Portcullis v. Dunecht - Saturday, 10 June, 2017

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to bat.

Portcullis : 156 all out (30).

Dunecht : 134 for 9 (17).

Portcullis emerge with victory in tough encounter.

Week five of the 2017 Grade Three campaign saw Portcullis entertain Dunecht in a vital home fixture.

Although it was a home tie, the fixture had to be moved to Sheddocksley One as Portcullis’s beloved Duthie Park was off limits for the next two Saturday’s for cricket to be played.

Once again, the unpredictable weather came into play as, for the second week in a row, the possibilities of reducing the match or the rain calculator could influence the result of the match.

Although the weather was dry – just - it was a strong wind and a damp outfield. With the wicket being damp too. Skippers Shovon Mostofa and Dunecht’s Matt Witz may have been unsure of exactly what to do should either win the toss.

It was Portcullis’s Mostofa who won the toss and he took the bold move of batting first. After recent weeks of which Portcullis had put in decent batting performances, the skipper decided to back those around him to take the game to Dunecht.

With Dave Forbes unavailable for this match, skipper Mostofa decided to open the batting with himself and Chris Owens, Owens fresh from an impressive half century against Crathie the previous week. For Dunecht the new ball would be shared by Steve Derrett and Mark Walden.

The opening pair took the score onto 12 before disaster struck, Chris Owens falling to the accurate bowling of Derrett. Derrett got one to swing back into the left hander. Owens got bat to it but could only inside edge it onto his pads which then deflected the ball back into the stumps. Portcullis 12-1. Owens off the ground for 10.

It was the turn of the classy Gary Steward to take to the pitch to join Mostofa at the crease. The pair could only take the score onto 19 before disaster struck.

It appeared that Mostofa was a tad unlucky to fall to a fine spell of bowling from Derrett. Having bowled an impressive batch of outswinging deliveries to both Mostofa and Steward, Derrett fooled Mostofa by getting one to nip back. The result being that Mostofa was trapped lbw to the experienced Dunecht seamer. The finger went up as the ball was hitting middle and leg. As he went off it became apparent that he had nicked the ball. The umpire at square leg confirmed he had heard two noises. Neither the umpire at the non-strikers end nor the other batsman, bowler and fielders at mid-off and mid-on heard anything. The wind blowing down towards the batsman from the bowler’s end suppressing any noise. Portcullis 19-2.

This brought Dave Mitchell to the crease and a welcome return to the Portcullis colours after a lengthy absence. The old partnership of Steward and Mitchell brought much stability to the Portcullis side. Mitchell being the main aggressor whilst Steward played his own calm innings. The pair took the score onto 50 before Dunecht claimed their third wicket.

It went to the first change bowler and Dunecht Secretary Alan Burnett. Burnett got one to rise at Steward outside off stump. Steward mistimed a cut and the ball popped up into the covers, Walden on hand to take a fine catch. Portcullis 50-3. The dangerous Steward gone for 15.

It was a case of the ex-skippers, Kannan Vijayakrishnan and Dave Mitchell, to be at the crease next. Mitchell was in good touch scoring at will whilst Vijayakrishnan dug in for the cause. The fourth wicket partnership yielding 32 runs before Vijayakrishnan was trapped lbw to new bowler Rahman. Portcullis 82-4.

This brought the happy go lucky Andy Phillip to the crease to join Mitchell. Phillip batted with extreme patience initially to allow Mitchell to reach his 50 with a single through mid-wicket. Phillip having played himself in, then began enjoying himself. It was as if a switch was flicked as a string of dot balls became a flurry of swashbuckling runs. His innings of 18 was of an eccentric nature. His first ball was a single to get off the mark. This was followed by 18 dot balls as he supported Mitchell for the Portcullis cause. The switch being flicked, he then went on a run-scoring spre, three boundaries surrounded by 2 2’s and a single. My guess was he was having so much fun that it brought a momentary lapse of concentration. This was enough of an opportunity for such a fine wicketkeeper as Matt Witz to whip the bails off as Phillip briefly left the crease.

A fine piece of glovework. Portcullis 127-5. Phillip gone for 18 in a valuable partnership of 45 to the fine bowling of young Monnapillai, a loan signing for the day from AGSFP’s.

Ross McKenzie was in next to join Mitchell. The score went onto 135 before double trouble set in for Portcullis. McKenzie was first to go, trapped lbw by the returning impressive Walden. Walden finally getting a justifiable wicket that his bowling deserved.

This was soon followed up by the prize wicket of Mitchell. Walden finally removing him for 68. Walden using all his height to produce an impressive Yorker to finally breach the defences of Mitchell. Portcullis now wobbling at 135-7.

