Portcullis v. Crathie - Saturday, 22 July, 2017

Toss was won by Crathie, who chose to field.

Portcullis : 166 for 9 (30).

Crathie : 55 all out (11).

Portcullis grab vital win in a game of two pitches.

Week Twelve of the Aberdeen Grades season saw Portcullis back on their home turf of Duthie Park where they would entertain Crathie CC in a vital Grade Three encounter.

With the late call from club skipper Shovon Mostofa with a stomach bug, a quick confab between Vice- Captain Richard Collinson and ex-Captain Dave Mitchell saw Chris Owens elevated to the role as Captain of the day.

Alas Owens first job of the day was unsuccessful - losing the toss to Crathie Captain Chris Bell. The wicket looked like the one that Portcullis played Grampian 2nds on so being asked to bat first was a blow to the City Centre Green Caps.

Owens decided to lead from the front and opened the batting with himself and Ronnie Falconer. It came as no surprise that Mick Bestwick and Mike Baldrey would open the bowling for Crathie.

Crathie drew first blood with the early loss of Falconer. Bestwick was unflustered when Falconer pushed an outswinger through extra cover for the first boundary for the day. Two balls later Bestwick produced a pearler of a delivery getting one to pitch outside leg step ad swing out to knock back Falconer’s off-pole. Portcullis 7-1.

With Owens as Captain, his first ‘surprise’ of the day was to promote Owen Thorpe to No3. With regular no 3 Gary Steward side-lined with a hernia, this was always going to be a difficult position to be filled. Well it had the potential to have been. Thorpe settled well into his new role giving nothing away to the experienced pairing of Bestwick and Baldry.

Owens continued to tick along nicely, enjoying particularly the bowling of Baldry as he looked comfortable against him just as he had to when the pair last met in the Cup. Owens had cruised to 16 when Baldry captured his first wicket of the day. Baldry managed to get one to lift from a length into Owens. Owens flashed at it hard and it flew to gully where Bill Slee was on hand to take a superb catch a fellow half his age would have dined out on for many a year! Owens gone for 16. Portcullis 25-2.

It was the turn of ex-skipper Dave Mitchell to join Thorpe at the crease. The pair added 12 for the next wicket before Baldry struck again with his second wicket of the day. It was the prize wicket of Mitchell who fell to a clever piece of bowling from the Crathie quick.

Baldry bowled what seemed to be a medium pacer – slower ball outside off stump which Mitchell pounced at to drive for a four.

Alas it was a well disguised off-spinner.

The result was the ball bit into the pitch and turned into the stumps leaving Mitchell stranded – committed to the drive – and looking quite reckless as the ball clipped the top of the stumps. Portcullis 37-3 and Mitchell back to the trees outfoxed by a cracking ball!

Another ex-skipper Kannan Vijayakishnan was next to the crease to join the solid Thorpe at the crease.

The Portcullis batsmen at he the crease managed to complete the first part of their partnership –seeing of the openers Baldry and Bestwick from their first spells. The Crathie opening bowlers initially replaced by the pairing of Bill “The Cat” Slee and David Gordon Russell. Russell opened with a maiden whilst Slee was looking a little rusty. Vijayakishnan took a shine to Slee’s bowling and three boundaries saw Slee rested after two overs.

Tomkinson came on in place of Slee but he too was erratic with the cherry. He too also was taken off as his two overs went for 20 as Vijayakishnan and Thorpe began to enjoy themselves.

Russell, after his initial maiden, struggled too. Vijayakishnan was now in full flow getting full value for his shots, bizarrely only interested in scoring in even numbers. This made Thorpe look as if he was a tad slow, of which he was not! The game beginning to creep towards the home side.

Russell had to leave the dance floor for skipper Chris Bell whilst Tomkinson made way for Mick Bestwick to come back a little earlier than Crathie would have liked.

With all the mixing and matching of the Crathie bowling attack, Portcullis moved onto 113 when the fourth wicket fell. It was Thorpe who was to fall, bowled by a fine yorker from Bell, the delivery forcing the Portcullis player to overbalance and fall in the process.

It was not a fall from grace however as Thorpe had compiled an excellent 27 runs – excelling in the no 3 position and a fine choice by skipper Owens. A stand of 76 runs for the fourth wicket partnerships and a truly vital one.

Richard Collinson was next and he joined in the fun, sharing a 21-run partnership before bowled by a returning and rejuvenated Bill Slee. Portcullis 134-4. Collinson gone for 6.

It was at this point Vijayakishnan scored his first odd numbered score pushing a single to take himself to 41. The previous 40 runs consisting of nine fours and two twos’. He also began to slow down temporarily. It had been warm earlier on and maybe he was feeling drained. A quick drink of water between wickets got him back into the swing of things.

