by Conor Dillon
Phoenix journeyed north on a sunny Sunday morning with a mixture of hope and confidence for their Irish Senior Cup prospects. Chris Cavanagh may have surprised even himself with his early season figures but he aggravated an old back problem in the warm up and Joe McKay was called into the field as twelfth man. Rory Flanagan and Corie Dickeson returned to the side. CSNI won the toss and elected to bat. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were: Captain Conor Kelly, Syed Ali, Jan Hendrik Steenkamp, M D Masud Ahmed, Thomas Anders, Eoin Cleere, Sadaf Raza, Rory Flanagan, Corie Dickeson, Coach Matt Lunson, Joe Mckay (twelfth man).
After 13 minutes the home scorer commented that Steenkamp had outclassed Beverland as a maiden over ended with the stumps being struck but this was to be the high point of the day for Phoenix. It took over two hours during which Phoenix were unable to take the catching possibilities that presented themselves before Phoenix broke the second wicket stand of 193. Captain Kelly tried most of his bowling options to a greater or lesser degree but it was only after Steenkamp broke the stand that Phoenix looked more of a force in the field. Anders was involved in all the remaining dismissals as he managed to bowl Fisher and Heaney and Nieuwoudt was denied a century afer Captain Kelly caught him on the boundary. Anders took the catch as Flanagan removed Regan West. The innings closed on 277 for 6.
Phoenix needed Masud to have a long innings and when he was out in the first over it was a big blow to the visitors’ prospects. Costain bowled an unbroken spell of 10 overs from the far end and he removed Cleere for 2 and Ali for 6. Steenkamp and Captain Kelly gave signs of more sustained resistance but the loss of the South African for 21 was another scalp for Costain and Captain Kelly found himself struggling for a partner as Anders and Dickeson both mustered 2 before falling to Heaney. Flanagan struck a boundary on his way to making 10 but Captain Kelly sadly fell just one boundary short of 50. With Cavanagh unable to bat Lunson was the last man for Phoenix and he ended undefeated on 5 as the innings closed on 111.