Portcullis v. Crathie - Saturday, 15 June, 2019

Toss was won by Portcullis, who chose to field.

Crathie : 134 all out (30).

Portcullis : 117 all out (16).

Crathie Come Out on Top in Balmoral Battle.

Saturday June 15th saw Portcullis at ‘home’ to Crathie for their next round of Grade Three fixtures.

The word ‘home’ was deliberately put in inverted commas as Portcullis playing at home has been something of a

misnomer. Portcullis, sharing Duthie Park with Siyapa this season, have been cursed thus far. When the fixtures came out

Portcullis were found that four of their ‘home’ games were to be played away from Duthie Park due to events at the park clashing

with the club’s fixtures.

This ‘home’ clash was one of these fixtures to be played away from Duthie Park. The original game was to be played at

Kings College, but that venue too was taken away from the available pitches. Used to their 2019 nomadic existence, Portcullis

agreed to switch the home fixture to Balmoral. After all, there are a lot of worse places to play cricket and it would be the first time

this ground would be used as a home fixture for the City Centre side.

Skipper Owen Thorpe won the toss against counterpart Justin Thomas and put the Crathie side into bat.

Crathie would open with Peter Cunningham and J. Atkinson. For Portcullis the new cherry would once again be shared by

Ross McKenzie and Shovon Mostofa.

It would be Portcullis who would strike first, and it would be Atkinson who would be the first to go. Chasing after a nippy

Mostofa outswinger, Atkinson got enough edge on the bat to send it towards Falconer at first slip. Falconer, mindful of spilling a

dolly the previous outing there (it was that bad even the opposition ripped the p*sh out of him), gathered the ball into his ample

bosom thus minimalizing it spilling out a second time. Two hands and two moobs – that ball was going nowhere! Crathie 2-1.

Skipper Thomas joined the doughty Cunningham at the crease. The pair looked in steady form as they put on a 10 run

partnership for the 2nd wicket. It could have been more but for a piece of fielding brilliance.

It would be the arm of Portcullis skipper Thorpe that would see the downfall of the Crathie Skipper Thomas. Cunningham

ill-advisedly shouted his skipper for a 2nd run; unaware the Crathie skipper was not ready for such. The quick thinking Thorpe put in

a cracking throw from deep which bounced once, taking enough pace off it to plop into wicketkeeper’s Vijayakrishnan’s gloves.

Vijayakrishnan, equally fluid in movement, managed to whip the bails off to leave Thomas stranded by inches. Inches being

enough. Crathie 12-2.

This brought after some confusion the dangerous Mike Baldry to the fray. Baldry, scrambling into his whites following a

drive from Fochabers, joining Cunningham at the crease. The pair previously has starring roles the week before in Crathie’s Reid

Cup Tie against Methlick 2nds. In a total of 142 -5 Baldry had plundered 68 runs whilst Cunningham stroked his way to a positive

39 as Crathie ran out worthy winners. It would be Crathie’s hope the pair could re-create their Lairds heroics.

It certainly looked that way initially. Cunningham, having started cautiously, began upping the tempo of his batting.

Boundaries became the order of the day with smatterings of quick singles. Baldry went straight to fifth gear, opening his scoring

account with a pull through square leg. He followed that classy four with a spanking six over mid-wicket. Baldry was in the mood for

back to back fifties. Things were looking ominous for Portcullis.

In seven overs the pair added 32 valuable runs. In the meantime, the luckless McKenzie was replaced by the experienced

Harper and this change in the attack brought about the third wicket for Portcullis.

It came from a piece of fielding brilliance from the most unlikely of sources. The unlikely source being debutant Paul

Munro. Paul, playing in his first cricket match in over 20 years, found himself fielding at midwicket, a fond source of runs for the

aggressive batting of Baldry. Perhaps impatience played a part in Baldry’s downfall. Harper’s nagging length found Baldry playing a

pull shot at one too full and rising on him. He did manage to pull the ball down but not far enough. He pulled it low, ankle height

towards Munro. Munro showed agility that belied his physique, pounced low and quick to get both hands under the ball that was

fairly travelling to complete a spectacular catch. Crathie 45-3 and a welcome breakthrough for the City Centre Green Caps!