Wickets fell around him though at steady intervals. First up Jake Dawson was trapped lbw by the returning Baldry. Mick Bestwick, finishing off his fine 12 over spell, bowled Ross McKenzie.

Baldry would power onto a well-deserved five-for and very nearly a hat-trick. First up he bowled Andrew Blackwell and then trapped Simon Winstanley lbw with his next delivery.

Last man Brian Harper hung in for the Portcullis cause, initially by surviving Baldry’s hat-trick ball, thus giving Vijayakishnan the opportunity to the final few overs to execute a few further lusty blows to take on the Portcullis total up to 166-9 from their 45 overs.

For Portcullis, the King of the Willow was Kannan Vijayakishnan who finished on an excellent 76 not out that included 12 fantastic fours. Owen Thorpe weighed in with a precious 27 runs (1 x4). The other players with double figures were Chris Owens 16 (3 x 4) and Dave Mitchell 11 (1 x 4).

Crathie’s bowling figures were led by Mike Baldry who returned figures of 12-2-44-5. Mick Bestwick showed he had lost none of his bowling skills finishing with 2-23 from his 12 overs. Bill Slee, recovering from his stiff start, returned with figures of 1-37 to go along with his spectacular gully catch. Skipper Chris Bell finishing with figures of 1-15.

After a fine tea where Mrs Falconer’s home-made Lentil Soup was the order of the day to go along with the usual fayre on offer it was the turn of Crathie to post their reply.

Portcullis had posted a daunting total of 166 on what looked like a tricky pitch with a quick outfield. With that in mind Crathie perhaps went with the positive opening partnership of the ever reliable and talented Phil Cunningham. To partner him opening the innings, the flamboyant stroke-play of Mick Bestwick. If this partnership was given time to bed in, runs would come quickly and the target for victory would reduce at an alarming rate.

For Portcullis, although Owens had brought fresh insight and ideas of his own through his captaincy today, he did not do this through sacrifice of the tried and trusted. On this occasion, he would go with the tried and trusted pairing of Ross McKenzie and Dave Mitchell, although this time giving McKenzie first dibs with the brand new cherry.

Prior to the start of the Crathie innings, the young seamer McKenzie had been taken aside by the veteran Grades seamer Brian Harper. Ideas had been exchanged from the experienced sage to the young but willing to learn pupil.

This exchange in views was to pay off in style!

McKenzie had shown throughout this season the happy habit of picking up early wickets. Today would be no exception. A slight change in his fourth delivery saw a different deviation from the three balls previously. Cunningham, having not detected said change, defences were surprisingly beaten and it was a very rare sight to see such a talented batsman bowled so early in a game. Crathie 0-1.

McKenzie, unselfish in his early glory, immediately pointed to Harper during the Portcullis celebrations thanking the ex-Gordonians stalwart for his tactical astuteness. The rest of the Portcullis side thanked the pair too. Such a breakthrough early doors would do wonders for the City Centre Green Caps confidence.

It was the turn of the unknown (to Portcullis) Ian Tomkinson to join Bestwick at the crease. Bestwick was not to be perturbed by the early loss of his opening partner. On a quick outfield Bestwick got full value for his shots. He showed no fear as he quickly dispatched three boundaries with exquisite ease.

He had played and miss a couple from Mitchell too. One had found the edge but was quick and perfectly dissected the keeper-1st slip pairing of Collinson and Falconer, even with the ball grazing the top of Falconer’s left hand.

The score moved onto 16 when Portcullis captured their second wicket. It came from the persistent bowling of Mitchell and captured the prize wicket of Bestwick.

Mitchell, on this occasion got one to lift from a good length onto Bestwick. His bat followed the sudden upward spiral of the ball, when perhaps a drop of the hands and the wearing of the delivery would be more advisable. With the bat rising with the trajectory of the ball, it was all Bestwick could do was to prod back the ball back to Mitchell who finished off the caught and bowled. Crathie 16-2. The dangerous Bestwick back in the trees for a solid 15.

Next man in for Crathie was Mike Baldrey who joined Tomkinson at the crease.

It appeared Baldry decided to go out all guns blazing from the start. An initial walk down the wicket to the first delivery of McKenzie appeared to have flustered the Portcullis bowler.

First round to Baldry. McKenzie would have to bide his time.

The score moved onto 26 before Portcullis grabbed their next wicket. It was not the gung-ho Baldry to go but the rather unfortunate Tomkinson. Ex-skipper Mitchell bowling the Crathie batsman with one that stayed low. Crathie 26-3.

