A spell of decent weather had done much to dry out Laird’s and, for the second game of the season, welcoming visitors Aberdeen Grammar FPs, the game was able to go ahead on a surprisingly firm batting strip. Once again Methlick were short of some of the senior players, missing Captain Tim Duffy, Adam Veersama, Brian Anderson and Tom Action. Just before the start, vice-captain Jamie Jones due to sickness had to pull out meaning that backs were to the wall as mark Woodhouse deputised as skipper.
Winning the toss Grammar chose to bat first with Nattrass and Penman playing confidently whilst Liam Maxfield and Alan Robson, promoted up the order due to the absences, bowled a containing spell. With the score on 77 Penman was the first to fall, failing to clear the in-field off Robson for a simple catch taken by Addison. Almost immediately afterwards Robson struck again clean bowling Eagles for a duck.
Robson bowled 10 straight over’s for a respectable 22 for 2 and was replaced by Stuart Kennedy at the River End, and Colin Addison came on in place of Maxfield to try and break the strong partnership between Nattress and Alvi. With the score going above 100 and Nattrass reaching his half century Grammar were looking to put on a big score. After a couple of close appeals against Alvi on 31 Kennedy finally got his man plum LBW.
Kennedy followed one wicket with another and Sood was out for one.
Alan Hill, had replaced Addison and now a chink in the Grammar armour had been found as he removed Chawla in his second over. Woodhouse had been holding back from introducing the youngster, Robert Kennedy, into the attack because of the threat posed by Nattrass but the time had now come as he came on to replace his father. Despite the nerves, Kennedy junior stepped up to the mark and bowled Nattrass in his first over.
The dam burst and Kennedy removed Farzan for 4 with Hill taking two further wickets, including a marvellous steepling catch from Godfrey from Dads’ Army look-alike, Nick Hyde, and the innings was finished off with a final Kennedy wicket. Grammar had lost the last 8 wickets for only 30 runs to finish on a modest 135. The pick of the bowling was Hill with 3 for 13 and a magnificent 3 for 8 from Kennedy junior.
With the outfield running fast confidence in the Methlick camp was high after last week’s performance with the bat from Robson and the return of big hitting, but ring-rusty, Stuart Kennedy. Due to time constraints, Maxfield being caught for 1 and Anderson scratched around until being bowled for a duck.
Robson and Woodhouse came to the middle and the Geordie once again made batting look easy while the skipper played a supporting role. After a big 6 overconfidence set in as Robson tried the same shot next ball and was out LBW to Sood for 32.
Addison then added 6 before being bowled until Kennedy restored some order looking in good touch after his tow year lay-off. Nattrass brough himself into the attack and had a quick success having Kennedy caught. Ex-FP Paul MacDonald, expecting to add impetus to the middle order became a second victim for Nattress and was dismissed for a golden.
Suddenly Methlick found themselves in a deep trouble with 4 wickets left, and of these Jay Allan was unable to bat due to a back injury. 44 were still needed and Hill had to be calmed down by Woodhouse as he was widely swinging at everything. Looking for the bad balls he managed to connect and produce 3 boundaries as the total moved slowly closer. Unfortunately, tempted by a looping Eagles slow ball, Hill advanced down the track and was easily stumped for 14.
Methlick were still 30 runs short and with only the generic Hyde to come, a nervous Robert Kennedy came to join Woodhouse in the middle. Singles were taken to keep the score moving and as his confidence grew, Kennedy’s shots became more confident. Nattrass was hit for one four, then another, the 30th over going for 11 runs.
Victory was moving into sight and with plenty of over’s left, only 5 were required, Woodhouse pushed for a single, Kennedy ran another 2 and then expertly swept Eagles to the boundary for a win against all odds by 3 wickets.
What a debut for young Kennedy, 3 wickets and 16 not out to take MCC home and take the man-of-the-match award.
By Mark Woodhouse