by Conor Dillion
There were several changes to the Phoenix selection for this crunch league fixture. Pembroke were on a high after their victory over 60 overs against Railway Union the previous day.Vaidyanathan, Battan, Chester, Coach Lunson and Morris all faced the selectorial axe with Conor Kelly returning, Dumisani Magala debuting, Syed Ali back in, Rory Anders back in and Sadaf Raza also back in. It was interesting that with all the comings and goings there was still no room for Tyler Balogh in the side. Pembroke won the toss and inserted Phoenix. The batting order was Corie Dickeson, M D Masud Ahmed, Dumisani Magala, Riaan Jeggels, Syed Ali, Captain Conor Kelly, Thomas Anders, Rory Anders, Andrew Leonard, Steve Davis, Sadaf Raza.
Alan Eastwood and Ryan Hopkins led the visiting attack and they comfortably took the early honours with Dickeson and Magala both out lbw to Eastwood for 0 and Masud out caught McDonald bowled Hopkins for 0. Jeggels and Ali managed to cope better with the conditions with the South African making a vital 41 while the wicket keeper made a steady 10. Ali was bowled by McCarthy to make it 65 for 4. Captain Kelly struck two boundaries and then promptly lost Jeggels. Kelly and Thomas Anders looked a good pairing for a while and took the score to 108 but suddenly Kelly began to run out of partners as he lost both Thomas and Rory Anders in a short timespan. Leonard struck an early six but was generally content to give support to the skipper and rotate the strike. Leonard was out caught by Robin Kelly to give Paul Lawson a second victim at which point Captain Kelly was on 70. Steve Davis held his end up and the excitement mounted as Captain Kelly closed in on a century. The landmark moment came with a six over long off and the crowd applauded to celebrate the first senior century for Captain Kelly and probably the first 1st xi home century since the Larkin-Flanagan partnership against Rush. Kelly struck another six to finish on 110 and the innings closed on 218 all out.
Did Phoenix have enough runs? Magala and Rory Anders led the Phoenix attack with early success for the South African as he removed the Robins – Kelly and Russell- lbw for 5 and 4 respectively. McDonald proved a more adhesive partner for his skipper and there was speculation about an early finish when the rain began to fall after 16 overs. The door seemed to be slightly ajar for Phoenix when Leonard removed McDonald for 42 as Dickeson took a catch, bowled McCarthy for 6 and had Barclay lbw for 12. It was now 144 for 5. However, Lawson soldiered on with Darren Nicol who also looked to be in good form and despite using all his bowling options Captain Kelly was unable to lead his team to the victory that would have crowned his innings. Phoenix lost by 5 wickets.
Man of the Match Conor Kelly 110 runs
Pembroke performer Theo Lawson 88 not out