It was the turn of the powerful Brian Geddes to join Cunningham at the crease. A powerful hitter of the ball that has stung

many a hand (mines included!), Geddes was precise in technique to start with, mindful of playing himself in. The lusty blows would

come and he soon got to double figures.

Thankfully, for Portcullis, he only just got to double figures before another piece of fielding brilliance did for him. Harper

perhaps was too full in his delivery and Geddes pounced on it, smashing the highest of cover drives back over Harper’s head. It

went far into the deep, the eager Andy Phillip galloping after it like a mad loon of forlorn hope.

Well that’s how it looked from where we were watching.

Philip did not break stride nor give up hope as the ball came down from the stars. He timed his run magnificently and

thrust his hands in front of him brilliantly to take a spectacular catch! Crathie 64-4. Geddes justifiably gutted at falling to such

fielding excellence. He was going through the gears and he looked ready to plunder many runs that day.

It was the turn of Crathie debutant MacLeod to join Cunningham. He looked pristine of technique playing comfortably to

the deliveries of Harper and Owen Thorpe, who had by then came onto to give Mostofa a well-earned break after a fine opening


With Cunningham looking well-set things looked daunting for Portcullis.

Thankfully Portcullis were grateful to see MacLeod leave sooner than expected.

A fine penetrating spell of bowling, by Thorpe, coupled by some sharp fielding restricted the runs for MacLeod. He then

mistimed a good length ball in into the covers where the athletic McKenzie took a fine two handed catch at around head height.

Crathie 72-5.

It was another new face who came to the crease in the shape of P. Barker. Joining the diligent Cunningham, this was the partnership that Crathie sought. The pair enjoyed a 6th wicket partnership of 46 runs in 13 overs. The pair showed excellent defence technique whilst attacking the stray and bad balls. The only ‘chance’ that came was a late cut from Cunningham that thudded onto Falconer’s chest at slip. Perhaps unfortunate to go into Falconer’s hand. Perhaps fortunate not to go into his face or cause serious injury.

In the meantime, Cunningham reached his well deserved 50. A well placed drive to deep extra cover taking Cunningham to this marvellous milestone.

The partnership was broken when the ball went past Falconer, now at mid-wicket. Cunningham called for two however Barker pulled up on turning for that second run. Falconer fired the ball into wicketkeeper Randall with both batsmen at his end. A quick to bowler Mostofa completed an easy run-out. A vital breakthrough for Portcullis. Crathie 118-6.

Partnering Mostofa with the cherry was McKenzie. Gone was the left arm round quick and now we had left arm off-spin for his last four overs. With Crathie at 118-6, McKenzie was coming on to bowl his last over, his last over being the one where he would take his only two wickets of the match.

First up to go was C. Barker. McKenzie got him to lash at an away drifter, Barker managing to glance one to gully where Harper was on hand to take a simple catch.

This brought O’Brien to the crease. Facing his third ball, it was all he could do to prod the ball back to McKenzie for a simple caught & bowled. 118-5 had suddenly become 118-8. Crathie were on a mini collapse.

This brought H. Mitchell- Mehta to the crease to join the barnacle that was Cunningham. Mitchell-Mehta dug in to support Cunningham and the par enjoyed a valuable 14 run partnership for the 10th wicket. It took the late introduction of Vijayakrishnan to the bowling attack to break this pairing. Vijayakrishnan, with a quicker one, fooling Mitchell-Mehta into feathering it into the gloves of Randall. A fine catch. Crathie 132-9.

With last man Feeney coming to the crease, Cunningham decided to go hell for leather, and this proved to be his undoing. He went down the wicket to a Owen good length delivery and missed the ball. Randall, excelling at keeper, was quick enough to throw the ball back at the stumps in enough time to stump the unfortunate Cunningham. Crathie all out for 134. Cunningham, last man out for a magnificent 68.

Peter Cunningham top scored for Crathie with the most magnificent 68 that included four fours and a six. He was backed by P. Barker (23 – 3x4) in that cracking 6th wicket partnership of 44. Other double digit scorers for Crathie were Mike Baldry (15 – 1x6,1x4) and Brian Geddes (10 – 1x4).

For Portcullis three of their bowlers ended up with two wickets each. Brian Harper returned figures of 2-27, Owen Thorpe (2-330 and Ross McKenzie (2-35). Two other wicket takers were Kannan Vijayakrishnan (1-5) and Shovon Mostofa (1-33).

Teas were taken and those legendary pies were joined by Mrs Falconer’s magnificent lentil soup as a fine tea was enjoyed.

After the culinary excellence it was time for Portcullis to post their reply. The batting for the City Centre Green Caps would be led by Ronnie Falconer and Richard Collinson – Dave Forbes resting a troublesome knee for later forays in the season. For Crathie the new ball would be shared by the potent dup of Justin Thomas and Mike Baldry.

Falconer opened the scoring for Portcullis with a drive over mid-on which stopped short of the boundary. Seeing this Crathie dropped mid-on back to nullify or cash in on such shots.

They were to cash in with that fielding change.

With the score on 6 Crathie captured their first wicket and it was that of Collinson. Repeating Falconer’s early drive over mid-on, the ball did not have the minerals to clear Geddes. The result being a fine catch from the clever challenging bowling of Baldry. Portcullis 6-1.

Skipper Thorpe was next man in and the next man out sadly. In a repeat of his previous visit to Balmoral, Thorpe was sadly good enough to feather a cracking late out swinging delivery from Thomas. Portcullis 7-2.

Kannan Vijayakrishnan was the next man in. The pair put on 10 runs for the 3rd wicket before Crathie struck again. It would be Baldry capturing his second wicket. Vijayakrishnan, like Collinson before him, driving deep but not deep enough towards mid-on, Geddes once again taking a fine catch. Portcullis 17-3.

It was the turn of debutant Paul Munro to come to the crease to join Falconer. Alas a lapse in concentration meant he would be out first ball. Playing and missing, Munro was outside his crease but forgot to get back behind the line. This left keeper Cunningham all the time in the world to whip the bails off for the easiest of stumpings.

Portcullis 17-4. Disaster!

Ex-skipper Shovon Mostofa joined Falconer at the crease. The pair saw off the pairing of Baldry and Thomas as they tried to rebuild the Portcullis innings. Crathie brought on Brain Geddes and debutant Fergus MacLeod to bowl. Portcullis saw this as an opportunity to up the scoring.

With the score on 29 Falconer would be the next an to go. Slapping a Geddes away drifter, Falconer skied it towards mid-ff where Lynden O’Brien took a fine catch. Portcullis 29-5.

This brought Ross McKenzie to the crease to join Mostofa. Bizarrely this would be McKenzie’s first innings of the season. Poor weather and previously good batting preventing him time in the middle.

McKenzie opened up with a four through mid-wicket as he thankfully looked to be in good touch. The score moved onto 43 when Crathie took their 6th wicket of the match.

It was Mostofa who would be next to go, trapped lbw to become Geddes’s 2nd wicket of the match.

Further disaster struck as next man in Andy Philip would feather another Geddes away swinger into the gloves of Cunningham.

Portcullis 43-7 and in all sorts of trouble. Where would they go from here?

Joining McKenzie at the crease would be Lewis Randall. Thankfully the good touch of McKenzie seemed to be contagious and Portcullis were grateful that Randall too was smitten with good form.

At this point the pair took this to be good practice and experience of time in the middle. The pair scored freely and quickly with little risk taken. The odd McKenzie boundary was embellished with quickly run ones and twos as out of the blue Portcullis began dragging themselves back into the match. At 43-7 Thomas and Baldry must have thought their bowling work was done for the day. A small victory for Portcullis was the re-introduction of Mike Baldry as Crathie sought to extinguish the threatening partnership of McKenzie and Randall. Thomas too had to come back on as the pair took the score onto three figures. The pair enjoyed a 54 run 8th wicket partnership (the highest partnership of the match) before the pair were finally parted.

It would be Crathie skipper Justin Thomas who would do the damage.

With the score at 97, Thomas finally breached the defences of Randall with a ball that started middle and leg and finished knocking out the off pole. It was fitting that it took a brilliant delivery to break a brilliant partnership. Portcullis 97-8. Randall back in the hut for a fine 21.

Andrew Blackwell would be second but last. With McKenzie harbouring thoughts of a sensational win, the pair went about their business.

The score moved onto 104 before that man Thomas struck again and this time it would be McKenzie who would sadly leave the stage.

Thomas did for McKenzie as he had done for Randall. Another delivery that pitched middle- middle and leg taking out the off pole.

Portcullis 104-9. Ross McKenzie finally beaten but not before he accumulated a fine 37 runs!

Brian Harper was last man in, and it appeared all was gone for Portcullis. The pair took the score onto 107. 28 runs needed from 18 balls.

The first two balls of MacLeod’s over went for singles. The third ball Blackwell smashed for a cracking four through square leg. The fourth ball Blackwell decided to smash it over deep mid on for another cracking four.

Portcullis now needed 18 runs from 12 balls. Would there be a final twist in the tale?

Sadly, not as MacLeod kept a cool head and a good line and length to bowl Blackwell and seal a well deserved victory for the Balmoral side.

Portcullis all out for 117 as Crathie were worthy 17 run winners.

All was not lost for Portcullis. The lower order responded from 43-7 to 117 all out, proving that the Portcullis batting does go all the way down the order. This will bode well for the remainder of the season.

For Portcullis Ross McKenzie was the star with the willow scoring 37 fantastic runs (2 x 4, 1 x 6). He was backed in that superb 8th wicket partnership of 54 by Lewis Randall who hit a fine 21. The remaining double digit scorers for Portcullis were Andrew Blackwell, Ronnie Falconer and Shovon Mostofa who all coincidentally scored 12 apiece.

For Crathie Justin Thomas proved to be the matchwinner with the cherry finishing with splendid bowling figures of 12-2-22-4 (4-22).

The other wicket takers for Crathie were Brian Geddes (3-20), Mike Baldry (2-20) and Fergus MacLeod (1-25)

Next up for Portcullis is a Reid Cup T20 at home (hopefully finally) at Duthie Park against Dunecht.


ROSS MCKENZIE takes the honours for his fine knock of 37, his bowling figures of 2-35 and two catches. Lewis Randall deserves a mention for his knock of 21 and a catch and a stumping as wicketkeeper.


Normally a four-fer would usually take the honours for Justin Thomas and it was a splendid spell of bowling but not on this occasion. PETER CUNNINGHAM takes the honours for his cracking knock of 68 as well as his excellent keeping. As well as Justin, Mike Baldry (15 & 2-20), Brian Geddes (10 &3-20) and P. Barker (23) merit a mention.


Once again, we have a dead heat. PAUL MUNRO for his quick reactions to take a difficult low catch at mid-wicket on his debut and ANDY PHILLIP for his “Galloping Major” of a catch in the deep as the came back into the atmosphere. There were seven catches in total taken. A fine effort.

Friday, 21 June, 2019

Innings of Crathie

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
3J.Thomas4Run OutK.VijayakrishnanO.Thorpe
7P.Barker23Run OutS.MostofaL.RandallR.Falconer
9L.O Brien0CaughtR.McKenzieR.McKenzie
10H.Mitchell - M5CaughtK.VijayakrishnanL.Randall
11G.Feeney0Did not bat
Leg Byes0
No Balls0

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
1R.Falconer12CaughtB.GeddesL.O Brien
11B.Harper3Not out
Leg Byes2
No Balls2