Your correspondent was absent for the 2nd xi’s narrow victory at Malahide which brought the team to middle of the table respectability. However, it would need to be collectively on its game to defeat the promotion contenders at “Cold Blow Lane”. Railway won the toss and inserted the visitors. The batting order was Thomas Anders, David Ford, Eoin Cleere, Jonathan Wardell, Adam Chester, Nitin Naik, Charlie Wannniarachchi, Mark Gibson-McKenna, Simi Singh, Kaleem Sheikh, Graham Morris.
Ford and Anders got off to a steady start with the teenager continuing his good form from the 1st ix fixture a day earlier. Ford was the first to go as he was bowled by J Singh for 11 and Cleere got to 6 before he also fell to Singh. The normally adhesive Wardell blamed Anders for his run out but things improved for Phoenix as Chester made a useful 17 and Naik contributed 29 in a stand of 64. Neither Wanniarachchi nor Gibson-McKenna could stay with Anders for very long but Singh made 22 before sacrificing himself in a second run out and the possibility of making a century may have affected Anders’s concentration and caused his exit on 86. Sheikh hit 18 in the final over as the innings closed on 241 for 9. J Singh was the best of the home bowlers with 3-28 and Andy O’Neill suffered the most with 0-57.
Anders and Ford took on the task of opening the bowling which got off to a good start when Ford had the potentially dangerous Uddin caught by Gibson-McKenna. There was more good news in the 8th over when Ford caught and bowled O’Neill for 8. After Anders was rested the batsmen began to come in to the match and Phoenix had a few lbw appeals turned down and put down a few catches which meant that Ul Haq and Abdullah added 70 before they were parted when Chester had Ul Haq stumped by Wardell. Morris was not as economical as usual and Chester too went for almost a run a ball as Grehan and Abdullah continued taking the fight to the bowlers. Gibson-McKenna broke the latest partnership but was perhaps prudently removed from the attack after 2 overs costing 25 runs. Anders picked up 2 wickets in his second spell of 4 overs but a belligerent albeit entertaining 64 from 36 balls from Townend saw Railway home with 4 wickets in hand and 8.1 overs to spare.
Phoenix batting: T Anders 86
Railway bowling: J Singh 3-28
Phoenix bowling: T Anders 2-37 D Ford 2-50
Railway batting: Abdullah 70, Townend 64, Grehan 41, Ul Haq 38