26-3 became 28-4 as the kamikaze Baldry fell next. A hearty swing at a full-length McKenzie delivery was mistimed. The result being Baldry’s leg stump propelled back. McKenzie the victor on this occasion.

David Gordon Russell was next man at the crease. He joined fellow new batsman Chris Bell at the crease.

Bell was the next man to fall. Again, it was that man McKenzie who this time produced one to stay low on a good length. Bell bowled and back at the trees. Crathie 30-5.

30-5 then became 30-6 as the stubborn Russell fell too, bowled by a low one from Mitchell.

It had been this passage of play that had won the match for Portcullis. 16-1 had suddenly become 30-6 and there was no way back for Crathie, perhaps mindful of their Cup Semi Final the following day. During this the wicket had been unkind to the away side due to irregular low bounce.

Wickets fell at regular intervals after that. R. Barrowclough fell next (sadly it was Ross and not Roy. Although to this ‘Porridge’ fan I can take solace I can always call this cricketer Mr) LBW to one from the unplayable Mitchell.

Bill Slee and James Atkinson dug in and managed to see off the pairing of Mitchell and McKenzie. Slee weighing anchor whilst Atkinson swung true to show that the Crathie tail had some wag in it.

Portcullis skipper decided to bring forward the sage bowler Brian Harper forward as first change, once again implementing his own identity into the Portcullis captaincy.

It was a wise move. Harper brought a different dimension to the Portcullis bowling attack. Left arm round with accuracy and experience to boot.

It proved to be the last chapter of this match.

The aggressive Tomkinson fell to the change of angle of Harper’s deliveries. Harper getting one to lift as Tomkinson went for a drive, Richard Collinson diving to his right to hold onto a fine catch. It was a more than welcome reward to the Portcullis wicketkeeper who had a fine afternoon with the gloves.

It was then the turns of the youngsters Dylan Atkinson and Jon Ewen to enter the fray. Young Atkinson was unfortunate to fall first, a pull towards square leg would have normally yielded a single, was it not for the athleticism of the fielder there - Kannan Vijayakrishnan. Due to the obvious stage of the match’s conclusion, this turn of events was, in true panto style, reacted to quite correctly with a chorus of boos by both sides (albeit sarcastically by the Portcullis side).

Young Jon Ewen had to walk into the unwanted role of last man standing for Crathie. Facing him would be the Portcullis bowler Brian Harper with the opportunity of a hat-trick. Harper’s hat-trick delivery was a decent good length ball, one meriting a hat-trick delivery.

What happened next was a thing of beauty.

The (perhaps nervous) youngster rocking back onto his back foot and pulling Harper’s delivery through mid-wicket for an absolute corking four!

The spirit of panto once again rose to the fore as both sides applauded an excellent shot that each of the remaining twenty-one players would have been proud to have played!

Alas that was young Ewen’s day in the sun there and then. Harper finishing the innings in the same over.

Crathie all out for 55.

For Portcullis, Dave Mitchell returned the best bowling figures of the day with 4-30 from his seven overs. Brian Harper finished the Crathie innings with the spectacular bowling figures of 1-0-5-0. Ross McKenzie unlucky on this occasion not to get his name in the paper or the Grades website with a return of 3-19.

Crathie’s honour was defended best with the bat by Mick Bestwick with a top score of 15. Jon Atkinson dug in with a late order knock of 14.

Next up in the Grades for Portcullis is a Home Fixture against Aberdeen Super Kings on August 5th.

As a special reward to all season ticket holders (cost £0.00) and to all of our Internet, Facebook and Twitter friends, all of our remaining home (and) away fixtures (as always) are free of charge! If you love cricket – watching or playing – come along and introduce yourself! We will be glad to see you!


KANNAN VIJAYAKRISHNAN takes the honours this week. Owen Thorpe dug in for a precious 27 at a vital time and deserves merit. Those who also merit a mention in dispatches are Brian Harper (bowling figures of 3-5), Ross McKenzie (bowling figures of 3-19) and last but not least Dave Mitchell (4-30 with the ball and 11 with the bat).


MIKE BALDRY narrowly takes the honours from Mick Bestwick. Baldry takes it for his fine persistent bowling figures of 5-44. Mick Bestwick narrowly missed out with a fine knock of 15 and bowling figure of 2-23 from 12 overs.


RICHARD COLLINSON takes it on this occasion on the removal of Jon Atkinson to cap a fine performance with the gloves.

Wednesday, 26 July, 2017

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
5K.Vijayakrishnan7612Not out
11B.Harper0Not out
Leg Byes1
No Balls1

Innings of Crathie

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
9B.Slee3Not out
Leg Byes1
No Balls0