Portcullis v. Ellon 2nds - Saturday, 22 May, 2021

Toss was won by Ellon 2nds, who chose to field.

Portcullis : 133 for 8 (10).

Ellon 2nds : 134 for 3 (30).


It took time, a long, long time but finally Portcullis got there. It took over 18 months (well 20 months to be more accurate) but they finally got to take their bow in Grade Two.

Saturday 22nd May 2021 was a huge day in Portcullis history as the club made its debut. It could not be tougher an opposition to face - Ellon Cricket Club – fresh from their demotion from Grade One.

The fixture had to take a late change of venue. Despite it being a home fixture, the match had to be switched to Gordon Park, Ellon. The reason – an untouched wicket at Duthie Park was cut and was deemed to be unsafe to play on. Literally the grass had been cut into a square and then lines were painted on it.

Not ideal.

Thankfully Ellon were on hand to take the fixture (which we are extremely grateful – thanks guys!) and the long awaited return of Grades cricket was once again upon us.

Captains Richard Greenfield and our very own Owen Thorpe took to the field for the toss. Owen called incorrect and Ellon asked Portcullis to bat first.

It was a new and younger looking opening partnership for Portcullis. Previous seasons would have seen the jovial pairing of David Forbes and Ronnie Falconer but not today. In their place the younger and healthier combination of Jake Dawson and Harry Murphy would start the innings for Portcullis. Sharing the new cherry for Ellon would be the experienced and talented skipper Greenfield. He would be joined by the raw potential of Ross Fraser – a product of their Sunday R&D side.

The Ellon bowling pair, with the help of an active and talented field, kept things tight whilst the Portcullis pair gave little away. There was a certain urgency from the Portcullis pair though, a keen understanding with positive running saw them take good quick singles. Clear calling, especially from Murphy, kept them in the game as the score reached a respectable 25-0 after 8 overs.

Seeing the Portcullis pair looking comfortable against the Ellon quicks, Greenfield saw it time to take to a change of pace. First, he rested young Fraser, keeping him fresh for later forays, in his place the experienced Johnathan Barrett. The change at both ends was completed when, on this occasion, the young head replacing the old head. Matthew Sandham replacing the experienced skipper.

The change at both ends proved fruitful but only after Greenfield claimed the first wicket of the match.

It happened the first ball after 10 overs – the spell where the players have to have a hand sanitizer interval.

In the last over of his first spell, Greenfield managed to send Dawson down the wrong line, late away swing from leg stump doing for him. Portcullis 29/1 – Dawson making his way back after a spirited 12.

In jovial fashion between the two clubs, the joke was that the sanitizer produced magical effects on the way the ball moved.

And not a boiled sweet or a sheet of sandpaper in sight!

Skipper Thorpe joined Murphy at the crease to take the attack to Ellon. This proved difficult as Ellon’s first change slow bowlers found Portcullis to be perplexed. Perplexed soon turned to poleaxed as a mini collapse occurred.

Fellow opener Murphy was next to go. Not quite getting to grips with Barrett’s variety of pace, swing, and the odd leggie, he half-heartedly tried to go over the top. Not entirely comfortable with Barrett’s bag of tricks, the ball went up in the air but stayed within the fielding circle. A loud call from Addy, followed by safe hands that complimented the confidence of the shout, saw Murphy join his colleague Dawson back in the pavilion. A battling knock of 13 nothing to be ashamed of. Portcullis 33-2.

33-2 soon became 33-3 as skipper Thorpe was next to go. A misjudged sweep from around middle and leg was missed and thumped into his pad, the umpire having no doubt it was going onto hit the stumps. Portcullis’s skipper out of the batting attack for 1. Barrett taking his second wicket of the day.

This sudden turn of events brought the pairing of ex-skippers Kannan Vijayakrishnan and Dave Mitchell to the crease. It was hoped this experienced pairing would help restart the Portcullis innings after what had been a good start.

