Knight Riders Grade 1 Champions 2022

It’s been a riveting end to the Grade 1 campaign, and having cemented their place in the top half of Grade 1 for a few seasons, Knight Riders have deservedly scooped the title ahead of Bon Accord and the faltering challenge of long time leaders Crescent.

Links has seen many a runfest this season, but Knight Riders stifled the early Crescent batters, and when Safeer Peedikayil took a hat trick in the 17th over the writing was on the wall for Crescent. They did well to recover from 55 for 5 with some lusty hitting from Kamal Reddy (42 off 25 balls) and Arun Singh with an unbeaten 32 to take them to 190 for 9. The Knight Riders openers weren’t hanging around and they put on exactly 100 before Abhinav Kache was lbw to Khanna for 45. Somu Kumarasamy was out for 79 and it was left to Prasanna Venkatesan and Sivaganesan Palianappan to smash it around and bring up victory in the 27th over, the latter doing the job with a maximum. 

Bon Accord kept the pressure up all the way with a comprehensive win at Mannofield. Ken Yahathugoda topped the scoring with 35 for Mannofield as they were dismissed for 174. An unbeaten 78 from Fazal Awan and 56 from Nawaz Mirza gave Bons a 6 wicket win.

Rob Swiergon found himself opening for Grammar at Allan Park against Cults, and seemed to like it as he made 71 from their 205 all out. A very quick half century from Taj Singh set up the Cults run chase which was finished off by Aqeel Ajazi and Atif Shehman who had a brisk partnership of 60 to give Cults a 4 wicket win. Gordonians junior Adi Mukhopadhaya finished off a very promising season with 49 against Master Blasters at Countesswells, although it was the slightly more seasoned Chamila Perera with an undefeated 54 who helped Gordos to 190 for 9. 73 for 3 for Master Blasters became 102 all out as Harshad Parkar picked up 3 cheap wickets, Hari Ganesan offering the most resistance with 38. 

2nd Knight Riders rounded off their season in style with 2 half centuries from Vijay Ramaswamy and Udaya Raghavendra as they piled up 238 for 7 against Inverurie, for whom John Jessiman took 3 wickets. Another remarkable season for John with 18 wickets to add to his career total of….can anyone count that far back? Bala Balaji took 3 wickets for not very many as Inverurie were bowled out for 120. 

The Fraserburgh v Ellon clashes are relatively friendly affairs these days, but their Grade 2 match at Kessock Park did give Brian Veldsman a chance to remind the uninitiated of his erstwhile batting reputation as he top scored for Ellon with 62 from their 170 all out. Fraserburgh made a stuttering start to their reply and it needed an unbeaten 57 from Liam Bowie to guide them home to a 2 wicket win.

Methlick were keen to finish their Grade 3 title winning season with an unblemished league record at home to 2nd Gordonians. They batted first and found the Gordos bowling a bit harder to score off than they would have hoped. Colin Addison made 31 and Adam Veersema 29 to take his personal aggregate to 570 at an average of 114, but 147 for 9 was somewhat below par for Lairds. Veersema took 3 early wickets to reduce Gordos to 18 for 4, but a partnership of 102 between Umesh Basavaraju and Simon Hounsome set up an exciting conclusion. Tim Duffy did what he has done all season by ending that partnership as he had a burst of 3 wickets for zero runs. When Hounsome fell for 60 the game looked up for Gordos at 138 for 8, but Methlick couldn’t prise out the tail and lost by 2 wickets. Duffy has taken 37 wickets at an average of 8.14 and the batters of Grade 3 will be glad to see him move up a level!

Sheddocksley is no place for the faint hearted at the best of times, and 2nd Methlick didn’t leave with many happy memories on Saturday. A belligerent unbeaten 105 from Hassan Masood took 2nd Siyapa to a mammoth 298 for 3. John Morgan made 19 and Gavin Hunter 12 as the rest of the 2nd Methlick side crumbled against some excellent bowling from Shahzad Ahmad with 7 for 17 as they were blitzed out for 41.  The SPCU hierarchy will be delighted with the outcome of the play off for the promotion place into the Eastern Premier League. The SPCU North East Championship winners have pretty much dominated the play off since 2015 when Gordonians were hammered by Glenrothes (now 7th in the SPCU division 1) who had Chris Greaves in their ranks as a non bowling overseas amateur. Gala had a great season in overcoming Challenge Cup winners Morton to win the ESCA Championship, but they came unstuck against Meigle, and in particular their professional Raju Gayashan. Gala batted first and were bowled out for 192, Zahid Rasheed taking 3 for 32 in an innings held together by 72 from Josh Irvine. Majid Rasheed started the Meigle reply in typical quick fashion but progress was slowed by Scott Paterson who eventually took 3 for 38. Whilst others struggled, Raju Gayashan was particularly savage on anything short and raced to 90 off 56 balls before holing out to a rare mistimed shot. Any thoughts Gala may have had about running through the Meigle tail were quickly wiped away by Zahid Rasheed smashing his 3rd ball for a towering maximum to finish the contest.

The Grand Final between the winners of the Eastern Premier League and their Western District equivalent was a major disappointment for Heriot’s. They bowled out Ferguslie for 191 but lost their own top 4 for only 17 runs, and with some big names missing they couldn’t handle some accurate stump to stump bowling and were all out in only 24 overs for 88.