Mitchell’s knock of 68 was his first half century in over a year. It contained eight sparkling fours and a mightily pulled six between midwicket and mid-on. As it turned out it was to be the only six of the match.

With such a turnaround, this brought the veteran pair of Richard Collinson and Ronnie Falconer to the crease. The pair enjoyed a partnership of 20 for the eighth wicket. Collinson cutting and pulling, Falconer driving a couple of fours to the Portcullis cause.

The score moved onto 155 before Collinson fell, bowled by the returning Derrett. Chris Poolman came in next and cut a single with his first ball putting Falconer back on strike.

The impressive Derrett then claimed his fourth wicket of the day. He got one to check back at Falconer which induced the Ginger maestro to mistime a drive towards cover. The steady hands of Jim Donald on hand to take a fine catch.

Portcullis 156-9.

Alas there was no further score as Walden, bowling the last over of Portcullis’s innings, got one to rise at Poolman from short of a length. It was all Poolman could do to fend the ball upwards – Walden rushing in to complete his own caught and bowled.

Portcullis all out for 156 in 44.2 overs. For the home side, ex-skipper Dave Mitchell batted quite magnificently for an excellent 68. He was backed up by a career best 18 by Andy Phillip. Other double figure scorers for Portcullis were Gary Steward (15), Chris Owens (10) and Ronnie Falconer (10). For Dunecht the bowling was lead once again by the fine seam bowling of Steve Derrett, who finished with 4-31. He was complemented by the impressive Mark Walden who returned fine figures of 3-29. The pairing showing impressive and contrasting styles to have the potential to be one of the best new ball partnerships in Grade Three. They were backed up by the other wicket takers – Ludwig Rahman (1-17), Alan Burnett (1-22) and Felipe Monnapillai (1-22).

Portcullis felt that 156 was perhaps slightly above par score for this Sheddocksley pitch. Although the wicket did have the odd low ball, it remained reasonably steady. The damp outfield with a decent growth of grass, causing the outfield to be quite sluggish. The Dunecht bowlers coped admirably with the damp ball, what must have been difficult to grip and a bar of soap at times.

Tea was taken and, one the one day that Mrs Falconer’s legendary Lentil Soup would have been most welcome at the chilly Sheddocksley, it was found out she was on holiday in Benidorm. Her soup making skills alongside her. Let’s hope she takes Benidorm’s sunshine back with her!

Once tea was completed the wind appeared to have died down enough to put the bails back on (they were removed after the 31st over such was the strength of the wind) as the pitch continued to dry out.

Portcullis would open their bowling with the experience and guile of Dave Mitchell combined with the youth and vibrancy of Ross McKenzie. For Dunecht it would be the combination of Jim Baxter lookalike Jim Donald with the unknown quality of R. Allan.

It was Jim Donald who won the battle of the early exchanges. His timing, particularly with anything on or outside middle and leg , in fine touch. The nonchalance he showed with two fine clips off his legs towards back of square leg easily reaching the boundary from the first two overs of Mitchell.

McKenzie’s first two overs were the more entertaining though. His first over resulted with the wicket of Allan, struggling with McKenzie’s right arm round, could only fend the last ball of the over back towards the oncoming bowler. McKenzie’s loud shout and steady hands completing the first Portcullis wicket of the day. Dunecht 7-1.

McKenzie’s second over was in complete contrast however. Skipper Matt Witz came in to replace Allan and a quick single saw Donald now facing McKenzie in the second over. Donald took it upon himself to expand his repertoire of boundaries with a further clip past square leg and a powerful on drive easily clearing Chris Owens at mid-on. Although an early wicket had been taken, Dunecht, and Donald, were looking comfortable with the run rate at this stage.

McKenzie, with the wise words of Mitchell in his ear, soon settled back down. He got back into his natural bowling rhythm. The bowling into the steady breeze assisting his inswing to the right handers. This resulted in the prize wicket of Witz in his third over. McKenzie getting one to swing back and breach the defences of the Dunecht skipper. Portcullis 26-2.

It brought about the arrival of the in-form Steve Derrett to the crease to join Donald. This partnership brought about Dunecht’s best partnership of the day. The pair batted quite diligently, seeing off the pairing of Mitchell and McKenzie. M & M were to be replaced by skipper Shovon Mostofa and Gary Steward but initially the Dunecht pairing soldiered on.

The score moved onto 73 before Portcullis were to capture their third wicket of the day. Although the Dunecht pairing had made a fine 47 run partnership, the Portcullis bowlers had kept things tight. The result was that Dunecht began to get behind the run-rate.