Unfortunately, on this occasion it proved not to be.

For Ellon, it was Sandham’s turn to get in on the wicket taking fun. His off spin, like Barrett’s variable slow bowling, proved difficult to read. His tight accurate bowling would reap the reward of the prize wicket of Dave Mitchell, inducing Mitchell into playing onto his stumps. Portcullis 37-4. Mitchell walking back to the Nursery End of Ellon’s ground for 5.

There would be tears before bedtime and not necessarily from either of his fine two young sons!

One ex-skipper’s departure was followed by another one coming to the crease. Shovon Mostofa making his way to the middle.

Vijayakrishnan seemed unperturbed by the recent collapse. On the contrary, he looked to be in good touch and hungry for runs. He opened his account with a powerful four, latching onto a rare loose Barrett delivery and smashing it over mid-on for a one bounce four. Immediately Greenfield sent Ben Webb to deep mid-on in order to plug that gap. Or maybe something more cunning was afoot?

Mostofa on the other hand started slowly. Giving nothing away, he played himself in. Looking technically correct with each shot he played.

Boycott would have been salivating if he were in attendance!

Just as nerves had settled on the Portcullis front and concerns had eased, Ellon struck again. Once again it would be from the Silver Arm of Barrett.

He lobbed one up for Vijayakrishnan to have another go at a mid-on boundary. Vijayakrishnan duly obliged, believing a six was on the cards. Alas, the boundary did not arrive in time to complete his belief. Ben Webb on hand in the outfield perimeter to hang onto a cracking catch. Portcullis 48-5. Vijayakrishnan gone for a plucky 7.

It was the turn of Lewis Randall to enter the fray. It was surprising to see him bat so low, especially after recent performances in friendlies. It was no sleight on his talent though. Rather a tough selection order to accompany everyone to where they should bat.

This would be the chance for Randall to shine. To show he merited an earlier and more significant appearance on the grand stage.

To draw a line in the sand.

Thankfully for Portcullis he and Mostofa did. The pair calmed the butterflies of the watching Portcullis supporters (fellow players and pen pushers!) and the rebuilding of the Portcullis innings was underway.

It was the youthful Randall who led the way. He immediately set into his role, batting solidly when defence was required, striking out when the opportunity arose. Mostofa, not so veteran as I may have indicated, settling into the anchor role, more becoming a No1 or 2 batsmen, rather than a no 6, comfortable in his role within. This was after all a partnership of the two, not a contest.

From 48-5 after 20 overs, the pair added a 43 partnership through the next 10 overs. The pair between them changing the fixture from a collapse and formidable soul destroying beating, to a position of pushing for a challenging total. A last 10 over push to a challenging total, a few breaks for Portcullis in the Ellon innings, and there could be the chance to post an unlikely win. In relevant football parlance, this would be St Johnstone winning the Scottish Cup Double!

Then the 30 over sanitizer break and the Golden Arm of Andy Parkes happened (and hence the reason Jonathan Barrett was relegated to the Silver Arm).

Similar to the first sanitizer break, Portcullis lost their next wicket. It was Lewis Randall who fell. Whether it was a poor shot selection, a lapse of concentration or a lack of respect to the ‘inconspicuous’ bowler in front of him only Lewis will know.

As I sat on the touchlines scoring the book with Ean Mackie, I had a flashback to when I batted against Andy Parkes previously. It was back in 2012 when we played Ellon 2nds. I was foolish enough to underestimate him as a bowler. More fool me as I was sent packing promptly and Andy Parkes finished with 4 wickets that day!!

On that day I had slapped, I believe the first ball I faced from Andy, into the covers where the catch was taken at waist height. Portcullis’s Randall did the exact same thing nine years later at this match! Portcullis 92-6.

Andy Parkes then continued to weave his magic having Aupiais caught behind. Portcullis 93-7.

He took his third wicket in the over when he bamboozled Ewen Chisholm, bowling him without troubling the scorers. Portcullis requiring snookers at 93-8 in the 31st over.

