Portcullis v. Grampian 2nds - Saturday, 01 July, 2017

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to field.

Grampian 2nds : 68 all out (5).

Portcullis : 72 for 3 (30).

Portcullis grab vital win v Grampian 2nds.

Week nine of the 2017 Grades season saw Portcullis draw swords against 4th place Grampian 2nds. This would be the first of the reverse fixtures for the season. All of the Grade Three sides having been allocated one match each against all of their league opponents at this stage.

With both Shovon Mostofa and Vice-Captain Richard Collinson unavailable to play, it was the turn of this season’s other Vice-Captain Dave Forbes to lead the club for the first time in a Grades fixture.

He got his first duty correct, tossing the coin high and spinning it frantically enough to induce the Grampian skipper Sojan Joseph to call incorrectly.

It would prove to be a vital toss to win.

The pitch has dried out sufficiently for play but the wicket had a damp muddy look about it. I would imagine it to be akin to one of those uncovered wickets that ex-England spinner Derek Underwood used to cause havoc with. It was an easy decision to make for Forbes and he did so - Grampian being asked to bat first.

Grampian opened the batting with Sojan Joseph and Binoj Matthew. Portcullis in the meantime opened their bowling attack with the tried and trusted pairing of Dave Mitchell and Ross McKenzie.

After a tight opening pair of overs from the Portcullis pair, it was Portcullis who would strike blood first. It would be ex-skipper Mitchell who would cast the first blow. With the second ball of his second over he got one to stay low and bowl the luckless Sojan. Grampian 2nds 4-1.

Johnson Varghese Jnr joined Binoj at the crease and the pair dug in against the Portcullis pair, taking the score onto 17 before Portcullis struck once again. This time it was the turn of young Ross McKenzie to grab his first wicket of the match. McKenzie duped Binoj Matthew into driving one skywards and towards him. McKenzie, perhaps not trusting any of the rest of us with the responsibility, assumed the role of catcher holding onto a difficult swirling ball to complete a fine caught and bowled. Grampian 2nds 17-2.

17-2 soon became 17-3 as Mitchell, in the very next over, trapped new batsman Rajeesh Nandan lbw.

This turn of events brought S. Matthew to the crease. The partnership moved onto 21 before Portcullis struck once more. It was to be McKenzie’s second wicket of the day, the young ginger speedster getting his in-swinger working to bowl Varghese Jnr. Grampian 2nds 21-4.

It was the turn of V. Kannan to come to the crease to take the fight back to Portcullis. Initially he did so, taking the score onto 32 before McKenzie, coming to the end of his first spell, struck again with a fine Yorker to remove Matthew. Grampian 2nds 32-5.

Although it had been a great start for Portcullis, they could not rest on their laurels. In the previous fixture they had Grampian 2nds 21-5 at one point but the recently promoted side showed they could bat right down the order finishing on 108 all out to win by 4 runs.

Back to the present Saji Joseph joined Kannan at the crease as Portcullis made their first bowling change, bringing on Owen Thorpe to relieve McKenzie downhill. Mitchell was feeling fresh and wished to continue up the hill. He was bowling tightly, moving the ball at will and seemed to revel in the same conditions just as Underwood had in the past.

Thorpe opened his spell with a fine maiden over but it would be his looser second over that would bring about the next wicket.

It was the most fascinating of deliveries and a total fluke. Trying to find his length, Thorpe failed miserably but, as a result produced the most unplayable of deliveries. The ball pitched ridiculously short, well within the bowler’s half of the wicket. With the wicket being so damp the ball never got above the knee roll of the pads of his opposite counterpart Kannan. As a result, the ball cheekily descended into a second bounce Yorker, the second bounce careering into the base of the stumps.

Kannan very unfortunate to be heading back to the trees. Grampian 2nds 36-6.

This brought the arrival of Naji Itheera. Itheera was the chief tormentor of Portcullis in their previous match, smashing 31 not out as the Grampian tail wagged that day. Portcullis would have to be on their guard from such a threat. With the wicket being damp, Portcullis wanted to wrap the Grampian 2nds innings ASAP.

Joseph and Itheera filled their boots taking the score onto 54 before Mitchell produced a rapid wicket taking spell that hurtled him towards his first five-for for the season. Mitchell got there, giving thanks to the athleticism and safe hands of team mate Chris Owens.

First to go was Joseph. He pulled a leg-ish ball towards the mid-wicket area only to watch in despair as Owens swooped low to his left and clutch a fantastic one-handed catch to remove the gutted Grampian star. Grampian 2nds 54-7.

It was the turn of young A. James. He hung about to help Itheera to build a score before falling the same way as Joseph. Mitchell again inducing a Grampian player to clip the ball again to the midwicket area where Owens once again on hand to take another excellent catch. Grampian 58-8.

58-8 became 58-9 as Mitchell managed to bowl new batsman Ravindranath with his next ball to set up his hat-trick opportunity.

Alas I was not to be as Itheera continued his swashbuckling onslaught against the Portcullis posse.

