Crathie v. Portcullis - Saturday, 03 June, 2017

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to field.

Crathie : 193 for 9.

Portcullis : 184 for 9.

Crathie KO ‘Cullis out of Reid Cup in thriller.

Saturday June 3rd saw Portcullis make the long trip to the picturesque setting of Balmoral once again to play Crathie – this time in the form of a Reid Cup Quarter Final. League duties being put on hold this weekend for the glamour of a Cup run.

There was doubt throughout the week that the match would go ahead. The weather forecasts leading up to the tie indicated that there were heavy showers afoot. The new rulings meant that the cup tie could be reduced from 40 overs to 20 overs per side and, for the first time for both clubs, the rain calculator could come into play.

After a brief discussion and some local knowledge, it was agreed that the match should be played to its full 40 overs.

Portcullis skipper Shovon Mostofa won the toss against his opposite number, Crathie’s skipper Peter Cunningham and elected to field first.

The Portcullis side’s bowling attack was somewhat depleted as they were without ex-skipper Dave Mitchell, Ross McKenzie, Gary Steward and Owen Thorpe. This meant that Shovon would open the bowling with himself and Kannan Vijayakrishnan. For Crathie the opening partnership looked particularly strong - the experienced skipper Peter Cunningham being joined by the explosive batting of Crathie all-rounder Mike Baldrey.

Portcullis and their skipper Shovon Mostofa got off to the most splendid of starts. Mostofa, with his first ball, produced a corker of a leg stump Yorker to dismiss the lethal Baldry. Crathie 0-1.

David Gordon - Russell was the next man at the crease. It was a wise move as he would be a steady pair of hands following this early setback.

The pair took the score to 9 before Portcullis struck again. It was the prize wicket of Cunningham. Vijayakrishnan bowled one that swung away from the right hander just outside off stump. As a result, Cunningham hit an uppish push into the cover point area. Andy Blackburn being on hand to take a fine catch. Crathie 9-2.

This brought the dangerous left hander Liam Johnstone to the crease. Broad shouldered and barrel chested, Johnstone showed himself to be a powerful hitter of the ball. It would be in Portcullis’s best interests to get him out early before he gets warmed up as once he got his eye in, he could be a lethal quick scorer.

9-2 soon became 10-3 as Vijayakrishnan grabbed his second wicket of the day, bowling the dogged Gordon-Russell for 5.

It was the turn of Phil Morris to join Johnstone at the crease. The pair dug in and, sadly for Portcullis, the lethal Johnstone got warmed up. Having innocuously pushed three singles previously, in Mostofa’s sixth over he exploded into action, hitting Mostofa for three superb sixes as the score went from 15-3 after 10 overs to 34-3 in 11 overs!

During this passage of play Portcullis changed their bowling attack. They rested Mostofa and Vijayakrishnan and brought on Chris Owens and Andrew Blackburn in to the attack. Both got little joy although they did battle valiantly.

Morris anchored in with the dangerous Johnstone. The pair enjoyed a partnership of 58. It took a one over spell from Mostofa to break the partnership. Johnstone was the first to go. One deep pull too many was to do for him. Kannan Vijayakrishnan lay waiting in the deep to take a brilliant catch. Johnstone out for an eccentric 46 runs. This was eccentric and rather brilliant in his way as all his runs scored were either singles (10) or sixes (6)! Crathie 68-4.

68-4 became 68-5 as Mostofa dismissed Morris with his very next ball. It was the perhaps the loss of his partner that had temporarily rattled Morris but it was enough. A similar shot that lead to Cunningham’s dismissal also did for Morris. Blackburn again on hand to take his second catch of the match.

With such a quick fall of wickets it was the turns of John Atkinson and Ray Barraclough to come to the crease. The pair put on a partnership of 14, taking the score onto 82 before Portcullis struck again. Chris Owens trapping Barraclough lbw with a full pitched ball.

The score moved onto 93 when Owens struck again with his second wicket of the match. He got Atkinson to hit one towards deep mid-off, Mostofa on hand to take a good catch. Crathie 93-7.

With wickets falling in pairs again it was the turn of Graeme Boden and Brian Geddes to come to the crease. With only three wickets remaining Portcullis would be looking to turn the screws on the Crathie side.

Alas it was not to be. Crathie, not for the first time showing that they can bat deep down the order.

Boden and Geddes looked dangerous and brought Crathie back into the game once more. Geddes showed himself to be particularly dangerous as a quickfire 32 runs (2x6, 2x4) lead to an eighth wicket partnership of 59. Geddes finally holing out to Falconer at deep mid-on as he become Mostafa’s fourth victim of the day in his last over. Crathie 152-8.

Rod Lowery was next man in. He too showed he was handy with the willow. The score moved onto 172 before the ninth wicket fell. Pushing for runs Boden was dismissed narrowly run out through the combination of Mostofa and Owens.

The final man in was the reluctant Grades veteran Bob McAra. Reluctant as he only played as Crathie had no-one else. He was suffering from a shoulder injury, possibly arthritic and winced in pain every time he lifted his bat. He could not play to the off side but was lethal on the leg side playing at anything that was on or outside middle and leg.

With Lowery the pair put on 21 unbeaten runs for the last wicket taking the Crathie score to a massive 193-9 from their 40 overs.

For Crathie Liam Johnstone top scored with singles and sixes score of 46 (6x6). He was backed up by Brian Geddes 32 (2x6,3x4), Graeme Bowden 31(5x4), Rod Lowery 18 not out (2x4), John Atkinson 11(2x4), Ray Barraclough 11(2x4) and Bob McAra 10 not out (1x4).

For Portcullis skipper Shovon Mostofa lead the way taking 4-32 from his 10 overs. Kannan Vijayakrishnan finished with 2-35 from his 10 overs whilst Chris Owens finished with 2-45 from his 10 over spell. Andrew Blackburn was unlucky as a couple of chances spilled in the field stopped him from getting a wicket.

This meant one thing – it was pie time! The legendary Crathie pies were on the go once more and the Portcullis posse were in amongst them once more. Despite his recent diet, the not so tubby Ronnie Falconer could not resist going back for a second pie. He did so with a bit of counter espionage and swallowed the evidence pronto before the alarm was raised!

Following the acts of welcome gluttony, it was time for Portcullis to post a reply. Skipper Shovon Mostofa decided to lead from the front opening the batting with stalwart Dave Forbes. For Crathie Mike Baldry would be looking for some revenge. Liam Johnstone would share the new cherry with Baldry. It was an attack that brought an intriguing left arm - right over the wicket combination.

It was Crathie who struck first blood. A fine leg stump Yorker from Mike Baldry had Forbes playing all around it. Portcullis 6-1.

Vice-Captain Richard Collinson joined skipper Mostofa at the crease. Mostofa was in no mood to be found wanting and took the attack to the Crathie bowling attack. Three fours and a six soon saw Portcullis climb back into the match. Collinson too looked in touch, a well-timed cut through point for two showing signs of optimism for the Portcullis posse.

In the meantime, David Gordon-Russell surprisingly relieved Baldry of his duties after three overs. The change worked though. In his first over Gordon-Russell, with his accurate left arm over deliveries, managed to breach the defences of the Portcullis VC Collinson, bowling him for 4. Portcullis 25-2.

This brought newish boy Chris Owens to the crease. With Mostofa settled, this partnership promised much. Owens had shown in previous matches he was a stylish batsman. He had the knack of scoring quickly without ever having to exert himself. Mostofa is no slouch himself.

The partnership promised much.

Alas it did not come to the fruition that Portcullis would have wished. 11 runs further were scored before Mostofa fell to a fine delivery from the golden arm of Johnston. Portcullis 37-3.

The loss of current skipper Mostofa brought about the arrival of an ex-skipper - Kannan Vijayakrishnan. The experience of the right hander Vijayakrishnan combined with skills of young left hander Owens brought about the beginning of a comeback for Portcullis.

At 41-3 after 10 overs, Portcullis were in touching distance of the score but the loss of wickets had to dry up if they were to raise a challenge.

And that’s exactly what Owens and Vijayakrishnan did!

Mindful of the score they were chasing the pair kept the scoreboard ticking over without giving any chances to the opposition. The score, and Portcullis’s mood, climbed as the pair took the score on. They scored cleverly. Quick running ones and twos were beefed up with the occasional ball being dispatched to the boundary for good measure.

Crathie mixed and matched their bowling in search of a vital breakthrough. Lowery and Geddes were brought into the attack whilst Mike Baldry was brought back early as well.

Neither Owens or Vijayakrishnan were perturbed by this turn of events. In fact, it seemed to inspire them. It was especially unusual to see the classy Baldry get dispatched in his seventh over for thirteen from the willow of Owens. The fact was Owens enjoyed the extra pace that Baldry provided, the ball coming onto the young man’s bat. The first four balls went 6-4-2-1. The last two seen out by Vijayakrishnan.

Owens soon reached his maiden fifty for Portcullis – a single through the covers allowing him to reach such a marvellous milestone, and only the second fifty of the season for Portcullis! This was received with a raucous roar from the Portcullis posse.

The score went onto 131 before Crathie got to claim their fourth wicket. Owens, perhaps tiring after reaching his fifty, popped one up back towards the off-spinner Lowery. Lowery, in no mood to pass up such an opportunity, holding onto a fine return catch. Portcullis 131-4. The fourth wicket partnership worth 94 valuable runs.

Owens out for 56 (1x6,7x4) went off to rapturous applause from both sets of players. It was merited as this was such a fine knock.

This brought the flamboyant batting skills of Andrew Blackburn to the crease. He had form for scoring quickly and this would be the time to enhance this reputation alongside Vijayakrishnan.

Alas it was not to be. A brief partnership of 7 finished when Blackburn was bowled by the returning Johnstone. Portcullis 138-5. The pendulum was beginning to swing back in favour of Crathie.

Next man in was Portcullis legendary veteran Alan Dobey. Dobey was no shrinking violet and showed he was up for the challenge. He scored a run-a-ball 12 whilst enjoying a 27-run partnership with Vijayakrishnan before being bowled by Geddes. Portcullis 165-6.

One veteran was replaced by another. This time it was the introduction of Ronnie Falconer into the fray.

Falconer had got off the mark quickly enough before disaster struck. One ball from Baldry popped up and into Falconer, inducing him into mistiming his drive into the covers. The cry for a single was unheard as Falconer ball-watched. The ball was spilt by the Crathie fielder with both batsmen in no-man’s land. A quick return to the non-striker’s end was enough to see the sickening sign of Vijayakrishnan ran out for 48.

Disaster. Portcullis 168-7.

Falconer was then joined by Bob Adie. A win seemed impossible but nobody had told the ginger twins.

A four from Falconer was followed by quick running between the wickets by the pair.

With two overs left Portcullis needed 20 to win. Baldry, bowling the second last over of the match seemed to have kept things tight. A single from the first three balls. Falconer had not given up hope though as he saw to dispatch Baldry’s fourth ball for a six over deep mid-on. It turned out to be Falconer’s first six since 1989! A single and a wide saw out the over.

This meant that Portcullis needed 11 to tie, 12 to win from the last over.

The first ball faced Falconer pulled towards the deep mid-wicket boundary. Going at good pace on an uneven surface, the ball bounced up suddenly but the fielder Boden showed excellent reflexes to keep the ball in play. A potential four became a single and with that Portcullis’s chance had gone. Even as couple of suicidal runs ended as run-outs as the gallant City Centre side fell short by nine agonising runs.

Portcullis finishing their innings on 184-9. For the City Centre Green Caps Chris Owens had top scored with 56 (1x6, 7x4). Kannan Vijayakrishnan finished with 48 (7x4). Other scores of note were Shovon Mostofa 21 (1x6,3x4), Ronnie Falconer 17 not out (1x6,1x4) and Alan Dobey 12 (1x4).

For Crathie Liam Johnstone finished with 2-55 whilst the other wickets were spread evenly between David Gordon-Russell (1-23), Brian Geddes (1-30), R. Lowery (1-30) and Mike Baldry (1-38).

A fantastic cup tie that saw 377 runs scored in eighty overs for the loss of 18 wickets has come to an end. It had been an epic game of cricket that unfortunately saw Portcullis miss out.

Many of the Portcullis stars may look within. The catches I dropped. The run-out I missed. The shot I played wrong. The over I bowled.

I prefer to look at this match for the courage shown by Bob McAra – the Crathie veteran who turned out reluctantly for his side Crathie today. He finished on 10 not out, his unbeaten partnership of 19 with Lowery the difference between the two sides. He batted, as I said earlier in a lot of pain but did not back away from the challenge. Each ball I bowled at him in my one over he winced in extreme pain just lifting his bat. If Crathie go onto win the Reid Cup this season I hope they reflect the act of courage shown today by Bob.


Although Mostofa finished with 4-32 as well as scoring a fine 21, this week’s man of the match goes to CHRIS OWENS. His maiden fifty (56) was backed up with bowling of 2-45. Kannan Vijayakrishnan also deserves a special mention for his knock of 48 as well as bowling figures of 2-35.


Although sentiment makes me want to plump for Bob McAra, it would be highly unfair not to award it to the devastating LIAM JOHNSTONE. His eccentric sixes and singles score of 46 was backed up by 2 wickets for 55. Brian Geddes, with a knock of 32 and Graeme Boden, who scored 31 also deserve a mention in dispatches.


KANNAN VIJAYAKRISHNAN takes the plaudits this week for his catch in the deep to remove Liam Johnstone. Liam, a powerful hitter of the ball, had put snow on this one. Vijayakrishnan had shown bravery as well as technique to take a super catch.

The day finished with a lovely pint of beer at The Coilacriech Inn amid some spectacular scenery of the surrounding Ballater countryside. We might have lost but it does not get much better than this.

Apart from winning of course!

We wish our friends Crathie all the best in their cup run.

For Portcullis, it’s back to League duties with a tricky home match to Dunecht which must be moved to Sheddocksley One due to the unavailability of their Duthie park Home.

Tuesday, 06 June, 2017

Innings of Crathie

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
9G.Boden315Run Out
10R.Lowery182Not out
11R.McAra101Not out
Leg Byes3
No Balls0

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
5K.Vijayakrishnan487Run Out
8R.Falconer1711Not out
9B.Adie2Run Out
10T.Williams0Run Out
11H.SmithDid not bat
Leg Byes1
No Balls3