This perhaps lead to the third wicket to fall. It was Steve Derrett who was next to go. It was the returning Ross McKenzie’s second spell that finally broke through the defences of Derrett, encouraging him to cut at a rising ball from the Portcullis bowler. The Dunecht batsman did not have enough control however and it was all he could do to steer the ball towards point where the steady hands of Richard Collinson completed the valuable wicket at a crucial time. Dunecht 73-3 after 25 overs.

Next man in was Tim DeGabriele. In bizarre circumstances, it was an early scare survived by Degabriel that lead to the falling of the fourth, fifth and sixth wickets and turned the match back towards Portcullis.

A catch in the outfield by Mitchell from the bowling of Steward was surprisingly deemed as not clean. This came as a surprise to the Portcullis side and ruffled a few feathers, especially Stewards. The feeling of being hard done by inspired Steward to bowl about 5-10 miles per hour quicker.

Steward’s new found express pace produced instantaneous results when, with the last ball of the same over – the sixth over - he produced an exhilarating Yorker to dismiss danger man Jim Donald for a cavalier 38. Dunecht 80-4.

There was further motivation for the returning Ross McKenzie as he trapped next man in Marc Walden lbw. Dunecht 81-5. McKenzie’s fourth wicket of the match.

McKenzie then went on to complete his second Grades five-for for the season in as many League matches as he got new batsman L. Rahman to pop one back to McKenzie. He made no mistake in taking his second caught and bowled in the match further piling on his MVP points! Dunecht 81-6.

If Portcullis thought that was Dunecht done for, they were in for a major surprise. Next man in P. McMorris, joining in with Degabriele as they tried to bring themselves back into the game. By this time the run rate had crept up. Having scored 81 in 28 overs, Dunecht required 76 in their remaining 17 overs. A big ask on this pitch.

With the outfield slow and the bowling accurate, the run rate continued to creep up. Portcullis mixed their main four bowlers of Mitchell, McKenzie, Mostofa and Steward well. McMorris did eventually fall, ran out chasing a quick single from wicketkeeper Vijayakrishnan. Staying calm and throwing the ball, gloved, in a style that Michael Van Gerwen would have been proud of, the Portcullis skipper left the Dunecht batsman stranded outside his crease. Dunecht 116-8.

Gary Steward took his second wicket of the day when he had Potdar caught at mid-on by Chris Owens. Mostofa also got a wicket of his own, bowling young Monnapillai. The Dunecht innings finally finished at 134-9 from their 45 overs. Portcullis finally grabbing their first win of the Grades season. It was a welcome victory against tough opponents.

The pick of the Portcullis bowling attack was Ross McKenzie whose 12 overs saw him finish with 5-40. He was ably backed up by Gary Steward (2-27 from 10) and Shovon Mostofa (1-43 from 11). Ex-skipper Dave Mitchell, for the first time in 50 matches saw himself go wicketless. His 12 overs though only conceded 20 run No mean feat when you consider he was clipped so gracefully for fours from the bat of Jim Donald during his first two overs. His tight bowling spell counting for a lot in this match.

The pick of the Dunecht batting line-up was Jim (Baxter) Donald with a fine seemingly effortless knock of 38 (5x4). He was backed up by an unbeaten knock of 36 (3x4) by Tim Degabriele. The other batsmen to get into double figures for Dunecht were Steve Derrett (23 – 2x4) and P. McMorris (14 – 1x4).

It is surprising to find that after today’s performance that Dunecht are bottom of Grade Three. They certainly did not play like that and should they continue to do so, they will surely climb the table. For Portcullis this victory will hopefully be the start of an upward spiral that will see them climb to safety in Grade Three.


Ex-skipper DAVE MITCHELL takes the plaudits today. His determined knock of 68 was backed up by a bowling spell of 12-2-20-0. His tight bowling turning the match for the City Centre Green Caps. Ross McKenzie can feel a tad unlucky as in most matches a splendid five-for would often see him walk away with the plaudits. Other performances of note came from Gary Steward (15 & 2-27 from 10) and Andy Philip with a middle order knock of 18.


Although the splendid batting of Jim McDonald with his knock of 38 which included a “dig-out” of a low shooter of a delivery from Steward tempted me, I have to plump for the excellent all-round performance of STEVE DERRETT to collect the honours. His bowling spell of 12-2-31-4 was backed up with a fine knock of 23. Other performances of note were Tim Degabriele (36 not out) and Marc Walden (11.2-1-29-3).


ROSS MCKENZIE’s second caught and bowled just pips Chris Owen’s and Richard Collinson’s efforts.

Next up another home fixture away from Duthie Park. This time the opponents will be AGSFP 2nds.

Wednesday, 14 June, 2017

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
11T.Williams0Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls8

Innings of Dunecht

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
5T.Degabriel362Not out
8P.McMorris141Run OutK.Vijayakrishnan
11A.Burnett1Not out
Leg Byes1
No Balls4