This brought the mercurial Andy Phillip to the crease, fresh with headwear similar to Radar O’Reilly of M*A*S*H. Joining Mostofa, it was another case of rebuilding for Portcullis. Thankfully, the pair did so, adding 40 precious runs to the total and, more importantly, batting out Portcullis’s 40 overs.

The joys of this pair batting were twofold. The important part was the dedicated innings produced by Shovon Mostofa. Shovon glued the innings together for the City Centre Green Caps, keeping it tight in the middle of the innings. Towards the end he opened up, being the aggressor without being foolhardy. Andy/Radar/Pman/AndyP was just – well Andy! He batted alongside Shovon majestically. Like myself, Andy has increased in kilos throughout Covid. Shovon, towards the latter end of the innings pushed Andy into shuttle run twos. Perhaps an aid to assist in weight loss!

It was tough going for the pair out there and they remained undefeated. The unbeaten 9th wicket partnership yielding 40 runs. The tail indeed wagged!

Portcullis 133-8 after 40 overs. For Portcullis, Shovon Mostofa was magnificent in holding the innings together with a superb 37 not out. Lewis Randall had a fine innings of 23 supporting the ex-skipper. Three other Portcullisians reached the double digit haven, Harry Murphy (13), Andy Phillip (12 not out) and Jake Dawson (12).

133 looked below par and maybe it was but the outfield was long and few ground shots, if any, made the boundary. A few fours on other days merited 1’s and 2’s. The pitch would be the same for both teams. If there was betting in play, Paddy Powers would have made Ellon favourites, but Portcullis felt they were still in the hunt if things fell their way.

For Ellon, the golden arm was Andy Parkes with 3-4 whilst Jonathan Barret took 3-17. Both had match changing spells for their team.

No teas, a drink of water and a few welcome fags for both teams and it was time for Ellon to begin their innings.

Their batting line up looked formidable and when Ellon opened with the pairing of Stewart Davies and Ben Webb, Portcullis knew they were in for a tough afternoon.

Portcullis would open the bowling with the pairing of Ross McKenzie and Dave Mitchell. If Portcullis were to have any chance of winning, this pair would have to plunder early wickets.

Ellon looked solid early in the innings. The pairing of Davies and Webb offered challenging deliveries early doors. They dealt with them efficiently. In similar fashion to the Portcullis openers, they gave nothing away.

It would take something special to break this partnership. The something special came from the bowling of Mitchell.

In his third over, a ball pitching middle and leg acquired enough swing to finish on middle and off. Davies was off the line and bowled for 7. His disbelief at being bowled at this stage was perhaps a compliment on how good the delivery to breach his defences was.

Mitchell and McKenzie kept things tight though. Ellon 18-1 at 7 overs.

I mentioned to my fellow scorer at this point, the legendary Ean Mackie, that the game was still open. He smiled and politely agreed. A wise head on those shoulders.

For Ellon, the base had been laid and it was time to accelerate. Webb would be joined by the legendary Johnathan Barrett.

Portcullis were one wicket to the good. It was a start but that was all it was. Further breakthroughs would have to happen and happen promptly!

They did not initially. In fact, Webb began opening his shoulders. One four straight back at the bowling of McKenzie was a particular remarkable piece of timing and strength, passing the boundary rope through the thick and sticky grass more akin to March and May.

At the other end Barrett played himself in comfortably. He scored freely, at this stage not looking to accelerate. After all there was no need to.

Webb was next to go. He had been opening up which was fair enough. He was in good touch, seeing the ball and timing it to boot. It was not a careless shot that was to do for him but a remarkable piece of fielding.

Relishing the challenge that the tight accurate bowling Mitchell was serving up, he drove through the line to a slightly overpitched delivery. The ball soared towards deep mid-on, 1-2 bounces from clearing the boundary, the fishing-hatted Andy Phillip eager in pursuit. The last thing Andy wanted was another shuttle run after the Portcullis end of innings!

