst Kannan top scored in this match with 35, kept wicket with his usual high standard (no byes or leg byes) and took a fine catch. Both will receive one full vote for today’s performances.


Saji Joseph, you would have thought, takes the plaudits with his innings of 33 digging Grampian out of a hole and his one ball wicket. However, my vote goes to NAJI ITTEERA. His knock of 31 not out and his two key catches at crucial moments in Portcullis’s innings swings it for him. Sojan Padiyara deserves a mention for his bowling figures of 4-22.


JAKE DAWSON took a fine and important catch to help dismiss the lethal Saji Joseph.

Next up for Portcullis is a tough home tie to Stonehaven at Duthie Park.

Friday, 12 May, 2017

Innings of Grampian 2nds

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
9N.ITTeera3141Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls2

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
11R.McKenzie0Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls0