by Conor Dillon
Phoenix needed to win this last scheduled home fixture to try and steer clear of the relegation dogfight in division 4. Mullingar were badly in need of a scalp as they tried to save themselves. Mullingar won the toss and chose to bat first. The eleven who took the field for Phoenix were: Captain David Ford, wicket keeper Jonathan Wardell, Rory Anders, Vish Vaidyanathan, Nitin Naik, Adam Chester, Simi Singh, Aaron Joseph, Graham Morris, Mark Gibson-McKenna, Ben White.
Ford had a relatively early success for Phoenix when Ryan was stumped by Wardell for 18. Joseph was given 3 overs by the skipper but it was Singh who made the second inroad for Phoenix when he caught and bowled Condell for 10. The visitors were without their middle order anchor man Eddie Lindsay but this did not unduly bother Ejaz and O’Neill who piled on 120 in 71 minutes before O’Neill was given lbw to Gibson-McKenna. It was the young spinner who took the bowling honours for Phoenix as he ended with 10-2-35-5 with Ejaz and Moka also lbw and in between Bull was bowled and Field was caught by Vaidyanathan. The latter, Morris and White all toiled in vain for Phoenix but Adam Chester managed to bowl one of the Haiders and Ford wrapped up the tail with Vaidyanathan taking two catches. The innings closed on 234 which was the exact score the visitors made in reply to Phoenix’s 260 at St. Finian’s in 2011.
Ford did not get off the mark before he was bowled by Rajender and Anders fell in identical circumstances after a breezy 15. Wardell now joined Vaidyanathan at the crease and the Galwayman was to remain for the rest of the innings although Vaidyanathan fell after a useful 22 to make it 61 for 3. Naik reached 26 from 44 balls but did not heed the advice he got at the drinks break to rein himself in a little and he was bowled by O’Neill. Chester hit 5 boundaries in an innings of 29 which brought Phoenix to 165. Singh made 2 and Joseph did not quite fulfil his potential with an innings of 12 although Morris was going well on 13 when he probably misunderstood Wardell’s call of “No run” and was run out. Gibson-McKenna made 5 in a stand of 16 but when he was out Wardell went for a big hit rather than attempt tip and run with White and was caught at deep midwicket. Phoenix lost by 8 runs.
Phoenix bowling: M Gibson-McKenna 5-35
Phoenix batting: J Wardell 73