The score moved onto 68 when Portcullis managed to wrap up the Grampian 2nds innings. It was the returning Ross McKenzie who would wrap it up for the City Centre Green Caps, his first delivery breaching the gambling defences of Itheera, bowling the Grampian danger man for a defiant personal score of 19.

As mentioned earlier Itheera top scored for the Grampian side with a knock of 19. Chief destroyer for the Portcullis side was Dave Mitchell returning top figures of 11 overs, 6 maidens, 11 runs conceded for 5 wickets. The “Golden Arm” of Ross McKenzie continued to wreak havoc with bowling figures of 4-33. The other wicket going to the “delivery of the season” arm of Owen Thorpe.

After a pleasant tea in the park (geddit?! – oh please yourselves!) it was the turn of Portcullis to post their reply.

Skipper for the day Dave Forbes decided to open with himself and Chris Owens, once again offering the batting right-handed and left-handed batting combination to upset the opening Grampian bowlers. The opening bowling partnership for Grampian would be shared by the Joseph’s – Saji opening with spin whilst Sojan would open with seam.

The results of the seam spin combo were mixed. Saji, perhaps devoid of bounce got no joy with his spin. The seam of Sojan produced initial results however. When the score reached 7 for Portcullis. Sojan struck gold – capturing the dangerous wicket of Chris Owens. His first wicket of the match being of a bittersweet experience – bowling a fellow luckless Owens with a similar ball that stayed low just as he himself had been dismissed. Portcullis 7-1.

Skipper Forbes was to fall next. With the spin of Saji producing little, Grampian turned to the seam of Varghese Jnr. Varghese Jnr had a mixed bag of a first over – bowling five leg side wides which added to the fielding side’s frustration. Perhaps the same frustration intoxicated Forbes as when he finally got on to play at, he pushed at it too early. The result was that he prodded it upwards back towards the forward moving Varghese who was in no mood to give up such an opportunity. A fine caught and bowled which had Portcullis 12-2.

The result of this saw Portcullis with two relatively new batsmen at the crease – Ronnie Falconer and Kannan Vijayakrishnan. The pair took the score onto 23 before Falconer got himself in a tangle, finding himself bowled from a fine delivery from Sojan. Portcullis 23-3.

Dave Mitchell came to the crease next to join the watchful Vijayakrishnan. Thankfully for the Portcullisians this was to be the partnership that would take them to victory. Mitchell found himself in the unusual situation of playing second fiddle as Vijayakrishnan was no longer in the mood to hang about. The two Vijayakrishnan fours were surpassed by two fantastic sixes – the second of those finishing the match in spectacular style! Portcullis victors on this occasion by seven wickets.

Once again, the match ended in good spirits – both teams being generous of spirit. Exactly as it was on the opening match of the season when the result was reversed.

For Portcullis, Kannan Vijayakrishnan top scored with 30 not out whilst Dave Mitchell anchored in with a solid 9 not out. The chief wicket taker for Grampian 2nds was Sojan Joseph, returning solid bowling figures of 7 overrs, 1 maiden, 13 runs, 2 wickets.

It’s easy to see why Grampian 2nds are a dangerous side. On any other given day, they could turn a result like this on its head. The two youngsters who played, A. James and H. Saji, will go onto to be excellent cricketers should they choose to. The Grampian club have a big future ahead of them and, if they continue to produce youngsters of this quality, will only lengthen that process.


It was the battle of the ex-skippers. Today’s trophy fell to DAVE MITCHELL. His splendid bowling spell of 11 overs, 5 maidens, 11 runs for 5 wickets simply suffocated the free scoring will of the Grampian side. Kannan Vijayakrishnan, with 30 not out, Ross McKenzie wit bowling figures of 4-33 and Chris Owens with two cracking catches, also merit mentions.


NAJI ITHEEERA, with a top score of 19 takes the honours for this. I can only imagine batting at eight is his, and only his choice alone. My own point of view is he should either bat at five/come into bat at around 30 overs. He has fantastic hand-eye co-ordination, quick hands and is a powerful run machine who has the potential took take matches away from teams in this role.


CHRIS OWENS takes the honours for the wonderful one-handed catch that got rid of the dogged Saji Joseph. His second catch could, on another day, have won catch of the match. Chris’s first catch could be up for “Catch of The Season”.

Next up for Portcullis is an away trip to Stonehaven. A tough affair against the only team left in the Grades with a 100% win record (playing).

Thursday, 06 July, 2017

Innings of Grampian 2nds

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
3J.Varghese Jnr81BowledR.McKenzie
11H.Saji41Not out
Leg Byes0
No Balls1

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
1D.Forbes1CaughtJ.Varghese JnrJ.Varghese Jnr
4K.Vijayakrishnan3022Not out
5D.Mitchell9Not out
6A.PhilipDid not bat
7B.AdieDid not bat
8P.BrownDid not bat
9O.ThorpeDid not bat
10J.DawsonDid not bat
11R.McKenzieDid not bat
Leg Byes0
No Balls0
3J.Varghese Jnr4100141143.54