Phillip ran on though, stuck out his left arm and clutched onto a spectacular catch! Ellon 37-2. Webb gone for 15. He had every right to feel hard done by. It was a brilliant catch!

This turn of events brought Alastair Addy to the crease. In the meantime, Portcullis had rested both McKenzie and Mitchell, bringing Shovon Mostofa and Adrian Aupiais into the attack. The Ellon pairing never allowed the first change bowlers to settle, scoring freely at this point.

Addy looked to be a formidable batsman whilst Barrett was going through the gears. Barrett, batting quite beautifully, peppered a couple of fours as well as a couple of stonking sixes. One of those sixes was so far over the mid-on boundary, it reminded me of a comment made on a similar spectacular shot off my rather poorer bowling when I played for Cumbernauld CC by our wicketkeeper Lawrie Tyson.

“For foxtrot (possibly misheard) sake Ronnie, we’re going to need a relay team to get that ball back!!!!”

Addy was by no means a passenger. He showed himself to have talent with the willow. He too passing the boundary on two occasions of his own. The pair got into cruise control. The kind smile of Ean Mackie was gratefully received and growing in value!

Vijayakrishnan was brought into the attack to replace Mostofa whilst McKenzie and Mitchell finished their spells replacing Aupiais.

The runs still climbed, and it fast became when and not if, Ellon would win (in truth that was always the case, but we are allowed to dream!).

The dogged Mitchell would not leave without a final say on the dancefloor, however. In the final over of his spell, he bowled Addy for a fine innings of 24. Ellon 109-3. A cracking 3rd wicket partnership of 72 runs in 12 overs had been added.

A case of David Lloyds “Start the car!”.

George Buchan then joined the now on a cigar Barrett and the match finished soon after. An easy 7 wicket win for the Grade Two favourites. Ellon finishing on 134-3 after 29.5 overs. Winning with over 10 overs to spare.

The star of the Ellon innings was Johnathan Barrett. It really was a batting masterclass as he finished with 64 not out.

He was well supported in the 3rd wicket partnership by Alistair Addy (24). The other double digit scorers for Ellon were Ben Webb (15) and George Duncan (12 not out).

For Portcullis, Mitch took a three wicket haul in his 9 over spell, finishing with 3-25 for his endeavours.

In hindsight, it looked as if Ellon had plenty in reserve which is fair enough. They were never really in trouble. A sound start in what can be a swift return to Grade One.

For Portcullis there were still many positives in defeat. Their opening bow in Grade Two saw the team bat through their 40 over innings at the first time of asking. 133 was obviously not enough but there are foundations to build on.


SHOVON MOSTOFA takes the honours for his anchor innings of 37 not out. He batted unselfishly. Acting as the anchor when Randall flourished, he took on the role of chief aggressor late in the innings. A superb knock!


JOHNATHAN BARRETT was the only choice for Ellon. His 64 not out was a spectacular knock, made even more incredible at how easy he made it look. This was also backed up by a bowling spell of 9-2-17-3. A marvellous performance!


ANDY PHILLIP. A magnificent effort to remove Ben Webb just as je##he was getting lively.


BEN WEBB for his catch on the boundary against Kannan Vijayakrishnan.

Next up for Portcullis is AGSFP’s 2nds at Duthie Park.

Saturday, 29 May, 2021

Innings of Portcullis

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
6S.Mostofa371Did not bat
10A.Philip12Not out
11R.McKenzieDid not bat
Leg Byes0
No Balls3

Innings of Ellon 2nds

#NameR46How OutBowlerKeeperFielderComments
3J.Barrett6432Not out
5G.Buchan131Not out
6M.SandhamDid not bat
7R.FraserDid not bat
8J.RobertsDid not bat
9A.ParkesDid not bat
10A.OvenstoneDid not bat
11R.GreenfieldDid not bat
Leg Byes0
No Balls3